Family and investigators still searching for answers on anniversary of Marshall student’s murder

Local News

Huntington, W.Va (WOWK) – December 14 marks the anniversary of  Marshall student Leah Hickman’s death. A murder that still remains unsolved, and her father Ron said there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t think about his daughter. She was his only child and was taken away from him too soon.​

“Very nice young lady. She cared a lot about people, especially elderly people,” said ​Ron Hickman

​Leah was studying journalism at Marshall University in Huntington, but on December 14, 2007, she went missing, and a week later her body was discovered by the Huntington Police Department in a crawl space underneath her apartment building. She had been strangled.​

Hickman said the last time he talked with his daughter was a few weeks earlier on birthday which was around Thanksgiving. Little did he know that days it would be the last time he would see her alive. 

​”We were just talking. . . . father-daughter stuff. . . I was wishing her well. . . wishing her well on her finals,” said Hickman. ​

​To this day, Leah’s murder remains unsolved, and Captain Ray Cornwell of the Huntington Police Department said a couple of the reasons why is because of a lack of trace evidence and witnesses. ​

​”We talked to every person we could that could offer any insight but nothing was fruitful as to identifying a suspect, said Cornwell.

​Hickman said over the years, he has talked to Leah’s friends to see if they knew anything about what happened to his daughter, but he too has come up short in finding answers. 

​He also said he talks to investigators at the police department about his daughter’s case​ whenever he can, and he has requested they use Parbaon NanoLabs in Virginia to test the evidence collected at the crime by investigators. ​Hickman said the company has had success in the past in breaking cases, but Cornwell said because they have so little trace evidence to work with they have to be careful. ​

​”It does us no good if I burn up a piece of trace evidence and they just tell me generally that it is a white male of Irish descent with brown hair​. We have to weigh the amount of evidence we have against the possibility of getting a specific identification,” said Cornwell.

​At the end of the day, Hickman said all he can do is pray someone comes forward with information and there are advances in technology to help investigators solve his daughter’s murder. ​

​”. . . and for all my friends and family and churches keep praying for justice for Leah,” said Hickman.

​The father also said that if anyone has information about Leah’s case, no matter how little he or she thinks it is, to please contact the Huntington Police Department: 304 -696-5510.

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