HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL – On March 18, 1999, a family riding bicycles through a Ruskin, Florida neighborhood discovered something shocking: the body of a white female lying in a ditch. Her clothing was gone.
Det. Melissa Brunelle with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said, “She appeared to have just been thrown into the drainage ditch.”
While at the friend’s house, she had left — come and gone — several times on March 17, 1999.
They’re not 100% sure where she went, but every time she left it was for a short period of time, and she left Ronald Jr. at the house to be supervised by the other adults, the detective said.
Shortly before midnight, Duff asked her friend to drop her off at the Interstate Lounge near Nebraska Ave and Busch Boulevard, her friend complied.
Det. Melissa Brunelle said, “She dropped her off there around 11:30, and that was the last time that Ms. Duff was seen alive and known to be alive by any of her friends or family members.”
The following day around noon, a family riding bicycles in Ruskin located Duff’s body.
“Her remains were found in a drainage ditch over in the Ruskin area, which is a significant distance from where her family and friends were. No known relatives in that area, no friends or family in that area. No reason for her to really be out there,” said Det. Melissa Brunelle.
Mary Duff’s son, Brandon, said, “I was 13 when my mom passed away, and I just always remember her being a very positive person. Always smiling and laughing, and you know, just very positive.”
DNA was submitted back in 1999 when the case initially went to FDLE. It was resubmitted in 2010 to a private lab called Trinity DNA solutions and again in 2020, with no matches.
“If anyone else saw her at the Interstate Lounge that night. Did you see her leave with somebody? Did you see her get into a vehicle? What kind of vehicle was it? We have this family out in Ruskin that was saying it was a dark green pick up truck. Did someone see a vehicle like that and see something odd at the interstate lounge or in the area,” said Det. Melissa Brunelle.
Brandon, Duff’s son told HSCO in a podcast, “Just please do the right thing and come forward with any kind of information that you feel might help. I mean, it would mean the world to a lot of people, and people shouldn’t die in vain with nobody to actually help find who killed them. Not only my mother, but other women and children that are murdered. They deserve better out of society.”
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THIS CASE OR ANY CASES INVESTIGATED BY THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, PLEASE CALL HCSO AT 813-247-8200.
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