Real Name: Leroy Drieth
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Mead, Colorado
Date: May 30, 1968
Details: Leroy Drieth was the oldest of four children. At the age of seventeen, he fell in love with a sixteen-year-old Hispanic girl named Patty. A year later, they were engaged. On Memorial Day, 1968, Leroy attended a party at Patty's house in Mead, Colorado. In the early afternoon, he left the party. A block and a half away, he was found semi-conscious behind the wheel of his car, which had crashed into a tree. Leroy's father Henry and brother were on the scene within minutes. When the ambulance arrived, one of the paramedics asked the gathering crowd about the crash. One witness claimed that Leroy had fought with his girlfriend and said that he was going to kill himself. Leroy passed away at the hospital. Shortly after, the coroner spoke with one of the paramedics, who told him about the witness's statement. The coroner decided that no autopsy was necessary and labelled the death an "auto suicide".
Leroy's family was certain that it was not a suicide. His mother Freda went to the D.A. and asked them to investigate the case. They rudely denied her request and told her to "get over it". Leroy's sister, Vickie Mahrling, was just eleven at the time. She noticed that her mother was deeply upset about her brother's death. She was also certain that her brother did not commit suicide. Years later in June of 1988, she decided to start her own investigation into the case. She visited the Boulder County Coroner's Office and was surprised to learn that they were also suspicious of the death. An official noted that there were only three recorded "auto suicide" cases in Colorado, and the other two cases had been investigated for months. Leroy's case, however, was barely investigated for a week.
Vickie questioned Patty's neighbors about the day of Leroy's death. Several people remembered that there was a fight between Leroy and some of Patty's family members during the party. Some of the family members were drinking that day and did not like that Leroy and Patty were dating. Several witnesses told similar stories about the party. However, not all of the people that she talked to believed that there was more to the story. The original coroner's son believed that his father's ruling was correct and that he had done everything that he could to help with the case.
Vickie decided to place an ad in the local newspaper, asking for Patty to contact her; it worked. A few weeks later, the two met and Vickie asked Patty about Leroy's suicidal remarks. She claimed that he never stated that he wanted to kill himself. However, Patty was reluctant to talk more about his death. Despite this, Vickie was certain that something happened to Leroy while he was at Patty's house that day.
Leroy's parents agreed to have his body exhumed for an autopsy. On August 9, 1993, the exhumation took place. The new coroner found two knife wounds on his neck; one was a two-inch stab wound and the other a four-inch slash that severed his windpipe. The cause of Leroy's death was changed from "auto-suicide" to "undetermined." Vickie is certain that one of Patty's family members is responsible for Leroy's death. His family members are still searching for answers in his death.
Suspects: Patty's family members are considered suspects in Leroy's death. Vickie learned that on the day of his death, he arrived at Patty's house at around 5PM. One of the guests at the party was Carolyn Wertz, Patty's sister-in-law at the time. She lived at the house for several months before and after Leroy's death. She remembered that several of Patty's family members were drinking at the time. Apparently, there was a racial argument between Leroy and some of Patty's family members, presumably due to the fact that Patty was Hispanic and Leroy was White.
Soon after the argument, Patty escorted Leroy to his car. Vickie believes that one of Patty's family members attacked Leroy with a knife shortly before he left the house. She believes that he was fleeing from his attacker(s) when he crashed into the tree.
Extra Notes: This segment was featured as a part of the January 12, 1996 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Vickie claims that Patty contacted her again and offered to provide an account of the party. But when Vickie called to set up a meeting, she found that Patty’s phone had been disconnected. Vickie is hoping that Patty will come forward again. Sadly, Leroy's father, Henry Drieth, died in 2003 without learning more in his son's death. A reward is being offered in the case.
- Leroy Drieth at Unsolved.com
- Loveland woman wants more stringent coroner law
- 'Unsolved Mysteries' to probe 1968 Colorado death
- Reward offered for information in Leroy Drieth case
- Foul play investigated in deaths years later
- Families search for answers decades after loved ones' deaths
- Once quickly closed, shooting death is open case
- Leroy Drieth at Find a Grave
- Henry Drieth's Obituary