Family of Montgomery woman found dead seeks answers - - Columbia, South Carolina

Family of Montgomery woman found dead seeks answers

Michelle Ruff's body was found on April 17. Her family wants answers in the death investigation. Michelle Ruff's body was found on April 17. Her family wants answers in the death investigation.
Scene on April 17 when  Michelle Ruff's body was found. Scene on April 17 when Michelle Ruff's body was found.

A Montgomery family is issuing a public plea for help after the discovery of a woman's body on the west side of town turned out to be the remains of their loved one. Now, they're hoping that someone will come forward with information that may help shed light on what happened to the mother of two.

The body of 36-year-old Michelle Ruff was discovered by tree cutting crews last week near the corner of Well Road and West Boulevard.

Her brother, Christopher, has a lot of questions about her death- who was she last with and how did she end up dead in the woods off a busy Montgomery roadway? 

"She's not the type of person who is going to be by herself in these woods right here," Christopher Ruff said.

He told WSFA that authorities used a metal plate in Michelle's foot from a previous surgery that had a serial number on it and a DNA test to confirm that it was her body that was found in the tree line by tree service crews doing routine work to clear the area near power lines. Ruff said relatives were told by police that his sister's body had been in that location for three to four days before it was found by workers. 

Montgomery police are calling it an ongoing death investigation but Ruff's family fears the worst.

"I think she was with somebody and something happened and they got scared and dumped her here. There's no way she would be here. There's no way. She's a half a mile from home," Ruff said of his sister. 

Ruff had been living with her grandfather in a nearby mobile home park. 

"She left her house on Old Selma Road on April the 2nd. Her body was found out here April the 17th. We know a lot of people around town. She knows a lot of people around town. We know that somebody out there somewhere has seen or talked to her during that time. So please, we're begging you, if you've seen her, to please come forward," added Michelle Cannon, Michelle Ruff's sister-in-law.

Another red flag, according to Michelle Ruff's family, is that her phone and purse have not turned up. 

"Her stuff is still missing- her phone and her purse. She doesn't go anywhere without her phone. Something has happened," her brother said. 

She was disabled and family members do not believe she could have walked out to the spot in the woods where her body was found because of her disability.

And as they continue to mourn, Ruff's loved ones hope that by turning to the public and asking for help that they can get the answers they seek. On Friday, relatives placed flowers at the spot where her body was found, hoping for any clues or developments. 

"She didn't get out there by herself. Somebody somewhere knows how she got there. We just want closure so we can let her rest in peace," Cannon said. 

"We need closure. We need answers. It's not easy," Chris Ruff added. "When we call and ask questions about what happened, everyone just tells us they'll call us back and call us back. Well, we're tired of hearing that. We want to know."

Michelle Ruff leaves behind two sons.

"She was a very good, caring person. She's being very missed right now," said her brother Cliff Ruff.

Montgomery police have not released any other information on the case. 

In the meantime, Ruff's family is preparing to lay her to rest and they've set up an online fund to help raise money for her funeral. The account is titled "I want to go home in peace" and Ruff's family is seeking $2,500 in donations. Relatives say if there is leftover money, they want to "pay it forward' and donate the remaining funds to an organization that assists families like them dealing with the loss of a loved one with the cost of funeral services.

"Somebody has to know something. It's just the part of not knowing and we need help. We're not a very wealthy family and all of a sudden we're dealing with this unexpected tragedy," Christopher Ruff added. 

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Montgomery police or Crimestoppers at 215-STOP.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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