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June 20, 2017: Burlington police refocus investigation after missing man’s foot found (TheHawkeye.com)
A human foot found June 8, 2016, at Lake West in Burlington has been identified as belonging to a Burlington man whose family reported him missing more than two years ago.
Lt. Greg Allen, commander of Burlington’s criminal investigations division, said Monday federal criminalists have identified the foot as belonging to Steven Leasure, who was reported missing in May 2015 in Burlington.
Steven Leasure, 52, went missing from Burlington, Iowa, on Saturday, May 2, 2015, and was reported missing to the Burlington Police Department.
Relatives said they last saw Leasure alive Saturday at a house in the 1400 block of Gnahn Street. Others reported seeing Leasure later that day at the Circle K convenience store at 1012 Maple Street, putting air into his blue GT bicycle tires.
A passerby found the bicycle at Lake West on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, and officials verified it as Leasure’s bike via the serial number.
Investigators searched the lake with a sonar-equipped boat, but found no trace of Leasure.
The bicycle remains in possession of the Burlington Police Department.
Leasure is described as a 52-year-old 5-foot-10 white male weighing about 200 pounds. He has blue eyes and may be completely bald, and what hair that was there is dark blond in color. He may appear “scruffy.”
One eye is closed more than the other. He has a scar on his face that starts between his eyes and goes up over his left eye, and a surgery scar on the side of his head.
Leasure also has a tattoo of a catfish on his forearm about 4-5″ long.
He was last seen wearing jean shorts, a dark T-shirt, and black and red running shoes.
The Burlington Police Department and Iowa Department of Public Safety have classified Leasure’s disappearance as “Endangered / Physical,” meaning a person of any age who is missing under circumstances indicating that his/her physical safety is in danger.
On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, people clearing brush from the banks of Lake West in northwest Burlington noticed something suspicious entangled in the brush and debris, and contacted law enforcement.
Detectives were called to the scene around 2:30 p.m.
“Based on a visual examination at the scene by our officer, it appears to be a human foot,” said Lt. Jeff Klein, commander of Burlington’s criminal investigation division.
Investigators contacted the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and said state lab experts would be consulted to determine if the remains were, in fact, human.
In a June 10, 2016 news report, Klein told The Hawk Eye the remains were X-rayed Thursday and the finding submitted to the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner’s Office for official confirmation.
The foot was found near the lake where Leasure’s bicycle was found almost one year ago — about a month after Leasure disappeared. Investigators used a sonar-equipped boat to search the water, but nothing tying Leasure to the area was found, the Hawk Eye reported.
“We are continuing to treat his disappearance as a missing persons case, but we haven’t ruled out foul play,” Klein told The Hawk Eye. “We will await the forensic findings … Upon receiving (findings indicating the remains are human), additional investigative efforts will commence to determine the victim’s identity and establish facts relating to the remains location at Lake West.”
On June 13, 2016, police confirmed the remains found near Lake West were human. Klein said the remains were being sent to the DCI lab “for DNA extraction and analysis,” and said results weren’t expected for six to eight months. The foot was also sent off to the FBI Crime Lab in Quantico, Virginia, for a DNA comparison.
On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, several law enforcement agencies gathered together and used a cadaver dog and a boat to search the lake for six hours, WQAD.com reported June 22, 2016. Police said they expected divers to be brought in within the next few days to continue the search.
On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, The Hawk Eye reported Burlington police were scouring Lake West looking for additional body parts after the decomposed foot — identified as human — was found near the spillway in early June.
Police Major Dennis Kramer said investigators were using various techniques to search the lake in northwest Burlington, including the use of a kayak and pumping water from the five-acre lake.
Heavy rains hampered the ongoing search process.
On Monday, June 19, 2017, Lt. Greg Allen, commander of Burlington’s criminal investigations division, said federal criminalists had examined the DNA evidence from the human foot found at Lake West and confirmed the foot belonged to missing person Steven Leasure — the 52-year-old who went missing in May 2015.
According to a June 19, 2017 report by WQAD-TV reporter Katrina Lamansky, the Burlington Police Department was informed of the DNA match on June 12, 2017.
Leasure’s disappearance is an ongoing criminal investigation.
Fingerprint information for Steven Leasure is available and on file with the Burlington Police Department.
A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to pertinent information about the case.
Anyone with any information about Steven Leasure’s disappearance and/or death is urged to contact the Burlington Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at (319) 753-8365 or Burlington Area Crime Stoppers at (319) 753-6835.