Police Search Yards Of Leekin's Former Homes

Date: 2009-02-22
Source: msnbc.msn.com

Search Could Be Clue To Whereabouts Of Child Last Seen With Woman Who Abused Disabled Children

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Cadaver dogs searched the three Port St. Lucie former homes of convicted child abuser Judith Leekin, looking for the body of Leekin's adopted and severely handicapped 10-year-old son.

"Of the 11 kids she adopted, he was the most disabled," said Port St. Lucie police Detective Stuart Klearman. "He had Down Syndrome, sickle cell anemia, a severely autistic child. He could not care for himself. His nickname, Moo, came because that was the only sound he could make."

Leekin was arrested in 2007. Detectives said inside her home she held four teenagers and five mentally challenged adults captive, some bound with zip-ties.

Shane Graham wasn't there; he had disappeared from another one of Leekin's Port St. Lucie homes in 1999.

"One day Judith showed up, took him from the apartment, and that was the last anybody ever saw of him, " Klearman told WPBF News 25's Terri Parker.

Detectives got a tip that Leekin might have buried the child's body in one of her yards. One current owner said he knew a little about Leekin when he bought the house three months ago.

"We're cooperating with police, especially if we're missing a child and all that. It's a sad thing to not know where someone is," said the homeowner, who would only give his name as Dave.

Leekin has been convicted and sentenced to 20 years, but she won't talk. She collected nearly $2 million from New York City's foster care system over the years. Detectives said she pretended to be a good mother while keeping her adopted children captive, abused and neglected.

"She was expressing all of her remorse and sorrow at her sentencing a couple of weeks ago," said Klearman. "Our challenge is, OK, if you're so remorseful, step up to the plate. Tell us what you did to Shane."


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