CHISHOLM - The parents of Leanna Warner say their daughter was behaving strangely in the weeks leading up to her disappearance in 2003.
Leanna Warner's parents, Chris and Kaelin Warner, told the syndicated TV show "Maury," hosted by Maury Povich, that their daughter appeared one day with a case filled with Barbie dolls and their clothes, but would only say she'd gotten them from "a little old lady."
Their daughter, nicknamed "Beaner," also packed a suitcase a week before she vanished, saying she wanted to go live at her "new family's house," the mother said, according to excerpts released by the show, which was scheduled to air Wednesday.
And they say that two weeks before she disappeared, they found Leanna sleeping in the closet.
"She said there were monsters outside her window," Chris Warner told the Duluth News Tribune. "I actually went out and looked, because you never know if there's a footprint out there. The second time, I said: 'They won't get you.' That was a real eye-opener. Our flags kind of went up at that time."
Leanna was 5 years old when she was last seen June 14, 2003, after walking over to a friend's house to play.
Police said the information was not new to them. Investigators looked into Leanna's behavior, but it didn't lead anywhere, Chisholm Police Chief Scott Erickson said.
Erickson said the parents had mentioned the Barbie dolls and suitcase, but there was nothing to indicate that an adult had used the toys to befriend or lure the child.
The Barbie dolls were considered such a minor lead that St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman said he doesn't even remember it. "It doesn't ring a bell with me," he said. "I don't think that's a lead of significant importance, because if it was, I would've heard about it."
Still, Erickson said, featuring the case on national TV probably can't hurt.
"Hopefully, she's alive and well somewhere. That's the best-case scenario. We've seen it before," Erickson said. "Keeping it alive in the public is important. It could inspire somebody to give us a call and turn this thing around."
On the Net: http://www.findbeaner.org