DA says remains identified as Leighty

The human remains found in Warriors Mark are indeed those of Sherry Leighty, according to Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic.

Zanic said Thursday that DNA testing confirmed what investigators already suspected: The body recovered May 11 on a 155-acre property in rural Warriors Mark Township was that of the 23-year-old Altoona mother of three who disappeared in the fall of 1999.

Leighty’s former father-in-law, Kenneth Wayne Leighty, of Altoona remains in Huntingdon County Prison on homicide and related charges.

Leighty, police said, eventually led searchers to the location of the body.

Altoona police Detective Cpl. Matthew Starr, who received the cold case in August 2012 and quickly developed leads along with state police that culminated with Kenneth Leighty’s arrest on April 19.

Leighty assaulted police who showed up at his 19th Avenue home to question him. Leighty tried to push past a trooper and other officers after he was told police wanted to detain him for further questioning based on holes in his story that he last saw Sherry Leighty on Oct. 1, 1999, when he dropped her off in Duncansville where she worked.

Leighty pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault in August and is due in Huntingdon County Court Thursday for his formal arraignment on the homicide case.

Zanic said he expects Leighty to waive the arraignment.

Starr said Sherry Leighty’s family was notified Thursday morning of the identification of her remains.