Flashback Friday: Randall Dean Leach

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Randall Dean Leach, a twenty-year-old who disappeared from Idaho Falls, Idaho on November 6, 1980. He was planning to hitchhike from Sheboygan, Wisconsin to Bend, Oregon, his first-ever really long hitchhike odyssey. He stopped at a farm in Idaho Falls, stayed for a couple of days and did some work there, then left. He apparently never arrived in Bend.

It’s possible he changed his mind and decided not to go to Bend — Leach’s family described him as a bit of a wanderer and a free-thinker — but I highly doubt that he’s still alive. It seems like if he was able to contact his family, he would have at some point in the past 36 and a half years.

Given the hitchhiking element, he could be anywhere in the country. I wonder if he’s a John Doe somewhere.

Orville’s home!

They finally finished the virus scan today and I was able to take the computer home. Everything’s working just fine now and I’ve posted all the updates that I was going to post on the 27th.

In the meantime, having nothing to do, I had been plugging name after name into Newspapers.com, and whenever I found something I could use I would email the PDF of the article to myself. So I’ve got plenty to play with now.

I found one article that mentioned an MP getting shot. This was a few years before his disappearance. Am I right in thinking that any prior gunshot wound ought to get mentioned in the distinguishing characteristics?

Orville progress report

I called the computer place and they said the problem was not any kind of hardware failure as I feared, but instead it was “operating system corruption.” They said they’re able to get into Windows now and are doing a virus scan just to be on the safe side.

Whew!

I haven’t crashed yet but my computer has

I had 20 more updates to post today but that’s not happening as I’ve had to take Orville to the shop. I’m writing this on my phone.

He wouldn’t come out of hibernation — wouldn’t turn on, wouldn’t turn off either. Finally I turned him off at the power strip. Then when I tried to reboot it was like he was out of gas or something: went “whirrr” for like half a second and then just stopped.

I unplugged everything and hauled him off to the shop and the tech there was able to make Orville whirrr for a longer time period but there’s no video. So Orville is officially out of commission. Muttergrumble.

This is his first stay in the computer hospital since he was born. I hope he won’t be there for long.

Thinking aloud in today’s updates

Yeah, I went a bit nuts this night.

  • Regarding Angelica Gandara:
    It would appear from the neighbor’s account that someone was stalking Angelica prior to her abduction. I’m not sure what to make of the account by the witness in San Antonio, though.
    It’s certainly plausible but I don’t know if it was ever verified — I could find only one article about it. Nowadays it would be pretty easy to verify since I’m assuming all convenience stores have security cameras, but I don’t think that was the case in 1985.
    If that girl WAS Angelica, though, it would seem to indicate she was kept alive for an extended period after her disappearance, which makes me wonder if human trafficking was involved. Perhaps she might even still be alive today.
    The fact that the little girl didn’t ask for help doesn’t mean this witness’s account is discredited — Shasta Groene didn’t ask for help either, although she did keep walking up to people and staring at them in right the face.
  • Regarding Carol Woolsoncroft:
    I tried to find out what Eugene LaFaye is doing nowadays but came up with nothing I could verify. I couldn’t find anyone by that name listed in the sex offender registry. I couldn’t find him listed in the Florida Department of Corrections database.
    I did find mention of a Eugene LaFaye in the Fort Myers area in 1979 and I’m pretty sure this guy was Carol’s boyfriend’s father, since (a) the 1979 Eugene was 65 is and Carol’s Eugene would have been in 19 at the time and (b) I know Carol’s Eugene is a junior, so his father would have had the same name.
    I did find mention of an “incapacitated person” named Eugene LaFaye in the Fort Myers area in 2001. I’m not sure which Eugene this is. Eugene Sr. would have been 87 by then.
    At any rate this is a very sad but all-too-common kind of disappearance — domestic violence. It’s like super-obvious what happened, they just can’t prove it.
  • Also… I found photos of Ivan Gutierrez and Charles Gibson! They’re not even really awful photos, either! I mean, they’re not the greatest, but they’re about as good as you can expect from newspaper archives, and I could finally add the cases to Charley!
    Though why Gibson is in FDLE and Gutierrez isn’t, I don’t know; one of the articles said Gutierrez was officially reported missing by his father. Shrug.

ET entry: three teenagers in Ohio

I had an ET entry posted today for three boys who were hanged in Ohio on this day in 1880: George Mann, Gustave Ohr and John Sammett. They were between the ages of fifteen years and eighteen years plus one day when they died. Mann and Ohr had run away from home and were riding the rails when they hooked up with a fellow tramp, robbed and killed him. Sammett had robbed a store with another boy who agreed to turn state’s evidence against him. Sammett shot and killed him to prevent him from testifying.

I noted that Mann and Ohr’s gallows ballads were suspiciously similar to the ballad published by another murderer whom I wrote about on Executed Today, Christopher Rafferty, who was hanged in 1874. And Rafferty’s ballad in turn appears to have been plagiarized from the 1858 ballad for James Rogers.

Select It Sunday: Diana Leone

A friend of Diana L. Leone‘s sister asked me to run her case for Select It Sunday. Diana was 35 years old when she disappeared from Las Vegas in February 2000. ┬áHer longtime boyfriend, David Morgan, said she’d run off with another man, leaving all her stuff behind. She wasn’t reported missing until October.

Morgan had a history of brutal domestic violence against Diana — he’d once been charged with attempted murder in connection with his abuse of her — and police believe he’s a serial killer. His second wife, Marie Morgan, and her lover, Gabriel Vincent, disappeared under suspicious circumstances in 1979 and were never found. A business associate of Morgan’s, David Cowan, disappeared in 1982 and was also never found. (Cowan and Morgan aren’t on Charley cause I have no photos or physical information for them.)

Morgan was actually charged with Vincent’s murder in 2007, but five years later, before he was tried, the charges were dropped for lack of evidence because one of the key witnesses had died. Police are pretty sure Morgan killed Diana as well, but he has never been charged. I’m not sure he’s even still alive.

Flashback Friday: Colleen Simpson

This week’s FF case is Colleen Vanita Simpson, a fourteen-year-old who disappeared from her Clearfield, Iowa home on October 5, 1975, exactly ten years before I was born. She’s classified as a non-family abduction but I’m not sure why — it doesn’t appear there were any witnesses or other evidence of foul play, and most teen girls who disappeared during that time period were written off as runaways.

I really don’t have any details on Colleen’s disappearance, alas. One thing not written in her casefile is that her father was a police officer; in fact I think he might have been the chief of police. Clearfield is a VERY small town, btw. Wikipedia says the 2010 census gave its population as 363.