Rumpke landfill search for missing couple called off

Gladis and Richard Russell (Source: Bellefontaine Police)
Gladis and Richard Russell (Source: Bellefontaine Police)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The search for Richard and Gladis Russell in the Rumpke Landfill was called off Monday afternoon.

Investigators searched through Rumpke Landfill, looking for evidence related to the disappearance. Investigators contacted Rumpke Saturday and have been preparing the search area.

The search began at 11 a.m. Monday. Investigators have narrowed down a location to about an acre in the landfill. They are combing through the trash in the landfill, trying to determine if it is the right area.

"This is a very difficult situation. First and foremost our hearts go out to  the families involved," said Larry Stone, Director of Corporate Safety at Rumpke. "Being part of this community means lending our assistance when possible. We are making every effort to provide the investigators with the access and resources they need to further this process."

Richard Russell, 84, and his wife, Gladis, 85, haven't been heard from since Wednesday, the day a woman was found dead in a home the Russells sold to Sam Littleton in 2009. Littleton was charged in absentia with the murder of that woman, 26-year-old Tiffany Brown, who is his girlfriend's daughter. He also was charged with felonious assault, abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence in Brown's death. He was last seen Wednesday and police found his truck not far from the couple's home.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Russells' green Mercury Grand Marquis with Ohio license plate PDG13E was last seen at a rest stop in Butler County at the 29 mile marker, right before midnight Thursday. It is not known if the Russells were in the vehicle. Investigators are concerned that evidence may have been thrown in garbage cans while stopped at the rest stop, which has prompted the search of the landfill.

Richard Russell's great-nephew, Matthew Hall, said relatives are worried about the couple's safety and don't believe they would have ventured off on a long trip without informing someone in their tight-knit family. The Russells don't drive at night, he said.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.