Ruska facing federal kidnapping charges

Eric Scott Ruska

MARQUETTE — Eric Scott Ruska is being charged at the federal level for allegedly kidnapping a 28-year-old Cooks woman and holding her against her will for several days.

Officials this morning confirmed Ruska was being charged with kidnapping through U.S. District Court. He was being held in the Marquette County Jail after his arrest last week and a multiday search for the man and missing woman that involved several law enforcement agencies in the central Upper Peninsula.

Michigan State Police Detective 1st Lt. Robert Pernaski said prosecutors from multiple U.P. counties and federal attorneys last week discussed charging Ruska at the state level, but eventually settled on bringing the case to federal court.

“The feds can do it all in one sweep, so it’s a lot cleaner for us,” Pernaski said, noting the possibility of multiple trials if Ruska was charged in several counties.

Officials said charging Ruska at the federal level is appropriate due to some of his alleged criminal activity taking place in the Hiawatha National Forest.

Ruska, 37, of Rumely, and LeeAnn Marie Wilmoth, 28, allegedly went fishing July 9 at Chicago Lake in Delta County. The two coworkers failed to show up for work the following day, police said. Authorities also received a missing persons complaint July 10, which began a search throughout the central U.P. that ended early Friday morning with Ruska’s arrest.

Police said he was apprehended without incident around 4:30 a.m. at a Shell gas station in Munising. Wilmoth was found in Ruska’s truck, allegedly being held against her will.