Let’s talk about it: Leigh Marine Occhi

I wasn’t sure whether I should bring up this case, because I blogged seven years ago about Leigh Occhi‘s disappearance and even ventured a possible theory as to what happened. But I’m sure plenty of readers haven’t read every entry I’ve ever written, so here goes.

On the day 13-year-old Leigh disappeared, Hurricane Andrew had struck Mississippi and was causing some violent storms in the area. This was before the school year would have started, but Leigh did plan to attend an Open House at her school with her grandmother and was home waiting to be picked up. Her mother tried to call her a few times but no one ever picked up.

When Leigh’s mother came back home, there was a violent crime scene: blood everywhere and indications of a struggle.

All of this sounds like it could have been a fairly ordinary abduction; Evelyn Hartley‘s 1953 disappearance was much the same way. Yet, in this case there’s a very peculiar detail: a month after Leigh’s disappearance, her glasses were mailed to her home. Just the glasses. No note. The envelope was addressed to Leigh’s stepfather, but he and her mother were separated when Leigh disappeared. The mailed eyeglasses were the last trace of Leigh, who would be 37 today.

I have NEVER heard of any case where someone abducted a person from their home and then mailed one of their belongings back to the house with no other message.

So what happened here? Let’s talk about it.

Articles of interest

Zinah Jennings, mother of missing Amir, has given birth to a girl. I really hope that baby gets placed for adoption or something because Zinah, to put it mildly, doesn’t have a good track record as a parent. It looks like at minimum, she abandoned Amir, and may well have done a lot worse to him. Zinah is currently on trial for child neglect regarding Amir’s disappearance; they just started the defense.

The murder conviction in Cherita Thomas‘s 1980 disappearance has been overturned on appeal and the defendant, Jimmie Nelson, can NOT be tried again due to double jeopardy. Oh, well. I’ll have to move her to my “acquittals” list. The “convictions” list is still more than three times longer though.

This article is from back in April but still worthy of inclusion: all about the 1969 disappearance of Niki Britten. She’s classified as a runaway and I had zilch on her till I found this.

And there’s a long article on Leigh Marine Occhi, who disappeared from Mississippi in 1992 at age 13, leaving bloodstains and other evidence of a struggle in her home.

In-depth report on Leigh Occhi

The Criminal Report Daily blog is doing a four-part series on the 1992 disappearance of thirteen-year-old Leigh Marine Occhi. They’re up to part III now, but I just found it today.

Part III says Leigh’s mother flunked three polygraph tests. I have some doubts about the value of polygraphs, but I also have some doubts about Leigh’s mom. Reason: Leigh’s glasses mysteriously arrived in the mail at her house a few weeks after she went missing. There was nothing else in the envelope and no further communications came. That doesn’t make any sense. If someone had abducted and/or killed Leigh and wanted to taunt her family, a letter would have been better. The eyeglasses thing sounds very much like someone close to Leigh harmed her and wanted to throw the police off the scent. John Douglas, in one of his books, talks about a very similar case where a missing girl’s mother received the child’s mitten in the mail. It turned out Mom had killed the child.

I’m not saying I believe Leigh’s mother killed her daughter. I am just wondering. It appears to have been quite a brutal attack, bloodstains everywhere. It doesn’t sound like something a woman would have done, and there’s no mention of any trouble in their relationship, prior abuse incidents, etc. It doesn’t make sense. But nothing about this case makes sense.