With notorious serial killer Scott Lee Kimball
behind bars for 70 years -- convicted earlier this week in the murders
of three women and a man -- the question inevitably arises: Are there
more victims out there?
"I'd say the chances are 50-50," Boulder County
District Attorney Stan Garnett said Friday. "Kimball is certainly
capable of it -- he's said things to make you think he has, but we
have no solid leads."
Garnett said Kimball, 43, has bragged to others
that he has committed "dozens" of murders, but investigators were only
able to make a case in the disappearances of Kaysi McLeod, 19, of
Westminster; Jennifer Marcum, 25, of Aurora; LeAnn Emry, 24, of
Centennial; and Kimball's 60-year-old uncle, Terry.
Kimball killed the four between January 2003 and
August 2004, according to law enforcement authorities, after being
released from prison by the FBI to become an informant for the agency.
Three of his victims' remains have been found in
remote areas of Colorado and Utah. Marcum's body has never been found.
Katharina Booth, one of the two chief deputy DAs
who prosecuted Kimball in a 2005 Lafayette check-fraud case that
proved instrumental to his eventual guilty plea to murder Thursday,
said there's a good chance Kimball left more victims in his wake.
"It's hard to imagine we caught him on everything
he did," she said.
Booth said it's possible there are victims who have
never come to the attention of law enforcement because Kimball didn't
target the powerful and well-connected, but rather those who lived
closer to the margins of society.
"Everyone he surrounded himself with had some issue,"
she said. "He picked on vulnerable people -- people with drug problems,
runaways, people with active warrants."
But she cautioned that Kimball is, at his core, a
con man and a huckster who led a life filled with deceit and shady
business deals. She said his claims of additional killings may be as
fanciful as the promises he made to those who placed their trust in
"He loves to show bravado, he loves to be on the
news," Booth said.
FBI Special Agent Kathy Wright wouldn't comment on
whether there is an ongoing investigation involving Kimball.
"We're not opposed to talking to anyone who
believes they might have information on Scott Kimball," she said.
Kimball pleaded guilty in Boulder County District
Court on Thursday to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths
of McLeod, Marcum, Emry, and Terry Kimball as part of a plea agreement
While none of the homicides was believed to have
been committed in Boulder County, the case was prosecuted here partly
because of Kimball's criminal history in Lafayette and the fact that
the Boulder County District Attorney's Office was already building a
file on him.
Kimball was born in Boulder and grew up in
Lafayette, leaving Colorado in his high school years to follow his
father up to Montana after his parents' divorce.
He lived in various Western states through much of
his early adulthood but moved back to Colorado to live with his mother
after getting released from prison by the FBI in 2002. His mother ran
an insurance office on South Public Road in Lafayette.
By late 2005, police say, Kimball was pulling a
check-fraud scam involving an optometrist who shared office space with
his mother. Police said he managed to siphon off more than $50,000
from the eye specialist's money market account before getting caught.
During that period, he also lived on Huron Street
in Broomfield -- in a house where police now believe he likely killed
Robert McLeod, father of victim Kaysi McLeod, said
there is a lot of time during which police and investigators have no
trace of Kimball's whereabouts. His "gut feeling" is that Kimball's
victim list is longer than anyone now knows.
"Scott has a lot of unaccounted for time in the
last 10 to 15 years when they don't know where he was," McLeod said
Friday. "I don't think you go from zero to 60 just like that."
Serial Killer Scott Lee Kimball
By Gary C. King
Scott Lee KimballAs Scott Lee Kimball
languished inside a Montana prison during the early years of the new
millennium, he bragged to his fellow inmates that he was a hit man, a
tough-guy persona he may have adopted in part to elevate himself
within the inmate hierarchy. For some reason, he also liked to call
himself "Hannibal," after the serial killer character from the Thomas
Harris novels. Although his hit man description was a stretch, Kimball
did kill people—especially women—but the authorities did not yet know
that about him. Serving time on a variety of charges including theft,
passing bad checks and forgery, Kimball nonetheless had hatched a plan
to put him back on the streets.
