Superintendent Colonel Melissa Zebley
Kent County, DE- Delaware State Police have confirmed the human remains recovered from the backyard of a residence in the 25000 block of Schuyler Road, Henderson, MD, on February 16, 2022, were positively identified through the Maryland Division of Forensic Science as Jennifer Leyanna, 41, of Felton.
On November 1, 2020, Delaware State Police Troop 3 handled the initial missing person report for the victim, Jennifer Leyanna. According to the reporting person, Leyanna was last seen in the Hartly area and had not been seen or heard from since October 9, 2020. During this lengthy investigation, Delaware State Police Detectives conducted extensive follow-ups, numerous interviews and received countless tips or information on the circumstances and whereabouts of Leyanna. From all of this information obtained, detectives believed the victim was deceased, and her demise may have occurred from criminal actions. Through investigative measures, Leonard “Buddy” Church, 41, of Henderson, MD, was established as a suspect in the murder of Leyanna. On February 16, 2022, Church was taken into custody by Caroline County deputies and was incarcerated in the Maryland Division of Corrections on unrelated criminal charges.
On Monday, February 21, 2022, Leonard “Buddy” Church was extradited from Caroline County Detention Center, Maryland, to Delaware State Police Troop 3 and charged with Murder 1st Degree (Felony).
Church was arraigned in the Justice of the Peace Court and committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on a $2 million cash bond.
This case remains an ongoing investigation. Anyone with additional information or tips is asked to contact Det. Mark Ryde by calling 302-741-2730 or emailing email@example.com. Information may also be provided by sending a Private Facebook Message to the Delaware State Police or contacting Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://delaware.crimestoppersweb.com/
If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of a crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and need assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit/Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll-free hotline 1800 VICTIM-1. (1-800-842-8461). You may also email the Victim Services Unit at DSP_VictimServicesMail@delaware.gov
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Presented by Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Heather Pepper
Released: 022222 1443