Thursday, 22 February 2024 07:06

MEDIA RELEASE UPDATE: Madeleine G. Leonard, February 22, 1973 UNSOLVED MURDER

Recently a witness came forward with a detailed account and description that verified Madeleine Leonard was told what happened to her husband, John Leonard, Sr. and why he was murdered. Madeleine said she was going to the Police after finding out what happened to John Leonard. Because of this, she was lured out and killed in Mt. Pocono.

The witness also said, "everyone in the Barrett Township Community knew the facts behind both murders but no one ever came forward to talk about it because they feared for their lives from these people involved".

February 22, 2024 is the 51st anniversary of her murder. Madeleine Leonard was finishing a waitressing shift for a Rotary dinner at the Top Hat Restaurant in Mountainhome, PA (now known as the Pour House). Madeleine called her twin daughters, Lori and Debbie Leonard, at 10:00 p.m. to tell them she “had a lead on their father’s murder and was going to Mt. Pocono to check it out.” [Madeleine’s husband, John W. Leonard, Sr., was murdered in Mick’s Taxicab at Buck Hill Falls, Cresco, PA on September 8, 1970.] The twins pleaded with their Mother not to go alone but she said, “It’ll be okay, I’ll be alright and I’ll be home shortly.” Madeleine must have felt safe and trusted whoever called her to lure her out because she would not have gone out late at night alone.

Sadly, Madeleine never came home. The girls went to bed worried about their mother. The next day she was still not home and the twins along with two brothers (Johnny (Fawn) and Timmy) went to school and Kavin went to work. Later at school, the PA state police showed up and Mt. Pocono Police Chief Robert Hartman took the Leonard children home. Chief Hartman explained to the five children that “their mother was run off the road and she was murdered”. He further said, “Your Mom’s death is linked with your dad’s murder, John Leonard, as there was paint transfer on Madeleine’s car along with a damaged rear bumper. There was also an extra set of tire tracks and skid marks showing that the car was run off the road and her brakes were not applied.”

Much of this was confirmed by her children as Madeleine never drove without her seatbelt and her car was equipped with seatbelts at that time. She also made the children always wear their seatbelts. Madeleine did not drink and drive. Since PSP arrived at the kid’s school, they were certainly aware of the death and vehicle accident of Madeleine and yet never provided any statements, reports, or investigative material regarding a suspicious death.

The local Mt. Pocono police accident report was provided to the family on March 8, 2021, from PSP, only after the family repeatedly tried to obtain the report through local, state police, and Penn Dot but was told it never existed or was destroyed. This new report was fabricated with a false death date for the previous day, February 21, 1973. From 1973 thru March 8, 2021, the children were told by the PA State Police that no report ever existed and then apartially fabricated incomplete report appeared suddenly from the PSP. Upon further investigation, no “negative investigation” was performed in conjunction with the accident report.

The PA State Police and the Monroe County District Attorney Michael Mancuso also said Chief Hartman never did his job or investigated Madeleine’s accident which the family knows is not true, as Chief Hartman “told the children he was investigating Madeleine’s accident as a homicide” which the Monroe County DA and PA State Police continue to deny and ignore anyfoul play ever existed.

Chief Hartman told the family that Madeleine was involved in a brutal struggle as evidenced by bruising and multiple injuries not consistent with an auto accident. She also had hand mark imprints on her neck. Her purse straps were broken. Her necklace was broken. Chief Hartmanfound that Madeleine’s coat was jammed and tied into the steering wheel to make the car go down the embankment. The newspaper articles, along with the accident report, said Madeleine’s head impacted the passenger side of the windshield. She was pinned between the floorboards and the glove compartment as the transmission came up and pinned her in the car, and they said she was not wearing a seatbelt. The accident report also says that Madeleine’s head was resting on the right side of the dashboard. This is a clear indication Madeleine was not driving the vehicle. The death certificate signed by a doctor indicates Madeleine died from a broken neck between C3 and C4 which Coroner Yanac said, “this is not
consistent with this type of accident”.

According to the Monroe County’s official website, “The Monroe County Coroner's Office, located in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is responsible for conducting medicolegal death investigations and autopsies within Monroe County. The office serves as part of the county's public safety system, working closely with law enforcement and medical professionals to determine the cause and manner of death in cases involving suspicious circumstances, accidents, or sudden or unexplained deaths”. The Leonard Family repeatedly told the police that Madeleine was going to check out a lead on her husband’s murder that night and ended up dead. These suspicions were never followed up by the PA State Police. Furthermore, this "suspicious accident" was never investigated or followed up on by the PSP and/or DA's Office. If Madeleine were not driving and was found in the passenger side of the vehicle as she was, how then did she get down an embankment and killed? As such, there are many suspicious details that have never been followed up on.

The newspaper articles also stated, "Madeleine's car was covered with felled foliage and could not be seen from the road". Yet the car was discovered by a passing motorist who was unnamed at the time but must have known the car was there. We recently learned it was a confidential informant for the PSP who called it in. This individual was also a known drug dealer and pedophile and lived in a Cottage at Buck Hill Falls Inn. He was also known as a frequent patron of Mick’s Tavern

In April 2022, the Monroe County Coroner Thomas Yanac told the family that he wanted to exhume Madeleine’s body because her death certificate injuries were “not consistent with that type of accident”. Yanac also wanted to exhume the father, John Leonard, because when the family asked for copies of the autopsy reports, he revealed “both reports were missing, and they needed to start the investigations over”. Yanac also said "no toxicology was done on Madeleine" and yet the PSP insisted she had a high BAC which was another falsified document. The PSP wants you to believe it was a traffic fatality and not a homicide and thus refuse to investigate it.

