Human bones found in a burn pit on a rural southwest Missouri property are those of missing 16-year-old Savannah Leckie, authorities have confirmed.
Savannah was reported missing in late July from her home in Longrun, where she lived with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. Organizations such as MissingPiecesNetwork.org launched a campaign to find her.
Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed said Monday that dental records from Minnesota helped confirm that the remains belong Savannah, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. She had been missing from the 81-acre farm home where she had been living for 11 months with Rebecca Ruud, her biological mother. The remains were found on Aug. 4.
“From information I received (Monday) from forensic specialists, and evidence that was obtained, the remains that were recovered are those of 16-year-old Savannah Leckie, of Longrun (Mo.),” Reed said in a statement.
The warrant for the search says Savannah grew up with her adoptive mother in Minnesota but had resumed living with her biological mother within the last year.
Savannah’s adoptive parents are Tamile Montague of Minneapolis and David Leckie of Park Rapids, Minn., who are divorced.
Items taken during a search of the home and surrounding area included a meat grinder, a knife and 26 bottles of lye, which can be used to accelerate the breakdown of bodily tissue.
No charges have been filed, but jail records Tuesday morning list the 39-year-old Ruud as being in custody, the Star Tribune reports. Ruud had said that she was being investigated as a suspect. She had started an online campaign on GoFundMe to raise money to pay for an attorney.
Ruud’s boyfriend was living at the farm when Savannah disappeared. Ruud and Robert E. Peat Jr. were married on the day the remains were found. Jail records do not list him as being in custody.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.