Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ruthann Aron: A Deadly Campaign


William H. Mossburg Jr.
William H. Mossburg Jr.

After his meeting with Ruthann, Mossburg went home and, after deliberating over what he should do next, he decided to contact the FBI. The federal agency immediately brushed him off, disbelieving his incredulous story. He then called Deputy State Attorney Robert Dean, whom he later met, and informed of Ruthann's shocking request. Dean had — just three weeks earlier — eaten breakfast at a Rockville bagel shop with Ruthann, who was at the time seeking support for her campaign for the County Council Seat. It was hard to believe that Ruthann would do something so horrible, but he didn't want to take any chances.

Dean immediately informed the Montgomery County Police Department, who interrogated Mossburg for several hours about his meeting with Ruthann. During the interview, Mossburg felt that the police had a hard time believing his story, and as they repeatedly questioned him, it appeared to him that the police might implicate him in the murder scheme. To his relief, they asked instead if he would serve as an informant for them, to which he agreed.

Dr. Barry Aron
Dr. Barry Aron

In order to collect evidence to substantiate his story, the police monitored a telephone conversation between Mossburg and Ruthann on June 4, 1997. Even though Ruthann didn't come right out and say that she wanted someone murdered, the conversation did support Mossburg's earlier statements that something devious was indeed in the works. Investigators had to work fast to get more evidence, which they hoped would lead to her arrest. One of the main questions they wanted answered was the identity of Ruthann's intended target, so that they could protect the person before Ruthann got a chance to kill them herself.

During the course of their investigation, detectives quickly discovered that Ruthann's plans involved having more people murdered. Before they could understand her motivation for ordering the heinous crimes, investigators had to unravel Ruthann's complex character. What they discovered was surprising.

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