SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – A decades-old cold case in Shiawassee County is getting another look.
The sheriff’s office hopes reopening the case will lead to new tips from the public and bring justice to the family of Matthew Leach, who was killed 31 years ago at the age of 22.
The case has gone unsolved by the past six sheriffs for Shiawassee County. But Sheriff Doug Chapman said he hopes that this time around, they’ll get some answers.
“Everyone deserves justice,” Chapman said. “So, we’re asking for the help of the public. If anyone should know anything about this case, they can reach out to the sheriff’s office, they can make contact with Detective Mark Pendergraff.”
Only July 24, 1992, 22-year-old Matthew Leach met his ex-girlfriend at about 10 p.m., at the Colonial Coney Island in Flint.
After the meeting, he reportedly walked away from her and was not seen again. About a week later, hunters found his body in a secluded, wooded area near M-21 and Reed Road, in Venice Township.
Now, his family says, all they want is closure.
“He said, ‘Dad, I’m going out tonight.’ I said, ‘Well, behave yourself and I’ll see you tomorrow.’ But he never came home,” his father, Herb Leach, Sr. said.
Law enforcement said he was last seen wearing a white shirt, designer jeans, and black cowboy boots with silver-colored toe tips.
“When you’re in charge of a community and your main job is the safety of that community, it wears heavy on us. So, it becomes frustrating because you know somebody did it,” Chapman said.
That’s why, Chapman added, it’s important that he hired Detective Mark Pendergraff to specifically focus on this incident.
“It’s very hard to work a cold case when you have your current cases and new cases coming in,” Pendergraff said. “It’s very hard to find the time. So, that was the benefit of hiring me to work this case only.”
The Leach family said all they want is for someone to come forward, and agreed to give a $4,000 award for information leading to an arrest and a conviction.
“He was a good kid; he wanted to do good,” Herb Leach, Sr. said. “I just don’t understand why anybody would want to kill him. I just hope something comes out of this.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office or Detective Mark Pendergraff at 989-743-3411.