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Savannah Leckie's mother pleads not guilty in the teen's death

Savannah Leckie's remains were found on her mother's Missouri property.

The biological mother of a Minnesota teen whose remains were found in a burn pit is pleading not guilty.

Rebecca Ruud entered the plea Monday in Ozark County Court in Missouri, the Baxter Bulletin reports.

Ruud was arrested last month after authorities said the remains of her biological daughter, 16-year-old Savannah Leckie, were found in a burn pit on Ruud's Missouri property.

Ruud had been charged with first- and second-degree murder, as well as neglect of a child.

But last week she was indicted by a grand jury on similar charges, the Ozark County Times reported. Her husband, Robert Peat Jr., was also arrested and indicted last Wednesday.

They're each facing charges of first- and second-degree murder, abuse of a child resulting in death, evidence tampering, and abandoning a corpse, according to the Times.

Both pleaded not guilty Monday during a fairly brief court appearance, the Baxter Bulletin says.

Leckie's case

Leckie lived with her adoptive parents in Minnesota for most of her life, but last year moved to rural Longrun, Missouri, to stay with Ruud – her biological mother.

Ruud reported the teen missing on July 20, and authorities thought she might be in Minnesota

But 20 days later investigators made a grim discovery: remains on the mother's property.

They identified those remains as Leckie not long after, and arrested Ruud at a Greyhound bus station the following day. 

The charges against Ruud included disturbing allegations about how she punished the teenager, as well as details about a fire call to the property just two days before Leckie was reported missing.

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