After Year On The Run, Man Accused Of Breaking Laramie Woman’s Face Is Caught

After punching a Laramie woman in the face so hard he broke her jaw “from ear to ear,” a 60-year-old drifter has been on the run for almost a year — until Tuesday, when he was caught in Colorado.

Clair McFarland

June 12, 20245 min read

Nearly a year after punching Laramie resident Wendy Budrow in the face so hard he broke her jaw "from ear to ear," the suspect, David Leyba, has been caught in Colorado
Nearly a year after punching Laramie resident Wendy Budrow in the face so hard he broke her jaw "from ear to ear," the suspect, David Leyba, has been caught in Colorado (Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily)

In Wyoming lives a woman whose mouth is still numb from when her on-and-off boyfriend allegedly broke her jaw with one punch and left her in a “bloody pile.”

David Wayne Leyba, 60, is accused of punching his ex-girlfriend Wendy Budrow, who formerly went by the name of Wendy Bidstrup, in her face in Laramie on July 25, 2023, after she kicked him out of her home and shed.

He’d been squatting in her shed and refused to leave, Budrow told Cowboy State Daily in a past interview

Then, Leyba vanished for almost a year, out of the reach of local police.

Until Tuesday.

A man called emergency dispatch from outside a Taco Bell in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, at 9:45 Tuesday morning to say he believed a man was overdosing on drugs, Alex Rose, Wheat Ridge Police Department spokesperson, told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

The man identified himself as David Leyba.

Albany County Sheriff Aaron Appelhans confirmed to Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that he’s the same David Leyba who is wanted on suspicion of aggravated assault on Budrow out of his county.

Emergency medical personnel found Leyba sitting in the grass. He admitted to having taken methamphetamine, Rose said.

Personnel asked Leyba if he had any weapons. He reportedly said he had two knives in his backpack, so responders removed those. In the process, they allegedly found a Colorado driver’s license that did not belong to Leyba.

Possessing someone else’s driver’s license is a misdemeanor in that jurisdiction, Rose said. They also learned he had three warrants for his arrest, including the aggravated assault warrant out of Albany County.

Responders took Leyba to the hospital until he was cleared, then on to the Jefferson County jail where he’s being held on his warrants and facing a possible extradition to Wyoming.

David Wayne Leyba
David Wayne Leyba (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

What A Relief

Budrow heard the news of Leyba’s capture Wednesday morning, and it was then she realized she could quit looking over her shoulder all the time, she said.

“I’m just ecstatic,” said Budrow. “It’s just a whole new feeling of joy. I’m so pleased.”

Though she couldn’t at first, she can now chew and eat properly. She has three large metal plates in the skeletal structure of her face, she said.

“Apparently, he broke my jaw from ear to ear with that one punch,” said Budrow. “I don’t know how much longer the (mouth) numbness is going to last. I’m told it might last for the rest of my life.”

Neither Budrow nor Appelhans were sure when Leyba would arrive back in Wyoming.

Rose wasn’t sure either, though he noted that the crime for which Colorado authorities are prosecuting him is much less serious than what the Albany County Attorney’s Office wants to try him for.

Budrow, for all her relief, said she still feels compassion for Leyba and hopes he gets the help he needs.

“When something like this happens, don’t just grab onto retribution,” she said. “He obviously needs a lot of help and has his whole life, so I don’t want to become the kind of person that just rejects people that need help. I just want to be very, very smart and careful about how (to) direct people that really need help and are very dangerous.”

The Charmer

Budrow met Leyba in a park in Laramie one day in 2022 and found him charming, she told Cowboy State Daily in a previous interview. He lived a transient life and got around by bicycle

They had a monthslong relationship in which everything clicked — until Leyba started exhibiting red flags: shifty narratives, flares of fury, demanding behavior, she said.

Eventually, she kicked him out of the house. Out of mercy, she let him live in her shed for a while, but even that left her “walking on eggshells,” so she asked him to leave her property.

On July 25, 2023, he asked if he could just take a shower and gather some things.

She agreed, and they reportedly arranged a time so that they weren’t at the house at the same time.

But when Budrow got back to her home, Leyba was there. They argued, and he punched her in the face, says the evidentiary affidavit in Leyba’s Wyoming case.

“He left me in a bloody pile,” Budrow said.

He looked down at her as she lay crumpled on the floor.

“Oh, you’re not hurt that badly,” said Leyba, Budrow recalled. He allegedly added: “Don’t call the police.”

Then he allegedly threw a towel onto her, hid her phone in an obscure drawer she never uses and left.

Budrow picked herself up and went out to the street to flag down passersby. The first driver she waved down happened to be a paramedic. He called an ambulance immediately while he attended to Budrow, she said.

Hospital personnel later noted that she’d need facial reconstruction surgery and her sinuses appeared broken, along with her upper palate. Her teeth are still “floating,” Budrow said. It aches to talk by the end of each day, and her smile is warped.

But she said she’s been able to heal somewhat, with the help of a strong support system.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter