Ozarks family on 'religious sabbatical' in Florida goes missing

Young family missing on religious sabbatical may be using fake names

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A young family that fell out of contact with relatives back in March is still missing – with the trail of activity cold since April.

The Ozark County Sheriff's Office is requesting help finding the Ruggles family – a young couple and their baby who have been missing since April. The family departed from their home in southwest Missouri on a "religious sabbatical" back in February, according to officials.

Justin Ruggles, 32, along wife his wife Jennifer, 30, were last heard from on March 6. They brought their 5-month-old baby with them on the trip. The family was reported missing on May 5.

"It has been found that Justin (age 32), Jennifer (age 30), and Barakah (age 5 months) went on a religious sabbatical to Florida around the end of February. Jennifer last spoke with her family on March 6, 2022, and the family has not heard from her since," the Ozark County Sheriff's Office wrote on social media.

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Police say that they have evidence of the Ruggles' activity up to April 12, but from there the trail goes cold.

"During the investigation, deputies have spoken with friends and family, and have been able to track the Ruggles family to southern Florida. Unfortunately, the timeline ends on April 12, 2022, in southern Florida with no other activity since that time," the post continues.

Picture of the Ruggles family published to Facebook by Ozark County Sheriff's Office

Picture of the Ruggles family published to Facebook by Ozark County Sheriff's Office (Ozark County Sheriff's Office)

Authorities say the couple's last known location was in southern Florida. Officials believe they were or still are driving a 2018 silver Dodge Ram 1500. The vehicle is believed to have New Hampshire tags. Authorities have also said they may be using fake names.

"Justin may be going by the name ‘Joseph’ and Jennifer may be going by the name ‘Ruth,’" the office explained.

Not much public information is available on the nature of their religious sabbatical or their original intentions traveling.

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The Ozark County Sheriff's Office is requesting help from the public, looking for any information that will lead to location of the Ruggles family.

Those with information are asked to call the sheriff's office at 417-679-4633.