Family: Wilmoth ‘in good spirits’ after close of week-long search

Statement by brother expresses gratitude, determination

At left, LeeAnn Marie Wilmoth. At right, Eric Ruska. (Photos courtesy of Michigan State Police)

MARQUETTE — A statement was released this morning by the family of LeeAnn Marie Wilmoth.

Police located Wilmoth, 28, of Cooks at about 4:30 a.m. this morning at a Munising gas station after a week-long search that encompassed the entire central Upper Peninsula and involved numerous law enforcement agencies.

Wilmoth was taken to UP Health Systems-Marquette for evaluation this morning.

Eric Scott Ruska, a 37-year-old Rumely man, is being held and interviewed at the Munising City Police Department. Criminal charges are pending, police said.

Wilmoth and Ruska were missing since Sunday, when they had reportedly gone fishing together at Chicago Lake in Delta County and never returned.

Public records indicate Ruska was sentenced to prison in 2004 for third-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping. He was released December 2015.

The following statement was submitted by Wilmoth’s brother, Gerald Schneider of Katy, Texas.

“First and foremost we would like to thank God for hearing the prayers of so many of LeeAnn’s loved ones and bringing her home to us. We’d also like to thank Detectives Jay Peterson and Jeremy Hauswirth as well as every other law enforcement officer involved in locating our sister! There are no words to express how extremely grateful we are for your tireless efforts to locate LeeAnn. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the residents of the Upper Peninsula for searching along side us, we were truly humbled by the amount of strangers willing to saddle up and ride out in search of LeeAnn. Lastly, we’d like send a huge thank you to all of our friends and family across the nation. A lot of messages, phone calls, and emails went unanswered on our end, but believe me when I say, we felt your love and support!

“… While this may have changed our lives and LeeAnn’s life forever, we are strong, she is stronger and we will rise! …

“To the media both social and local, thank you for spreading the word, LeeAnn’s pictures, and helping us bring her home! We ask that you consider her recovery in the days to come and keep praying for her strength!

“LeeAnn is in good spirits right now and she is staying strong. We were able to get her smiling and laughing a little bit despite the situation at hand.”