Leigh Ann Bauman: Ozarks realtor accused in murder-for-hire plot


According to a probable cause statement, it all began when Bauman became convinced that her 74-year-old former mother-in-law was causing a strain in her relationship with her daughters. She and her ex had divorced in 2018, and she worried he and his mother might try to get full custody of the girls.

On March 1, she confided in an unidentified woman and asked for help finding “somebody to get rid of her.” Pressed about whether she was serious, Bauman said she “knew it was wrong as a Christian, but she would go to church and ask for forgiveness after it was done.”

Then, authorities say, she wrote the 74-year-old target’s address on the back of a business card.

The alleged scheme unraveled when the woman Bauman solicited for help finding a hitman went to law enforcement instead. Because of Bauman’s political connections, the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control handled the case “to avoid any hint of impropriety,” Camden County Prosecutor Caleb Cunningham told local station KY3 News.

The woman gave state troopers a recording of a conversation between herself and Bauman, in which she said she’d found someone to do the job for $1,500. Bauman, who also claimed to be talking to a cousin in Texas about the hit, allegedly called that price “reasonable” and said she could go to the bank the next day. She asked “if they could make it look like an accident.”

State troopers showed up at Bauman’s home on March 4. During the rambling interview that followed, she showed off furniture she was refinishing, gasped at the allegations against her and said the woman who went to the cops was “a hustler” who was trying to get money from her. At one point she left to get Botox injections, refusing to cancel the appointment when the troopers asked.

Bauman said that when she told her daughter her grandmother would die soon, she merely meant age-wise. When the trooper accused her of being dishonest, she asked whether she needed a lawyer. She tried a number no one answered and then dialed the Lake Ozark mayor, putting the call on speakerphone.

“During the phone call, Bauman told the Mayor we were there speaking to her, and asked what she should do,” the trooper wrote in the probable cause statement. “The Mayor told Bauman to tell the truth and she would be fine.”

The trooper added that Bauman said she had lunch with the mayor earlier that day and told him what was happening. (The Lake Ozark mayor didn’t immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment.)

Bauman denied agreeing to go to the bank to withdraw money for the hit. After the trooper said he had a recording of her, she denied it again but conceded that she “did have a couple of glasses of wine, so she does not necessarily remember.”

Authorities considered the threat legitimate because Bauman agreed to get the cash and had multiple conversations about the hit. The probable cause statement also notes her “ties to multiple states, as well as political members of the community.”

When she was arrested, Bauman said she would be out “very shortly,” investigators said. But prosecutors are asking that she be held without bail, pointing to her out-of-state ties and access to finances.

With her next court appearance set for next week, Bauman remained jailed on Tuesday and was still seeking an attorney.

The woman she allegedly wanted dead, meanwhile, is reportedly safe. Bauman’s ex-husband told state troopers he was making arrangements to keep her someplace she would be protected, her whereabouts unknown.

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