Man Discovers Truth About His Wife's Past
Life is becoming increasingly unpredictable, so it's important to get with the times. However, nothing prepares you to find out that the person you love most in the world isn't who you initially believed they were. When Blake Ruff got married to the love of his life, the things on his mind were picket fences and beautiful kids to light up the home. But after years as a couple, their relationship collapsed. Blake was in disbelief when he learned who his wife really was, changing his life forever. Can you guess what happened? This is the story of how Blake and Loris 'heavenly marriage turned into a nightmare.
Love At First Sight
When Blake first saw Lori Erica Kennedy in 2003, he fell for her immediately and knew that his life would change forever. He was right about that, but not in the way that he thought. After two years of dating, the couple tied the knot after Blake believed that he knew Lori in and out. He didn't know much about her past, but he was sure that he would soon find out more about her. He did learn more about Erica, but not directly from her.
A Blank Past
Blake was so smitten by his wife that he never really cared about not knowing her past. Although Lori was welcomed by Blake's family, they were still a bit skeptical about her. They couldn't understand why Lori got dismissive when asked about her life. She would simply claim to have had a rough upbringing. When she met Blake, Lori had just moved from Texas to Arizona. She didn't have a single friend at the time, and the two met in bible class. Even though his family was concerned right from the start, Blake liked her, so he ignored them.
A Private Wedding
Lori doesn't have a family, so she and Blake got married in a private ceremony. Blake's family wasn't even invited, and the only witness to their holy matrimony was the preacher. Soon after the ceremony, the couple decided they wanted to have kids. Blake had a stable job and a woman he loved, so it was the next natural step for him.
As soon as they got settled, they started trying to have kids. But this was far from easy. Sadly, Lori suffered multiple miscarriages. However, the couple was determined to have kids, so they tried in vitro fertilization to improve their chances. Thankfully, Lori got pregnant, and the couple was expecting a baby girl. When he heard the news, Blake was over the moon, but he had no idea would happen next.
Pushing Everyone Away
When Lori gave birth to a baby girl in 2008, it was supposed to be a happy moment for the couple. However, Lori started to push everyone away, including her husband. She became extremely overprotective of her child and started to become distant with Blake. Blake already knew that she was a private person, but she had taken it to a whole other level. Something was obviously wrong, but Blake had no idea what. Of course, Lori didn't want to talk about it.
A New Obsession
Strangely, Lori started to question Blake about his family history. Now, she wanted to know everything, which is strange because she was usually distant, and she declined to tell Blake about her own family history since they met. Was she changing for the better? Blake was optimistic about his family's future, but again, his family wasn't.
Enough Is Enough
When Lori finally banned Blake’s family from seeing their granddaughter, the family determined that they’d seen enough of her antics. The two families launched into incessant feuds, placing Blake between a rock and a hard place. Lori claimed that nobody was giving her privacy, and this was starting to affect her both mentally and emotionally. Because of this, she became deeply depressed.
The couple realized that they had to do something to save their marriage, so Lori agreed to go to marriage counseling. In 2010, the couple started to go to marriage therapy as they knew that this was the only way to save their marriage. But in the end, it seemed like there was no hope. Blake had to finally come to terms with the fact that Lori wasn't the same person he had met and fallen in love with. The following spring, the couple filed for divorce. However, their story wasn't over as they had a child together and had to figure out how they would co-parent.
Lori's Health Declined Rapidly
With Lori's health getting worse, she became even more depressed. She stopped eating, which made her health even worse. She lost a lot of weight and became hard to communicate with, and the only person she would talk to was her pastor. During visits, she would constantly fidget and ramble on about her life's problems. Her behavior was worrying, and it seemed like it would be difficult for her to become happy again. She needed at least one person who cared.
Too Much To Bear
But then, it looked like no one cared, and she would have to find her way back to happiness on her own. On Christmas eve 2012, while Lori was at the peak of her depression, she drove to Blake's family home and parked her car in the driveway. The next morning, Blake found the car with two notes - one for blake and one for her daughter. When he opened them up, he saw that they were completely illegible.
Blake's Big Discovery
Blake knew Lordi had problems, but he didn't know to what extent. He was about to make the biggest discovery, and this would confirm his family's early suspicions. While looking through Lori's old items, Blake found an old lunchbox that he didn't remember seeing when they were still a couple. In the lunchbox, he would uncover the whole truth about Lori's past. As he opened it, he could not believe his eyes.
What Was In The Box?
The weird lunchbox was found in the back of the closet behind a bunch of boxes. Blake felt guilty as he felt like he shouldn't open something that wasn't his. However, he really wanted to find out if what Lori had said about herself was true or not. Blake wasn't able to open the lunchbox on his own. To open it, he would need help. He knew who he could trust - a police officer.
The Box's Contents Shook Blake To His Core
With some help from the police, Blake was finally able to see what was in the box. There were several ID cards from different states, and a birth certificate he didn't know about. On that certificate was a name he had never heard in his life. He then found another document - a name change document dating from 1988. At the time, Lori would have been seventeen years old. Suddenly, it all started to make sense.
Becky Sue Turner
The document showed that Lori's name was originally Becky Sue Turner in 1988. With the help of the police officer, Blake dug deeper into his ex-wife's past, discovering shocking details about her. Apparently, Becky Sue died in 1971 in a house fire, and at the time, Lori was only two years old. So, if Lori wasn't Becky Sue, who was she? These questions prompted police to launch an investigation to find out who she really was.
A Woman Without A Past
The first thing they found out was that Lori was a woman with no past. She did not lie to Blake about it all along; there was simply nothing to tell. In Idaho, she was given a state ID and social security card with the name Lori. She used this ID to go to school and get her GED and eventually go to business school at the University of Texas. When authorities attempted to trace her background as Lori, nothing popped up.
No Good Leads
Even as the police continued their investigation, they had no good leads. They found somebody who knew her in the past, and he claimed that Lori was formerly a dancer at a gentleman's club back in the 90s. Joe Velling, a social security investigator they questioned, said that he had also been following the case on his end, but that he hadn't found anything noteworthy. He tried tracking down Lori for years, to no avail.
The Truth About Lori Is Discovered - Who Was She?
Following years of investigations with no answers, Blake and the police gave up. However, a genealogist called Colleen Fitzpatrick was interested in the case and asked Blake if he could provide her with a DNA sample from his daughter. She was able to find Loris' cousin - Michael Cassidy, from Pennsylvania. As soon as this was found out, Joe Velling got onto the first plane heading there. He wanted to meet Michael and finally get answers about Blake.
A Family Reunion Of Sorts
When Joe made it to Pennsylvania, he hoped the truth would finally come out. He met with Cassidy's family and showed them a photo of Lori. Immediately, a family member realized it was her cousin Kimberly Mclean. At the age of 17, she ran away from home because her mother had married a man she absolutely despised. However, even with this new information, both Joe and Blake were wondering what could have happened to her in between.
It would take six years to really find out who Lori was. In 2010, as it was discovered that she was lying about who she was, she was listed in the authorities' database as Jane Doe. Thanks to the help of Blake's daughter, Fitzpatrick had discovered Lori's true identity. In this case, DNA was crucial, showing the progress science has made over the years. Without DNA, the Ruff family would still be in the dark.
From One Daughter To Another
It is no secret that the identity of one missing daughter can be found out through the DNA of another. Many mysteries have been solved thanks to DNA, which is able to track and connect family trees. Obviously, not all cases are as dramatic as Lori's. As DNA technology gets better, we can only hope that more such cases can be solved.
Twenty-Three Years After His Disappearance The Mystery Was Solved!
Linda and Richard Hoagland's story is a strange tale. They were married, and everything was going well. The two settled in Minneapolis and had two great boys, the makings of a perfect family. The couple argued from time to time, just like any other couple. However, when their two sons turned six and nine, the happy family's life took a turn for the worse. There was something wrong in the household, and only one family member knew what it was.
A Terrible Secret
Richard Hoagland had been hiding a dark secret. Slowly, he began to withdraw from his family every week increasingly. Of course, Linda realized that her husband was acting strangely, but she quickly made up excuses for it in her mind. Perhaps this was the only way to deal with it because deep down, she felt like the happy family facade was crumbling. Of course, the two boys had no idea that there was tension in the house. Richard, on the other hand, felt like the issue couldn't be fixed or even talked about. To the casual eye, it seemed like Richard was happy at home, and not planning what would come next.
