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Randy was a senior at Linwood High School in 1988. He left his home at 6:30 p.m. to attend a friend's pre-graduation party in a rural area five miles east of her residence on April 15, 1988. Before arriving at the party, he stopped at Stoutís Convenience Store and purchased some candy, soda pop, and gasoline. Then he talked to some friends, then went to De Soto to check on the car he was restoring. As a result of these errands, Randy did not arrive at the party until between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. He was driving his mother's gray four-door 1985 Dodge sedan with the Kansas plate number LVJ8721, and carried about $50 or $60 in cash.
There were between 70 and 150 guests at the party and there was considerable drug and alcohol use by the mostly teenaged guests. Witnesses reported Randy was acting drunk, but it's unclear whether he actually consumed any alcohol and he told a friend he didn't know what was wrong. He may have left the party between 1:30 and 2:00 a.m., but some witnesses reported seeing him there as late as 2:15, and no one actually saw him leave. Randy never returned home and has not been heard from again.
Randy was reported missing by his parents on April 16. He had a 12:30 a.m. curfew at the time he vanished, and usually honored it. His parents slept undisturbed through the night and did not realize their son hadn't come home until they woke up at 6:00 a.m. They first thought he had been in a car accident and called one of his friends, who said she hadn't heard from him. Randy's parents then contacted police. Investigators went to the site of the party Randy had attended, but it had already been cleaned up and there was no evidence to be found.
Authorities do not believe Randy left of his own accord, since he left behind the 1966 Dodge Mustang he was restoring and his friends and family say he had no plans to leave home. He wasn't sure what he wanted to do after graduating high school, but he was thinking of enrolling in trade school. His father describes him as an entrepeneur and a hard worker. He was an excellent student and enjoyed outdoor pursuits, particularly fishing, in 1988. Randy's parents still live in his old house and are hopeful that they will someday get the answers as to his fate.
The house where the party was held was destroyed by a fire shortly after Randy's disappearance. Rumors circulated that Randy was abducted and killed by a Satanic cult that was supposedly active in the Linwood area. Later in 1988, a man told police that he had been kidnapped by the cult and held in a cave for two weeks, and had seen a corpse there that might have been Randy's. Police searched the cave and found no indications that a crime had been committed there; they decided that the man had hallucinated the experience while under the influence of drugs. Three men were arrested in the early 1993 on suspicion of Randy's kidnapping and murder, but they were released without charge several days later and investigators admitted they'd been mistaken about the men's involvement in Randy's case.
An adult acquaintance of Randy's, one of the last people to see him, found a severed foot on the banks of the Kansas River in March 1989. The foot was not Randy's. Randy's parents say the man drove past their house, going only about 10 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, on the morning they discovered Randy's disappearance. The individual has since died and it is not known if he had anything to do with Randy's disappearance. A few other people who attended the party that night are now also deceased.
Some reports state that Randy left the party at 6:30 p.m.; in fact, that was when he left home to go to the party. He was declared legally dead in 2001. In 2006, his disappearance received additional publicity when a University of Kansas graduate student wrote a play about his case, entitled Leaves of Words. It was performed in Lawrence, Kansas. Randy's case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd.
Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office