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Investigators Hopeful New Technology Will Help Catch Bank Robbers Who Executed Camarillo Mother Monica Leech In 1997

THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) — Ventura County sheriff's investigators are hoping new technology will help bring the killers of a Camarillo mother and Thousand Oaks bank teller to justice after 24 years.

Monica Leech, a longtime bank teller just two months into a new job at Western Financial Bank on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, was executed by a bank robber on April 28, 1997.

"For me, they took away a soulmate," her husband Floyd said. "We have kids that are growing up without a mom, we now have grandkids that will never know her and that hurts."

"We know the men responsible for this crime are still out there," Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a statement. "There are people close to them who know exactly what they did, and the right piece of information can be the break we need in this case."

According to investigators, on the day of the robbery, two men dressed in hard hats and reflective vests held up the bank's employees and customers at gunpoint. Leech had obeyed the robbers' orders and did not resist, but for some reason, she was shot in the back of the head as she was being handcuffed. The two men were last seen leaving the bank in a 1994 Ford Explorer that became involved in a crash a short time later. The SUV, which had been painted a different color after the robbery, was found and seized by investigators.

"They told me that she did everything she was supposed to do, the way the protocol says to do it. And she was the one that actually opened the safe for them so they got what they wanted and they still shot her," Floyd said.

1997 bank robbery
(credit: Ventura County Sheriff's Department)

Investigators are hopeful with technology now available, they can develop a DNA profile from the "extremely small traces of DNA" that were collected from handcuffs and other items. They have also released composite sketches of the suspects based on witness descriptions from the robbery and the subsequent traffic accident.

"Including handcuffs that were used to secure her and we're hoping that some trace DNA can be lifted off of those handcuffs and identify the suspect," said Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Eric Buschow. "We know these two suspects were Crips gang members, we know exactly the crew of Crips gang members they belong to."

Floyd and investigators hope the new technology and the public's help will give them the break in the case that they need.

That's what my hope is. That somebody will, it'll refresh them, and now with a new emphasis kind of on it, that somebody somehow will say something," Floyd said. "These people need to be captured, they need to pay for what they did."

A $30,000 reward from the FBI, along with $1,000 from Ventura County Crime Stoppers, is being offered for information leading to the suspects in this case. Anyone with information about the suspects in this case can call Detective Aaron Grass at (805) 384-4726.

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