MISSING IN KANSAS: Support for Randy Leach cold case
A teenage boy went to a friend’s house for a graduation party – only to never be seen or heard from again.
A LOOK BACK ON THE CASE
Randy Wayne Leach went missing on the night of April 15, 1988. The then 17-year-old went missing from a house in Linwood, Kan. According to Randy’s profile in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, he may have left in a gray Dodge 600 car with Kansas license plate LVJ8721. The vehicle is his mom's and was never found.
THE CONTINUED SEARCH
Randy's father Harold passed away in January 2021, but his mom, Alberta continues to fight for the search for Randy. People helped her organize a rally in Topeka, on April 28, 2022, where she hoped to get Gov. Laura Kelly's attention on the investigation into Randy's case. The petition has more than 12,000 online signatures -- matching 12,000 signatures Alberta and Harold collected in 1990. They gathered the signatures, back then, "in hopes of obtaining an inquisition in Randy's case," as shared on Facebook. "That inquisition never took place. Alberta is simply asking that Randy's case be considered for a Cold Case Task Force to investigate." Alberta said since then, there has been no movement in the governor's office on the quest to find Randy.
On Oct. 6, 2022, Alberta was supported by people at a rally outside the Leavenworth County Courthouse. For more than an hour, Alberta and supporters shared their thoughts on the case. Throughout, the group chanted "Help Find Randy," as they hoped to draw the attention from county leaders and the sheriff's office, located next to the courthouse. The day after, on Oct. 5., Alberta said a meeting is set with the sheriff to see if there's a way to get fresh eyes on the case through a proposed task force. She said it's been a frustrating journey, but the investigators on the task force would be able to focus solely on Randy's case and work with law enforcement, so the department doesn't have to worry about straining resources while pursuing other cases.
ASKING FOR TRANSPARENCY
Through the years, the family has fought hard for a more thorough investigation. In 2017, they submitted a Kansas Open Records Act request for the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office to release records on their son’s case, from April 1988 to December 1992. A county judge denied the KORA application, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports. He said it didn’t satisfy the requirements to release that information.
“In his ruling, King said criticisms of an investigation didn’t warrant a public interest finding,” as reported in the Topeka Capital-Journal. “Such a finding would ‘allow private parties to manufacture a basis for disclosure of criminal investigation records by merely voicing criticisms of the way the investigation is being conducted.’"
In his 46-page ruling, the judge argued that this was not what lawmakers intended when crafting KORA.
CHALLENGES IN THE CASE
The case has left the family frustrated, including a lack of transparency. In a November 2014 article in the Lawrence Journal-World, Harold and Alberta said they felt detectives kept secrets for them.
In 2014, they then learned the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were looking a suspect involved with nearby homicides. The KBI and FBI has looked at this suspect, Eric Montgomery, in the 1990’s. In 2010, he died of lung cancer at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.
Montgomery was a suspect in two 1990 homicides that took place seven miles from where the Leaches lived, the LWJ reports. He was considered a suspect in Randy’s disappearance, court records revealed.
They never knew this information. They wondered what else they didn’t know.
“We just want to see what’s been done,” Alberta Leach said to the LJW. “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.”
No person was charged with the disappearance and suspected death of Randy. By 2002, his case was classified as a homicide investigation.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progressed photo of what Randy may look like in his 50's today.
New: @MissingKids made an age-progressed photo of what he'd look like today in his 50's. Let's help RT this case & find #RandyLeach.— Annette Lawless KAKE ?? (@AnnetteLawless) April 21, 2022
(3/3) https://t.co/QSs1CMRJpC #MissingInKS #KAKENews @primevideo @hbomax @paramountplus @NancyGrace @CNN @AETVTrueCrime @AETV @BobWoodruff @ABC pic.twitter.com/0LcaLJeddI
SUPPORTING THE SEARCH
People can follow the official Facebook group In Search of Randy Leach. For those who would like to contribute financially, there is also a Go Fund Me to support Alberta's quest. It was created in February 2018. More than 200 people have donated to the $10,000 goal. For more information, click here.
RANDY WAYNE LEACH
Missing from: Linwood, Kan.
Missing since: April 15, 1988
Age then: 17
Weight: 220 pounds
Distinguishing marks: Mole on left ear
If you have information that could help the case, contact the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at (800) 572-7463. KAKE News will feature the story of a missing person every weekday in our newscasts at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you have a person you’d like for us to share a story about, please contact Anchor Annette Lawless at [email protected]