TOPEKA, Kan. -- Alberta and Harold Leach were too emotional to testify themselves at a Kansas Senate committee hearing on Wednesday. A friend did it for them, urging the Federal and State Affairs Committee to endorse a measure aimed at helping the Leach's gain access to closed records.
Their son Randy Leach disappeared nearly 30 years ago from a Leavenworth County party, weeks before his high school graduation. As FOX 4 News reported in a November investigation, the Leach's and others believe the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office and KBI botched the investigation by failing to interview some witnesses and follow-up with others, as well as search locations their son might have been seen or that held evidence.
Sen. Tom Holland of Leavenworth told the committee his bill is narrowly crafted to only apply to missing persons cases that are 25 years old or older, and to records that are at least 15 years old.
It would amend the state's open records exemption law enforcement use to keep records closed: that an investigation is ongoing.
But the Leach's have long argued nothing is being done in their son's mystery disappearance. The committee made some minor changes to the bill and sent it to the full Senate.
"Ecstatic," said an emotional Alberta Leach after the vote. "We're just real happy that they've moved it through today and everybody's been so nice."
Senator Holland added, "This not only touches the Leach's but I think other families who have missing individuals in their lives."
The KBI entered written testimony in opposition, claiming it would put investigations in jeopardy. It is expected to continue to oppose the bill which is on its way to the full Senate.