Where Murder Lies is investigating the mysterious case of identity thief Lori Erica Kennedy Ruff, aka Kimberly Maria McLean, who, unbeknown to her husband, led a secret life for decades. The truth of Ruff’s deception only came to light after she committed suicide, and some determined investigators began looking into the case.
On Christmas Eve 2010, Lori Ruff shot herself in the driveway of her ex-husband Blake Ruff’s home in Leonard, Texas. She left behind a 2-year-old daughter and a set of unanswered questions.
Blake Ruff had always found his former wife to be extremely secretive about her past. She said very little beyond that she’d had an unhappy childhood, and both her parents were dead.
The pair had married in 2004 and had a daughter in 2008, but Lori Ruff’s secretive and erratic behavior put her at odds with her husband and the inlaws, which eventually led to a divorce.
After her death, the Ruff family found a lockbox among Lori’s possessions, which indicated a mysterious secret past and suggested she was not who she said she was.
An investigation into Lori Ruff’s true identity
In 2013, an investigator from the Social Security Administration, Joe Velling, concluded that the true identity of Lori Ruff was Kimberly McLean from Pennslyvania. In 1986, McLean had run away from home at 18 years old because she didn’t get along with her mother and stepfather, and she had never returned.
Nearly three decades later, investigators showed photographs of Lori Ruff to her suspected relatives in Philadelphia, and they confirmed that it was indeed Kimberly. A DNA sample was taken from Lori’s daughter, confirming she was related to the McLeans.
Investigators learned that after she’d left PA, Ruff managed to get her hands on the birth certificate of Becky Sue Turner, a 2-year-old girl who had tragically died in a house fire in Pierce County, Washington state in 1971.
Ruff called herself Becky Turner for just a few months; she then moved to Idaho and had her name legally changed to Lori Erica Kennedy. She later moved to east Texas, where she met Blake Ruff and appeared to settle down as Lori Erica Kennedy Ruff.
The reason why Ruff, aka McLean, led this secretive life remains a mystery.
More from Where Murder Lies
Jennifer Webb from Buena Vista, Michigan, was 8-months pregnant following an affair with a serving police officer, Kenneth Bluew. Bluew killed Webb and his unborn child and tried to make it look like a suicide.
Robert Reaves was jealous of Latrese Curtis’s relationship with his roommate, so he followed her after she’d left their home and forced her off the road at the side of an interstate. He then stabbed her nearly 40 times and left her to die by the side of the road.
Where Murder Lies airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.