Archive for Monday, August 14, 2017

Parents suing Leavenworth County in effort to learn about disappearance of their son 29 years ago

Linwood high school senior Randy Leach vanished from a graduation party in 1988. His parents, Harold and Alberta Leach, are pictured in November 2014.

Linwood high school senior Randy Leach vanished from a graduation party in 1988. His parents, Harold and Alberta Leach, are pictured in November 2014.

August 14, 2017, 12:29 p.m. Updated August 14, 2017, 5:36 p.m.

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The parents of a child who has been missing since 1988 have filed a lawsuit that seeks to force Leavenworth County and the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Department to release investigation records from the case.

Harold and Alberta Leach have filed the lawsuit in Leavenworth County District Court. The Leaches’ son, then 17-year-old Randy Leach, was last seen April 16, 1988, at a party in Leavenworth County. The case of his disappearance has never been solved. For years, the Leach family has sought to see the investigative records related to Randy’s disappearance, but Leavenworth County officials have declined to release the documents.

Lawrence attorney Max Kautsch has filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Leach family. The lawsuit argues the records should be released under a provision of the Kansas Open Records Act that allows for criminal investigation records to be made public when the records are in the public interest.

“The requested records are indeed in the public interest because the media’s extensive reporting of the matter reveals a plethora of controversies related to the investigation conducted by the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office,” Kautsch said in a written statement. “The requested records would help the Leaches and the public investigate and resolve those controversies.”

Law enforcement officials generally have broad latitude under the law to not release criminal investigation records, upon the premise that the release could interfere with future law enforcement actions.

Kautsch argues that isn’t an issue in this case.

“The Leaches fail to see how records in a public agency’s possession before 1993 has any bearing on any ‘prospective law enforcement action’ when no one has ever been charged in connection with Randy’s disappearance and likely death,” Kautsch said in a written statement.

A spokesman for the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.

A 2014 article by the Journal-World raised multiple questions about the case. Earlier that year, the couple learned that law enforcement officials had a suspect in the case in the 1990s, but law enforcement officials never told the Leaches of that information.

“No one ever said a word about this to us,” Harold Leach said in the 2014 article.

The suspect, Eric Montgomery, also had been a suspect in two 1990 homicides that occurred 7 miles from the Leaches’ home. Montgomery died in prison in 2010.

“We just want to see what’s been done,” Alberta Leach told the Journal-World in 2014. “We have done a lot of stuff to find Randy, and we just want to make sure they did, too. We know they didn’t do some of the things they said they were going to do.”

A hearing date for the motion to release the investigative records hasn’t yet been set, but Kautsch said he was hopeful it would be set quickly.

“Their ultimate goal is to learn what happened to their son,” he said.

Comments

Clark Coan 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm afraid that he fell down an abandoned well or something like that and his remains have never been found.

Bob Summers 6 months, 2 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Cyn Feriani 6 months, 2 weeks ago

He was a classmate of mine. This isn't a joke. Maybe you will never understand the loss that these people have felt and the search for answers about their son, but it is very real and not a laughing matter.

Bob Summers 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The guy is missing. No one knows what happened. Everything I stated above, but was haphazardly removed, has been claimed to have happened to other people.

Give me proof of what I mentioned earlier did not happen to him.

Thanks

Jim Slade 6 months, 1 week ago

If you look at the murder Eric Montgomery (the suspect police had in the 90's) was convicted of, he bragged about putting his victims in barrels, welding them shut, punching holes in the barrels with a hatchet, driving to Missouri, and then dumping the barrels in the Missouri river where they would float downstream for awhile before sinking... never to be found.

In all likelihood- Randy Leach suffered the same fate as Montgomery's other victims.

Patrick Grassy 6 months, 2 weeks ago

If you've got nothing to hide, then act like it.

David Holroyd 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The Journal World never covered the story about Joan Rebar who disappeared. She lived in Mayetta at the reservation and her daughter went to Haskell.

One story , short it was, in the JW.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Why shouldn't they be totally open to these parents? What are they hiding?

Steve King 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Such a sad story for the family. No closure. They should release to them the files they seek. The car has never been found either.

Louis Kannen 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Sadly, sensationalistic 'late breaking News' is the 'feeding frenzy fodder' of any 'reputable' TV / Cable Service. I wonder when these Regional / National 'Services' were last contacted about this abhorrent and lingering travesty?

Louie White 6 months, 1 week ago

Please give these parents what they need for closure in this tragic story. For years as I've passed through Linwood at the Stout station I would check the bulletin board for any hopeful update on the case. How does not only a person, but a whole car go missing and never found when there were several good leads on possible suspects? For anyone who has any sense of community with Lawrence and the surrounding townships this has been a three-decade nightmare. This is a perfect opportunity to show respect for Randy and his victimized family.

Robert Marble 6 months, 1 week ago

Cub Feriani, I was a classmate of Randy's from kindergarten - senior year & don't recognize your name.

The reason Randy was never found is that The Leavenworth County sheriffs department destroyed the investigation through negligence and incompetence at an early stage.

On the 4th day of his disappearance, an unnamed member of the local McCollum family filed a report with investigators, making bogus accusations stating that two of Randy's classmates were part of a "satanic cult" & had sacrificed him. Days later, Derek McCollum, (same family, also a classmate) made an identical false report. The Leavenworth sheriff's dept adopted these outlandish reports as the basis for their investigation & immediately pursued a ridiculous crusade against those falsely accused & further propagating the insane but sensationalized satanic cult conspiracy theories for several years. By focusing the investigation on such idiotic theories and ignoring any realistic investigation the case went completely off track- and because of that, Randy and his car have never been found after 30 years from between by Leavenworth County in the state of Kansas.

Louis Kannen 6 months, 1 week ago

As we like to say out here, "nothin' like a good ol' western whirlwind to stir up a bunch a' dust". /'(h)werl , wind/ noun · used in similies and metaphors to describe a very energetic or tumultuous process, "a whirlwind of activity" ( = protest gathering, including News Services, in front of the Leavenworth County Courthouse ) and /'d(h)ust/ noun · of and pertaining to covering over or ambiguating underlying facts ( = and to remove same in order to FINALLY uncover the truth ).

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