His scheme included
talking to the authorities about a murder-for-hire plot that involved
his former cell mate, Steve Ennis, and that cell mate's mate's
girlfriend, Jennifer Marcum, 25, of Denver, a stripper and the mother
of a 4-year-old child who, police would learn, had befriended Kimball.
At the time, the FBI was investigating a sizeable ecstasy operation in
the Denver area, and Kimball assured investigators that he could join
up with the drug ringleaders and provide information to the FBI. By
December 2002, Kimball had convinced the FBI that he would make a good
The FBI agreed, in part, to
Kimball's proposal, becoming involved because of the possible murder-for-hire
scenario. Marcum, it turned out, had been a potential witness in a
Drug Enforcement Administration methamphetamine case against Ennis,
and Ennis allegedly wanted another potential witness against him
killed and made plans to use Marcum to get the job done. Before the
year ended, Kimball's plan had worked, and he was back on the streets,
Within a few months of
Kimball's release, Jennifer Marcum disappeared. Then, between August
2003 and September 2004, Kimball's uncle, Terry Kimball, 60,
disappeared, along with Kaysi McLeod, 19, of Lafayette, Colo., and
LeAnn Emery, 24, of Aurora. Terry Kimball was originally from Georgia,
but was believed to have been living with his nephew in Colorado at
the time of his disappearance. Before the investigation of this
twisted case was all over, authorities would learn that Scott Kimball
had married Lori McLeod, the unsuspecting mother of Kaysi McLeod, in
Las Vegas, Nev., shortly after getting out of prison, and the
newlyweds then spent their honeymoon camping in the area where Kaysi's
remains would eventually be found.
An Investigation Begins
Although a number of
people were involved in the investigation of Scott Lee Kimball, FBI
Special Agent Jonathan D. Grusing and Lafayette Police Department
Detective Gary Thatcher were among the primary investigators involved
in clearing the difficult, convoluted case. They were assisted by
several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Colorado
and other states. Grusing came on board on November 9, 2006, after
Kimball had become a suspect in the four murders, when he was assigned
by the FBI's Denver office to investigate the murder-for-hire
allegations surrounding the disappearance of Jennifer Marcum.
During his review of the FBI's case file on Ennis, Grusing learned
that Kimball had told Carle Schlaff of the FBI's Denver office on June
29, 2003, that Marcum had been murdered by one of Ennis's associates
because of the fear that she would testify against Ennis in the
methamphetamine case. Kimball also reportedly had stated that he had
been asked by an Ennis associate to dig up Marcum's body, which he
claimed was located somewhere near Rifle, Colo., to recover her breast
implants and an intrauterine device—each of which, he believed,
contained serial numbers that could be used to help police identify
her body. Whether or not the story was true remained to be seen, but
investigators soon came to think that Kimball was concerned that the
items might link Marcum's body to him rather than to Ennis's associate.
As Grusing continued his review of the case file, he learned that
Jennifer Marcum's cellular phone had last been used on February 17,
2003 at 9:30 p.m., and that her 1996 Saturn sedan, supposedly given to
her by Steven Ennis, had been noticed by officers of the Denver Police
Department in a parking lot at Denver International Airport during the
early morning hours of the following day. Follow-up inquiries made by
the local police revealed that Marcum had not been scheduled on any
outbound flights although Kimball later claimed that she had traveled
to New York City to purchase a handgun that supposedly was to have
been used to shoot the federal witness who was planning to testify
It seemed noteworthy to Grusing and
others that cell phones belonging to Jennifer Marcum and Scott Kimball
had not been used from February 17, 2003 to February 20, 2003, even
though both of their phones had been used significantly to call each
other prior to February 17, 2003. When Kimball was later asked about
his whereabouts on those dates, he claimed that he had taken a trip to
the mountains near Craig, Colo. He remained evasive about what he had
been doing in that area.
