The Trail Went Cold – Minisode 20 – Leigh Occhi

August 27, 1992. Tupelo, Mississippi. While Hurricane Andrew moves over the area, 13-year old Leigh Occhi is left home alone for the day by her mother, Vickie Felton. When Vickie fails to reach her daughter from work, she rushes home to discover that Leigh is missing and the presence of blood in the house suggests foul play. Weeks later, Vickie is mailed an envelope containing Leigh’s glasses. Was Leigh abducted and murdered by an unknown intruder… or could her own mother have been responsible for her disappearance and fabricated an elaborate cover story? In this week’s minisode of “The Trail Went Cold”, we analyze a very disturbing and bizarre missing persons case.

Additional Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Leigh_Occhi

http://charleyproject.org/case/leigh-marine-occhi

https://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/13/grace.coldcase.occhi/index.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20090803091158/http://blogs.discovery.com/criminal_report/2009/07/leigh-marine-occhi.html#more

http://web.archive.org/web/20090803103803/http://blogs.discovery.com:80/criminal_report/2009/07/leigh-marine-occhi-2.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20090803103803/http://blogs.discovery.com/criminal_report/2009/07/leigh-marine-occhi-3.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20090803091153/http://blogs.discovery.com:80/criminal_report/2009/07/leigh-marine-occhi-4.html

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The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.

3 thoughts on “The Trail Went Cold – Minisode 20 – Leigh Occhi

  • I’m not sure I would agree with your reasons for dismissing Vickie as a suspect. If this was the first time that Leigh had been left alone, I presume that previously she’d been left with relatives or friends, but if so then it’s peculiar that Vickie chose this occasion to leave her daughter alone for the first time. If Leigh was really afraid of storms it seems it would have made more sense to defer this experiment until later.

    I also picked up on the code that Vickie claimed she used, and I wonder if this was invented to justify her rushing home to ‘discover’ the abduction. Without the code people might ask why she panicked, since her daughter might just have been asleep or listening to music and hadn’t heard the phone. Some perpetrators like to do this, while others try to manouevre someone else into discovering their crimes. The other possibility is that Vickie realised that she’d forgotten something incriminating, and needed to get home fast to deal with the problem.

    I agree that the blood supposedly being fresh is a bit of a problem, but it does depend on one person’s memory so it’s not a guaranteed thing. Something else I’d like to know is whether blood is checked for the presence of anti-coagulants like warfarin or aspirin – this is in the context of a different crime I’ve looked at, where blood seemed to behave strangely, staying wet in conditions where it should have clotted quickly.

    • I have heard accusations that the police mishandled the investigation, so if they mistakenly believed the blood was fresh when it wasn’t, that might have played a role in them not focusing on Vickie as a suspect.

  • As salacious and juicy as it is to think it might have been her mother, I agree with Robin that due to the timeframe of what happened, it probably wasn’t. If the blood was as fresh as they reported, that means whatever happened to Leigh happened entirely during that morning, and Vickie couldn’t have had enough time to kill her, dispose of the body, and still make it to work on time. Plus there was no evidence that she took an inordinately long time to call the police when she went back home to check on Leigh either. If you look online, there are lots of posts and quotes from friends and people that knew the family who say a man who lived nearby (possibly the man Vickie suspects, possibly someone else, it’s a little hard to discern) was definitely obsessed with them. Plus if you look at satellite pics of the house, it’s right next to a huge wooded area that could easily hide someone and/or a body. As for her glasses, the same logic applies to what was gossiped about Vickie…the killer could have seen the reporting about a girl sighted in Booneville, and sent the glasses from there to throw off the scent.

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