LAWRENCE (AP) — The parents of a Kansas child missing for nearly 30 years are suing authorities to release investigative records from the case.
Harold and Alberta Leach filed the lawsuit Monday in Leavenworth County District Court, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. The Leaches’ son, then 17-year-old Randy Leach, was last seen April 16, 1988, at a party in Leavenworth County. The case of his disappearance has never been solved, and his parents have sought the investigative records for years.
The lawsuit, filed by Lawrence attorney Max Kautsch, argues the records should be released under a provision of the Kansas Open Records Act that allows for criminal investigation records to be made public when the records are in the public interest.
“The requested records are indeed in the public interest because the media’s extensive reporting of the matter reveals a plethora of controversies related to the investigation conducted by the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office,” Kautsch said in a written statement. “The requested records would help the Leaches and the public investigate and resolve those controversies.”
The Leavenworth county counselor didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Law enforcement officials generally have broad latitude under the law to not release criminal investigation records, upon the premise that the release could interfere with future law enforcement actions. Kautsch argues that isn’t an issue in this case.
“The Leaches fail to see how records in a public agency’s possession before 1993 has any bearing on any ‘prospective law enforcement action’ when no one has ever been charged in connection with Randy’s disappearance and likely death,” Kautsch said in a written statement.
The Leaches learned in 2014 that law enforcement officials had a suspect in the case in the 1990s. The suspect, Eric Montgomery, also had been a suspect in two 1990 homicides that occurred 7 miles (11.26 kilometers) from the Leaches’ home. Montgomery died in prison in 2010.
“We just want to see what’s been done,” Alberta Leach told the Journal-World in 2014. “We have done a lot of stuff to find Randy, and we just want to make sure they did, too. We know they didn’t do some of the things they said they were going to do.”