RGV True Crime: The nationwide search of a Mercedes mother remains unsolved 37 years later

RGV True Crimes

Courtesy: Texas Department of Public Safety

Courtesy: Texas Department of Public Safety

MERCEDES, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Kim Sue Leggett, the Mercedes woman’s disappearance that caught the eyes of the nation still remains unsolved 37 years later.

Kim Sue Leggett was abducted on October 9, 1984, from the Ross Cotton Gin in Mercedes between 4:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.

The 21-year-old woman worked at the gin that her father-in-law owned as a secretary.

Leggett’s step-father, Lefty Gardner, received a ransom telephone call from a man within a few minutes of her abduction.

Newspaper Credit: The Valley Morning Star October 1984 issue.

Originally believing the call was a joke, Gardner told the caller they are “not giving much money for girls these days.” Sharon Gardner, Leggett’s mother, told reporters that Lefty believed someone was “pulling his leg.”

Concerned that the call may not have been a joke, the Gardner’s called their daughter at the gin and received no answer.

Leggett’s step-father arrived at the gin and found his daughter’s keys in the ignition, purse intact. The gin was found unlocked with Leggett’s college books inside on her desk with the calculator still on.

The radiology student was reported missing Tuesday night, leaving behind her infant son and husband.

Leggett seemingly disappearing into thin air was reported to have been last seen with two unknown men.

A description of Leggett soon ran on newspapers, television stations, later even receiving national coverage.

A few days later, her mother and father received a ransom letter in the mail asking for a $250,000 in ransom.

Kidnappers did not follow up on either the phone call or letter.

Newspaper Credit: The Valley Morning Star October 1984 issue.

With no further contact from kidnappers, Leggett’s family offered a $10,000 reward in exchange for any information.

The Mercedes Crime Stoppers and Harlingen Crime stoppers as well offered an additional $20, 000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in connection to the case.

The Gardner family pleaded to the kidnappers for the safe return of their daughter.

Leggett’s case soon began to lose traction, running out of leads.

Kim Leggett’s disappearance received ten minutes of national television coverage on NBC’s “Missing… Have You Seen This Person?,” giving Mercedes police with more than a month’s worth of tips, said Lieutenant Rey Campos at the time.

Officials reported to the Valley Morning Star that Leggett’s disappearance had no signs of struggle.

Law enforcement presumed that Kim Leggett was murdered by her kidnappers and her body has never been recovered, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

If you have any information on this case, please call the Texas Crime Stoppers at 1-800-252-8477 or submit an online tip here. All tips are anonymous.

There is a $3,000 for anyone that provides information that leads to an arrest.

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