San Antonio Disappearance: Missing Leanne Bearden May Have Run Away, Family Says

A woman in a San Antonio suburb who went out for a walk on January 17 and never returned may have simply run off, leaving her husband and extended family behind, the family now believes.

Leanne Hecht Bearden was with her husband, visiting his family in Garden Ridge, Texas, a suburb of San Antonio. About a month earlier, Leanne and Josh Bearden returned to the United States from a two-year adventure in which they traveled around the world.They even documented their journey on a blog, goexplore365.com.

The latest entry, from mid-December, is entitled “Bouncing Around Bolivia.” The Beardens filed earlier posts from Albania, Israel, Chile, Mount Kiliminjaro, India, Ho Chi Minh City, Australia and dozens of other exotic locations.

But according to family members, returning to the quotidian existence of day-to-day life in the United States was frustrating for Leanne Bearden. Investigators on the case have combed through her e-mails and text messages as well as interviewed family and friends.

“The pressure of transitioning from her two year trip back into what we consider ‘normal’ life seems to have left her very anxious and stressed,” read a recent posting on a Facebook page dedicated to finding Leanne Bearden. “As a result of this investigation there is evidence that Leanne may have voluntarily left the area, and we understand this is a strong possibility.”

Her husband is convinced that Leanne left on her own, but worries what might have befallen her since.

“She left on her own free will. That is what she did,” Josh Bearden told a local TV station. “That is absolutely true, but what happened after she left the house on her own free will I don’t know.”

Four reports of the woman missing from the San Antonio suburb being sighted in Houston were filed this week, but when investigators checked them out, they turned out to be someone else.

It was NOT her,” Garden Ridge police chief Donna O’Conner said in a e-mail to The San Antonio Express-News.

The Bearden couple were planning to travel from San Antonio to Denver, Colorado, where they had been married. They planned to settle there and resume everyday life, the missing woman’s brother, Michael Hecht said.

“If Leanne has indeed fled this area, she is extremely vulnerable,” the Facebook posting continued. “She left with only a few assets and is traveling very light. Although she is athletic, she is small in stature. Her mental and physical status is uncertain. We fear for her greatly.”

She was carrying $60 cash plus some credit cards when she vanished, the family said. Authorities searched a 23-mile radius around this community north of San Antonio, but turned up nothing.