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Harold B. Leach

A 1997 murder in Okaloosa County Florida was solved by a DNA sample taken from a prisoner in the Phelps County jail.

On August 15, 1997, 73 year-old Pluma Bell Sanford was murdered in her Fort Walton Beach, Florida residence. The crime went unsolved until Harry Bernard Leach had to submit a DNA sample last October after pleading guilty to felony domestic assault and endangering the welfare of a child in Phelps County.



Pluma Bell Sanford

Leach, 52, of Newburg, Missouri was placed on two years probation, but on January 23, 2013, Phelps County authorities arrested Leach for an alleged domestic assault that involved a weapon...and that is where he was arrested yesterday on a capital murder and kidnapping warrant out of Florida.

On November 16th authorities received a "hit" between Leach's DNA that was entered into the CODIS system and evidence collected at the Florida crime scene collected fifteen years ago. 

On December 11, 2012  detectives from Okaloosa County arrived in Phelps County to interview Leach, who was being held on a probation violation, and obtain a fresh DNA sample to present to their crime lab for comparison.

It appears from online court records that Leach lived in Springfield in 1992.

All DNA samples obtained by law enforcement agencies are submitted and entered into the Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS). CODIS is a national data base were DNA samples are compared to verify identities, identify individuals who may have committed other crimes, identify unknown remains, among many other uses.
 
Leach remains jailed in Phelps County on one million dollars bail pending extradition to Florida.

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