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Maryland man accused of murder after remains of woman missing since 2020 found buried in backyard

body found
Source: Delaware State Police

Feb. 23 2022, Published 3:16 p.m. ET

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A Maryland man was arrested in connection to the murder a Delaware woman who went missing from her home over 16 months ago, authorities said.

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On Feb. 16, detectives recovered the remains of Jennifer Leyanna, 41, from the backyard of a home in Henderson, Maryland.

Leyanna had not been seen or heard from since Oct. 9, 2020, and was reported missing to the Delaware State Police at the beginning of the following month.

“During this lengthy investigation, Delaware State Police Detectives conducted extensive follow-ups, numerous interviews and received countless tips or information on the circumstances and whereabouts of Leyanna,” police said.

Investigators believed Leyanna was likely dead as the result of “criminal actions” and established Leonard “Buddy” Church, 41, of Henderson as a suspect in the case.

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On Feb. 16, Church was arrested and incarcerated in Maryland on unrelated criminal charges, Delaware police said.

Five days later, on Feb. 21, he was extradited to Delaware and charged with first-degree murder.

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Church was booked into the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on a $2 million cash bond. Police have not released how or if the suspect and victim were connected.

Citing records, Delaware Online reported that Church has a criminal history that includes arrests for theft, drug possession and distribution, trespassing, and forgery of prescriptions for controlled substances.

body found
Source: Delaware State Police

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