BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Police said what appears to be the body of a 90-year-old Burlington woman reported missing was found Saturday morning in Halifax County, Va.
Authorities said a body believed to be Ruzie Suggs was found by hunters, along with her 2005 Cadillac Deville and pet poodle around 6:30 a.m. in an area off of Buckshoal Road.
“God has answered all of our prayers,” said Shayne Suffern, Suggs’ nephew who has helped lead search parties since his aunt first disappeared. “We could never give thanks enough because they’ve been so supportive, the community. The Police Department has worked so hard since the day we reported Aunt Ruzie missing. We just thank them so much.”
Ruzie’s miniature gray poodle Pierre was still next to the woman’s body in the woods.
“The dog was still with her by her side. During this whole four weeks,” Suffern said. “A dog is a man’s best friend. In this case, a woman’s best friend. God’s got Angels in all shapes and forms. And I think (Pierre) is an angel.”
Burlington Police Chief Steve Smith said they’ve put a lot of hours and their best resources into this case for almost a month.
“It was worth it. It is certainly closure for the family,” he said. “I feel like they’ve finally got some closure to this, some answers to this. Maybe not the answers they wanted, but certainly finally some finality.”
Ruzie first disappeared eighteen years to the day after her husband’s death. Now she’ll be buried next to him in Alamance County.
Officials said the body was sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Richmond Virginia for positive identification and examination.
Police said the dog, Pierre, is being cared for by Animal Control in Halifax County, Va. until the family picks him up this week.
Suggs was reported missing Sept. 10 after family members said they could not reach her.
Her nephew and niece, Shayne and Rochelle Suffern, said they went to her home and discovered she was missing along with her car and nine-year–old brown and gray poodle.
Burlington police immediately issued a silver alert. Officials said Suggs was last seen Saturday Sept. 8 when she dropped off a friend on Lincoln Street in Greensboro.
Police said they expanded their search to South Boston, Va. and Clarksville, Va., saying her cell phone records show calls were attempted from those areas.
A candlelight vigil planned for Sunday has been cancelled.