Woman's murder-for-hire plot unravels

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When an undercover detective, posing as a hit man made contact with Rachael Leahy deputies knew time was of the essence.

"When you get something like this, you have to get into it and get into it in a hurry," said Manatee Co. Sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow.

Rachael's number was given to Manatee Deputies on August 22. A person had contacted them and said she wanted her ex-husband David Leahy Jr. dead. An arrest report said when an undercover detective called her, she said she was "eagerly awaiting this."

"She was very matter of fact throughout this investigation," said Bristow.

Deputies said Rachael wanted custody of her 3 children and believed there was no other way. She told investigators she once thought about having her ex-husband kidnapped, taken to another country and made into a sex slave. Once she knew that wouldn't work, she put the hit out.

"All along she said she wanted custody of her children and thats why she wanted her husband dead," said Bristow.

David and Rachael's marriage ended in September of 2011. Three months later she filed domestic violence charges against him. Sarasota County court records show he was arrested for battery in 2012. Records detail a heated custody battle lasting five long years.

"We gave her the opportunity during this, okay are you sure you want to continue to this? It was always yes she wanted to continue," said Bristow.

Rachael was arrested Thursday afternoon after she paid half of the $5,000 in hit money. Arrest records show Rachael told the undercover detective she had "another job for him."

She mentioned an unknown person was holding money that belonged to her and she was upset about it.

A Manatee County judge set her bond at $100,000 and ordered she surrender her passport, wear an ankle monitoring device and not have contact with David Leahy Jr. Former neighbors said she was passionate about getting her kids back, but they are shocked.

"I never dreamed anything like that would happen," said Gary Holloway.

They can't understand why she would sink to this level.

"I don't know how she thought by killing her husband she could get custody. Thats kind of strange. I guess she thought they would never find out she was involved. Whatever. Kind of weird," said Holloway.