Details of Disappearance Ruth was last seen in Houston, Texas on December 11, 1982. She left work with her ex-husband, Pete Severance, in order to go Christmas shopping for their son. They went to the Swiss Colony Store at Memorial City Mall, then left at approximately 7:00 p.m.
According to Pete, they were driving to a Target store two miles away when they began arguing. Pete let Ruth out of the car. She has never been heard from again. Her roommate reported her missing the next morning.
When Pete came home from the shopping trip, he had a black eye and scratches all over his face. Interviewed by the police on December 13, he said Ruth had caused the injuries during their fight. He agreed to take a polygraph, but the day before it was scheduled he changed his mind.
He and Ruth had begun dating each other when she was 14 and he was 23. Her parents didn't approve of the relationship due to the age difference, so they ran away to be together. Their son was born in 1976 and the couple married in 1979, but their relationship was troubled and they divorced in 1981.
Pete remarried in the summer of 1982, and Ruth was engaged at the time of her disappearance. She had custody of their son and was struggling financially; she'd been evicted from her apartment from non-payment of rent and had moved in with a friend.
It's uncharacteristic of Ruth to leave without warning, and her family doesn't believe she would have abandoned her son or missed his upcoming birthday. They stated she was not an independent person and would have confided in others if she planned to walk out of her life. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance.
- Houston Police Department
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated February 3, 2013; casefile added.