The Disappearance of Leigh Occhi

In Tupelo, Mississippi as Hurrican Andrew entered the area 13 year old Leogh Occhi disappeared. 

The morning of August 27, 1992 was a stormy one. Vickie, Leigh's mom, was reluctant to let her stay home by herself but her grandma was supposed to pick her up soon for the open house at her school. Leigh was a smart, sweet girl who was about to start the 8th grade. This was the first time Leigh Occhi had stayed home alone so when her calls went unanswered her mom became concerned. 

By 9 a.m, Vickie had reported Leigh missing to police. She had left their home on Honey Locust Drive around 7:45a.m. and left work early when she couldn't get Leogh on the phone. When she got to the house the garage door was open and the light was on indicating someone had just opened the door. Leigh was nowhere to be found. 

As police investigated the scene, they did not see any signs of forced entry. However, there were fresh, wet blood stains in the home. Blood was found on the walls, carpet, bathroom counter and a trail led from the hallway through the living room to the back door. There was also blood and hair on the door frame. 

There was an attempt to clean up blood in the bathroom. Investigators located the nightgown Leogh was wearing that morning and a bra with blood on them in her room. Missing along with Leogh were her glasses, shoes, some clothes and a sleeping bag. 

Immediate suspicion fell on Leigh's mom, Vickie who took 3 polygraph tests. Her step father Barney Yarborough was also questioned. He was not living in the home at that time as the couple had recently separated. Neither have been named as suspects. 

Searches began immediately as well and K-9s were brought in. However due to the stormy, wet conditions it was impossible for them to detect and track her scent. 

Her father was in the military at the time she disappeared and was granted emergency leave. From the start, he has believed that Leigh met with foul play and that they were searching for a body. 

Five days after her disappearance, Leigh's glasses arrived in the mail in a package addressed to Barney Yarborough. It was mailed from Boonville and had more than the required postage. Investigators were hoping to get DNA from the stamps but water was used to wet them. It was at this point that Tupelo PD brought in the FBI to assist with the case. 

Vickie has never given up hope that Leigh is out there somewhere alive. She has named her own person of interest in her daughter's abduction. Oscar "Mike" Kearns was a man they knew from church. Nine months after Leigh's disappearance he kidnapped and assaulted a 9th grade girl he met through a Tupelo church. He was convicted and released in 1997. After his release, he abducted a married couple and assaulted the wife. He went back to prison but has refused to discuss Leigh's case with authorities. 

Tupelo Police believe that Leogh has met with foul play and state that the case is still active. 

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Leigh Occhi, call the Tupelo Polics Department at 662-841-6491.

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