Friday, October 6, 2006
Missing son focus of play
By Bill Blankenship
Photo By Mike Burley
LAWRENCE -- Harold and Alberta Leach have waited since April 15, 1988, for the telephone call that will finally tell them what happened to their only son.
On that night, 17-year-old Randy left the family home outside Linwood for a pre-graduation party for the Class of 1988 of Linwood Junior-Senior High School.
Neither he nor his mother's car, a gray 1985 Dodge 600, has been seen since.
Did Randy run away? Did he somehow commit suicide in a fashion that secreted both his body and his vehicle? Was he murdered?
Did drug dealers kill him and hide his body and the car because he had threatened to report them? Was he killed by a cult of Satanists? Or was his disappearance supernatural?
For more than 18 years, such questions have plagued the Leaches, who remain convinced that someone, somewhere knows something that will explain their son's disappearance.
"All we need is one phone call," said Alberta Leach, as she waited Wednesday night in a hallway of the Lawrence Arts Center, where tonight a play about the mystery of their son's disappearance opens for a three-show run.
|Garrett Michael Kelly, front, and Jeremy Auman are two of the stars of "Leaves of Words," rehearsed on Wednesday evening at the Lawrence Arts Center.
The play, "Leaves of Words," is the work of Tim Macy, a master of fine arts degree candidate at The University of Kansas. Macy grew up in Missouri, then spent about a year in Topeka when his mother, Rita Moore, taught at Washburn University. He transferred to KU where he earned his bachelor's degree.
Macy said he wanted to craft a play about Randy Leach, but before he wrote the first word of the script, he wanted to do so with the permission and support of the missing man's parents.
Macy wrote the Leaches, who agreed to meet with him.
"We need all the help we can get," said Harold Leach, who has doggedly pursued leads on his own about his son's disappearance and been critical of the official investigations, which both the Leavenworth Sheriff's Department and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation say remain open.
Macy spent hours interviewing the Leaches. He devoted about a year writing the play with the assistance of his mentor, Paul Stephen Lim, KU playwriting professor.
It was easy to see the Leaches had developed a bond with Macy, who sat with them Wednesday night as they watched the play for the first time in a dress rehearsal.
Both of the Leaches wiped away tears after the rehearsal of the play ended. They had watched several depictions of their son's death as the seven-person cast explored various theories of what happened more than 18 years ago.
"I think he really brought out what it was all about," said Harold Leach.
Macy said he wants the play to stand on its own literary and dramatic merit as it tries to convey 18 years of parental "grief of not knowing."
However, he added, "I hope I can help the Leaches by at least putting this case back in the spotlight even momentarily."
Original Story Located Here
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