Leavenworth County couple’s mystery of missing son is not forgotten

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LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, Kan. -- It's a hot and windy day in Leavenworth County, and Harold and Alberta Leach don't care. They're on another hunt for any clue that can lead them to their son.

"Hoping we find something," sighed Harold. "But we don't really want to."

Randy Leach was a senior in high school attending the kind of party that thousands of metro seniors attend weeks before graduation. It was the last time he was seen. His life had been pretty normal up until that April night in 1988. A typical high school teenager and only child.

But party witnesses say he seemed odd that night.  Drunk or drugged, not himself. Randy was last seen around 2 that Saturday morning, and when he didn't come home, his parents knew something was wrong. Randy always came home.

Rumors of drugs, even satanic cults and human sacrifices were rampant in that part of Leavenworth County back in those days. But efforts to locate the missing teen were futile.

Now nearly 30 years later and his parents aging, the mystery has only deepened, as FOX 4 has reported previously, his mom and dad and friends question authorities for failing to find answers.

"We heard they had held him here for a few days," his mom says wistfully. And that's why she and her husband are here, at some abandoned property about a half-mile from where Randy was last seen.

They're at the site with the help of Park University and its Associate Criminal Justice Professor Eugene Matthews, who helped obtain a Park U. grant to bring in ground penetrating radar from North Carolina.

"It's good to see that we're moving in the right direction," Professor Matthews said.

He reviewed hundreds of pages of case records for FOX 4 and believes Leavenworth County Sheriff's detectives and the KBI came up short in their efforts. The former Army investigator believes mistakes were made, so he's been helping the family where he can.

"Even if we don't find what we're looking for, we can stop looking in some of these areas," Matthews says.

He's also called on cadaver dogs to be used. Geophysicist Keith Saramur agrees, even as he pushes his radar on wheels around the property looking for signs of burial. Dogs he notes, can zero in on potential bodies.

"Yes we found several different anomalies," Saramur explained. But after a few hours of searching, nothing worth digging up.

But more help may be on the way. The Lee's Summit Underwater Rescue and Recovery team confirms for FOX 4 News that it has been in previously undisclosed talks with Leavenworth County about possible water search sites.

Major Jim Sherley of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office says his office has talked to several search groups, but won't name any names. But he insists the case remains open and tips are followed up on.

"We don't want the perception that this is given any less importance as it grows in age. All cases are important to us," Sherley said, adding, "this one has a particular drive for us. We'd love to solve this case."

So would Harold and Alberta Leach, before their time runs out.

"We've got a lot of people that's trying to help us," says Harold. "And that helps us a lot."

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