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Golden Lab dies from starvation in missing man's condo; is the owner still alive?

6:02 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
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Palm Harbor, Florida - The plot thickens in a local mystery where a missing man is making headlines.

A man's golden Labrador was found dead inside his Palm Harbor condo in August, and the owner is nowhere to be found.  Neighbors called 911 when, sadly, the dog's body began to decompose and cause an odor.

The question remains - is that man merely missing, or murdered?

Neighbors say 45-year-old Raymond Scott Rupp was disabled and was known to take in homeless people from time to time. 10 News has uncovered new and exclusive information in the case. We found out that Rupp's roommate, Robert Lee Hyle Worden, is in jail.

So, did Worden have anything to do with Rupp's disappearance and the death of his dog?

Neighbor Richard Kralemann was worried about Rupp. "It's kind of worrying about your neighbors, you know and hoping nothing bad happened. Always presume, 'well something could happen'."

It all started when Rupp's beloved lab died inside unit number 259 from starvation at the Harbor Club Downs Condominiums in Palm Harbor.

Someone left the dog to suffer. Then, Rupp was reported missing. Those who know him say he adored that dog and would have never hurt the pup.

After neighbors filed a missing persons report, it turns out, they say Rupp's roommate, Worden, was taken into custody and charged with resisting an officer.  He has a previous criminal record.

Before living with Rupp, Worden was homeless.

Rupp's neighbors all agree on how disturbing this is. "It's very unsettling. It was unsettling when his dog was found dead in the apartment, but then when he was turned up missing, that was much more unsettling," said Kralemann.

People who live nearby say they began to get worried about their missing neighbor when Pinellas County dive teams showed up and began searching a nearby canal looking for someone.

Could it have been the man next door? Could it have been Rupp? 

So far, no one can find him.

Kralemann told 10 News, "They looked around for two or three days, then they left in a hurry."

And, there are more odd things about this case.

Neighbors tell 10 News that a large chunk of carpeting was cut out of Scott Rupp's condo before the dog was ever discovered dead.

Was someone perhaps trying to hide something, possibly a piece of evidence?

After Rupp disappeared, several of his checks were found at a homeless camp in Clearwater, and someone had cashed one of those checks.

So, who was it?  And, where is Scott Rupp?

10 News is working to help Pinellas County deputies gather any new information about Scott Rupp.  Again, the 45-year-old is missing and hasn't been seen since mid-August, when he left his Palm Harbor condo to sell a computer.

If you know Scott Rupp or his former roommate, Robert Worden, please call the Pinellas County Sheriffs Office. Detectives are trying to solve this case.

Please call Detective Ed Judy at the Pinellas Sheriff's Office at 727-582-6200.

 

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