What we know: Timelines, facts regarding missing 8-month-old in Ohio County; remains found

June 15, 2024 | 12:08 am

Updated June 15, 2024 | 1:25 am

Miya Tucker | Photo from Kentucky State Police

Latest update: June 14, 9:30 p.m.

Kentucky State Police has confirmed an infant’s remains consistent with missing 8-month-old Miya Rudd were found on June 14. Four people have been charged with abuse of a corpse and other offenses relating to the discovery of the remains, while four other people were also arrested during investigations. More charges are expected. Here’s a timeline of events and everything we know so far.

Editor’s note: KSP initially identified the child as Miya Tucker. On June 12, they discovered her legal name was Miya Rudd.

Timeline of events/arrests

June 5

Court documents show that at 10 a.m. on June 5, a KSP trooper was contacted by a KSP detective in reference to a missing child, who has since been identified as 8-month-old Miya. 

According to the citation, Miya had “not been seen by the family since the end of April.”

A citation says that law enforcement and Kentucky’s Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) had been attempting to make contact with Miya’s parents, 29-year-old Tesla Tucker and 30-year-old Cage Rudd, to check on the welfare of the child in the week leading up to the parents’ arrest.

The document shows that at approximately 5 p.m. on June 5, Tucker and Rudd were located staying at the Super 8 Motel on Goetz Drive in Owensboro, and Miya was not present.

According to the citation, “neither parent knew the location or the whereabouts” of Miya. 

The maternal grandmother has custody of all Tucker’s other children, authorities said. According to the citation, Tucker also told authorities that on May 1, social workers and law enforcement went to her residence in Reynolds Station and removed Miya, but authorities said that claim was untrue.

“Law enforcement has confirmed that no DCBS workers or law enforcement have gone to the residence and removed (Miya),” according to the citation. 

The document also said that Tucker and Rudd were found to be in possession of “a large amount of drugs.”

An additional citation from June 5 relating to the charges against Tucker said that she was “inside a hotel room secured for an unrelated investigation and execution of a search warrant.”

According to the document, Tucker was sitting on the bed next to a nightstand where there was a bag of suspected counterfeit Percocet 30 pills believed to contain fentanyl. The citation also says that located inside Tucker’s purse wallet was a clear bag containing a crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine. 

An additional citation from June 5 relating to the charges against Rudd said that he was the renter and “was found to have other belongings inside a hotel room secured for an active investigation and execution of a search warrant.”

According to the document, Rudd told authorities “there were no narcotics in the hotel room.” The citation says the bag of pills believed to contain fentanyl was “located in plain view.”

Yet another citation from June 5 shows that Miya’s grandfather, 56-year-old Ricky Smith, of Reynolds Station, was also in the hotel room with Tucker and Rudd. The citation says Smith was “sitting on a couch where a glass pipe believed to contain methamphetamine was located in plain view.” Smith also reportedly advised KSP he “had a small bag” of suspected meth in his pants pocket.

According to court documents, Tucker and Rudd were charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance (fentanyl), possession of drug paraphernalia, and abandonment of a minor. Tucker and Smith were also charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

Troopers arrested Tucker, Rudd, and Smith, and all three were lodged in the Daviess County Detention Center. 

A citation show from June 6 shows that Rudd was also charged with possession of marijuana and promoting contraband upon his booking at DCDC. The citation says that deputy jailers advised Rudd “of the contraband warning which he stated he understood. A search of his person yielded a clear tube of marijuana.” Rudd advised authorities he “forgot about the item.”

Court documents show that Rudd was serving a 1-year supervised diversion for charges of first-degree possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia after pleading guilty in March.

June 6

According to a release from KSP, additional charges were filed against Tucker and Rudd on June 6. According to court documents, the additional charges were first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (greater than 2 grams – methamphetamine), trafficking of legend drugs, trafficking marijuana (less than 8 ounces), first-degree child abuse, engaging in organized crime, and possession of paraphernalia.

Court documents show Smith was additionally charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (less than 2 grams – methamphetamine), possession of paraphernalia, trafficking of legend drugs, trafficking marijuana (less than 8 ounces), first-degree child abuse, engaging in organized crime, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and persistent felon offender. Smith had several prior drug-related charges.

June 9

KSP troopers arrested Miya’s grandmother, 49-year-old Billie J. (Rudd) Smith, of Reynolds Station, after serving a warrant for second-degree assault (domestic violence). The warrant stems from an incident in Daviess County in October 2023. According to KSP, troopers were conducting a search/welfare check for Miya when they discovered Smith had an active warrant. 

Court documents show that the alleged assault took place on October 1 outside the residence of a man who advised authorities that he had been dating Smith for 8 months and “share an intimate relationship with.” 

According to the citation, the man said Smith hit him over the head and body several times after he “refused to give her the keys to his truck and money he had.” He alleged Smith also kicked him in the face and caused him to lose consciousness. The document says the man went to the hospital for his injuries.

According to the citation, on October 2 officers responded to a call about a female passed out in a car, and upon arrival found Smith. She told officers that she got into a disturbance with the man. She told authorities the man “was trying to hit her with a wooden bat but she wrestled it away from him but never struck him with it.” She said she did scratch and hit the man “to defend herself,” according to the report.

According to KSP, as troopers were entering the driveway to the serve the warrant at the Smith residence, they observed 37-year-old Timothy L. Roach, of Owensboro, throw unprescribed Suboxone under his vehicle. Roach was charged with second-degree possession of a controlled substance and first-degree prescription controlled substance not in proper container. Roach had several prior drug-related charges.

Smith and Roach were both lodged in the Ohio County Detention Center.

