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      Newburg man facing extradition for 15-year-old Florida murder case

      Harry Leach of Newburg was arrested for his suspected involvement in the 1997 murder of Pluma Sanford.
      A 52-year-old Newburg man faces extradition to Florida for his suspected involvement in a 1997 homicide.


      Phelps County detectives served Harry Leach with a fugitive arrest warrant Wednesday based on a Florida arrest warrant for capital murder and kidnapping.


      Pluma Sanford was killed in her Okaloosa County home on August 15, 1997. The 73-year-old's murder went unsolved for 15 years, until a sample of Leach's DNA was linked to the crime.


      Leach was arrested on January 23, 2012, for a domestic assault involving a weapon in Phelps County and later placed on probation. A DNA sample was taken in October, in compliance with new laws mandating DNA samples submitted for anyone arrested for a felony.


      That DNA sample went into the Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS), a national database used to verify identities, identify those who may have committed other crimes and identify unknown remains, among other uses.


      CODIS notified Okaloosa County of a possible match on November 16. On December 11, Okaloosa detectives arrived in Phelps County to interview Leach and to get a fresh DNA sample for their crime lab to use for comparison.


      Leach returned to the Phelps County Jail at that time for a probation violation. He went back Wednesday, where he remains with a $1 million bond.

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