Real Names: Arnold Archambeau and Ruby Bruguier
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Lake Andes, South Dakota
Date: December 12, 1992
Details: Arnold Archambeau, twenty, and Ruby Bruguier, nineteen, were a Yankton Sioux couple who had started dating in high school. In 1991, they became parents of an infant daughter. On December 11, 1992, the couple, along with Ruby's seventeen-year-old cousin, Tracy Dion, went on an all-night partying spree. Shortly before 6AM on December 12th, the three arrived at Tracy's home where they had left the child with Tracy's father. He advised them to come back later, since they had been drinking. Just a few minutes later, the three were involved in a horrible car accident in Lake Andes, South Dakota where they lived.
The driver, Arnold, suddenly steered the car into a frozen ditch. The cousins, Tracy and Ruby, were inside the overturned car while Arnold was nowhere to be found. Ruby managed to escape, but didn't help Tracy out of the car for whatever reason. Luckily, paramedics arrived a short time later and managed to pull Tracy out of the car and save her life. Tracy stated all three had been drinking the night of the car accident. Police Deputy Bill Youngstrom conducted a search for Ruby and Arnold as soon as he arrived at the scene, but they were nowhere to be found the day of the accident. At first, Deputy Youngstrom believed that the couple had vanished intentionally due to the DWI laws. However, their families did not believe that they would disappear voluntarily.
Deputy Youngstrom spent several months searching for the couple, to no avail. In early March 1993, a passing driver saw a body in the frozen ditch where Arnold's car had crashed months earlier: Ruby Bruguier's decomposed body lay in the frozen ditch. Ruby's glasses and shoes were nowhere to be found, but her clothes remained intact. The police pumped the ditch out and at noon the next day, they found Arnold's body submerged in the water, about fifteen feet away from where Ruby was found. Arnold’s body was not as decomposed as Ruby's was: His skin color was fine, he was not frozen to the ground and neither were his clothes. Deputy Youngstrom is not certain if the clothes found on his body were the ones that he was wearing on the night of the accident.
Police did not understand how both bodies were in two very different stages of decomposition when it was assumed they died at the same time. It was expected that Ruby and Arnold would have decomposed at the same rate. An autopsy later determined that both victims died of exposure. However, the time of death could not be determined.
Investigators found other strange clues at the scene. A tuft of hair was found that was determined to belong to Ruby. Deputy Youngstrom does not believe that the hair could have stayed there for three months. A set of car keys were also found in Arnold's pocket. One of the keys was for a car and two were for houses. Investigators could not determine where the keys came from.
A witness claimed to have seen Arnold and three other people on New Year’s Eve, almost three weeks after the car accident. The witness even took a polygraph exam and passed which indicated she had not lied about seeing Arnold on New Year's Eve. Interestingly, the three people in the car failed their polygraphs. Ruby’s father, Quentin Bruguier, believed that his daughter and her boyfriend were victims of foul play and that the killer murdered them elsewhere and put the bodies back in the ditch to make it seem like they died there.
It is still unknown if the young lovers were victims of a homicide or an accident. A $5,000 reward is being offered in the case.
Suspects: None known, although authorities have been unable to locate two men who were seen near the ditch just a few hours before the bodies were discovered. They were driving a dark, blazer-style vehicle.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the April 14, 1995 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Results: Unresolved. The FBI closed the case in 1999; they found no evidence of foul play and felt that the couple died accidentally. However, some officers involved in the case, along with the victims' families, still believe that foul play was involved.
- Arnold Archambeau & Ruby Bruguier on Unsolved.com
- Arnold Archambeau and Ruby Bruguier at Still Unsolved
- Arnold Archambeau at Find a Grave
- Ruby Bruguier at Find a Grave