Two Fathers Prod the Cops into Action
Meanwhile, according to ABC News, the fathers of Jennifer Marcum and
Kaysi McLeod began their own inquiries into their daughters'
disappearances due to what had seemed to them to be a lack of interest
by law enforcement in the missing person's cases: Jennifer worked as a
stripper and had ties to a known drug dealer; Kaysi had a history of
drug problems and had left home a number of times after she had turned
18. Bob Marcum, Jennifer's father, and Rob McLeod, Kaysi's dad, took
matters into their own hands to move their daughters' cases along.
Bob Marcum began posting billboards with Jennifer's photo that asked
for information about the missing young woman, and appeared on
television news programs to further publicize her mysterious
disappearance. While Marcum appealed for information, it was Kaysi
McLeod's best friend, Tabetha Morton, who had made a connection
between Scott Kimball and Kaysi. Morton called Rob McLeod in 2005 and
told him that Kimball "went missing when Kaysi did." Kimball by that
time was married to Kaysi's mother, Lori McLeod, which is how Morton
had come to know about him.
Rob McLeod immediately
began searching for additional information about Kimball, and in June
2005 discovered a news article about Jennifer Marcum's disappearance.
After reading in stunned disbelief that Jennifer had last been seen
with Kimball, McLeod began tracking down Jennifer's family, who
resided in Illinois.
A short time later, the McLeods
and the Marcums met to compare information about Kimball and his
relationship to their daughters. Lori McLeod told Bob Marcum
everything she knew about Kimball and what he had said about Jennifer,
and the two families drove together to a number of locations that they
believed to be connected with their daughters' disappearances. Hoping
for a clue that could shed some light on what had happened, they
nonetheless came up empty-handed.
one of their discussions, the two families realized that a third
person connected to Kimball had gone missing—Terry Kimball, Scott
Kimball's uncle. Lori McLeod related how Terry had moved in with her
and Scott, but that Uncle Terry had inexplicably left on September 1,
2004, never to be seen again. When Lori had asked Scott where Terry
had gone, Kimball told her that Terry had won the lottery and had
taken his girlfriend to Mexico.
After they had
pieced their information together and had a clear picture that three
people with a connection to Scott Kimball had disappeared without a
trace, Rob McLeod and Bob Marcum went to the FBI. After a bit of
prodding, they eventually convinced the FBI to take their information
and allegations seriously.
A Former Cell Mate Talks to the FBI
interview with Grusing on November 18, 2006, Bob Marcum related that
he and Jennifer's mother, Mary Willis, had met with Scott Kimball in
August 2005. During that meeting, Kimball had said that he knew
precisely where Jennifer's body was buried, and that he could take
them to the location in the mountains because he wanted her to have a
"good Christian burial." Marcum and Willis, however, did not trust
Kimball and declined his offer.
"I figured he was a
killer, and I wasn't going anywhere with him," Marcum told ABC News.
"I figured I'd end up dead after the things that he said."
Grusing met with Marcum and Willis a number of times during the course
of the investigation, and learned that Kimball had told Jennifer's
parents that their daughter's body was buried near Rifle, Colo.
On January 25, 2007, Grusing and LPD Detective Gary Thatcher traveled
to the Missoula County Detention Facility in Missoula, Mont., where
they interviewed one of Kimball's former cellmates. According to the
former cellmate, Kimball had asked him if he thought that fake breasts
could be traced. The cellmate replied that the name of the
manufacturer and the serial number were located inside the implants to
allow tracing in the event of liability lawsuits. During that
conversation, Kimball had reportedly said, "I know a guy that will pay
you to cut implants out of a dead body." When the cell mate asked
Kimball why anyone would be concerned about implants when a body would
have fingerprints, footprints, teeth, and a skull, Kimball responded,
"You cut off the feet, head
and hands and there's no trace of it."
told the cellmate that the woman in question was buried in the
mountains. He apparently had not mentioned which state she was buried
in, and while it was not known whether he had dismembered Jennifer
Marcum's body when he disposed of it, the implication was that the
breast implants and IUD had become a concern to him. Although it was
not known how Kimball had learned of Jennifer's breast implants and
IUD, it was possible that he had learned of them during his dealings
with her former boyfriend, Steve Ennis. At one point, however, Kimball
related information implicating another man in Jennifer's death, and
said that it had been the killer who had been willing to pay Kimball
to remove her breast implants and IUD.
