IDAHO FALLS — Oregon, Wisconsin and Idaho authorities are asking for the public’s help in solving a 35-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a man last seen in Idaho Falls.
This Saturday, Nov 7. marks 35 years since Randall Dean Leach was last seen in Idaho while traveling to Bend, Oregon in 1980.
“Randy” Leach, then 20 years old, was last seen the morning of Nov. 7, 1980, walking away from a dairy farm west of Idaho Falls, Bonneville County Sheriff Paul Wilde said. According to a 1982 Deseret News article, Leach had told his family he was going to hitchhike to his sister’s house in Bend.
Leach, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, was described in newspaper articles and police reports as white, between 5’8″ to 5’9″ tall, 140 to 160 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.
“What we know is that he stopped in Idaho Falls to make a few bucks before moving on,” Wilde said. “The last we know about him was that he was leaving our area, either to Oregon … or he may have gone to Salt Lake City. But once he left, he disappeared, and we have no idea where he went.”
The missing man’s father, Richard Leach, told Deseret News in 1982 that the last person to speak with Randy Leach said he thought he might be going to Klamath Falls, Oregon.
But during the last 35 years, Oregon State Police have not received any information or confirmation that Leach arrived at his final destination of or if he had even reached Oregon, according to an OSP news release.
Compounding the problem is that the original Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office missing person report has been lost.
“When they changed over record management to microfiche (about 10 years ago), there was a series of cases that were put in, but they were not checked to make sure they were on the tape,” Wilde said. “So when I went looking for it, lo and behold, it wasn’t there.”
The family is still seeking answers, even after 35 years.
“The case may be cold, but it’s not forgotten,” Wilde said.
The Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office became involved in this investigation due to a friendship between Randy’s father, Dick Leach, and the deputy inspector of the Detective Division at the time Randy went missing, according to the news release.
The family and investigators have worked to obtain Randy’s dental records, which have been uploaded to the National Dental Image Repository. These images are now available to law enforcement and medical examiners nationwide in case he is found.
If you have information about Leach contact the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office at (208) 529-1200 or the Bonneville/Idaho Falls Crime Stoppers at (208) 522-1983 or IFCRIME.org.
Idaho State Journal staff