Woman found brutally murdered in Orangeburg

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

February 9, 2007

ORANGEBURG, S.C.---The mutilated body of 31-year-old Ruby Thompson was discovered inside a burning home on Tuesday (February 6).

With each day we are finding out more about what happened to Ruby Thompson Monday night...and her family says it's a nightmare that continued in the courtroom today with an outburst from the man suspected of her murder.

"That's not true at all," Oscar McDowell shouted. "I didn't kill anybody, man! I didn't kill Ruby. I loved her. I didn't do it."

Police say McDowell, Ruby's boyfriend of less than four weeks, is the killer.

Ruby's brother, Skeeter Rauls, spoke only to News 12.

"I don't know what to think," Rauls said. "It changed my whole life. He changed my whole entire life."

It all started early Tuesday morning. Orangeburg deputies responded to a call and found a shocking crime scene.

"This is probably the worst that we've seen," said Capt. Michael Bartley. "In my 20 years of law enforcement I know this is the worst that I've seen."

When investigators arrived, the house exploded into flames before their eyes. Officers say the fire was an attempt to destroy what was inside: Thompson's dismembered remains.

She was shot 12 times, her body badly mutilated.

Within minutes, deputies spotted Oscar McDowell hiding in the woods. They arrested him on the spot.

"My sister was very, very kind," Rauls said. "She was loving. She was really an angel."

Ruby first met McDowell around Christmas, and the two began dating despite his checkered past.

McDowell has an extensive criminal record. Police say he was a drug user and a convicted sex offender.

"He don't know what he took from my family," Rauls said. "He does not know what he took from us. I have no sympathy for him. He needs to be done the same way. I think he needs to be done the same exact way she was done. There ain't no better way to put it.

"Rights? As far as I'm concerned he has no rights."

But no matter what happens to McDowell, Ruby will not be coming home. Her family says they are struggling to pick up the pieces and move on without her.

"She's one of a kind," said Nicole Rauls, Ruby's sister-in-law. "She'll never be forgotten. Never."

"I think she wants us to be happy, but I think she wants justice," Skeeter Rauls said. "She wants justice on this, because there is no telling what took place in that house."

Ruby Thompson leaves behind a son, and she was looking forward to becoming a grandmother later this year.

Ruby's family says they are hoping for a girl, because she wanted a granddaughter.

McDowell was arraigned today on the second degree arson charge he faces. He is in an Orangeburg jail tonight and will be back in court next week to face murder charges.


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