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Suspect texted detective, not wife, about girlfriend's death

| Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, 11:18 a.m.
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DUNNELLON, Fla. — A Florida man who thought he was texting his wife but instead nervously messaged a detective “I think they are going to arrest me” was charged with murder in the death of his live-in girlfriend, authorities said.

Marion County Sheriff's officials arrested David W. Romig, 52, on Monday on charges including homicide, making a false report and tampering with evidence.

Investigators said he staged the crime scene to make it look like an intruder entered a home Jan. 30 and killed Sally Kaufmann-Ruff, 64, in the master bedroom of the home in Dunnellon, which is in north Florida.

Detectives quickly found that the evidence didn't match Romig's story about the home invasion, The Ocala Star-Banner reported. A short time later, he sent two text messages saying he thought he was going to be arrested.

“I think they are going to arrest me,” Romig wrote in the first text, which he said he thought he was sending to his wife. The second text simply said: “Think they are going to arrest.”

The arrest report said Romig also messaged his wife and told her that he had a very bad night, adding that someone had broken in and Kaufmann-Ruff was fatally shot.

He texted his wife that “things don't add up,” and “I am afraid I did something I don't remember.” He ended with, “If I did this I will kill myself.”

Investigators said the two errant text messages added to their suspicions.

After his arrest, Romig told detectives he had been suffering from blackouts and that he was “hearing voices.” He added that he had “an out-of-body experience” and “felt like he was wrestling with himself and the gun went off, shooting Sally.”

Romig told detectives he “staged the scene due to having blacked out during the shooting, setting the scene as a home invasion,” the arrest report said, adding that he admitted there was no intruder.

Romig told investigators he is the sole beneficiary listed in Kaufmann-Ruff's will, the report said. The pair had lived together for two and a half years.

Judge Robert Landt ordered Romig held without bond and he is on a suicide watch at the Marion County Jail in Ocala. His next hearing is set for March 20.

An attorney isn't listed on court records.

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