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Updated: Buna man arrested for murder of Cristi Ruso

A long awaited arrest has been made in the presumed murder of Cristi Ruso.

On December 21, 2023, after a two year investigation by the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, the missing

person’s case involing Cristi Ruso was presented to the grand jury by District Attorney Anne Pickle’s

office. After hearing evidence from Captain Jason McClelland, the grand jury handed down an

indictment for First Degree Murder, and a warrant was issued for Colby Hunter Tatom, 29 year old white

male of Buna.

Thursday evening at approximately 9:00PM, Tatom was located at Walmart in Lumberton, Texas and apprehended

by Lumberton Police Department. He is currently in the Hardin County Jail awaiting transport to Jasper

County. Tatom is being held on a $1 million bond.

This investigation has been lengthy, but at no point did the case ever become cold. We believe that

evidence shows that Tatom is solely responsible for the death of Cristi Ruso. Ruso’s movements on

October 21, 2021 were verified up until she returned to Tatom’s residence on County Road 777 in Buna,

Texas. From there, evidence shows that Tatom murdered Ruso and disposed of her body.

In a press release, Public Information Officer Karli Cherry said in a statement, "Our agency would like to commend Captain Jason McClelland for his perserverance in this case and his

dedication to the family throughout the investigation. As lead investigator, he has made this case a

priority since day one and we appreciate the countless hours he has put in to find the truth.

We would like to thank the multiple agencies who have assisted in this investigation. The Jasper County

District Attorney’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety – Ranger Division, The Federal Bureau of

Investigation Evidence Team, Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab, the US Marshals Office,

Texas Equuisearch, Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, Lumberton Police Department, and countless others.

This was truly a team effort.

Our prayers are with the family of Cristi Ruso, we are hopeful that they can finally have some closure

and that justice can be served."


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