Ruvil Hale is home: Decades-old missing person case laid to rest

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Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 12:42 PM EST
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INEZ, Ky. (WYMT) - For more nearly 33 years, the family of Ruvil Hale has been waiting for answers. Sunday, they will lay to rest the case of his disappearance.

Hale, a husband, father, and former coal miner, was last seen at the Paintsville Health Care Center on July 3, 1990. Only 43 at the time, he had a host of medical issues, was known to have seizures, and had been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. Though officers had little leads at the time, reports claim he was believed to be traveling in a Ford Tempo that disappeared from the area the same day.

For three decades, the family was left with questions. Until March of last year, when skeletal remains were found in Dewey Lake, submerged in a car in Floyd County.

According to a Facebook post, the car, which investigators compared and later matched to the car Hale was believed to be in, gave the family hope for answers.

“I heard that they finally have found him after 32 years missing,” Ruvil’s son, Max Hale posted. “I’ve been told that the car pulled out of Dewey Lake is 100 percent the car he took from the nursing home. I have to go for a DNA test today to make sure. I might be jumping the gun until positive ID is made on the bones in car, but I feel it’s him.”

After that post, came months of waiting. Floyd County coroner Greg Nelson said the state of the remains made work difficult as the state examiner’s office tried to get a definite match. However, in October, the family was notified that Ruvil had been found.

“I got the news today that it’s a 99.999 percent match to my father’s DNA,” Max said in an updated Facebook post. “This is a day that I never thought would happen. My family and I finally have some closure now. Thank you all for all the prayers and support you gave us. God bless.”

Following further testing, the identity was confirmed and his body made its way home. Now, just days after what would have been his 76th birthday and nearly 33 years since he was reported missing, the case and his body can be laid to rest.

“A family tragedy that began over three decades ago has finally received closure,” his obituary reads. “The medical examiner concluded that the remains found were that of our beloved Ruvil.”

A service for Hale will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Hale Family Cemetery.