Savannah Leckie, autistic teen found dead on mother’s property, suffered horrific abuse before presumed murder

When the desperate teen cut herself, her mother allegedly rubbed alcohol and salt on the wounds

A 16-year-old girl who may have been murdered by her biological mother with the aid of her mother’s boyfriend suffered horrific abuse in the months leading up to her death, according to new reports.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, remains found in rural Missouri have been identified as Savannah Leckie, a high-functioning autistic teenager who was living with her biological mother Rebecca Ruud when she disappeared last month. Ruud was charged with her daughter’s murder on Tuesday.

Savannah was adopted at birth by a couple that is now divorced, and lived in Montana until a year ago. During that time she maintained sporadic contact with her biological mother, and came to live with Ruud and Ruud’s boyfriend last year after she could not get along with her adoptive mother’s new boyfriend.

While she was living there, Savannah was allegedly subjected to harsh discipline. Savannah’s ex-boyfriend reportedly told authorities that Ruud would force her daughter to crawl through a pig trough, and submerge herself in a dirty pond as a form of punishment. Additional details about the alleged abuse have emerged since Ruud’s arrest, and she reportedly complained about the difficulties she claimed to face raising the girl.

According to court documents obtained by the Kansas City Star, Ruud told police that Savannah had cut her own arm, and in response, her mother “poured alcohol and salt on the cut twice a day and rubbed it until the scabs came off.”

The mother also cut her daughter off from contact with the outside world, allegedly smashing her cell phone and controlling her social media use.

According to the Star Tribune, Ruud continually complained about the burden of raising Savannah to the girl’s adoptive mother, saying she was costing too much money and was having trouble adapting to life on the farm.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ruud and her boyfriend got married the day after authorities discovered human bones on their property. Investigators also found a meat grinder and gallons of lye, a chemical component that can be used to dissolve human remains.

So far, Ruud’s now-husband has not been charged with any crimes. Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed told the Kansas City Star that additional arrests are possible.


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