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Friday, January 31, 2014

Where Is Leanne Bearden?

     In 1999, Leanne Hecht from Roswell, Georgia graduated from the University of Georgia. With her degree in marketing, she moved to Denver, Colorado after being offered a job there. In 2008, Leanne began dating Josh Bearden, a Denver resident from Garden Ridge, Texas. Bearden had graduated from Texas A & M and possessed a degree in marketing as well. The couple were married in 2009.

     Leanne and Josh, in March 2012, left their home in Denver to embark on a trip around the world. Twenty-two months later, after visiting 56 countries and blogging about their adventures, they returned to the United States.

     In December 2013, following a short stay with Leanne's family in Roswell, Georgia, the pair traveled to Garden Ridge, Texas to visit his folks. They had scheduled a flight back to Denver for January 21, 2014.

     Early Friday afternoon, on January 17, 2014, Leanne left the Garden Ridge house to hike in the rugged west Texas terrain northeast of San Antonio. The five-foot, 100 pound woman with two piercings on her left ear, wore hiking shoes and a pair of jeans. She did not take her cellphone, but was in possession of $60 and a couple of credit cards.

     At 5:30 PM that Friday, when Leanne didn't return home from her outing, Josh reported his wife missing. At eight the next morning, officers withe the Garden Ridge Police Department and the Comal County Sheriff's Office, accompanied by 150 volunteer civilians, a contingent of Texas National Guard members, Texas Rangers and a search and rescue team, launched a massive search for the missing 33-year-old. A pair of helicopters, for three hours, flew over a 23-mile-square patch of landscape that features boulders, cliffs, and caves. The search produced no clues as to what happened to Leanne Bearden.

     Leanne had been missing a week when a group in Denver held a fundraiser to solicit money to hire a private missing persons investigator named Charles Parker.

     Assuming Leanne wasn't abducted or murdered, she either ran off, got lost, or suffered an injury. She could have twisted an ankle or fallen off a cliff. It seems rather odd, however, that given the hostile terrain, and the possibility of getting injured or lost, she did not leave the house with her cellphone.

     On January 29, 2014, a member of the missing woman's family posted the following message on Facebook: "The pressure of transitioning from her two-year trip back into what we consider "normal" life seems to have left Leanne very anxious and stressed. As a result there is evidence that Leanne may have voluntarily left the area….We initially believed that she was somewhere in the local area. However, after much searching…no evidence has been found of her presence. If Leanne has indeed fled this area, she is extremely vulnerable. She left with only a few assets and is traveling very light. Although she is athletic, she is small in stature. Her mental and physical status is uncertain. We fear for her greatly."

     On Thursday, February 13, 2014, a Garden Ridge police spokesperson announced that Leanne Bearden's body was found in a wooded area not far from her in-law's house. Jewelry and identification cards were with the body. An autopsy will determine her cause and manner of death.

     According to media reports, Bearden's body was discovered hanging from a tree. The area where she was found had been searched several times by members of her family. As a result, it was not included in the search conducted by law enforcement agencies, volunteers, and search and rescue crews.

     On Friday, February 14, 2014, Garden Ridge Police Chief Donna O'Conner announced that the autopsy results reveal that Leanne Bearden committed suicide. The case is closed.



19 comments:

  1. Jim check your facts. SHe is 33 and graduated from Roswell High in 1999. Three things do not add up here... 1) A very professional website went up within 72hrs(?) of her going missing. Could the husband have set this up as a countermeasure in case she left because he knew her mental state?
    2) Her scent trail ended a mile from the garden ridge home and it has just come to light that the husbands backpack and nutrition bars are missing as well as a description of someone looking like her going toward I-35 the same day.
    3) The family just released a statement yesterday saying that her "anxiety and stress" related to assimilating into American life may not have suited her and she left. That posulation also leads me to believe that there are some serious major facts being left out of this story. PH

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    1. Also the big search with various LE and seach groups did not take place the next day. It was several days later after she was reported missing.

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  2. I Know, right? And, I invite you to find a blog where you can accuse the husband.....can't find one...even yahoo does not have a comment section.... I say, WTF?

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  3. I can understand the husband noticing that his backpack was gone...but who the heck would notice some missing nutrition bars?? That seems like an odd detail for the husband to throw in. Also why was she so mentally stressed and anxious about returning to "normal" life? She put up with the rigors of 22 months of travel--some of it in third world countries--and finding a job and moving back into a house threw her over the edge?? Doesn't add up. There are details missing........Especially since the police have called off the search so soon.

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    1. It's incredibly common to suffer depression and trouble adjusting after living out of the country for an extended period of time. Psychologists refer to it as "re-entry" and it's a stressful and anxiety-filled readjustment time. It's not only very common but they have classes counseling peace corps, non-combat troops and diplomatic families about how to deal with the stress and depression when they return.

