MARION COUNTY, FL — A Florida man who accidentally texted a detective instead of his wife has been charged for the murder of his live-in girlfriend.
Marion County Sheriff’s officials said that officers responded to the home of David W. Romig, 52, on January 30 for a reported home invasion. Romig’s girlfriend, 64-year-old Sally Kaufmann-Ruff, with whom he had lived for two and a half years, was unresponsive in the master bedroom and had suffered a single gunshot wound to the right side of her head, according to the Ocala Star-Banner.
According to court documents, Romig consented to a search of his home. Investigators found a make-shift smoking pipe in the front yard, a half-smoked cigarette on the front porch, and evidence the front door had been pried open. They also recovered a red-and-black cloth from the damaged front door frame.
Romig told police he and Kaufmann-Ruff were asleep in their bed when he woke up to find an unknown male — who was wearing a head-mounted flashlight — leaning over him. Romig claimed that he struggled with the intruder, and that the stranger fired shots.
Detective Damon Baxley noted in court documents that he received two text messages from Romig’s phone that said, “I think they are going to arrest me” and “Think they are going to arrest.” Romig told detectives he had meant to send those messages to his wife, but sent them to Baxley by accident. Whoops!
According to police reports, Romig also texted his wife to say “things don’t add up” and “I am afraid I did something I don’t remember” and “If I did this I will kill myself.” Detectives said that they considered the text messages suspicious.
Romig had another interview with officials on Monday, in which he acknowledged suffering from “blackouts,” according to the Star-Banner. Romig said he felt like he had “an out-of-body experience” and that he “felt like he was wrestling with himself and the gun went off, shooting Sally.”
Police said Romig eventually told detectives he had staged the home invasion.
He was arrested on Tuesday and charged with homicide, making a false report of a crime and tampering with evidence. He is currently on a suicide watch at the jail.
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Main photo: David Romig [Marion County Sheriff’s Office]