Police ask public for help locating missing woman

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In conjunction with the East Galesburg Brickyard Jane Doe case, investigators are asking for help in locating a woman who has been missing for over two decades.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Department is looking for any information regarding the whereabouts of Helen “Ruth” Alps.

Police say during the initial Jane Doe investigation in the mid-90s, the case of the missing Ruth Alps was brought to detectives’ attention. For unknown reasons, Alps was ruled out as a possible victim in the case.

On May 5, 1996, the remains of a heavy-set woman with an estimated height of 4-feet, 11-inches – 5-feet, 5-inches were found inside a kiln at the abandoned Purington Paver Brickyards in East Galesburg, Illinois.

In 1998 the case was closed after police determined the remains belonged to Lula Cora Hood, who had been missing since 1970. In 2008, DNA tests proved that the remains did not belong to Hood and three years later, she was located in Jacksonville, Florida.

The sheriff’s department said, Ruth Alps, maiden name Edwards, has not been seen or heard from by her family since the late-80s or 1990. Alps was last seen by her ex-husband in the Knox County area. Around that same time, Alps’ daughter spoke with her on the phone and invited her to move to Oregon. Alps was in her late-40s when she went missing.

According to the sheriff’s department, Alps was described as being about 5-feet, 2-inches – 5-feet, 4-inches tall and weighing anywhere from 225 to 275-pounds, although it is possible she lost weight prior to her disappearance. Alps had light blue eyes and dishwater blonde to brown hair, which she may have colored. Police say she would now be 72-years old and had missing and poorly-cared-for teeth.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with information about Ruth Alps to call the Jane Doe Tip Line at 309-345-6790. Information can also be emailed to tips@knoxcountysheriffil.com

Materials that were recovered with the body in East Galesburg as well as photographs and a timeline of the case are available at Knox County Sheriff’s Unsolved Crimes page.

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