Randy Wayne Leach grew up living on a 10-acre farm in Linwood, Kansas– a small town with a population of just 377.
At home, he loved caring for his many animals, including chickens, rabbits, a dog, a horse, and a pig affectionately named Porkchop.
And in school, Randy was a great student. He usually earned A’s and B’s on his work and played on the basketball team. He also tried out for the track team with hopes of beating the shot put record.
Outside of school, Randy thrived, too. He had an entrepreneurial mindset and launched his own lawn-moving service. In 1988, he even planned to cut lawns throughout the summer to save up before heading off to trade school in the fall.
However, on April 15 of that year, everything changed for the 17-year-old.
That morning started off cheerful, according to Randy’s parents, Harold and Alberta Leach.
The day before, Randy’s father had gifted him a new John Deere lawn tractor. So, on April 15, the teen was reportedly “in a good mood” and headed out to mow the lawn of a customer.
Then, upon returning home, Randy cut his own parents’ lawn for four and a half hours before cleaning the tractor and taking a shower.
Afterward, Randy had plans to head out that evening to attend a pre-graduation party. So, he left his home and headed to the celebration– which was hosted by a classmate, Kim Erwin, at the Erwin farm– and made a few stops along the way.