Thieves steal grieving family's memento of late son

A Garland couple is still mourning the loss of their son in a plane crash last month, and now they are victims of thieves who stole a cherished memento from his life.

The Leetches aren't interested in arrests or punishment; they just want two things: their son's briefcase and the Bible inside.

Teresa and Richard Leetch's 37-year-old son, Aaron was the deputy athletic director at Illinois State University. He was killed April 7 returning from the NCAA tournament when the small, private plane he was in crashed into field just short of the airport in central Illinois.

Six others on board also died.

Aaron leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

One of the Leetches' most treasured possessions is Aaron's black leather briefcase with the red Illinois State logo on it. Richard had taken to carrying it.

"Like I had a little piece of him," said Richard.

Richard stopped at the Sam's Club on Garland Avenue near the George Bush Turnpike on Wednesday, where his new truck became the target of thieves.

"I just kind of shaded my eyes to look in there to see if I could see the briefcase, and it was gone," said Richard. He said his heart immediately dropped.

Richard has spent the last 40 years as an assistant pastor at Lavon Baptist Church, ministering to the sick and dying.

His cherished Bible was inside his son's briefcase in the back of the truck.

"All this memorabilia that we have scattered around is just to help us with the healing process," said Richard. "Just having that briefcase to carry around with me just meant something to me. It just was special."

Garland police are investigating and have issued an alert to pawn shops.

"We only want that special briefcase and [Richard's] special Bible," said Teresa.

The Leetches say they hope someone will drop the items off at the Lavon Baptist Church -- there will be no questions asked.

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