DPS Offers Increased Reward, Seeks Leads in 1982 Travis County Murder

October 16, 2017

Victim's vehicle
Victim's vehicle

Ruth Elizabeth Bettis (deceased)
Ruth Elizabeth Bettis (deceased)

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is asking for the public's help in solving the 1982 murder of Ruth Elizabeth Bettis, and an increased reward of up to $6,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible if the tip is received before next month's featured case is announced. (A $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest is routinely offered on all cases on the Texas Rangers' Unsolved Homicides website.)

On Nov. 25, 1982, Bettis, a 19-year-old college student, was found dead in a pasture near Sprinkle Cutoff Road, east of Dessau Road, in Travis County. She had been sexually assaulted and shot to death. Bettis worked part time at Sugar's, a well-known "gentleman's club" on Highland Mall Blvd. in Austin, going by the name "Gibson" while at work. She was last seen the night of Nov. 24, leaving the club after her shift. Witnesses saw Bettis get into her car with an unknown man described as a black male. Her car, a light blue 1969 Volkswagen Type I "Beetle," was not found at the crime scene, but was located a short distance away on the same road. (Car pictured in photo above.) Despite an intensive investigation by the Travis County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Rangers, this case remains unsolved.

To be eligible for the cash rewards, tipsters MUST provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous.

Individuals also can submit information through the Texas Ranger Cold Case website or by contacting us at 1-800-346-3243 (DPS Missing Persons Hotline).

The DPS Texas Rangers' Unsolved Homicides website provides information on more than 75 cases in an effort to help garner public interest in unsolved or "cold cases." Texas Crime Stoppers offers rewards (funded by the Governor's Criminal Justice Division and administered by DPS) of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for any Rangers cold case listed on the website. For more information, visit the Texas Ranger cold case website.

As part of a DPS public awareness program, one case from the Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation (Cold Case) Program is featured each month in an effort to generate new investigative leads and bring attention to these cold cases. The Texas Crime Stoppers reward is increased up to $6,000 for the featured case in hopes that the higher reward money will generate additional tips. The higher reward amount will only be paid if the tip is submitted before the next case is featured.

The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program was created to assist Texas law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved murders or violent serial crimes. Since there is no statute of limitations for the offense of murder, investigators pursue these cases to a successful resolution or until no viable leads remain.

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