Linwood, Kan., parents Alberta and Harold Leach said Monday that they were devastated upon learning that a Leavenworth County judge had denied their request for the disclosure of decades-old police records in the case of their missing son.
“They’re still into secrecy,” Alberta Leach said.
Randy Leach vanished nearly 30 years ago. His parents have long sought more information from the Leavenworth County sheriff’s office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, contending that the investigation of their son’s disappearance was botched.
Alberta Leach said they were “frustrated and devastated” by the ruling.
They filed a lawsuit last year that ultimately hinged on whether they could prove that disclosure of the records was in the public interest and would not interfere with the investigation.
Leavenworth County District Judge David King denied their request in his decision, released Sunday. King wrote that after reviewing some of the case file, the records “contain no information” that would “promote the public interest.”
Alberta Leach, who was included in a recent Star investigation exploring the difficulty of obtaining police records in Kansas, said she and her husband were considering an appeal, which they have 30 days to file.
“We feel there’s stuff in there that they’ve hidden from us,” she said. “It’s so obvious.”
Maj. Jim Sherley, the undersheriff at the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office, agreed with the judge’s decision, saying it will enhance the likelihood that the case is one day solved by protecting the identities of confidential witnesses.
Alberta and Harold Leach sought only those records created before 1993, which King wrote accounted for less than half of all records in the case file.
Randy Leach disappeared in the spring of 1988. Alberta Leach said she’d hoped that, had the judge ruled differently, the family could have found a clue in the documents that would lead to answers.
But even with King’s decision, the family is “not giving up,” Alberta Leach said.
“We had hope, have had hope for 30 years. We got to keep that up.”