Roger Reece Kibbe: The I-5 Strangler
The Fledgling Psychopath
Kibbe's background opened a few eyes. He'd had a very bad relationship with his mother, who beat him and treated him as if she had disliked him, and he had always been getting into trouble. Kids at school had teased him about his stutter and he'd become a loner. He lied easily and stole things.
In 1954, when he was 15, according to Bruce Henderson in Trace Evidence, Kibbe had been arrested. A young girl had informed police that she saw him riding his bike into a Chula Vista park, carrying a shovel and cardboard box. He had dug a hole and buried the box. When police dug it up, they found a dress and two bathing suits just reported stolen from a clothes line. The victim had also reported several nylon stockings missing, but these were not found in the box. The officers suspected a sexual fetish and eventually worked their way through witnesses until they found the culprit, Roger Reese Kibbe. He was charged with petty theft and prowling and referred to a juvenile officer. He was also a suspect in similar thefts in that neighborhood over the past year, although he initially denied that he had taken anything. However, he quickly cracked and admitted to the thefts. He took something off a clothesline once or twice a week, he said, and usually buried it or tossed it. He had saved a few things, and these he turned over to the officer. On top of the items was a pair of scissors used for medical purposes, and they saw that the articles, all of which were intimate female apparel, had been cut up in unusual ways.
There were warnings signs of what lay ahead: no apparent remorse, no emotional reaction to having been caught, a sexual fantasy life involving trespass against women, and plenty of furtive behavior acting it out. He also liked tying himself up in female undergarments. What the authorities did not then know, because no one was yet subjecting antisocial children to rigorous study, was that these behaviors also signaled a developing psychopath who would not be deterred by the threat of incarceration or punishment, and would not learn from it. He would also not benefit from the early sessions in which he participated with a psychiatrist. For Kibbe, this was all just an annoying hindrance; he would find ways to go deeper underground and continue his behavior.
For police, there was another red flag: Kibbe's wife Harriett was reportedly domineering and mean. She kept him in line, seemingly just another version of his mother. This would likely feed his anger against women.