Posted: Sep 18, 2012 5:52 PM
Updated: Sep 19, 2012 12:16 AM
MERCEDES - A former investigator is speaking out about newly released photographs in connection with an unsolved kidnapping and murder case.
Jaime Vazquez took the lead in the Kim Leggett case at the Mercedes Police Department in the 1990s. He retired in 2000.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS showed Vazquez 158 photos obtained from the FBI through a Freedom of Information request. He recognized many of the images from his case files.
Leggett was last seen speaking with two men outside her in-law's cotton gin in Mercedes on Oct. 9, 1984.
Vazquez hopes the photos will help generate new leads.
"At some point before I die, I'd like to see this thing resolved," Vazquez said.
Vazquez said he thinks a lot about Leggett, and so do others.
"I'll get a call or two. ... People will come up to me ... they think I have the answer, and I've been off this case for a long time," he said.
"I still hope and pray that somehow this is going to get resolved," he said.
He recognized many of the shots the FBI provided CHANNEL 5 NEWS.
"I think all of these are going to be out there north of Mercedes, on Kika De La Garza," he said of some images.
"Those photographs are obviously areas north of Mercedes ... in close proximity to the old Ross Gin where she disappeared," he said.
Leggett's family has long feared she was kidnapped, murdered and dumped in the water.
"Those are things we looked at in the early 80s, the 90s and maybe are being looked at today," Vazquez said.
Vazquez said he wonders what investigators have done on the case since he turned it over in 2000. He questions why authorities waited decades to release sketches of the suspects.
"People have gotten older ... witnesses have gotten older. Some are no longer here, so yeah it makes me wonder why the delay," he said.
He also said there was a handwritten ransom note demanding $250,000.
"Ransom notes and ransom requests are followed up. ... Nothing, I mean the ransom request just died ... it just ended. That was really a strange thing," Vazquez said.
"There's DNA on that envelope ... there is DNA on that stamp," he said.
He also believes the FBI should focus its attention on those who knew Leggett best.
"Like any case ... any criminal investigation of this nature, a married couple, immediately, you have to look at the spouse. You have to immediate (look at) family members," he said.
Leggett's brother and mother said the FBI will not answer any of their questions.
"We'll find her one way or another, and I pray a lot about that, but I know that the Lord has done what he is capable of doing. I'm just not to supposed to know right now," said Leggett's mother Sharon Gardner.
Vazquez said it's difficult to hear Gardner's pain.
"They still want this thing to close ... and I believe that one of these agencies should put more effort to find the persons responsible ... or find out what happened to her ... whatever it was," he said.
Leggett's brother, Daron Skurich, is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to her body or an arrest in the case.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Hidalgo County Crime Stoppers at 956-668-8477.