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Deputies Say Dunnellon Man Staged Home Invasion, Murdered Girlfriend

Marion County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 52-year-old Dunnellon resident David Romig on Monday for what they said was his role in staging a home invasion and murdering his girlfriend, 64-year- old Sally Kaufmann-Ruff.

Romig was charged with second-degree murder, tampering with evidence by staging a crime scene, and false reporting of a crime.

Detectives said Romig originally reported an early morning home invasion on Jan. 30. He told detectives someone broke into his house and shot Kaufmann-Ruff in the head during an altercation between him and the intruder. She later died at a nearby hospital. After his arrest Monday, Romig told detectives he didn’t remember staging the home invasion because he was suffering from blackouts.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lauren Lettelier said there were too many inconsistencies in Romig’s story for detectives to believe him.

“The first story that he gave us was this intruder and home invasion incident where a shooting occurred,” Lettelier said. “Then it became [Monday] this out-of-body experience where he blacked out and could see himself wrestling with a gun and then he shot the victim."

Lettlier also said Romig accidentally texted detectives suspicious messages the same day of the

“Several hours after this alleged home invasion had occurred, he texted the lead detective and said, 'I think they are going to arrest me,'" Lettelier said. "Apparently that text was meant for his wife."

Romig also texted his wife the same day saying, “I’m afraid I did something I don’t remember,” he texted her. “'If I did this I will kill myself.'"

A smoking metal pipe and a piece of cloth that Romig said were the intruders' were found on the property with Romig’s DNA on them, according to deputies.

Deputies did not say what they thought his motive was but said Romig previously told deputies he was the sole beneficiary listed on Kaufmann-Ruff’s will, excluding her only child. Her estate includes more than $200,000 in liquid assets, in addition to her home, car and other physical property.

Romig is being held in the Marion County Jail without bond. His next court date is set for March 20.

Ramsey is a reporter for WUFT who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing