UPDATE: Monday, July 17th, 2017 11:00 a.m. ET
Eric Ruska, has been charged with one count of kidnapping in United States District Court Western District of Michigan. He faces up a maximum penalty of up to life in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, Ruska invited LeeAnn Wilmoth fishing at Chicago Lake in Delta County on Saturday, July 8th. After a few hours of fishing, Wilmoth asked Ruska when they were going back to shore.
Ruska told Wilmoth he didn’t invite her on his boat to go fishing, but he wanted to sexually assault her. He told Wilmoth he would kill her and her family if she did not cooperate.
Ruska also threatened to shoot her. He then punched Wilmoth in the chest, slapped her in the face, held her down in the boat and sexually assaulted her.
After the sexual assault, Ruska took her back to shore, placed her in his truck and ratchet strapped her to the front seat. Between July 8th and July 14th, Ruska held Wilmoth against her will and repeatedly sexually assaulted her numerous times in and around his vehicle as they drove through the Hiawatha National Forrest, traveling through Marquette, Alger, and Delta Counties.
Ruska was taken into custody by the Michigan State Police at 4:25 a.m. July 14th. The above story was told by Wilmoth to police. Ruska admitted to what he did and corroborated Wilmoth’s story.
Ruska also took MSP Detectives to show them the locations where sexually assaulted Wilmoth. He remains in federal custody.
No future court dates have yet been set.
UPDATE: Monday, July 17th, 2017 10:40 a.m. ET
Eric Ruska will be charged and prosecuted at the federal level by the United States Attorney’s Office. That’s according to the Michigan State Police.
Ruska, 37, was arrested Friday morning in the City of Munising after keeping LeeAnn Wilmoth, 28, against her will for nearly five days.
ABC 10 will have more on this developing story tonight at 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. on ABC 10 and ABC10UP.com
UPDATE: Friday, July 14th, 2017 2:40 p.m. ET
“It was a joint effort truly by a number of agencies. It couldn’t have had a better outcome,” said Detective Robert Pernaski, the lead investigator on the case.
At 4:25 a.m. Friday, Eric Ruska, 37, was taken into custody without incident by Michigan State Police troopers inside this Shell Gas Station on M-28 in Munising. In Ruska’s 2006 black Chevy Colorado was the woman police had been looking for going on five days: LeeAnn Wilmoth, 28.
“We had surveillance officers out in the field. The vehicle was seen by the surveillance officers, possibly recognized as the suspect’s vehicle,” said Pernaski.
After taking Ruska into custody, officers found Wilmoth in Ruska’s truck. She told officers that Ruska had held her against her will.
Wilmoth was taken to UP Health System – Marquette for an evaluation.
“It’s pretty incredible. I know the area they were at. It’s very remote; a lot of space to be hiding in.”
Carl Hansen lives in Munising and is a regular at the gas station where the LeeAnn was found. Hansen actually talked with Wilmoth a few weeks ago about her possibly working for him.
Like so many people, Hansen was relieved to hear the news that she had been found alive.
“It’s the best outcome I could’ve come up with. It’s fantastic,” said Hansen.
As for Ruska, the Michigan State Police have him in custody and are questioning him. The registered sex offender completed a 10-year prison sentence at the end of 2015 on charges of kidnapping and 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct.
LeeAnn’s family took to social media Friday to thank everyone for their continued prayers and positive thoughts during what was a very difficult time for them. For Detective Pernaski, the outcome of this investigation is a win for everyone involved.
“It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of dedication by a number of people,” he said. “We had federal, county, city and other agencies assisting. We all pulled together as a team, which is essential with a case with such a large geographical area.”
Wilmoth and Ruska were reported missing Monday after LeeAnn’s mom didn’t hear anything from her daughter after a Sunday fishing trip on Chicago Lake in Delta County. As for Ruska, he is in police custody.
Investigators are working on determining charges and what county those charges will be filed in.
UPDATE: Friday, July 14th, 2017 9:30 a.m. ET
The Michigan State Police have confirmed with ABC 10 that LeeAnn Wilmoth was being held against her will by Eric Ruska.
