To be able to find someone you are more than willing to spend the rest of your life with can be a really hard task. The moment you find that special someone, you are no longer willing to let them go. But, what if the person you will be with forever have a dark secret that you aren’t aware of?
This is exactly what happened to Blake Ruff.
Back in 2003, Blake met a woman named Lori Erica Kennedy at a Texas Bible Study class. He got attracted to her and the two got married just one year later. It was the start of a seemingly “perfect” relationship.
Lori was incredibly private about her personal life, and the only thing she told Blake was she had a tough upbringing and no family. Nevertheless, Blake was smitten; his family, on the other hand, was suspicious about Lori from the start.
Despite his family’s suspicions about Lori’s past, Blake married his beloved in 2004 at a private ceremony; only their preacher was in attendance. Soon after, the two moved to Leonard, Texas, to start a family. Blake was thrilled to have met the love of his life. What could possibly go wrong?
Soon after they moved, Blake and Lori wanted desperately to have a child, but it wasn’t an easy path for them; Lori suffered multiple miscarriages over the course of several years. Finally, through in vitro fertilization, Lori became pregnant with a little girl.
The birth of the couple’s daughter in 2008 should have been a time for celebration, but it became the complete opposite. After the birth, Lori acted unusually private and distant. She was overprotective of her daughter to the point of obsession, and she wouldn’t even let Blake’s mother hold her.
Blake’s family finally had enough of Lori’s overprotective behavior after she banned them from seeing their granddaughter altogether. Tensions between Blake’s family and Lori were seemingly untenable, and Lori fell into a depression.
The two filed for divorce in 2010.
In the months following their separation, Lori’s depression became dramatically worse. She lost weight, and she would ramble on to her church’s pastor several times a week about her problems, fidgeting with her hands the whole time.
Christmas Eve of 2010, Lori drove to Blake’s family’s home in a black Tahoe and parked it outside. Then, she picked up a shotgun she’d brought with her…
Lori tragically shot herself in the driver’s seat of the Tahoe late Christmas Eve night. Blake’s father found her body the next morning along with two suicide letters. One was for Blake, and the other was for their daughter, but the writing on both was completely unintelligible.
While Blake was sorting through Lori’s belongings not long after, he realized his family was right all along: they had a very good reason to be suspicious of her past.
In the back of a closet he once shared with Lori, behind some boxes, Blake came across a sealed black lunchbox he’d never seen before. He had a funny feeling the contents of the box would change the way he thought of Lori forever, but he needed to know the truth.
A police officer helped Blake open the box. What they found inside shocked them both. There were several different ID cards from different states, a birth certificate with a name Blake had never seen before, and a document from 1988 for a legal name change.
Blake and the officer examined the evidence carefully. The name-change document indicated a woman named Becky Sue Turner changed her name to Lori Erica Kennedy, Blake’s ex-wife’s name, in 1988. But, after a deeper dig, Blake found out that “Becky Sue Turner” was actually a girl who died in a house fire in 1971 when she was only two years old!
Police investigators soon discovered that, as Lori Erica Kennedy, Blake’s mysterious ex-wife obtained a state ID and social security card in Idaho to get her GED and a degree in business from the University of Texas. But, when police traced their databases for her face and fingerprints, no matches were found.
In 2013, a genealogist named Colleen Fitzpatrick learned about the bizarre events surrounding Lori’s marriage and her suicide. Colleen took a DNA sample from Blake and Lori’s daughter to try to find a connection. She discovered several distant relative around the world, with the closest living in Pennsylvania. Colleen informed Joe about her findings, and the investigator hopped on a plane to Pennsylvania to meet with a man named Michael Casssidy and his family.
Almost immediately after seeing Lori’s ID picture, one of the family members recognized her as a woman named Kimberly McLean who disappeared from her family’s Pennsylvania home in 1986 at age 17 because her mother married a man she hated. But, even though the truth was finally out, there were still gaps of time where “Lori’s” whereabouts were unknown and other bits of information that didn’t quite add up. Sadly, if there were more secrets this woman was hiding from Blake and the rest of the world, she took them to the grave, never to be uncovered.
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