      The husband and family said they searched the house looking for anything that was missing. Which is why they identified that a bag of power bars that had been sitting out seemed to be missing, along with one backpack. Obviously if a loved one is missing, you scour the house and report anything you can think of that might be helpful. They were living with the woman's in-laws and the in-laws were also reported to be searching the home to identify any missing items. So this isn't just the husband's story.

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    2. Actually, Josh said they'd been to Enchanted Rock the week before. The backpack had to power bars in it and a few small items. When he realized the backpack was gone, he noted the power bars. The story, in every facet, has been quite dynamic.

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  4. This is utter bollocks. Readjusting to 'normal' life after being away for so long is one of the hardest things to go through. Living life only thinking about the next day to suddenly having to integrate into a society that forces you to constantly worry about the future is enough to send anyone into an anxious state.

    Leanne and Josh are both absolutely incredible people, who would never orchestrate anything like this. Any speculation that this is anything other than a tragic situation needs to stop right away.

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    1. What would you rather - a million people speculate and discuss this case from all angles or we all keep quiet and call them lovely people and get on with life?

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  5. I didn't say that they orchestrated anything...I said a couple of things didn't add up. I will ask you this....in your opinion why have the police called off the search? And why does her husband keep emphasizing that "she left of her own free will"?

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  6. And I will disagree with you on your statement that "Readjusting to 'normal' life after being away for so long is one of the hardest things you can do". Really? They were on vacation for two years. So that is harder than: serving overseas in the military, dealing with a life threatening illness, dealing with the illness of family members, losing your home due to job loss......? I don't think so. Again: I'm sorry if she felt anxious...but being on vacation and not working for two years is not one of the "hardest things to go through".

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    1. When you are gone for two years, it's not a "vacation" it's life. My friend was overseas for 3 years and came back to her corporate job and struggled for a long time with severe anxiety as getting back into the mix / rat race was extremely stressful - she eventually quite her job altogether and trying to figure out how to fit back in. For some, it can and does have profound affects on you. essentially working for half the salary in volunteer type position.

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  7. I read that after 4 hours he reported her missing? I'm not sure I'd call cops after only 4 hours. How did he know so soon that the cops were needed? Also, a lot has been made about the stress of reacclimating...ok, but what about him? Was he feeling the stress too? I read that his parents came home from a trip right after she came up missing? How long had they been gone- because I thought this couple left her parents to visit his parents. Would they have left her family just to go to an empty house?

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  8. It seems like FOUL play to me and the husband may have done it!!! I truly hope I am wrong :(

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  9. Why would she take an hour hike when she had a phone interview coming up shortly? Doesn't make sense. Something about the husband seems off.....

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  10. It's the husbands backpack he reported missing that is strange. Could that backpack have been lost or left if LB was fatally hurt and her husband was with her, and they had their backpacks at the time? There were statements that there are cliffs in the area and she could have fallen. There was a television interview where husband mentions that. Did tree trimmer actually see LB walking, or just see any girl walking? Just because it was reported that the dogs lost scent, LB wasn't found, doesn't mean she is not in the area around the home. It means that the search did not locate her. Think law enforcement should have dogs,rescue search around home and adjacent areas again. Hopefully LB will be found safe soon, and all is ok.

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  11. She was stressed, anxious and depressed coming back to the US.It happens, too bad she couldn't get help instead of suicide. Instead of her plunging back into the workforce, easing her way back in may have been the answer. Her husband seemed to handle coming back better. He could have worked while she worked on her worries and stress.

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  12. The whole thing smells fishy. Women's choice of suicide is usually non-violent. How do we know she wasn-t strangled first then placed in the tree and why choose woods close by to your in laws home. Why wouldn't she have chosen to do it previously at her parents home. Unless she felt an anger against her husband and his family and wants to embarass them. It's either more complex on her end of why she did it and the manner she chose or it's a set up. If husband and his family knew she was in a distressed mental state why let her go off on her own. There should have been a suicide watch or let her go visit a doctor for help and medication. Doesn't add up. Something will come out later and where is her family in all this?

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  13. I have been following this story. I can't help but think her husband did it. I have a gut feeling they got in a fight about going back to Denver, jobs, or money and he strangled her when he got enraged and then staged it to look like a suicide. Things he has said in interviews just don't add up. He seemed very unconcerned when she went missing. Something smells fishy in this case and I don't see her as the type to commit suicide. She was looking forward to seeing her friends back in Denver. Odd, very odd case. I hope Justice is served!

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  14. 1/2016 I still think Josh did it.
    "Dana in Chicago"

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