Left: Ruth circa, 1982
Right: Age Progressed to age 49
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: August 19, 1982
Missing From: Modesto, Stanislaus County, California
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: February 25, 1966
Age: 16 years old
Height and Weight: 5’5″ and 84 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Ruth has a small tattoo on the web her right hand between her thumb and index finger, the tattoo was described as being a cross, her ears are pierced, Ruth may use the nickname “Ruthy”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A cream colored t-shirt with writing inscription on it, a pair of Levi’s jeans, Ruth was wearing a gold chained necklace with a cross on it and she was also wearing approximately 4 to 5 rings on her fingers when she disappeared
NCMEC Number: 601797
Details of Disappearance
Ruth Leamon was last seen in Modesto, California on August 19th 1982. On that day, Ruth became acquainted with two men who were in there 30s in 1982. She told them that she would meet them later in the evening at Sam’s Food City which is located at Carver Road and Teresa Road Street and approximately 3 blocks away from her home at the time.
Ruth was last seen at approximately 8:45 pm by her legal guardian. She told them that she was going to Sam’s Food City to buy a soft drink. She arrived at the store but disappeared afterwards. She has never been seen or heard from again. Her disappearance wasn’t noticed until 7:00 am on the morning of August 20th 1982. Her guardian was at work during the time in which Ruth would have come back home from the store. Authorities did question the two men that Ruth was supposed to meet that night. They both denied involvement in her disappearance.
Authorities suspect that Ruth was likely abducted and the victim of foul play. The “speed freak killers” Wesley Howard Shermantine Jr. and Joseph Herzog are considered possible suspects in Ruth’s case. They went on a killing spree that went through the 1980s and 1990s. They killed several females and may have had more then 15 victims.
The men are also considered suspects in the 1993 California disappearance of Phillip Martin, the 1986 California disappearance of Sylvia Standly, the 1988 California abduction of Michaela Garecht, the 1988 California disappearance of Gayle Marks, and the 1986 California abduction of Susan Bender. The bodies of other victims have been found and Shermantine has cooperated with authorities to reveal the locations of their victims. Herzog committed suicide after he heard that his partner was doing this. Shermantine is currently on death row.
Ruth he actually met Herzog prior to her disappearance and she and a female friend went with him to the Calaveras County Frog jump with him. Some of their victims they murdered were previously acquaintances of the two before their murders. They were never charged in connection to Ruth’s disappearance.
Authorities have stated that no arrests have been made in connection to Ruth’s disappearance but they continue to suspect that foul play was involved. Ruth was a sophomore at Davis High School in 1982. Her disappearance remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Modesto Police Department 209-572-9500