Connie Ruddy

IDA GROVE—Among the unsolved homicides in Iowa is the bewildering case of a young mother of two young children who went missing from her home in Ida Grove in 1997. Her jawbone was found two years later 30 miles away, but the rest of her body was never recovered.

Twenty-one-year-old Connie Marie Ruddy was reported missing from her Ida Grove home on Monday, Feb. 10, 1997.

Her 2-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son were found alone inside the residence, unharmed.

Ruddy had last been seen by her sister around 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, in Ruddy’s home.

About 10:30 a.m. Monday, a friend stopped by and discovered Ruddy gone and her children alone. Ruddy’s car still was at the house, and she had not taken her purse.

Those who knew her described Ruddy as a responsible young mother — one who would not leave her children unattended — and knew her disappearance indicated something was wrong.

Officials and volunteers mounted a search for Ruddy, bringing in dogs to see if they could determine whether Ruddy had gotten into a vehicle or left on foot. The search produced no new clues or information.

A graduate of Mallard High School, Ruddy had lived in Ida Grove for two years and was not employed outside the home. Her husband, Shad Ruddy, was in the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, WA, but the two reportedly were going through a divorce.

On Aug. 31, 1999, more than two years after she went missing, a man looking for fossils near Ida Grove found a human jawbone, which later was identified as Ruddy’s, on the Boyer River’s sandbar in Crawford County near Dow City.

Officials searched along the river and surrounding area, but were unable to uncover any further evidence.


Who: Connie Marie Ruddy

What happened: The 21-year-old mother of two young children was reported missing from her Ida Grove home on Feb. 10, 1997. Her jawbone was found two years later near Dow City, about 30 miles away.

How you can help: Contact the Ida County Sheriff’s Department at 712-364-3146, the Ida County Crime Stoppers line at 1-800-568-4401 or the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at 515-725-6010.


“Gone Cold: Exploring Iowa’s unsolved murders” is a yearlong collaborative effort by Iowa news organizations to revisit some of the most brutal and mystifying homicides in the state’s history. The N’West Iowa REVIEW is presenting some of the unsolved homicides in the hope that they will lead to new tips and potentially help solve cases.