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Ventura County Focus | East County / THOUSAND OAKS

Anniversary of Teller's Slaying Marked at Bank

April 29, 1998|KATE FOLMAR

At Western Financial Bank, the day began with a prayer outside the building and a moment of silence within.

The two events--added to a memorial plaque and clutch of dropped-off flowers--were the subtle reminders of a terrible tragedy: the killing of Monica Lynne Leech during a robbery one year ago Tuesday.

Shot to death by one of the robbers while she was handcuffed and kneeling near the bank's safe, Leech, 39, left behind a husband, two children, her parents and an extended family.

On Tuesday, Leech's parents and members of her church prayed outside the bank where the yet-unsolved slaying occurred.

Throughout the day, most customers kept mum about the anniversary, but a few dropped off roses and other flowers on a table inside the bank, where a plaque dedicated to the Camarillo mother sat, said Augie Martinez, the branch's client services manager.

To interested clients, the six people working at Western Financial gave out cards with details about contributing to a memorial fund set up for Leech's children.

"We had one man come in--he wasn't even a customer of Western Financial--who had followed her story, and it had just touched him," Martinez said. "So he went across the street, got some roses and brought them back. It was very nice."

But, for the most part, customers did not mention Leech's death.

"I wonder if people aren't staying away because of the anniversary," he said. "It's a bad memory for all of us. Maybe they don't want to be reminded of the tragedy."

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