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Published: Friday, 11/7/2003

Defiance man charged in death

A Defiance man who was taken into custody last month for violating probation in two unrelated cases has been indicted in the murder of his estranged girlfriend.

Jeremy Rucker, 23, faces one count of aggravated murder in the stabbing death of Brandy Hurtt,23, of Belle Center, Ohio.

Ms. Hurtt formerly lived in the area and attended Tinora High School, where she was a standout basketball player.

According to the indictment, Rucker is accused of causing her death “with prior calculation and design.”

Defiance County Prosecutor Jeff Strausbaugh said yesterday that he could not elaborate on evidence in the case.

But Mr. Strausbaugh said authorities believe Ms. Hurtt was killed Oct. 11, the day she traveled to Defiance County so Rucker could visit with their two children, ages 1 and 3.

Ms. Hurtt never returned home, and a family member from Logan County, Ohio, later reported her missing, Mr. Strausbaugh said.

Authorities found Ms. Hurtt s body in rural Paulding County in the backwaters of the Auglaize River Oct. 18, a week after she allegedly was murdered.

Rucker initially was taken into custody for violating probation in two older cases, one involving a conviction for theft of money from a bank and the other a conviction in a sexual battery case.

He appeared Oct. 22 in Defiance County Common Pleas Court for a hearing on a probation violation.

Rucker is being held in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, near Stryker, in lieu of a $1 million bond. He will be arraigned Monday in Common Pleas Court on the murder charge.



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