Richard Michael LEAPE


JUDITH Leape with a photo of her son Richard, at right, who went missing 13 years ago. The newspaper clipping on the left sho



The last confirmed sighting of Richard was in George St central Sydney in 1993. His hair was shoulder length, sandy blonde. He is approximately 5ft 10ins - 5ft 11ins [177cm] tall, blue eyes.


DOB: 1956
HAIR: Fair BUILD: Medium EYES: Blue
Richard Leape was last seen at Surry Hills in 1993. Prior to this he had been living in Bondi and has connections in the Nepean district.

Name:  Richard Michael LEAPE
Height: 178cm tall
Build:  Medium
Hair: Fair
Eyes: Blue
Circumstances: Richard Leape was last heard from by his family in April 1993. He left his Bondi unit, leaving most of his possessions behind. It is totally out of character for him not to contact his family. There are fears for his safety and welfare.


Mother's torment

TEN years after the discovery of the skeleton of a 40- year-old-man, a Murwillumbah woman still questions whether it might be her missing son.



TEN years after the discovery of the skeleton of a 40- year-old-man, a Murwillumbah woman still questions whether it might be her missing son.

The body was found near Maitland in the Hunter region of NSW and in the middle of National Missing Person's Week Judith Leape has revealed DNA testing to verify the identity of the skeleton has never been done.

She has been told a lack of government funding is to blame.

Her son Richard went missing 13 years ago.

"It's not that I dwell on it," she said. "But it just sits there with me all the time."

Richard Leape was born and bred in Murwillumbah and grew up to become a maths and science teacher living in Sydney with his wife and young child.

But at the age of 37 something went astray in Mr Leape's life. Mrs Leape believes depression set in, resulting in her son living on the streets of Sydney.

"My daughter and son saw him in April 1993 when they took him some clothes and tried to get him medical help," she said.

"But unless he went voluntarily, there was nothing more they could do."

All contact was lost despite the family's tireless efforts to track him down. But in 1996 a national television program caught Mrs Leape's attention.

"Something grabbed me," she said.

A reconstruction of the skeletal remains from Maitland was displayed on television in an effort to identify the man. It looked like Mr Leape.

Contact was made with the authorities but normal DNA testing was ruled out as the body was too decomposed and dental records proved inconclusive.

The only avenue left apparently was a bone DNA test and that meant samples would have to be sent to New Orleans in the United States.

But the case seemingly stalled until last year when Mrs Leape, after years of hope, was led to believe the DNA samples finally were on their way to New Orleans.

But in April this year the family discovered the samples had never been sent due to a lack of funding. So Mrs Leape continues to wait.

Newspaper articles at the time said the man found near Maitland had been living as a hermit near a sawmill.

"I heard that the man would wait until the workers had gone home and he would then go in looking for food scraps," said Mrs Leape. "Knowing Richard as that happy, placid little boy, it's hard to see how this would have happened.

"I really feel it is Richard," she said.