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Unsolved Mysteries of Missing Persons: Randy Leach, Kayla Unbehaun, Kristin Smart, Katelin Akens Hope and Collaboration in the Search for Missing Persons in Syracuse

Unsolved Mysteries of Missing Persons: Randy Leach, Kayla Unbehaun, Kristin Smart, Katelin Akens

Missing Persons Unsolved Mysteries

Missing persons unsolved mysteries can baffle even the most seasoned detective. These cases span centuries, age ranges, and locations, leaving a lot of room for speculation, theories, and conspiracy.

Sometimes, these stories end up with fitting resolutions. Like when the story of Kayla Unbehaun, who disappeared with her mother in 2017, was featured on Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries.

1. Randy Leach

The night of April 15, 1988, Randy Leach disappeared from his mother’s house in Linwood, Kansas. He drove to a nearby property with his high school friends for a bonfire party, but never returned home.

His parents Harold and Alberta searched for their son every day. They even hired investigators. One of them was a former KBI agent who worked on the case until he died of lung cancer.

Various rumors surfaced in the wake of Randy’s disappearance, including that he was killed by a Satanic cult. But there’s no evidence he was murdered, and the cult rumor didn’t pan out.

In the years since, there have been a few updates to this case, but nothing concrete. One of the latest involves a foot that was found in a shoe, but it wasn’t Randy’s, according to a report from YouTube channel Adventures with Purpose. Despite the lack of solid information, Harold Leach hasn’t given up hope that his son will return home to him.

2. Kayla Unbehaun

After the first season of Netflix’s rebooted “Unsolved Mysteries” series aired in 2020, producers received 20 credible tips and passed them to authorities. Eventually, one of those tips led to the discovery of Kayla Unbehaun, who was abducted by her mother in Illinois six years ago.

In July 2017, Heather Unbehaun strapped Kayla and her belongings to the roof of their car after attending a parade in South Elgin, a Chicago suburb, then told family members she was going on a camping trip. She never returned, prompting a search. A GoFundMe campaign that raised thousands of dollars was launched, but Unbehaun and Kayla remained missing until Saturday, when an employee at Plato’s Closet in Asheville, North Carolina, recognized the girl from an episode of the TV show and called police.

Now 40, Unbehaun was arrested and charged with child abduction in Kane County, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. She bonded out of jail in Asheville on Tuesday and is being kept under house arrest, with a GPS monitor, until a court decides how to extradite her to Illinois.

3. Kristin Smart

Almost two decades after Kristin Smart disappeared from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, her parents are still fighting for answers. Their tireless campaigning led to Ian Parkinson becoming the sheriff, and he promised the Smarts he would prioritize their daughter’s case.

The freshman was last seen at a party with fellow students Tim Davis and Cheryl Anderson. They told police she appeared very intoxicated and was slurring her speech. As the party was ending, Paul Flores volunteered to help her walk back to their dorm rooms. He claimed he came out of nowhere, but Smart’s friends say he was at the party for a long time.

Police were slow to file a missing persons report and criticized her for drinking in public, which her family says felt like victim shaming. They also delayed getting a search warrant for the home of Paul and his father Ruben Flores, who they claim helped conceal her body.

4. Katelin Akens

When Katelin Akens disappeared from her family’s home in Spotsylvania County, Virginia on December 5, 2015, her loved ones were distraught and fearful that she would be lost forever. The 19-year-old was visiting her mother Lisa Sullivan and younger sibling Gabrielle to meet their new nephew and collect her high school diploma before heading back to Arizona where she lived with her fiancee to start cosmetology school.

The last person to see her was her former stepfather James Branton, who told police that he dropped her off at the mall and then drove to work. However, when authorities pinged his phone to his home they discovered that he was not at the airport when he claimed he had.

Two days later, her blue suitcase was found along a roadside ditch, unzipped and empty except for money and credit cards. A wallet with Arizona identification was also inside the suitcase. Police believe it was Katelin’s. The case remains under investigation.

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Hope and Collaboration in the Search for Missing Persons in Syracuse

Searching For Missing Persons in Syracuse, New York

The families of missing people hold out hope that their loved ones will be found alive and that the case will be solved. Non-profit organizations like Onondaga County Crime Stoppers offer cash rewards for information in cold cases, and law enforcement officials collaborate with online communities to share information.

Suzanne G. Lyall left Babbages Software and boarded a Capital District Transportation Authority bus at Collins Circle at SUNY Albany uptown campus. She has a mole on her cheek and a scar on her left foot.

Onondaga County Crime Stoppers

The Onondaga County Crime Stoppers program is an excellent resource for law enforcement agencies to solve felony-level crimes, such as robbery, burglary, larceny, arson, and forgery. It also provides assistance in tracing missing persons and in the detection of illegal drugs and bombs. The organization has an extensive network of volunteers and donors.

The organization offers cash rewards for information that leads to a conviction in a felony case. It also helps the public locate missing people, even those who have been gone for decades. Its goal is to bring peace of mind to families who are struggling with the disappearance of their loved ones.

The police department has a Cold Case Unit, which is made up of seasoned detectives who are trained in conducting cold case investigations. They reinterview potential witnesses and family members to see if they can provide any new information. They also use cutting-edge forensic technology to find fresh leads. In addition, they utilize social media platforms to bring attention to cold cases and request the public’s help in solving them.

New York State Police

The New York State Police (NYSP) is one of the largest full-service law enforcement agencies in the country. It uses a variety of traditional and innovative strategies to accomplish its mission.

The NYSP is organized into 11 Troops and 191 stations. The uniform force consists of more than 4,700 men and women who patrol the state’s roadways and answer 911 calls.

Each troop is divided into 2-4 “Zones” and each Zone has up to several “sub-stations.” The Department’s helicopters, canines, and underwater recovery teams also operate at the Zone level.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation is the plainclothes detective branch of the NYSP. Its investigators have specialized training in areas such as school violence, youth relations and emergency management and are available to speak to schools, community groups and businesses.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provides services to families, victims, law enforcement and child-serving professionals around the world to help find missing children and reduce child sexual exploitation. Its key programs include serving as a national clearinghouse of information on missing children, operating a national 24-hour toll-free hotline and CyberTipline, and providing training and resources on children’s safety.

The organization’s New York office offers community outreach and education programs in schools, communities, and businesses. Its staff members also provide abduction prevention and personal and Internet safety presentations. They also distribute NCMEC posters and work with law enforcement on cases involving missing children.

The New York office is a member of the NCMEC Missing Kids Readiness Program, which promotes best practices in responding to reports of missing and exploited children. To become a member, the agency met essential policy and training requirements. This program is free of charge for agencies. Companion posters, authorized for display on bulletin boards maintained by employee organizations, are available.

The Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Clearinghouse provides assistance to law enforcement agencies handling missing person cases involving children and college students as well as vulnerable adults. It also provides support to families of missing individuals and public education programs. Its staff is experienced in law enforcement, training and information technology.

The program maintains a centralized database of missing persons that contains physical descriptions, personal details, and last known locations. It also provides a toll-free help line for tips from the public. It also provides training and education for law enforcement officers and family members to increase the effectiveness of search efforts.

The Clearinghouse operates a public website that lists pictures and information on missing individuals. It also collaborates with media outlets to disseminate alerts and raise awareness of these cases. It also distributes educational and informational brochures on a variety of topics related to missing persons. It also specializes in long-term cold case reviews to determine whether new information can assist with resolving these cases.

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