The Doe Network: International Center for Unidentified & Missing Persons
Case File: Ruth Elizabeth Baumgardner - 1800DFOH

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Photo 1 Photo 2
Ruth Baumgardner circa 1937

Ruth Elizabeth Baumgardner

  • Case Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Missing Since: May 4, 1937
  • Location Last Seen: Delaware, Delaware County, Ohio
  • Physical Description
    ** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.

  • Date of Birth: Unknown
  • Age at Time of Disappearance: 22 years old
  • Race: White
  • Gender: Female
  • Height at Time of Disappearance: 5'5"
  • Weight at Time of Disappearance: 110 lbs.
  • Hair Color: Blonde
  • Eye Color: Blue or gray.
  • Alias(s) / Nickname(s): Unknown
  • Distinguishing Marks/Features: Unknown
  • Dentals: Not available.
  • Fingerprints: Unknown
  • DNA: Unknown
  • Clothing & Personal Items
  • Clothing: Possibly wearing a brown suit, a sport hat, and brown Gillie shoes.
  • Jewelry: Unknown
  • Additional Personal Items: She is believed to have been carrying an overnight case.
  • Circumstances of Disappearance

    Ruth Baumgardner was a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she majored in art. She belonged to the Delta Delta Delta, or Tri-Delt, sorority and lived in Austin Hall on campus. She resided with her parents in the 2000 block of Arthur Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio when she was not at college.

    She was last seen by her sorority sisters shortly after 11 p.m. on May 4, 1937. She had her hair up in curlers and pins and was behaving normally at the time. Sometime before midnight she said goodbye to her friends and has never been seen nor heard from again.

    The Tri-Delts alerted campus authorities at 10:30 p.m. the following day, when they realized she had not attended any of her classes. A subsequent investigation revealed that someone, probably Ms. Baumgardner herself, had left her dormitory room key on the back corner of an Austin Hall staircase between the second and third floors.

    Her new red Dodge was found parked undisturbed in its regular garage with the key still in the ignition. Her room was in perfect order, which was uncharacteristic of her. The alarm clock had been set for 6:00 a.m. and had run down, indicating that she got up at that time on May 5 and left Austin Hall without being seen.

    The day she disappeared, she received three calls from an unidentified male. His identity remains unknown.

    Initially, it was believed that Ms. Baumgardner had suffered an amnesiac episode and wandered away from campus. The theory was bolstered by several reported sightings of her in the Delaware area in the days following her disappearance. None of the sightings were confirmed. At the time she went missing, Ms. Baumgardner was worried about whether she would get enough credit hours to graduate in time. In the last letter she wrote to her parents she stated that she had many things to do and did not know how she was going to do them all, and she was very tired.

    Authorities investigated the possibility that Ms. Baumgardner left of her own accord, possibly with a boyfriend, since several of the reported sightings placed her with a young man. However, she was happily engaged to her boyfriend in Lakewood and her friends did not believe she was seeing anyone else.

    There is also no evidence of foul play in her case, although a local resident living near the campus reported hearing screams between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. on May 5.

    The case was closed in 1939 at the request of her parents.

    Investigating Agency(s)
    If you have any information about this case please contact;

  • Agency Name: Unknown
  • Agency Contact Person:Unknown
  • Agency Phone Number: Unknown

  • Agency Case Number: Unknown
  • NCIC Case Number: N/A
  • NamUs Case Number: Not listed
  • Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

    Information Source(s)
  • Ohio Wesleyan Unsolved Mystery: Student Missing Since May 4, 1937
  • Newspaper Archive

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    Questions or comments? Please contact appropriate member of the Area Team

    Added: 12/7/05; Last Updated: 6/8/15 By: BR / Missing Persons Coordinator

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