Friends and extended family of a missing Missouri teen – whose body authorities there now suspect was burned in a bonfire on her mother’s property – are holding a candlelight vigil for her tonight at Walnut Park in St. Michael.
The vigil for Savannah Leckie is set for 7:30 p.m. at the park, located at 301 Walnut Ave. in St. Michael. Leckie attended STMA High School for a year back in 2015.
Savannah has not been seen since Wednesday, July 19 near her biological mother’s home in Ozark County, Missouri. Savannah measures around 5 feet 3 inches tall with a lean build. She has long, dark brown hair and blue eyes.
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It was believed Savannah may have made her way back to Minnesota, since she maintains close ties to family here. There is a reward, offered by her family, for information leading to the location of Savannah, who goes by the nicknames ‘Mouse’ and ‘Andy.’ Her father now lives in Park Rapids, while her stepmother, Tamilie Montague, lives in Columbia Heights.
Authorities in Missouri, however, believe they may have found the girl’s remains. Bone and teeth fragments, as well as scorched clothing, were found in a burn pile on her mother’s property in Ozark County. Leckie’s biological mother, Rebecca Ruud, has told authorities that the teen was home when she went to sleep on the night of July 19 and was not in the home the next morning. Ruud said she and a neighbor searched the property and then contacted authorities later that morning. Ozark County recently reported about remains that turned up in a burn pile 1,200 feet from the home during a search on Aug. 4 and who might be responsible for the teen’s disappearance and possible death, and a family spokesperson has told media outlets there is a “strong suspicion” the remains are that of the young girl.
Ruud has admitted on social media she is under investigation. She has started a GoFundMe page to help cover legal costs.
According to an Ozark County newspaper, the family could find out if the remains are the girl’s soon. “Officers with the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol executed a search warrant Friday, Aug. 4,” the paper reports, “and cadaver dogs were brought back in to aid in the search. During the search, the dogs alerted to a burn pile in an area away from the primary residence. Officers sifted through the material, which included light-colored ash, and several items that appeared to be bone fragments and teeth were taken into evidence.”
The fragments are being tested in Missouri. Any DNA match to the girl could lead to charges, the newspaper reports. Ruud and her then-boyfriend, now husband, Robert Peat Jr. have not officially been named suspects at this time.