Left and Center: Leigh circa, 1974
Right: Age Progressed to age 50
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: April 7, 1974
Missing From: Revere, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: October 5, 1963
Age: 10 years old
Height and Weight: 4’4″ and 60 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Male, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Leigh’s hair was a light shade of brown at the time of his disappearance and his nickname is “LeeLee”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue sweater, a white t-shirt with the phrase “Try It, You’ll Like It” imprinted across the front, a pair of cut-off blue shorts, and sneakers
NCMEC Number: 909064
Details of Disappearance
Leigh was last seen in Revere, Massachusetts on April 7th 1974. At the time he went missing, Leigh would shine shoes after school to earn pocket money. During the week, Leigh had been grounded for falling behind in math, he was getting bad grades. His mother, Dolores, said that Leigh came to ask her if he could resume shoe shining on the day of his disappearance.
Dolores said she felt bad for him so she allowed him to do so. At 11:00 am, Leigh left his residence located on State Road. He was intending to shine shoes at his usual place which was the Suffolk Downs and near the racetrack. The Downs was located next to his residence. He stopped at a diner at Beachmont Square for a sandwich and a glass of milk.
Leigh asked the owner of the establishment to watch over his shoe sine kit while he left and said he was going to the beach. He said he would be back shortly but he never returned to the diner. Dolores became worried when Leigh hadn’t returned by 3:00 pm so she attempted to file a missing persons report with police. They told her she had to wait a few hours before they could take a report.
Dolores did not want to wait and began searching the neighborhood for Leigh. At 4:00 pm, the owner of the diner gave Dolores her sons shoe shine kit. Leigh has never been seen or heard from since. Investigators strongly suspect he was abducted by a non family member. Searches which took place by police and others after his disappearance turned up no sign of him.
Dolores and Leigh’s father, Lowell, believe someone from the racetrack lured Leigh and took him from the area. Dolores believes whoever took her son possibly killed him as well. They are confident in this idea but investigators have not named any strong suspects in Leigh’s case.
In 2001, Massachusetts authorities considered the possibility that Leigh may have been a victim of serial killer Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. Bar-Jonah has been linked to a dozen missing children cases and sexual assault cases that go as far back as the 1970s. Bar-Jonah was believed to be involved in cannibalism and possible ate some of his victims.
Bar Jonah is considered a suspect in the 1973 Connecticut disappearance of Janice Pockett and the 1978 Massachusetts disappearance of Andrew Amato. He was also previously charged with the 1996 abduction and murder of Zachary Ramsay who went missing from Montana in 1996. His body was never found. He’s also been mentioned in the 1997 Wyoming case of Amanda Gallion.
Bar-Jonah died of a blood clotwhile in prison for sexual assault in 2008. There’s no evidence that he was involved in Leigh’s presumed abduction but due to the timing and location, he has been considered.
Investigators believe it’s possible Leigh’s disappearance is connected to a sexual assault case that occurred later in the year of Leigh’s disappearance. In September of 1974, 9 year old Cliff Pisano was accompanied by three friends as he sold used racing programs near the T-shop. Pisano and his friends were approached by a man in a white car who asked if one of them could clean his car for $10.
Pisano ended up going with him and the man reportedly took him to a remote area that looked over Logan Airport. He remembers the man dragging him on the rocks. Pisano was sexually assaulted, beaten, and eventually left for dead. Pisano survived his attack was found the next day by a man. Pisano was seriously injured and spent 5 weeks in a coma fighting for his life.
He got out of the hospital a few months after the attack. Pisano’s assailant was eventually apprehended and charged with the crime. Pisano testified against the man who was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to prison time for it. Pisano says he wasn’t even aware the Leigh had disappeared that same year. There wasn’t much media exposure to his case at the time.
Investigators in Leigh’s case are aware of the attack on Pisano and the man who was eventually arrested for the crime. It’s unclear whether the individual is a suspect in Leigh’s abduction or not. Investigators have stated they haven’t ruled out foul play or anything else in Leigh’s disappearance.
At the time of his disappearance, Leigh was a third grade student at Louis Pasteur School in 1974. His mother said he was a good student. Leigh is one of seven siblings. He was saving up pocket money in order to buy Dolores an Easter present at the time. Dolores and Lowell have never stopped searching for him and hold onto hope that he’s still alive. Leigh’s disappearance remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Massachusetts State Police 508-820-2121
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children