Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ruthann Aron: A Deadly Campaign

A Deadly Campaign

Ruthann Aron
Ruthann Aron

Ruthann Aron, 54, of Potomac, Maryland, knew exactly what she wanted and she wasn't going to let anyone get in the way of her achieving her goals. Her career was testament to that fact. She worked her way up from waitressing at her father's New York diner to becoming a wealthy and successful businesswoman and a member of the Montgomery County Planning Board. She was even planning on launching a new career as a court mediator.

Yet, despite all her success, Ruthann wasn't completely satisfied. She had what she believed to be much more important work to do and, like always, she went after it with great gusto. She decided to enlist the help of someone with whom she had crossed paths years earlier to get the job done.

Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Rockville, Maryland
Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Rockville, Maryland

In June 1997, Ruthann ran into William H. Mossburg Jr. at a restaurant in the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Rockville, Maryland. Ruthann met Mossburg four years earlier when she was active in real estate development and working for the county Planning Board. At the time, Mossburg "was knee deep in a long-running feud with the county over his family's trash operations on the outer fringes of Rockville," a waste facility that the county believed was being run as an illegal dump, Dan Beyers and Michael Abramowitz reported in The Washington Post. His repeated run-ins with the county government and his fervent anti-establishment stance made him seem like the best candidate for the particular job Ruthann had in mind. Their brief encounter led to a meeting that weekend at a Gaithersburg restaurant named J.J. Muldoon's.

J.J. Muldoon's Restaurant
J.J. Muldoon's Restaurant

During lunch, Ruthann made a startling proposal. She told Mossburg that she wanted to have someone "eliminated," although she didn't reveal the target's identity. To Mossburg's amazement, Ruthann asked him if he could help her. Despite his attempts to talk her out of it, Ruthann insisted that she wanted the job done. She was convinced that he was just the person to do it, although she didn't really know him personally.

Mossburg didn't let on that he was horrified by Ruthann's proposition and said he would think about it and get back to her. He then left the restaurant in a state of near panic, believing that he was being set up by Montgomery County in retribution for years of legal wrangling over his waste facility. In actuality, the county had nothing to do with Ruthann's bizarre request. The reality was that she had a personal score to settle and was willing to stop at nothing to see it through. However, her plans wouldn't turn out quite the way she hoped.

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