Missing Arizona Mom Skeletal Remains Identified, Case Is Now Homicide Investigation

The cold case of a missing Arizona mom has been labeled a homicide investigation after the skeletal remains discovered in 1988 were positively identified as belonging to Julie Grubaugh, who went missing more than 25-years ago.

Using the latest DNA technology, investigators were able to determine the remains were those of then 25-year-old Grubaugh, who was reported missing by her family on November 27, 1986, according to Fox News, and whose remains were discovered in a field in Pinal County, south of Phoenix, Arizona, in April of 1988.

At the time she went missing, the mom had recently moved from Michigan to Arizona with her ex-husband and the father of her kids.

Authorities say that Grubaugh’s ex claimed he dropped her off at a Greyhound bus station on November 2, 1986, never to be seen again.

Police had no leads in the case of the missing Arizona mom until now, and even though they suspected foul play, nobody has been charged in the case.

Douglas Grubaugh was interrogated by police at the time, but he was never charged in the case of his ex wife’s disappearance.

Phoenix Police Department Detective Stuart Somershoe worked on the case of the missing Arizona mom for years, and on Tuesday of last week he was able to deliver some good news to the family that had waited for more than two-decades for some resolution to Grubaugh’s disappearance.

Eva Rovang got a call from Somershoe, who shared news the DNA results that confirmed the remains found by a hunter in the Arizona wilderness, in April of 1988, are those of her sister Julie, who had disappeared from the Phoenix area a year-and-a-half earlier.

After graduating from High School in Michigan in 1979, Julie Rutherbush married Grubaugh; they later divorced and reconciled, and in 1985 they moved to Arizona to make a “fresh start”, Rovang said, according to Petoskeynews.com.

The missing mom was in the habit of communicating with her children — who stayed behind with her parents regularly. However, one day — after the move to Arizona — her calls stopped.

Somershoe says the case has been classified as a homicide because of the circumstances surrounding Grubaugh’s disappearance, such as paychecks left behind by the missing Arizona mom.

“In situations like this we have to look at her life patterns,” Somershoe said. “She maintained regular contact with her family. She spoke to her mother and siblings often. There was no reason for her to disappear. She had no history of alcohol or drug issues, no mental health issues.”

The Detective also adds that even though many years have gone by, police can use that to their advantage as someone who was helping a suspect at the time may be willing to talk now.

For the family, it’s bitter sweet and as much as they are relieved to have some sort of closure in the case of the mom who went missing all those years ago in Arizona, they want to know who would do this to her:

“It’s such a surreal thing,” Rovang said. “We wondered and wondered for all these year. We felt terrible. We’re happy they found her, but sad about the circumstances. Now we just have to figure out a way to bring her home.”

Anyone who has information on the missing Arizona mom’s case is urged to call detective Somershoe at (602) 261-8065 or the anonymous tip line 1(800) 343-TIPS.

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