cold case

FBI Offers $30,000 Reward for Information Leading to Killers in Murder of Bank Teller 24 Years Ago

Two men handcuffed and shot Monica Leech in the head during a bank robbery in Thousand Oaks in 1997.

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Monica Leech was a bank teller of 20 years who had transferred to a location in Thousand Oaks because it was one of the safest cities in America.

But on April 28, 1997, two men handcuffed Leech before shooting and killing the mother of two during a bank robbery.

The Western Financial Bank where Leech had worked for two months before she was killed more than two decades ago isn’t there anymore, but the Ventura County Sheriff is convinced those who took her life are still out there. And, the handcuffs used in the robbery may now help to catch her killers and bring answers for Leech's family.

"These kids have grown up without their mom and now they have children and now they have kids," said Floyd Leech, her husband. "The kids will never get to know their grandmother."

Monica Leech, 39, was just helping customers at the bank when two men wearing hard hats and reflective vests stormed the bank. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said Leech did every thing the robbers asked.

She didn’t resist. She helped open the safe for them.

But still they handcuffed and shot her in the back of the head.

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The robbery and killing occurred at a time when Southern California was considered a bank robbery capital of the world.

"This occurred at a time when bank robberies were a very common occurrence throughout Southern California,” said Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Buschchow. "This one hit particularly hard in the community because a person's life was taken over money."

The men left in a white 1994 Ford Explorer and crashed a short time later. The SUV, which was painted a different color after the robbery was later found by investigators.

The smallest traces of DNA from handcuffs and other evidence could help close the enormous loss. The FBI is offering a $30,000 reward for information on the arrests of the two killers.

"I am hopeful," Leech said. "I am encouraged."

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