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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri couple pleaded not guilty in the death of the woman’s biological daughter, who was living with them after spending her earlier life with an adoptive family in Minnesota.

Attorneys for 39-year-old Rebecca Ruud and 31-year-old Robert Peat Jr., of Theodosia, entered pleas for them Monday in separate appearances in the Ozark County Court.

The two are charged with first-degree murder and an alternative count of child abuse resulting in the death of 16-year-old Savannah Leckie. Her bone fragments were found in August in a burn pile on the couple’s rural property. Authorities have not said how she died.

The Springfield News-Leader report s Judge Craig Carter approved a request from Ruud’s attorney for a new judge. He did not rule on a motion for a change of venue.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader,