Travis County Sheriff's Office launches new cold case web page

The Travis County Sheriff's Office is putting a renewed focus on unsolved cold cases.

The department launched a new web page dedicated to unsolved cold cases.

The site features photos of victims with their case descriptions dating from the 1970s up to the 2000s.

Investigators will periodically spotlight specific cases through a series of video episodes.

Ruth Elizabeth Bettis

The first case TCSO is featuring is that of Ruth Elizabeth Bettis. The 19-year-old's body was found on November 25, 1982 off of Sprinkle Cutoff Road in Travis County. 

She was wearing blue socks, a brown moccasin shoe, brown corduroy jacket, green and white sweater, and red T-shirt. Investigators says she was strangled, sexually assaulted, and shot in the head. 

Her car, a 1969 light blue Volkswagen Beetle, was found not far from her body. 

The case has been worked on by multiple detectives over the years. 

"We tend to start from the beginning of the case as if we had got the case today and working it all the way through it, not leaving any stone unturned," Det. Javier Hernandez with the Travis County Sheriff's Office said.

The night before her body was found, witnesses say she got in a car with a man in the parking lot of Sugar's Gentlemen's Club, where she was working while going to college.

In 1983, investigators released a sketch of the person she was last seen with.

"If you all can take a look at that and see if you happen to recognize that person, taking into account the time that has passed, the difference in facial features that may change, hair or weight and so forth, that would be greatly appreciated," Det. Hernandez said.


Elizabeth's mother, Rebecca McCormack, spoke to FOX 7 Austin five years ago.

"It has changed us all, all completely, and we think all the time about what Elizabeth would be doing now had she been spared," she said then.

"It is so important that the families know that it may seem like we've given up, but we have not given up," Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said.

As the years go by, detectives have interviewed over 200 people in Elizabeth's case and extracted fingerprints and DNA samples for analysis that wasn't available in the 1980s. However, the case remains unsolved.

Elizabeth would've been 60 this year, and as time goes on, it becomes more important for people who know something from that time to speak up. 

"We try to see which cases are older and try to get to those as fast as we can because of age," Det. Hernandez said.

If you have any information on a TCSO cold case, you can: