Mike Brian Rutledge, 22, was arrested earlier in the day and helped lead police to the body of his wife, 35-year-old Laura Ann Rutledge, after confessing to the crime, said Booneville Police Chief Michael Ramey. He has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond in the Prentiss County Jail.
“I believe he knew exactly what he did and I don’t think he showed any remorse,” said the police chief.
The body of Laura Ann Rutledge was discovered by patrol officers and investigators in the woods off of the east side of North College Street between Ellis Avenue and McCarley Avenue Thursday evening, not far from where she lived at the College View Apartments. She suffered blunt force trauma and sharp force trauma to the head and upper body. She was found with her hands bound behind her back.
“It was a brutal crime scene,” said Ramey.
Investigators believe she was killed last Monday or Tuesday.
Evidence, including a knife and stick believed to have been used in the crime, has been collected and sent to the state crime lab.
Police had begun searching for a body after patrol officers learned earlier in the day on Thursday of a possible murder. Later in the day two witnesses and Mike Rutledge, who was considered a person of interest at the time, were brought in to the police department for questioning. Ramey said Mike Rutledge gave a detailed confession to the murder and told police where they could find the body.
The couple was still legally married but were separated and were in the process of getting a divorce, said the chief.
The investigation remains open and active as investigators await autopsy results and reports from the crime lab and continue to develop information and seek evidence such as cell phone records.
The police chief said it’s been well over a decade since a homicide has happened within the city. He wants to assure the public this is an unusual event involving only these two individuals and the police department continues to make sure everyone in the community is protected.
Ramey also thanked the patrol officers, investigators and the Prentiss County Sheriff’s Department for all of their work in bringing the case to a resolution.