In 1987, 18-year-old Michelle Schofield was reported missing. Police searched the area, found her abandoned car, and her body was found three days later near a freeway in a canal called Bone Valley.
Michelle’s husband, Leo, was convicted for first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison, and faces the death penalty. Leo maintains his innocence and has been in prison for 34 years. 15 years later, new and previously unidentified fingerprints were found in Michelle’s car and matched a local individual, Jeremy Scott, who confessed to murdering Michelle. Jeremy was also responsible for several additional crimes in Central Florida.
Although Jeremy confessed, Leo is still in prison. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King and producer Kelsey Decker teamed up to research this case and shared new evidence on “Bone Valley.” Gilbert first learned about this case when a Florida judge contacted him about Leo’s sentencing. Gilbert and Kelsey went to speak with Leo in prison and dove into new info supporting Leo’s innocence.
On the 9-episode podcast, hear the case unfold from when Michelle was last seen leaving her waitressing job to stopping at a gas station for a phone call to finding her body in a phosphate pit with 26 stab wounds.
For the trial, Leo retained Polk County defense attorney Jack Edmund who stated there wasn’t any evidence linking him to the crime. Jack faced prosecutor John Aguero who built a case around witnesses’ testimonies depicting Leo and Michelle’s turbulent relationship.
Friends and family expressed concern about Leo’s anger issues over the years. Their neighbor Alice Scott told police she heard the couple arguing the night Michelle went missing and said she saw Leo place a huge object in his trunk. These eyewitness claims were just some of the pieces presented against Leo in court.
Leo’s second wife Crissie and The Innocence Project of Florida have also been working to exonerate him.
“Bone Valley” is presented by iHeartPodcasts and Lava for Good Podcasts. Tune in for episodes on Wednesdays posted through October.