LeAnn Emry, 24, disappeared without a
trace in January 2003 after checking out of a hotel in Colorado. Her
mother and father, Howard and Darlene Emry, last saw LeAnn on January
16, 2003, when she packed her suitcases into her car for what was
supposed to have been a spelunking expedition to Mexico. Exploring
caves had been one of her favorite pastimes, and had seemingly helped
her get through a short and unhappy marriage. Although she had faced
difficulties with a bipolar disorder throughout much of her young life,
her parents recalled being happy for her as she set off on the trip
from which she would not return.
every spare moment she had, LeAnn had been going caving, so this was
not out of the ordinary," her father told a reporter for the Idaho
Two weeks later, however, a sheriff's
deputy from Moab, Utah, called her parents to report that her car had
been found abandoned along a dirt road near Book Cliffs.
"When he told me that...it was a shock," her father said. "I just felt
sick to my stomach."
Although her parents filed a
missing persons report in Arapahoe County, Colo., where they resided
at the time, they were told that LeAnn was likely a runaway and that
there was nothing to indicate foul play. As such, there would not be
an investigation, unless a body was found, although her purse and some
other belongings had been found inside her car. Her credit cards,
however, were missing. With the help of banks and credit card
companies, Howard and Darlene Emry were able to recreate a 10-day
trail of gasoline charges that led through Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon,
Washington, and Nevada. It was clear that she had not gone to Mexico,
and her parents were left wondering whether she had made the charges
to her cards of if someone else had done so. The main purchases made
with them had been gasoline.
Eleven days after leaving home,
LeAnn called her parents for the final time, saying that she would be
staying in Mexico a little longer. Based on what he had already
learned from putting together a timeline based on her credit card
charges, her father knew that her comment about being in Mexico was
not the truth. He eventually learned that the call had been placed in
Colorado, and that she had mailed a gift certificate to her sister
from the same location.
Then a glimmer of hope
surfaced. Howard Emry learned that one of LeAnn's credit cards had
been used in California a few days after her car had been found
abandoned, leaving him with the thought that his daughter was still
alive. However, his hopes were dashed when he obtained the credit card
receipts and found that the signatures on them were not LeAnn's. It
also turned out that the credit card charges in California had been
made by a prostitute who told investigators that she had received the
credit card in question from a man as payment for sexual services.
A short time later, her parents learned that she had been
corresponding with a relative in Idaho via e-mail a few weeks before
she disappeared. In one of those e-mails she wrote: "I have to hide...my
orders come from Hanable...and he's a dangerous person...." In another
e-mail she wrote: "I'm in an underground world." In yet another she
wrote: "If Hanable knew I was talking to you, he'd...have me killed in
a second. Plus, he'd have you killed too."
clear to Howard and Darlene Emry that their daughter was involved in
something that was troubling her, but they had no idea what the dark
secret was that she was concealing from them. They considered that she
may have been trying to protect them from whatever it was that she was
involved in. Although the Emrys contacted their local law enforcement
and the FBI, no one wanted to open an investigation to the mystery
that surrounded LeAnn's disappearance.
Five Years Later
On October 30, 2007, Grusing
contacted the Emrys after they relocated to Idaho and asked to speak
to LeAnn about a possible suspect in an ongoing homicide investigation.
Howard Emry explained that LeAnn had been missing for nearly five
"He didn't say anything for a while," Emry
said. "I think it was just a shock to him that there was another
person to add to the list."
Howard Emry explained to
Grusing that through his own investigation he learned that LeAnn had
been introduced to a man who called himself "Hannibal." According to
what he had learned, "Hannibal" had befriended LeAnn and had assisted
her in writing a series of bad checks and misusing her credit cards,
and that the activity had continued until the time her car was found
abandoned near Moab, Utah.
