Friends mourn after slaying of NorthPark Mall store owner: ‘She cared about everybody.’

Local News

The crime has shocked the Quad-City community, now in mourning for a beloved friend.

Police arrested 53-year-old Andrew Rupp, held in Scott County Jail with a bond said at $500,000.

He’s accused of murdering his mother, 77-year-old Dianne Rupp. Police found her dead Tuesday in an apartment on West Central Park Avenue.

Local 4 News, first on the scene, watched police investigate after a friend called officers to the scene because they were concerned about her welfare when they were unable to reach her.

When they tried to arrest Rupp, he resisted and refused to place his hands behind his back. Police say he had a bag of meth on him and admitted to using the drug.

“It’s seriously tragic that this has happened,” said Andrew Kieffert, a close friend of Diane Rupp. On Tuesday, Kieffert got a call from Mama Bahama’s, the store Rupp owned at NorthPark Mall. He could immediately sense something was wrong.

“We were trying to get ahold of Dianne, which they knew was unusual,” Kieffert said. Because if you don’t get at least one phone call from Dianne in the morning when the store opens, something’s up.”

Things started to get even more peculiar once an employee went over to Rupp’s apartment.

“He was denied access in being able to talk to her and so I said, because of the situation that was going on, somebody should call and do a welfare check,” Kieffert said.

After that, police found Rupp dead inside her apartment.

“It was just, ‘Wow… is this happening? I can’t believe it,'” said Kieffert, who added Dianne Rupp was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed.

She was “very gregarious,” Kieffert said. “She cared about everybody. She loved her family, especially her grandkids, and I know this is going to be felt. It’s definitely going to be felt because she knew so many people and had an unmistakable laugh.”

Mama Bahama’s is one of the longest-running stores inside of NorthPark Mall. Kieffert worked there for a few years, and still remembers the first time he went in there when he was 6 years old.
“We had gone and gotten a t-shirt and it was my first iron on,” Kieffert remember. “Her t-shirt shop is you design it, and you picked the iron-on out, and she would put it on for you.”

Over the years, Rupp eventually was referred to by everyone as “Mama,” because, as Kieffert said, “She liked to be involved and tried to take care of everybody.”

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