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Still unsolved after 40-years, officials keep looking for the killer of Ruth Bettis

Updated: Aug 16

Ruth Elizabeth Bettis, a 19-year-old college student, was last seen alive November 24, 1982 at Sugar's, a popular gentleman's club on Highland Mall Boulevard on the outskirts of Austin, where she was working to help pay for school at Southwestern University in Georgetown.

The following day her body was found sexually assaulted, strangled, and shot the next day in a pasture near Sprinkle Cutoff Road, in what's now Northeast Austin, just east of Dessau Road.

Bettis, who went by "Gibson", was seen leaving the club after she finished her shift on November 25. Witnesses saw Ruth get into her car with an unknown man described as a black male. Ruth’s car, a light blue,1969 Volkswagen Type I “Beetle”, was not found near her body, but was located a short distance away.

The investigation had largely stalled after six years, but a tip passed from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to TCSO noted that the two cops were at Sugar's the night that Bettis disappeared. According to published reports in 1989, the retired cop was sitting with Bettis at the club, and the second officer arrived separately.

The first officer and Bettis then left the club, a source confided, and the second left "minutes later." Neither had charges brought against them, and the officer still working in 1989 was never put on leave In 2007 TCSO Det. Jim Anderson picked up the investigation. He said he was unable to piece together any course of events between Bettis leaving Sugar's and her body being found on Sprinkle Cutoff the next day.

Since that time, the vase has remained under investigation without any discernable progress. In 2017, the Texas' Department of Public Safety issued an increased reward – to $6,000 – for information that leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the 1982 murder.

The reward still stands today. To be eligible for the cash rewards, tipsters MUST call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous. Tipsters will be provided a tip number instead of using a name.

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