Cops: Bradenton murder-for-hire suspect considered having ex-husband kidnapped, made into sex slave

Rachel Leahy, Manatee County Jail booking photo

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office has revealed new details about a Bradenton woman’s plot to kill her ex-husband.

Rachael Leahy, 34, was arrested and charged with solicitation of murder after deputies say she agreed to pay $5,000 to an undercover detective to kill her ex-husband, 59-year-old David Leahy.

Friday in court a judge issued Leahy a $100,000 bond. If she makes bail she’ll be required to give up her passport and wear an ankle monitor.

In the hearing she told the judge she’s not currently working.

“I’m struggling right now,” she said.

Leahy explained she lives on food stamps and occasionally does auto detailing for money. She was disappointed when she learned of her bond amount.

“I agree to all the stipulations, your honor, but I can’t do a bond that high, and I beg for you,” she said before the judge cut her off.

Arrest documents show on August 23, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office learned that Rachael Leahy was trying to have her ex-husband murdered. A phone number to an undercover detective was passed on to her and when Rachel called the undercover detective she expressed that she was eagerly awaiting the call.

When Rachel met with the detective days later, she described how after their divorce, David had kept her children from her and she wanted custody of them.

The arrest report includes a shocking statement, “Rachel went on to describe that she has thought about David being kidnapped and taken to another country and made into a sex slave.”

She even suggested to the undercover officer that her ex could die in an accident like a drowning or if he was caught in a fire. Rachel expressed concern that there would be no guarantee of his death if he became involved in a car accident. She wanted certainty that David would die.

She planned to pay $5,000 for the hit.

“The [detective] explained to Rachael that she could let him know if she changed her mind or wanted to go with someone else, but Rachael described that she was there because she had made up her mind to do this,” detectives wrote in the arrest report.

The arrest report also said: “She said she wants her kids back and she has played nice for too long.”

Investigators say this week, Rachel provided payments to the undercover detective and told him that she was planning to leave the country on Sept. 9 so the murder could occur while she was gone.

A detective said this week she had her passport ready and luggage in her car.

Before the meeting ended, Rachel said she also had another “job” for the undercover detective. She said an unknown person was holding money that belonged to her and she was upset about it. Rachel allegedly told the detective that if David’s murder went well, she would consider him for the second job.

After she was arrested, detectives broke the news to David Leahy. He was in disbelief.

“His reaction at first was ‘Oh, ok.’ And kind of stand-offish a little bit, ‘cuz I don’t know it was sinking into him. I think it just was kind of a shock,” described Manatee County Sheriff spokesman Dave Bristow.

News Channel 8’s John Rogers will have more new information tonight at 6. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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