Also, an important note is that Lori and Debbie (the twin daughters) were directed by Clark’s Funeral Home to provide a "high-neck dress for Madeleine’s burial to make sure that it covered up her neck and throat to the jawline" which the girls never gave any real thoughts to until recently while investigating the crime themselves. Chief Hartman told the family she had many bruises indicating a severe struggle and that she had hand mark imprints on her neck. After reviewing all this information in finding that autopsies and other files were missing and the current corner, Thomas Yanac wanted to exhume the bodies, the Leonard Family had a meeting with the District Attorney, Michael Mancuso. (Note that the Leonard Family had asked to meet with the DA’s office and Mancuso for 52 years, but he never would.) Before ourmeeting with the DA’s office, Mancuso met privately with Coroner Yanac. We were told we were not “allowed” in that meeting. In our meeting with the DA’s office, Mancuso refused to have the exhumations take place now since he "didn’t feel any more information could be learned from an exhumation" and so he didn’t want to advance the investigations any further.The family demanded the exhumations be done because prior to this meeting, Coroner Thomas Yanac previously said to the family, “I have the authority over the district attorney and can just get a judge to sign off and do the exhumation”. And yet Yanac allowed the District Attorney to sway him and stop this action from occurring.

District Attorney Michael Mancuso recently published a book “Aetna, a murder out of time” about a 150-year-old unsolved murder. Mancuso had an exhumation completed in a cemetery in Saylorsburg and had forensics performed to solve this crime. He is profiting from the publication of a book where taxpayer dollars were used for an exhumation, and yet, he is still stalling both the Leonard murders.

For 25 years, the chief investigator on the John Leonard murder case was PA State Police Officer Craig VanLouvender. Nothing was done. The Leonard Family just kept getting the run-around from him. He retired in 2018 when he said to the Leonard twins he was no longer involved in the case and “good luck”. In 2019, Craig VanLouvender becomes employed as a cold case investigator for the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office with DA Michael Mancuso. Now Craig VanLouvender is again in charge of John Leonard’s murder. Craig VanLouvender still refuses to acknowledge any foul play and wrong Leonard’s murder. The best way the police cover up murders is to do absolutely nothing to advance the investigation but instead to wait until all witnesses and persons of interest have died, preventing any solutions to these murders and not mention any cover-ups as is going on here.

Craig VanLouvender never investigated Madeleine Leonard‘s murder because he kept saying she was a drunk driver and that it was just a vehicular accident. This was not true; Madeleine never drank and drove a car. She was against drinking and driving and instilled that trait in each of us 5 kids. The entire family, community and friends knew this. Craig VanLouvender constantly disparages both John and Madeleine's good names and Chief Hartman’s good name and says, “Hartman did not do his job”. Chief Hartman, who is no longer here to defend himself, passed away in 1985 and all his case files on Madeleine’s case and others have since disappeared. Craig VanLouvender and Mike Mancuso refuse to do any investigation whatsoever on Madeleine Leonard‘s suspicious murder, and they all refuse to listen to the Leonard family who provided many accurate details to them. For some reason the District Attorney Mike Mancuso, Craig VanLouvender, and Coroner Thomas Yanac, do everything they can to sweep these murder investigations under the rug. For years, they have also ignored Chief of Police (Barrett Township) Robert LaBar, who just passed away last year, who provided facts and details that would have provided an accurate timeline and persons of interest to be investigated in both Leonard murders.

Another interesting fact is, how does an individual (Charlie Mecca) who is not a family member and who is neither a police officer nor an investigator allowed to take personal belongings and evidence from a crash scene of Madeleine Leonard? Charlie Mecca always gave the twins the creeps when he showed up at Mick’s Bar. Charlie Mecca always gave the twins a $20 dollar bill which always made them very uncomfortable. This is a mafia sign of code of silence or false act of friendship. Charlie Mecca told the girls that Don Mick gave him Madeleine’s coat to get dry cleaned and he would return it later. Yet he had no Leonard family approval to do so.

Madeleine’s coat was never returned to the family. The only items returned to the family were Madeleine’s broken watch, a wallet that was empty except for her social security card and her broken purse. She would have had cash because of just finishing a waitressing shift, along with her driver’s license. Charlie Mecca was a very close friend of Don Mick and Louis DeNaples and for some reason was keeping a very close eye on Madeleine Leonard.

Why did Don Mick provide a $900 cashier’s check to Madeleine Leonard‘s funeral unless it was out of guilt. Also why did Don Mick never give anything to John Leonard’s funeral when John was a chief employee of Don Mick’s. Don Mick also told the Barrett Community he was fostering the five Leonard children upon Madeleine’s death following the murder of their father, but this could not be further from the truth. Don Mick never provided any monetary support to the five Leonard children, and he lied about fostering the children their entire lives. The children had to find jobs before they were legally allowed to work by state law to pay the rent, utilities, medical, food, and even work several jobs to support themselves in order to stay together in the apartment above Mick’s garage while going to school. They never had any monetary assistance from anyone, not even the State. So, why would they then have to even pay rent and utilities to Don Mick if he was their foster parent, yet they had to.

Madeleine Leonard was a Goldstar mom who lost her son in Vietnam who gave his life to this country. She and her husband, John Leonard, a WWII Veteran and POW, deserve better than to be silenced victims of violent crimes and then ignored as the PA State Police and DA’s Office have been doing for the past 51 years.

Wounds can and will only heal the Leonard Family with the truth.

Any tips or leads can be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at the Go Fund Me Site listed below.

This story can be reviewed on the Go Fund Me Page: Exhumation & Solving Two Unsolved Murders in One Family

Last modified on Thursday, 22 February 2024 09:08