An Unassuming Call
On the 10th of February, 1993, a little before 5 PM, Richard called Linda at work. He told her that he didn't feel right and was heading for the emergency room. Linda offered to take him to the hospital, but he declined, saying that he "couldn't wait." Linda continued her day normally, picking up her younger son from daycare after work. At around 5:30 PM, she got home, and she was horrified to discover that Mathew had been left all alone.
A Left-Behind Life
Linda called all the local hospitals, but Richard had been in none of them that day. He didn't leave any note or sign, and all his belongings were still in the house. Even his passport was still there. “It was cold. It was in February, and he didn’t even take a coat,” claimed Linda. Richard was previously divorced, but when he met Linda, he told her he was fully in love with her. He was a successful businessman, so he was able to take the family on many great vacations. Why would he walk away from what seemed like a successful life?
A Shattered Life
One phone call would end up completely shattering the family. When Linda picked up the phone, she heard Richard's voice on the other line. “I can’t live this way anymore,” he said. “I feel you would be better off without me.” As soon as Linda tried to reply, the line went dead. A couple of hours later, the phone rang once again. It was Richard again, and he said, “I don’t want to go to jail, and I am never coming back,” before quickly hanging up. In less than 24 hours, Richard had broken his family apart and turned his life upside down. Since that day, the 10th of February, 1993, Richard vanished from the face of the earth.
A couple of days later, Richard's car was found. The police looked at different airlines and their flight records, but it seemed like he was not on any of them. He called another two times, and when Linda checked the phone records, she found out that the calls were coming from Venezuela and Aruba. With the head of the family gone, things couldn't get any worse for the poor family. While Linda attempted to cope with the loss of Richard, the police started to investigate this mysterious disappearance.
Hidden Financial Issues
In Spring of the same year, Linda's oldest son got a surprise from his father for his birthday - a card with a fifty-dollar bill. The younger son also received a similar gift on his birthday. However, after this, both of them would never hear from Richard ever again. Apparently, Richard was in dire financial times before he skipped town. He had maxed out all of his credit cards, and he even once imitated Linda's signature to get a bank loan. When she found out all of this, Linda almost divorced him. A judge ordered Richard to pay all the unpaid taxes, loans, debts, and over twenty credit cards.
A Family In Shock
In the birthday cards, Richard wrote: "I love you and miss seeing you. Let your mom help spend this money, you might want to put some away. Maybe sometime soon we will get to see each other. I bet I won't even know you it has been so long. Mind your mother. Bye, Dad." These words would be the last their father ever told them. Later, Mathew Hoagland told ABC: “Initially, you think: 'OK, this won't last long. He'll be back,”. Linda lamented that Richard had left the family with absolutely nothing, and she was very broken from this.
Struggling On Their Own
Linda had difficulties keeping the family together financially. She could not service their mortgage and car loans. So, the walls were quickly closing in. Also, the police started to question her about her husband's strange disappearance. It seemed like they had some suspicion regarding what Linda knew about her husband leaving so suddenly. Linda stuck to her story, claiming she had absolutely no idea where Richard had gone. She told them that Richard had rung her to tell her he was never coming back. The police continued to suspect her, and Linda had to sit through countless interrogations. But Linda didn't change her story, not even once.
Linda Under Suspicion
One of the investigators eventually claimed that Linda knew where her husband had gone. He claimed that this was a carefully planned financial tax by the couple, and the goal was for Linda to take her children and join Richard. In the midst of all this, Linda had even bigger problems, beginning with her finances. She was forced to declare bankruptcy as she was unable to pay even the most basic bills. This was horrifying for her, especially as she knew that she had two kids she needed to take care of, and her husband had been the primary breadwinner during their whole marriage.
The Family Was Followed?!
Linda had no choice but to depend on her parents to survive these tough times. Instead of dealing with his financial issues head-on, Richard took the easy way out and ran away. Linda started to realize that strange people were following her. She would find cars parked outside, and her mail was opened and re-sealed before she got to it. Also, it seemed like things around her house had been moved around. All this pointed to one thing - she was being watched.
Family Goes Into Hiding
One day, her father even found a recording device in the home. It was attached to her phone line, and this convinced Linda that Richard had been involved with some sketchy individuals. The family's home was foreclosed, and Linda's vehicle was even repossessed. In October of the same year, Linda went into hiding with her family in McCordsville, Indiana. She was desperate to keep her children out of harm's way, especially as Richard seemed to have been involved in some dodgy deals.
Before leaving, Linda made sure that all her bills were in her parents' name so that she couldn't be found. Her boys started to take the school bus from a friend's home so that no one knew where they lived. She continued hiding for over six years, but the fear of the unknown was still there. The family continued to live like this for many years, but sadly, more trouble would arise. Linda was also being watched by the authorities. Ultimately, Richard's disappearance led the family to a constant state of suffering. But how could a man who claimed to love his family so much subject them to so much hurt?
Richard Hoagland Resurfaces
In 2016, the police finally found out the truth. Anthony Cardillo, a detective of the Pasco County Sheriffs Department, called Linda and asked her: “Do you know who Richard Hoagland is?” After so many years, she couldn't believe what she was hearing. As the family went through all this pain, Richard had resettled in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was happily remarried and even had another child. However, Richard was now in custody for using a dead man's identity.
When Richard ran away, he rented another home, and in the house, he found a death certificate of a man called Terry Symansky who had died in 1991. He decided to use this man's identity and cut himself off from his family. So, Richard became Terry Symansky and began his new life. He got a new job, a home, and even a woman to marry and start another family with. He had settled in great, and none of his new loved ones suspected a thing.
Richard rented Edward Symanskys's efficiency apartment while the man was still mourning his son Terry's death. The home was in Port St Lucie in Florida, and as the home was close to Richard's apartment, the old man would often be there reminiscing about his son. Edward, of course, would use all this information to his benefit. When Richard was finally caught, Terry's sister later told People Magazine: “My dad was the victim. Even after 23 years, the truth will always come out."
A Final Arrest
The moment that Terry Symansky's real nephew did some research on ancestry.com, it was the beginning of the end for Richard. As he researched, the nephew noticed that some things were odd or out of place. His late uncle was suddenly listed as remarried, and it claimed that he had a pilot's license. The nephew immediately called the police and started to discover the truth. In July 2016, police arrested Richard, and he was locked up at the Pasco County jail with a $25,000 bond.
Repercussions For His Actions
Although it took so long, Richard was finally held accountable for his actions. The prosecutors would charge him with crimes he committed in Indiana, but they couldn't find the affidavit with the original allegations. Some of those theft charges included illegally obtained loans by imitating Linda's signature, as well as all the stolen credit cards. Richard had managed to escape those theft charges, but he was still charged with taking on a dead man's identity.
Two Families Destroyed
Today, Richard's son is 19 years old. The two families have never met, not even the brothers. However, Linda said: “My heart goes out to them, we know what they are going through. We do express our sympathy and empathy to them. I'm sorry.” With his disgusting actions, Richard managed to tear apart two families that he claimed to love so much. Linda's attorney, in the meantime, is trying to get compensation for failing to pay $2 million in child support. It is more than likely for Richard to make restitution for living as Terry.
Richard's New Family
The lady that married Richard in 1995 was Mary Hossler Hickman. They had settled in Zephyrhills, Florida, and had a son. The child was only a teen when his father was arrested and taken into custody. While Richard tried to stay out of the limelight during the whole ordeal, Tampa Bay Times reported that Mary had found a briefcase with documents revealing Richard's true identity. Also, she reportedly found a deed to a Louisiana property and a key to a storage room. The son was shocked: “It was still his father. It's his blood, but that the Symansky name is not his. The emotions they were feeling [were] between anger and sadness and the wonder of why,” they said.
A Son's Struggle
While Richard did attempt to be a sweet dad by sending birthday cards over the years, his family members were absolutely devastated by his actions. His sons Doug and Mathew have not fully come to terms with what their father had done to them. Although Mathew would later become the "rock" of the family, Doug didn't take his dad's sudden disappearance well. He found comfort in drugs and went to jail many times as a result.
A Bad Example
Mathew's older brother Doug is now 33 years old. He has his own family, but he still doesn't understand how someone could one day just walk away from their family like that. Mathew admitted that he used to look forward to his dad returning, but he started to suspect that he had been caught up in some shady dealings and had no choice but to leave. Today, Mathew wears his father's ring to remind him of the bad examples set by his him, and also to remind him that he never wants to make the same mistakes.