A young couple vanishes after a frightening car crash in South Dakota.

Arnold Archambeau and Ruby Bruguier

Victims disappeared in the winter


On the morning of December 12, 1992, a car stopped at a remote intersection at the edge of the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation in Lake Andes, South Dakota.  It was cold and the road was icy.

Bodies were found in the spring

The driver was 20-year-old Arnold Archambeau.  One of the passengers was his girlfriend, 19-year-old Ruby Bruguier.  The other passenger was Ruby’s cousin, 17-year-old Tracy Dion. All three had been drinking when the car crashed in a frozen ditch.
Tracy recalled what happened:

“We came up to that stop sign.  That’s all I remember is just him looking and, saying there are no cars and him spinning out from the stop sign.  And it was just like the snap of a finger and the next thing you know, we ended up in the ditch.  I was upside down in the ditch and Ruby and I was in the car you know.  Arnold wasn’t in the car.  I don’t know where he was. Ruby was crying.  She was saying oh my God, oh my God.  She just kept hitting the car.  The next thing I know, the door, it was open a little ways and she had enough room where she slid out.  And then so I was going to reach over and then it was just like that, the door went shut.”

By the time help arrived, Tracy was the only person still in the car.  For some unexplained reason, Arnold and Ruby had abandoned her.

Ruby Bruguier

By daybreak, the police had already searched the area.  Although the ice underneath the car was frozen solid, they feared that Arnold and Ruby had wandered off and fallen through the ice at another location.

Bill Youngstrom was a Deputy for the Charles Mix County Sheriff’s Department at the time of their disappearance:

“We walked around the ice part.  We had one officer walk on the opposite side of the railroad tracks, thinking maybe they wandered off toward the lake area, which was also frozen.  I’ve been to a number of accidents where there hasn’t been somebody around.  The driver hasn’t been there, no passengers there.  And a lot of times it’s because they’ve been partying.  Out drinking.  I mean we do have a DWI law.  That was initially my first thought.  Maybe Arnold was out drinking and didn’t want to get arrested, so we figured he’d show up in a few days.”

Arnold’s aunt, Karen Tuttle, did not accept that theory:

“I knew he wouldn’t hide, he would’ve come home to us or called us and told us I’m over here don’t worry about me.  But we never heard anything from him.”

Arnold Archambeau

Over the next three months, Deputy Youngstrom investigated every possible lead.  Day after day he came up empty.  Then the spring thaw arrived.  In early March, a passing motorist saw a body in the ditch, just 75 feet from the accident site.  It was Ruby Bruguier.  Deputy Youngstrom witnessed a gruesome scene:

“Her glasses were missing.  Both shoes were missing.  Her clothes were in tact.  It appeared to be the same clothes that she had on the night of the accident.  But the body was very decomposed.  It was hard to recognize.  And in fact we had to get down to look at a tattoo to get a positive identification of the body.  At that time, our department decided that we would start pumping the ditch out.  And about noon the next day we found the body of Arnold submerged in the water, about 15 feet away from where we found Ruby.   Arnold’s body was very well kept.  His skin color was fine.  He was not frozen to the ground.  The clothes were not frozen to the ground.  There is a question mark as far as in our investigation if he was wearing the same clothes that he was the night of the accident.”

The bodies were immediately autopsied but there was no way to determine the time of death.  The coroner concluded that Arnold and Ruby had both died of exposure.  But Deputy Youngstrom suspected foul play:

“Death by exposure is like they froze to death.  I cannot actually buy that.  They may have froze to death.  But they didn’t freeze to death at that ditch. It’s impossible that they could have been there the entire three months.  I myself personally walked that ditch several times during that period.  I’ve gotten written affidavits from people that’s also watched, walked it, people that have nothing to do with the case.  They couldn’t have been there.  They couldn’t have missed.”

Deputy Youngstrom was further baffled by the discovery of two items that seemed to support the theory that Arnold and Ruby had not died in the ditch:

“We found a tuft of hair alongside the road.  This hair was later determined by the forensic laboratory to belong to Ruby Bruguier.  That hair couldn’t have stayed there for three months.  In my opinion, it was when whoever brought the bodies back to the ditch, that’s when that piece of hair fell off of Ruby. At the time we pulled Arnold’s body from the ditch, I found a set of keys in his pocket, the keys were a car or vehicle key.  And what appeared to be two house keys.  I still have these keys in my possession.  And to this day I have not found the vehicle nor that house that these keys fit.”

Soon there was another startling revelation.  A witness claimed to have seen Arnold, accompanied by three other people on New Year’s Eve, almost three weeks after he was reported missing. Authorities brought the witness in for a polygraph exam.  She passed.

But how did the bodies of Arnold Archambeau and Ruby Bruguier end up in the very same ditch where they crashed their car three months earlier?  Ruby’s father, Quentin Bruguier, had his own theory:

“They had to die someplace else.  Somebody had to come and put them back in there again, to make it look like that’s where they died.”

Were Arnold Archambeau and Ruby Bruguier victims of foul play?  How and why their bodies were discovered in a ditch 75 feet from the crash site remains a troubling mystery.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season seven with Robert Stack and in season three with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. WebSleuther

    Sounds like Arnold rescued his GF from the crash, leaving their friend for dead. Guessing he was scared of the consequences of drinking while driving and getting involved with a car crash. He was spotted 3 weeks latter which was confirmed, he had no intentions of going back to that place. It seems to that point they’d decided to runaway and possibly start a new life? After that point I’m not sure what happened, although it’s possible they met with foul play, unrelated to the accident a few weeks later. To surmise: Arnold and GF ran-away, didn’t want to face consequences, met with foul play some time later, ended up murdered and returned to ditch to make it appear as their death was from car crash. The only theory as to who is someone involved with the accident didn’t want to face persecution as they may have caused it.


  2. Bill Blaski

    Very interesting story. Prayers to the family
    Who rescued tracy police or an individual?


  3. Shon

    This is such a bizarre story. I hope their daughter and family get justice soon.


  4. anonymous

    it was told to me while i was growing up the stories of these two couple their both relation to me but some say when they crashed their bodies were taken to a old farm north of the lake and a man and his partner hung the couple there torching them for months when spring came the man waited until it was past mid-night its when the town dies down and no car in site nobody walking around then took his pick-up truck and dumped the bodies back but stupid of him he forgot where the bodies were before he grabbed them. honestly reason why this happen is the man and his partner ran them off the road. recognized the car and yeah ran them off the road the man didn’t have no ties with the third person but only Arnold and Ruby why, all because of Drugs, meth cocaine etc. but yeah one of the stories that was told to me by elders believe me ive been chasing this story for a long time lease i know the old farm barn what was told is true. there is a old barn north of the lake.


  5. Patrick

    I wonder if the friend who survived knows more and is afraid to say cause they were all drunk. You dont flip a car even on ice unless you’re speeding. They were driving at 6am tanked. ..horrible judgment.


  6. Marie

    I thought on the episode they mentioned they had a daughter. This case is very strange.


    • Jordan

      Yes, the daughter’s name was Erika


    • Marcia

      My hometown is Lake Andes where i was living at the time of this incident…i remember the morning when the bodies were discovered and the familys grief…such a tragedy…25 years later and still unsolved…with many unanswered questions…so strange the whole thing is…may God rest their souls…


  7. Adam

    I wanna know as much abut this case as possible. I’m very interested in it and would like to see it solved


  8. kim in cali

    i gotta think its just a tragic case of the rescuers missing the victims. sometimes the simple answer is the obvious one.


    • Brandi Aaron

      I happen to agree with you, 100%.
      It just doesn’t make sense why someone would randomly pick them up, keep them alive for 3 months and then not only kill them, but then bring them back to that area.
      What I don’t understand is that the detective claimed that he and several others had searched that area….but they had to drain the area to find Arnold’s body? Obviously it was close by and they couldn’t see it until they drained the area, so WHY would they are it before then?? Makes very little sense.


    • Susan

      I agree. As bizarre as it sounds, it could actually be that they weren’t seen during the searches. Stranger things have happened, and sadly, some things just cannot be explained.


      • Ditzyred

        If they fell through the ice, wouldn’t it be more likely that the cause of death would be drowning instead of exposure?


  9. Paul Daniel

    This case has always haunted me. I guess we’ll never now what really happened. I feel really bad for the family that lost two very young people and for their daughter.


  10. joey

    Any updates. Yet


  11. Blue bird

    Hmm! That’s The Stange How Did.
    They die? And Why Were They Drinking


  12. Kendra

    I heard this not long ago… Couldn’t they have wandered up the road a ways and THEN fallen in? And then once the water thawed… Just floated down the stream. It just seems odd that someone would bring them to the same place where the crash took place. And if it was an active investigation.. That would also seem risky.. To bring them back. I don’t know.. Very strange case for sure


  13. Anonymous



  14. joey

    Any updates on this


  15. Joelle

    Idk about this. They really need to look into it. I don’t think it was their spirit. Where are her shoes and glasses?? and why would a piece of her hair be there still? and why a bullet hole?? Their are some sick people out there now a days. Their is too many things missing for this to be an accident. The family should start their own investigation. You need to look into the woman that saw Arnold on new years eve. I don’t see how they could have been ejected. You had to have been going fast and flip numerous times to be ejected. If anything hire your own private investigator. Cops are getting crooked also!!! Prayers to the family!!!


    • Kyle

      Insulting the Reservation and County cops how nice of you. The LEOs involved in the investigation want to know what happened to these kids, they want to put the person(s) responsible away and help the families deal with their loss. I’ve driven through the Lake Andes area and there isn’t much there. It’s just wierd how the kids could disappear, the area search time and again then their bodies mysteriously reappear. Massively creepy.


  16. Mr Clever

    Guessing… race related crime, foul play.


  17. Melody

    This is the strangest case I have ever heard of.


  18. Nash Rambler

    When I saw this episode I thought this sounds like a case for David Paulides of Missing 411. If you don’t know about him and his work definately check it out on youtube. I’ll also email him about it see what he thinks.


    • jennifer tidings

      YES!!! i thought the same thing !!! i love this man and his work!


    • Chester

      If you read his new book about weird missing cases in the city then this case matches it 100% It’s about people vanishing and appearing dead near the last site they went missing even thought numerous people searched it and they weren’t there. They also end up in or near water etc. Plus a high rate of them are German descendants or have diabetes.


  19. Eric W Bohannon

    By the Power of Jehovah Lord I see their bodies covered with a white tarp, by a house, that was blue at the time, shingled, now red, and I see they witnessed murders and cabalism. I see a tee pee in the yard now.


    • Kyle

      You are an idiot. The only reason you “see” a tee-pee is because the kids were Sioux. Cabalism? WTH?


    • By the Power of Bosco

      I see an idiot trying to pass of daydreams and hallucinations as credible or helpful information. Stop wasting people’s time with your nonsense.


  20. joey

    Maybe they fall out of the car i don’t. see how after car crash then someone murder them i don’t see someone waiting for them in the cold


  21. Anonymous

    MOI-low speed rollover icy roads. Less kinetic energy=less injury to body. They both may have been ejected. What the cousin heard was residual spirit. They are native. He seeing she may have past fled scene with her body. He kept her somewhere. He was seen. He had guilt . He may have taken his own life and placed eventually by others not wanting no involvement.


  22. Familymember

    They left out very important details like a bullet hole in Arnold and it was a major highway not a remote intersection plus my auauntie Melissa ashes was out searching and she was in that area she said it was froze over not thawed.


    • Annonomius

      This is the first I ever heard about a bullet hole in Arnold. I’m from the area, where was the accident at? And who is their daughter?


  23. I think...

    I think they were drunk and scared and maybe fell through the ice or died of exposure. Its crazy that they are in the same,exact clothes as the day of the accident. I think they in their drunken state, for scared, hid and something happened.


    • Corrina Lee

      Actually the article said that they weren’t sure if Arnold was in the same clothes, but they said that Ruby was.


  24. Just a guess

    It seems plausible that they made it to a place that they could stay warm, maybe a friends house, and stayed with them fearing they were in trouble. Maybe Ruby died while traveling or shortly after they arrived somewhere and Arnold went into hiding after placing her body somewhere. Or they could have been abducted with the same scenario, except the perpetrator hid her body and kept Arnold to keep him silent. Arnold or the perp took her back because of her decomposing and Arnold fell in(whether by himself or someone forcing him to fall in) and drowned.


  25. Derekmart

    Did they have police video of the search. Is it possible someone didn’t do there job. If someone took them. Wouldn’t the cousin who was in the car had heard something. Very strange. I never got a chance to see this one.


  26. Shad

    this is quite strange….