The Missing Years:

Aug. 24, 1979: Richard Joseph Beard, 19, and Mary Margaret Leonard, 17, go on a date to the Ascot Drive-In Theater in Northampton Township (now the city of Cuyahoga Falls.) They are never seen by loved ones again.

Aug. 25, 1979: Police find Ricky's Chevrolet Impala on a farm lane in Northampton. There's a bullet hole in the windshield.

Aug. 30, 1979: An Ohio National Guard helicopter joins the search for the missing teens.

Oct. 6, 1979: Police ask local psychics for help finding the teens. They take two of them on a tour of the crime-related sites. Nothing significant is discovered.

Oct. 31, 1979:

Nov. 12, 1979: The Leonard family hires private investigator William Dear from Texas to help with the search. In December, he returns to Texas without turning up any significant information.

Feb. 4, 1980: Dear's agency says his sources say Ricky and Mary are alive and living out of state. He doesn't disclose where, or what his source is.

May 12, 1980:

May 13, 1980:

May 14, 1980:

May 16, 1980:

May 17, 1980: Based on a tip, police ask the public for help searching the banks of the Little Cuyahoga River. More than 150 people assist. Nothing is discovered.

July 1, 1981: Ricky's father, William Beard, dies.

May 29, 1985: A construction worker using a backhoe off Riverview Road, between Smith and Bath roads in Akron's Merriman Valley, discovers some bones. The coroner determines they belong to Ricky and Mary. There are bullet and knife wounds.

July 12, 1985:

Aug. 24, 1999: At the 20-year anniversary, Akron police reopen the investigation.

July 14, 2000: Akron police hold a press conference to announce the case has been re-opened and make a new plea for anyone with information on the case to come forward. 

Oct. 5, 2006: A Discovery Channel show called "Sensing Murder" covers the Beard and Leonard case. In the show, Akron police work with two psychics to see if they can uncover new information. Some new leads come in after the show airs.

2009: Akron native Edward Wayne Edwards admits to killing at least five people, including two young couples. Edwards denies being responsible for Beard and Leonard’s murders.

Feb. 8, 2009: Ricky's mother, Helen Beard, dies.

Dec. 14, 2012: Mary's father, Richard Leonard, dies.

Dec. 28, 2014: Mary's mother, Gloria Leonard, dies.

Aug. 24, 2019: On the 40-year anniversary of their deaths, the case remains unsolved.

 

Source: Beacon Journal archives