Wilmoth was taken to UP Health – System Marquette for treatment. Ruska is being interviewed by MSP Detectives.
Stay with ABC 10 and ABC10UP.com for the latest on this developing story.
UPDATE: Friday, July 14th, 2017 5:05 a.m. ET
ABC 10 has confirmed with the family of LeeAnn Wilmoth that she has been located and rescued early this morning in Alger County. Her condition and the status of Eric Ruska is unknown at this time.
This is a breaking news story. Stay with ABC10UP.com for the very latest on this situation.
UPDATE: Thursday, July 13th, 2017 2:00 p.m. ET
The Michigan State Police have re;leased a photo they believe is the exact truck belonging to Eric Ruska.
Law enforcement officials are actively still looking for Ruska and LeeAnn Wilmoth, who have been missing since Sunday. Ruska is a registered sex offender and has served time in prison for kidnapping.
Wilmoth’s family last heard from her Sunday. Wilmoth told them she was going fishing with a co-worker, later identified as Ruska.
If you see Ruska’s truck, do not approach the vehicle; simply call 911.
You can view a picture of the truck below:
UPDATE: Thursday, July 13th, 2017 9:35 a.m. ET
Law enforcement officials are still actively searching for LeeAnn Marie Wilmoth and Eric Scott Ruska.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 11: 30 a.m. ET
The Michigan State Police and several other law enforcement agencies are actively looking for LeeAnn Marie Wilmoth, 28, of Cooks and Eric Scott Ruska, 37.
Detective Sargent Jay Peterson of the MSP Negaunee Post tells ABC 10 an MSP Dive Team is conducting an operation at Chicago Lake in Delta County, where the two were reportedly last heard from.
“Obviously at the end of the day, we just want our little sister home, she’s the youngest of five. We just want her home and safe. If Eric hears this and is with her, our only wish is that he will let her go and run himself but let our little sister go so she can come back and be with family,” said Brother of LeeAnn Marie Wilmoth, Gerald Schneider.
Law enforcement is also looking for Ruska’s 2006 black Chevy Colorado pickup truck with Michigan License Plate BVB 7631. Peterson says if you see the truck, do not approach it and just call 911.
Wilmoth and Ruska reportedly spent Sunday fishing together at Chicago Lake. Ruska is a registered sex offender. He spent 10 years in prison for an incident that occurred in Alger County back in 2004.
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 4:50 p.m. ET
ABC 10 has talked to a family member of LeeAnn Wilmoth. The family member, who wishes to remain anonymous, tell us a maroon colored Ford F-150 and kayak that belong to LeeAnn were found Monday night at Chicago Lake.
They also tell us police have located a trailer and boat that belong to Eric Ruska. The family member also told us Eric and LeeAnn work at the same place and that he has a past history of kidnapping women, where he allegedly drugs them, rapes them and keeps them for a certain amount of time.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of LeeAnn Wilmoth or Eric Ruska, you are urged to contact the Michigan State Police or call 911.
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 1:35 p.m. ET
One of the two missing people the Michigan State Police is searching for does have a criminal history.
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections Offender Tracking System, Eric Scott Ruska, 37, pleaded guilty to Criminal Sexual Conduct – third degree and kidnapping in Alger County back in 2004. The alleged incidents occurred in December of 2003.
He was sentenced to 10-15 years in prison. Ruska was released from prison in December of 2015.
He is also a registered sex offender and the vehicle police are looking for does belong to him.
DELTA COUNTY — The Michigan State Police Negaunee Post is currently investigating a complaint involving two missing people.
LeeAnn Marie Wilmoth, 28, and Eric Scott Ruska, 37, were last heard from on Sunday, July 9 in the Chicago Lake area in Delta County. The two may be traveling in a black 2006 Chevy Colorado with a Michigan license plate and has significant rust on it.
Multiple agencies in Delta, Alger and Marquette counties are working on the investigation. If you have any information on the whereabouts of LeeAnn Wilmoth or Eric Ruska, you are urged to contact the MSP at (906) 475-9922.