The following day,
Grusing and Detective Thatcher followed up on some of the information
obtained from Howard Emry, including the fact that LeAnn's boyfriend
at the time of her death was an inmate who had been housed on the same
cellblock as Kimball in late 2002. Kimball apparently had concocted a
plan to help LeAnn's boyfriend escape from prison so they could unite
in Mexico. Kimball instructed the inmate to refer to him as "Hannibal"
in his dealings with LeAnn so that she would not be privy to his real
Within days of the planned escape, LeAnn's
boyfriend had been placed in solitary confinement for poor behavior
and had been unable to speak to LeAnn. Later, after learning the
circumstances of LeAnn's disappearance, the boyfriend told Grusing
that he knew that Kimball had taken her and probably killed her.
Grusing showed LeAnn's boyfriend a photo of a young girl with long,
brown hair, dated January 18, 2003, obtained during a search of
Kimball's laptop computer. By the time of his interview with LeAnn's
boyfriend, Kimball had been arrested for a violation of the conditions
of his release and was back in jail on a variety of charges, and
Grusing took advantage of the situation to gain access to Kimball's
computer. The inmate confirmed that the photo was of LeAnn, but said
that her hair was blond the last time he saw her.
A search of Kimball's
computer turned up hundreds of photos depicting violent rape
pornography. The images were of women who were tied up or were in the
process of being bound, gagged, and assaulted with a variety of
weapons. Although most of the images had been downloaded from the
Internet, some were not—including images of LeAnn.
The implications of the photos were sordid, but Grusing and other
investigators did not share the precise details of what they had found,
particularly with regard to the images of LeAnn.
is not necessary," Howard Emry said. "She was going through hell. She
was going through terrible, terrible things. I don't need to know any
more. I just feel very bad that I wasn't able to help her."
Grusing and others had been successful in tracing Kimball's and
LeAnn's movements together in the Denver area from January 1-16, 2003,
and in the states of Oregon and Washington from January 17-19, 2003,
using motel receipts, phone records, credit card receipts, and check
records. Grusing also discovered that LeAnn had purchased Kimball's
laptop for him at a Best Buy in Lakewood, Colo., on January 10, 2003,
for $1,684.73, using her bank debit card. The same method of
investigation placed them together in Wyoming from January 24-25,
In a complicated plea bargain
arrangement that was worked out in early 2009 after being charged with
four murders, Scott Lee Kimball was allowed to plead guilty to two
counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Terry Kimball,
Jennifer Marcum, LeAnn Emry and Kaysi McLeod, in part so that the
victims' families could have some semblance of closure. One of the
counts pertained to Terry Kimball's murder, and the second count
pertained to the murders of Marcum, Emry, and McLeod. As part of the
plea bargain, Kimball also agreed to assist authorities in locating
his victims' remains.
As a result, the remains LeAnn
Emry were found on Wednesday, March 11, 2009, in the Book Cliffs
region of southeastern Utah. On Monday, June 29, 2009, remains
believed to be those of Terry Kimball were found in a remote area of
Vail Pass. A year earlier, on Tuesday, September 30, 2008, a hunter
had discovered a skull and other bones in a remote area of northwest
Colorado. The FBI subsequently confirmed that the skull and bones were
those of Kaysi McLeod. Marcum's remains have not been found, even
though Lori McLeod told FBI agents that Kimball told her that Marcum's
remains were near Rifle, Colo. She explained that she and Kimball had
been passing through Rifle on their way to Denver from Las Vegas when
Kimball told her that he worked for the FBI and was involved in a case
that involved Marcum's murder.
After being sentenced
in 2008 to 53 years in prison on theft and a number of other charges,
Kimball was sentenced on Thursday, October 8, 2009, to an additional
70 years in prison for his guilty pleas to second-degree murder.
Although the 43-year-old serial murderer believes he will one day get
out of prison on parole, the Colorado Department of Corrections lists
his estimated parole eligibility date as July 28, 2056, at which time
Kimball would be 89.