Roger Reece Kibbe: California’s ‘I-5 Strangler’ who killed 7 women was choked to death himself, finds autopsy

Roger Reece Kibbe was found unresponsive in his cell at Mule Creek State Prison

                            Roger Reece Kibbe: California’s ‘I-5 Strangler’ who killed 7 women was choked to death himself, finds autopsy
Roger Reece Kibbe aka the 'I-5 Strangler' raped and killed 7 women (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

IONE, CALIFORNIA: Law enforcement officials revealed on Wednesday, March 3 that serial killer Roger Reece Kibbe who strangled and raped at least seven women choked to death in prison. The Associated Press reported how 81-year-old Roger Reece Kibbe, infamously known as the “I-5 Strangler” in the 1970s and 1980s, was found unresponsive in his cell at Mule Creek State Prison on Sunday, February 28, with his 40-year-old cellmate standing next to his body.

The Amador County Sheriff's Office revealed that an autopsy found Kibbe had been manually strangled, and declared his death a homicide. That said, no charges have been filed as yet in the death of Kibbe, a former furniture maker whose brother was a cop.


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Kibbe was serving multiple life sentences after being convicted of seven murders between the years 1977 and 1987 which became infamous as the “I-5 Strangler” slayings. He was serving without the possibility of parole. Kibbe was initially given 25 years to life in May of 1991 after the murder of "a runaway from Seattle" Darcine Frackenpohl. Her body was located in El Dorado County at Echo Summit.

In 2009, Kibbe had pleaded guilty to six more murders that go back to 1977 - DNA evidence had connected him to the deaths. On November 5, 2009, he was sentenced to "serve life without the possibility of parole for two counts of first-degree murder." For the 1991 murder, he was sentenced in El Dorado County "to serve a consecutive life-with-parole sentence for first-degree murder."

Police said they continued their efforts in trying to prove that he was responsible for more deaths. Hoping Kibbe would reveal the whereabouts of more victims, detectives would secretly take him on multiple field trips. Vito Bertocchini, a retired San Joaquin County sheriff’s detective and district attorney’s investigator, told The Sacramento Bee how they would often buy Kibbe an McMuffin and a Coke for breakfast; a hamburger, fries, and Coke, for lunch to get more answers out of him.

Kibbe's ways of killing were brutal. He had strangled one of his victims with a tank top and had choked Frackenpohl to death with a "cord with dowels at both ends." The weapon had been found in the killer's locker room.

Reportedly, Kibbe also used to leave signatures after his crimes. "Random cuts in his victims’ clothing with a pair of scissors." As per the book 'Trace Evidence: The Hunt for an Elusive Serial Killer,' when the killer was younger, he used to "cut up garments he stole with a pair of his mother’s scissors." Detectives had also revealed that he "sometimes bound himself with the garments."

Kibbe was finally captured after a potential victim escaped and authorities recovered a garrote made from dowels and parachute cord along with scissors and other items, according to AP. However, he did not admit to any killings beyond those he was charged with. Bertocchini, who never stopped trying to elicit another confession from Kibbe, called the killer's death by strangulation “some fitting justice.”

“I don’t wish ill on anyone,” Bertocchini told The Sacramento Bee. “But I hope he remembered every one of his victims while he was being killed.”

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