Reward Being Offered for Information on Missing New Hampton Teenager
By Jeff Reinitz, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
NEW HAMPTON, Iowa - Organizers are offering a reward for information in the search for a missing teen.
As of Thursday afternoon, they have raised $595 in donations through the GoFundMe.com website to help find 16-year-old Ashlee Ruhl.
Ruhl was reported missing to the New Hampton Police Department on March 7.
"Nobody in town has seen her. There have been multiple rumors flying around, and any of the leads that people have called in, reported, everything has not panned out. It's like she just disappeared of the face of the Earth," said Melissa Scheidel, a family friend who set up the online fundraiser.
The first $1,000 collected will go toward the reward for Ruhl's safe return with the remaining money being used to cover the costs her family incurred in the search.
New Hampton Police Chief Mike Anderson initially said there are no indications of foul play in her disappearance, but the fact she has been missing for almost a month is concerning.
Ruhl was last seen the morning of March 7, when she told her brother she had a ride to school, Scheidel said. She failed to return home from school that afternoon, and the investigation determined that she had taken a backpack with a change of clothes with her, and someone had called the school that morning claiming Ruhl was sick and wouldn't be attending.
She left her car behind, Scheidel said.
"At first, they thought she had run away, but she's never run away before," Scheidel said. "As time went on, Shawna (Larsen, Ruhl's mother) just got this gut feeling that something's wrong."
Ruhl is listed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She is described as a white female, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing 115 pounds. She has brown hair and blue eyes.
Donations for the reward can also be sent to Ashlee Ruhl Reward Fund, 205 W. Pitts St., Lawler, IA 52154 or online at www.gofundme.com/Ahlee-Ruhl
Anyone with information on Ruhl's whereabouts is asked to call New Hampton Police at (641) 394-3241 or the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Office at (641) 394-3121.