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Remains of Delaware woman last seen in 2020 found in Maryland backyard

Leonard “Buddy” Church, 41, of Henderson, Maryland, was charged with first-degree murder in the disappearance of Jennifer Leyanna, 41, of Felton, Delaware, police said.

Human remains found last week in a Maryland backyard have been identified as a Delaware woman who vanished in 2020, according to police.

Jennifer Leyanna, 41, of Felton, Delaware, was last seen in the Hartly area of the state. She hadn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 9, 2020. 

After months of investigation, Delaware State Police believed she was dead, “and her demise may have occurred from criminal actions," the agency said Tuesday in a news release.

Detectives later identified Leonard “Buddy” Church, 41, of Henderson, Maryland, as a suspect in her murder. 

Police on Feb. 16 searched a residence in the 25000 block of Schuyler Road in Henderson, where they discovered remains positively identified as Leyanna by the Maryland Division of Forensic Science.

Jennifer Leyanna.

Church was taken into custody by Caroline County deputies the same day as the search and jailed in the Maryland Division of Corrections on unrelated criminal charges, according to the news release.

He was extradited Monday from there to Delaware State Police Troop 3 and charged with first-degree felony murder, police said.

Authorities didn’t share the motive behind the attack.

Church was arraigned in the Justice of the Peace Court and committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institute on a $2 million cash bond, according to police. 

Lawyer information for Church was not immediately available.

An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information or tips is asked to contact Det. Mark Ryde by calling 302-741-2730 or emailing