Archive for Wednesday, April 16, 2008

List of occurrences, oddities surrounding case numerous

April 16, 2008

During the past 20 years, there have been a number of oddities and bizarre coincidences surrounding the Randy Leach missing person case including:

¢ Rumors of satanic activity in southern Leavenworth County already were circulating among locals before Randy's disappearance. Word that the party site at the Erwin farm had quickly been cleaned fueled rumors, including speculation that Randy had been slaughtered there by devil worshippers.

¢ The Erwin house burned to the ground "not that long after" Randy disappeared, said Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye.

¢ In 1988, a man told police he had been abducted by Satanists and held captive for two weeks in a cave not far from Linwood. The man said his abductors threatened to cut off his left arm and had shown him the corpse of a man hanging in the cave. The corpse perhaps was Randy. Police searched the cave but no bodies were found. They concluded the man was a drug user who hallucinated the experience. The cave has since been bulldozed at the entrances.

¢ Steve Daugherty, one of the last people seen with Randy the night he disappeared, showed police in March 1989 a severed foot in a tennis shoe on the banks of the Kansas River. He said he found it while strolling. Police searched the area for other remains but couldn't find any. They concluded the foot was not Randy's. Daugherty, in his 30s when Randy disappeared, has since died. Harold Leach had always been suspicious of Daugherty who he saw driving slowly by his home twice the morning that Randy disappeared. Harold Leach said at one time, Daugherty lived in the back of an old store in Linwood and the part he lived in caught on fire and burned.

¢ The Leaches had replaced the car that Randy took to the party and was never recovered with a Chrysler Lebaron that had 40,000 miles on it. Just after replacing it, it caught fire and burned in their backyard. An inspector said a gas line had deteriorated and ruptured. But the Leaches believe it was arson. Within the same year, they heard gunshots fired outside their home. Nearby relatives also reported hearing gunshots.

¢ Randy's blonde German Shepherd, Crackers, went missing about four months after he did. The dog that he had for about four years was never found.

¢ Internal police reports about the Randy Leach case began showing up in the Leaches' mailbox. Harold Leach said he doesn't know the source of the documents but believes they came from sympathetic officers who were convinced the investigation was being botched.

¢ In 1993, a man purporting to be a "research journalist" offered his assistance to the Leaches and spent several months without pay interviewing partygoers and others who might have known something about the case. The man went by the names of Terry Martin and Lee Harper. Martin/Harper pooled information with Leavenworth County Sheriff's Detective Dawn Weston, whom Nye had assigned to review the case.

¢ Executing warrants issued by the assistant Leavenworth County attorney, Weston arrested three men for the alleged murder and kidnapping of Randy Leach. The men were quickly released. "She was a new investigator and overzealous, so to speak," said Sheriff Nye. "It didn't pan out when the evidence was double-checked by the county attorney."

¢ After the trio was freed, Weston and Martin/Harper left the state together for several days, reportedly fearful of their safety.

¢ A Topeka man who volunteered to help the Leaches search for their son subsequently was found shot to death along with his wife. Topeka police ruled it a murder-suicide.

¢ Leavenworth County officials refuse to launch an inquisition into the Leach case. The Journal-World decries the county's law enforcement in an editorial (May 10, 1990) listing reasons why an inquisition is justified, concluding: "Something is fishy and officials have not told the complete story."

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