James Ruland was last seen hitchiking by his coworkers at Kaytee Products in North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on October 24th, 1995.
At the time of James’ disappearance, he was divorced with two children. He was living with a roommate in Ripon, Wisconsin but was in the process of moving to Kiel, Wisconsin to live with a new roommate.
James got a new car two weeks prior to his disappearance, and had asked his parents, who live in Florida, to mail him $2,500. They sent the money on October 16th. It is reported that James attended church on October 22nd. James didn’t pick up his paycheck on November 2nd. On November 4th, one of his siblings reported him missing.
On November 14, 1994, his white Dodge Aires station wagon was found abandoned at the Stretch Truck Stop in North Fond du Lac. The keys were in the ignition. All of his belongings were found in the cargo area. It's possible he was in the process of moving to his new home in Kiel. Blood was found on one of the car tires. Cigars were found in the front of the vehicle - James did not smoke.
James’ roommate in Ripon, Jerome Baier, cashed the $2,500 check that James’ parents sent for the car. He also used another of James’ checks to pay the gas company on November 1st. Investigators found him guilty of forgery, but did not have sufficient evidence to charge him in James’ disappearance.
James is a white male, 6’0”, and 160 pounds. He has brown hair that goes to the collar, a mustache, and blue eyes. He wears silver, wire-rimmed glasses. He sustained a severe head injury when he was younger which required a shunt implant. When the first one failed, a second one was placed - requiring “bilateral burr holes” so the shunt could pass through his skull.
His family and friends have not had any contact with him since. James’ case remains unsolved.
Ruland's family continues to offer a $15,000 reward for information leading to a resolution to the investigation and in bringing him home.
James was 40 years old when he went missing. He would be 66 years old today.
Any leads or information should be directed to:
Fond du Lac Sheriff’s Office
Lieutenant Chris Randall
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