Details of Disappearance Leggett was last seen standing outside Ross Cotton Gin, her place of employment in Mercedes, Texas, on October 9, 1984. The establishment is owned by her father-in-law, and Leggett worked there as a secretary.
At 4:30 p.m., a customer came to the business with a load of produce and Leggett helped him weigh it. Shortly afterwards, she was seen talking to two males. They were standing next to Leggett's car and another white car, possibly a sports car.
When the customer came by with another load at 5:00 p.m., Leggett was gone. Sketches of the two men Leggett was talking too are posted with this case summary.
At 4:45 p.m. that same day, Leggett's parents received two phone calls saying she had been kidnapped and the abductor(s) wanted a ransom. They thought it was a joke at first. They tried to call the gin to see if Leggett was there, but got no answer. Her father then drove to the gin and found her car parked there with her purse and keys inside.
Leggett was in college studying to be an X-ray technician, and her books were found open on the desk in the office, with a pencil to mark her place. There was also a calculator turned on. Leggett herself was gone, however. She has never been heard from again.
A ransom note was mailed to her family after her disappearance, demanding $250,000. The letter appeared to be in Leggett's handwriting, but the envelope was in another person's writing.
Leggett's stepfather, Lefty Gardner, was a pilot and a member of the Confederate Air Force (now called the Commemorative Air Force) at the time of her abduction. Some theorize that Gardner refused to smuggle contraband into Mexico and Leggett was abduction in retaliation for his refusal, but there is little evidence to support any theory.
Leggett's husband was also looked at as a possible suspect. He cooperated fully with the investigation and maintains his innocence in her case. He obtained a divorce from Leggett after her abduction.
Foul play is suspected in Leggett's case. She left behind her husband and one-year-old son. Authorities believe Leggett was the victim of a homicide. No suspects have been named in her disappearance; it remains unsolved.
- Mercedes Police Department
Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 1, 2011; details of disappearance updated.