Leeann Coleene Huffman, age 29, went missing from Tampa, Florida on June 5, 1978.
There isn’t much information available about her disappearance, but what little is known resembles other cases connected to serial killer James Delano Winkles.
Leann Huffman left home in her vehicle, and was never seen again. Her vehicle was located 3 days later at a Holiday Inn in Tampa.
Patricia Action, a little over a week earlier, had left her new job in Clearwater, Florida, and drove to a Ramada Inn Lounge for drinks with co-workers to celebrate her first paycheck. Halfway through a drink, she excused herself to use the restroom, and was never seen again. Her car was found about four days later at Days Inn in Tarpon Springs.
Barbara Barkley went missing in 1981, and was last seen working alone in a furniture store in Pinellas Park, Florida. Her car was found four days later in a nightclub parking lot, at the same intersection where Patricia Action had gone missing from. James Winkles has been named a suspect in Barbara’s case, according to media accounts.
Elizabeth Graham, who had just started working for Pampered Poodles as a dog groomer, was on her way to a house call on September 9, 1980, and was never seen again. Her vehicle was found with a tire slashed in front of a vacant house. Winkles confessed to abducting and killing Elizabeth, and led investigators to her remains. Winkles stated that he called Pampered Poodles and requested a grooming appointment for his dog, using the name “Johnson”. The address he gave was the vacant house where Elizabeth’s van was found. Winkles claimed that he kept Elizabeth alive for four days prior to killing her.
Margo Delimon was a real estate salesperson, and Winkles met her at an open house showing. He requested that she show him some properties in secluded locations. Margo took him to see these properties, and was never seen again. Winkles confessed to Margo’s abduction and killing as well, stating that he kept her at an abandoned house near his grandmother’s house for four days, before killing her.
Cynthia Clements was last seen at a Li’l General convenience store in St. Petersburg, Florida on September 1, 1980. She had worked there for less than a week. A customer saw Cynthia in the store at 4:20am, and she was gone by 5:20am. Cynthia disappeared 8 days prior to Elizabeth Graham’s disappearance. Cynthia’s remains were later located, and Winkles was a suspect in her case, but was never charged.
Debra Rizzo went missing from Clearwater, Florida on July 24, 1978. Although the circumstances are markedly different, the timing is relevant. Debra went missing less than two months after Leeann Huffman disappeared. Debra was last seen when she was dropped off at a mental health center. She was seeking help for emotional problems. She was found deceased in August 1978.
In 1983, a woman was abducted by Winkles, but managed to escape and reported the incident to authorities. This resulted in his arrest, and he was sentenced to life in prison. He told authorities that he had killed a total of 26 people between 1967-1982, but did not confess to any other than Elizabeth Graham and Margo Delimon. He stated that he had a collection of women’s underwear from his victims, and that he had buried a box with photos of them. He gave investigators a location, but they were not able to find anything.
Winkles stated that he would bury his victims, then later go back to remove the head, and cut the mandible from the skull, and dispose of those items elsewhere.
My blog entry on Patricia Action specifies a couple of unidentified remains that fit this profile, and I believe they could very well belong to Patricia Action, Barbara Barkley, and now Leeann Huffman.