June 11

Kentucky State Police worked with a team of cadaver dogs to search for Miya near the family’s home in Reynolds Station on Tuesday. Here’s a live stream of the update from KSP. (Editor’s note: There are disruptions in the stream due to the signal being very weak from the search location.)

Photos from Tuesday’s search can be seen here.

KSP Public Information Officer Trooper Corey King said the baby has still not been found. He said there has so far been no evidence that Miya is deceased, but said there’s also been no evidence that she is alive.

King said the parents have not been helpful in the investigation, and the missing child investigation was predicated by actions dating back multiple years.

“This is truly a case of how illicit street drugs can and will destroy lives and cause the erosion of our community,” he said.

King DCBS removed the three older children (Miya’s siblings) in previous years “based on the conditions of the house” and said it was “no surprise that drugs (are) the forefront of the removal.” He said those children are safe.

According to King, Miya was born in October 2023. Shortly after her birth, a test of her umbilical cord came back positive for methamphetamine.

“At that point, social services was not able to make contact with the family,” he said. “They were unable to find them. My guess is perhaps the rest of the family was not really helpful.”

KSP got involved “around May 30,” King said. KSP located the parents and “a multitude of really heavy street drugs” in a hotel room on June 5 , as detailed in the timeline above. The investigation led them to the family’s home on Deanfield Church Road, where more drugs were found. With Miya still unable to be located, the drug investigation prompted the missing child investigation, King said.

Multiple teams of K9s have searched the property in recent days. A gravel road runs beside the house to provide access to Deanfield Church, and the roadway continues into the wooded area where a small cemetery sits atop a hill. One team of cadaver K9s was searching the wooded area and cemetery on Tuesday.

“We’re relying on technology, we’re relying on forensic interviews through non-family members as well as what tangible evidence we have recovered so far,” King said. “That’s what led us to this location and utilizing the cadaver dogs to see if some of these tips are true.”

Later this week, King said, KSP will bring in some “specialized equipment” from the medical examiner’s office as well as another team of K9s, and the agency will expand its search area. He said they don’t have reason to believe they should expand the search beyond Reynolds Station.

King said, “We have been very hopeful and optimistic … but the longer this goes on, the more grim it seems.”

June 12

Miya’s maternal grandparents were arrested Wednesday afternoon in Daviess County on outstanding warrants, but the missing 8-month-old has still not been found, according to the Kentucky State Police.

Taletha D. Tucker, 50, was charged with fugitive from another state for a warrant from Indiana. David Tucker, 53, was arrested for a non-payment warrant issued in Daviess County. Both were lodged in the Daviess County Detention Center.

Full details from that arrest can be found here.

June 13

Brodie C. Payne, 28, was charged for his role in the illegal drug operation held at the Rudd residence in Reynolds Station. Payne was charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (greater than 2 grams – methamphetamine), trafficking of legend drugs, trafficking in marijuana, engaging in organized crime, possession of paraphernalia, and first-degree wanton endangerment, according to KSP.

He was already in jail after being arrested by the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office on drug charges in May. Payne had been residing at the Rudd household in Reynolds Station for approximately 6 months prior to his arrest, according to KSP.

More details on the charges can be found here.

June 14 – Part 1

The Kentucky State Police is using specialized equipment, working with the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office, and using another pair of canine teams as the search intensifies for missing 8-month-old Miya Rudd in Ohio County. Friday’s search is a more thorough one of the Rudd home and nearby areas. Officials said there is still no evidence confirming Miya is either alive or deceased.

Here’s a live stream of an interview with KSP from the search location. Photos from Friday’s search can be seen here.

King said at the Medical Examiner’s request, the Ohio County Coroner was also called out to the search site. King said it’s standard practice for the Medical Examiner and a County Coroner to work together in a search such as the one being conducted Friday, but it doesn’t mean there has been definitive proof that human remains are on site.

King said Miya’s parents and paternal grandparents have been unhelpful, and the maternal grandparents gave conflicting information on where the baby might be.

King is hoping someone will still come forward as having the baby but has been too afraid to come forward.

Read the full story from Friday’s search here.

June 14 – Part 2

Kentucky State Police has confirmed an infant’s remains consistent with missing 8-month-old Miya Rudd were found Friday afternoon at the Rudd residence.

According to KSP Public Information Officer Trooper Corey King, investigators moved their search to the inside of the residence at approximately 1:15 p.m. Friday. That’s when they discovered the decomposed body “hidden in a concealed manner.”

The Ohio County Coroner’s Office transported the remains to the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville. An autopsy will take place Saturday.

Read the full story about the discovery of the remains here.

June 14 – Part 3

Tesla Tucker, Cage C. Rudd, Ricky J. Smith, and Brodie C. Payne, were each charged with abuse of a corpse, tampering with physical evidence, and failure of a person to report the death of a person.

Read the full story here.

Timeline of court appearances

June 10

For the initial drug charges stemming from the hotel room search (and for Rudd’s charges upon his booking), Tucker, Rudd, and Ricky Smith were arraigned in Daviess County District Court by Judge Shannon Meyer on June 7 and their next appearance is June 12 in front of Judge Misty Miller.

For the abandonment of a minor charge and the second set of drug charges, Tucker, and Rudd were arraigned in Ohio County District Court on June 10 by Judge Greg Vincent. Their next appearance is before Vincent on June 17. Ricky Smith (for his second set of drug charges) and Roach were also arraigned on June 10 by Vincent; Smith will appear before him again on June 17 and Roach on June 24.

Billie Smith will be arraigned in Daviess County Circuit Court on June 11.

June 12

Hearings scheduled for June 12 for Tesla Tucker, Cage Rudd, and Ricky Smith were pushed back one week to June 19.

June 13

Taletha Tucker will be arraigned in Daviess County District Court by Judge Shannon Meyer on June 14.

June 15, 2024 | 12:08 am

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