Parents of teenager who vanished in 1988 hope for answers
Oct. 24, 2017
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The parents of a Kansas teenager who vanished nearly 30 years ago hope a trial next month will provide clues about whether their son was murdered after he was last seen at a high school graduation party and if his disappearance was properly investigated.
Harold and Alberta Leach of Linwood, Kansas, sued Leavenworth County in civil court after county officials rejected their request through the state's open records act to see documents from the April 1988 through December 1992 investigation of 17-year-old Randy Leach's disappearance.
The parents believe Randy is dead but said they filed the lawsuit because they have done everything they can think of to find answers.
Their lawyer, Maxwell Kautsch, said the Leavenworth County attorney concluded in April 1990 that Leach saw something he shouldn't have and someone "took care" of the teenager. In September 1990, the same county attorney said he wouldn't hold an inquisition because of "uncertainty about whether a crime had been committed." An inquisition allows prosecutors to question witnesses under oath without calling a grand jury.
"The records should be disclosed to determine whether Randy was the victim of foul play, whether the decision not to conduct the inquisition was justified and why the county attorney would have made such contradictory public statements," Kautsch said.
In 1991, Gov. Joan Finney issued an executive order declaring the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies believed "a crime may have been perpetrated" in the Leach case and offering a $5,000 reward in the case.
Kautsch said the records could show whether Leavenworth County properly investigated the case, which was classified as a homicide in 2002.
According to the lawsuit, a 2014 report indicated the FBI and KBI had a suspect in the case in the 1990s but that person died in prison.
No one has been charged in the disappearance.
David Van Parys, who represents the county, declined Monday to discuss pending litigation, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
The trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 21.
Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com