|Disappeared||November 4, 1983|
|Missing for||37 years|
Ruth "Ruthie" Ann Homberg was a woman who disappeared in November 1983 under suspicious circumstances. Her husband, Gary W. Homberg, was convicted of her murder in 1989.
On the night of November 4th, Ruthie learned from friends that Gary had been having an affair with the couple's daughter-in-law, Sharon Jacobsen Nordess, to which she told them that she'd confront him about it. She was last seen going home with Gary that night.
On November 5 at 5:00 PM, Gary reported his wife missing without checking with her family to see if they had seen her. At 6:30 PM, Gary called Nordess and asked her to meet him at the Dane County Regional Airport. There, he parked Ruthie's car in the long-term parking lot, got into Nordess' car, and had her drive him home via a circuitous route. On the following Monday Gary told the cleaning lady not to come into the house because Ruthie was out of town and he didn't know when she would return. A relative of Ruthie found her car at the airport later. In the end, Nordess never married Gary, even after her 1984 divorce, and Gary ended up moving to California.
Ruthie had left behind her medication, makeup, clothes, and personal care items. Gary claimed to the cleaning lady that Ruthie took her jewelry with her, including a diamond ring, a watch, and a diamond bracelet. It was later discovered that Gary himself sold or reset those pieces of jewelry. Ruthie was also devoted to her three children and would've never left them behind.
Prior to Ruthie's disappearance, Nordess wanted to marry Gary, but he told her he couldn't get a divorce and started planning how he might go about murdering his wife. He had also been embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Millfab, a wood processing company that he was president of, to which Ruthie threatened to tell the owner. He also told Nordess to keep his wife's disappearance a secret and that he'd dispose of her body in a place where nobody could find it.
In 1986 Gary was sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzlement. At the time of his arrest, a grand jury was investigating Ruthie's disappearance, as they believed she was murdered and Gary was the prime suspect. When asked to testify, Nordess claimed she knew nothing about Ruthie's disappearance. Later, in 1988, she admitted to investigators that her testimony was a lie and told them how her encounter with Gary really happened. She agreed to testify against him in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Gary was convicted of first-degree murder in 1989.
The judge offered to reduce Gary's sentence in exchange for the location of Ruthie's body, but Gary claimed innocence and therefore refused to give it up. Investigators believe he may have incinerated her corpse in Millfab's industrial furnace, which was capable of generating up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit in heat. Her body has never been located for those reasons.
- Brown hair.
- Blue eyes.