Leo Van Kress

Leo Van Kress is the great-nephew of real estate mogul Martin Van Kress and the former spokesperson for the charity For Love of Lydia.

Personal Life

Leo is the grandson of Martin’s younger brother. He has an adopted brother, Roland, who is fifteen years his junior. Both their parents and grandparents are deceased. Leo attended Oxford University. Shortly after arriving in England he met and married Kendall Harris. The two had a son, Warren, a year after they were married. Daughter Lydia followed nine months later. Leo moved his young family back to his home in America. His bride soon became disillusioned with life in America. After trying to find a solution to their marital difficulties the couple finally split after just five years of marriage. Kendall returned to England with their son Warren and Lydia remained in America with Leo. Leo never again married, instead focusing his attention on raising his daughter and on keeping a connection with his son despite the distance separating them.


Leo worked for a while as a stockbroker on Wall Street. He distinguished himself among his peers by having an uncanny knack for selling off stocks just before disaster struck the companies in question. The SEC briefly opened an investigation into his dealings but concluded that there was no wrongdoing or insider trading happening. Still, disillusioned after that experience and devastated by the disappearance of his daughter he left Wall Street to become the face of the charity For Love of Lydia. He worked at that for a couple of years before retiring completely.


In 2007 Leo was struck a devastating blow when his daughter ran away from home following an argument they’d had over a boy she was seeing who Leo thought wasn’t right for her. Devastated, the desperate father searched for months for his daughter, taking out advertisements in newspapers and national television spots begging her to come home. The police found her car abandoned the morning after she ran away but no trace of her.

Charity Work

Several members of the Van Kress family created the charity For Love of Lydia to help other families and their lost or runaway children be reunited. Leo was a driving force in creating the charity and for the first couple of years was its public face before his cousin, Victoria, took up that mantel.