There has been a continuance in a lawsuit seeking the release of records from the investigation into the 1988 disappearance of a Linwood teen.

There has been a continuance in a lawsuit seeking the release of records from the investigation into the 1988 disappearance of a Linwood teen.

The continuance was requested during a hearing Wednesday by attorney Max Kautsch to allow him time to issue subpoenas. The hearing has been continued until Nov. 21.

Kautsch filed a petition seeking the release of the records on behalf of Harold and Alberta Leach. Their son, Randy Wayne Leach, disappeared April 15, 1988. He was 17 years old at the time.

The petition is seeking the release of records from the investigation into Randy Leach’s disappearance from before 1993. The documents have been sought through the Kansas Open Records Act.

The lawsuit names the Leavenworth County government and the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office as defendants.

District Judge David King conducted Wednesday’s hearing to review the previous denial of the release of the documents.

King said the plaintiffs have the initial burden of proof to show that the release of the requested records is in the public interest. The judge said the burden of proof then shifts to the defendants to show that the documents should not be released under one of the various exceptions allowed by law.

The county government and Sheriff’s Office were represented during the hearing by Interim County Counselor David Van Parys.

King told Kautsch that the petition filed in the case can not be used as evidence to argue the release of the records is in the public interest.

“There has to be something presented,” King said.

Kautsch asked the judge to take judicial notice of newspaper articles mentioned in the petition filed on behalf of the plaintiffs.

King asked Kautsch to direct him to the portion of a state statute that would allow him to take judicial notice of newspaper articles.

Kautsch suggested the defendants’ written response to the petition may have admitted that the contents of the articles are true.

King reviewed the response that had been filed by Van Parys. The judge then said the response filed on behalf of the defendants denied assertions made in the petition.

Kautsch then said that it was his “clients’ desire to request a continuance at this time.”

Kautsch said he will need time to issue subpoenas.

King said he would grant the continuance. The judge said denying the request for the continuance would shut the door on the plaintiffs’ ability to be heard on the matter.

According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Randy Leach was last seen at a high school pre-graduation party given by a classmate in rural Leavenworth County. Randy Leach drove his mother’s car to the party. Randy Leach and the vehicle have never been found.

According to the KBI, the investigation “has produced sufficient information to believe that Leach has been the victim of foul play.”

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR