FBI agent introduces Jennifer Marcum’s parents to their daughter’s killer

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Bob Marcum, pictured at his home in Springfield, Ill., holds a photograph of his daughter Jennifer at age 8. (Kristen Schmid Schurter / For the Camera)

Bob Marcum and Mary Willis hadn’t heard from their daughter in more than a year, and no one seemed to have the slightest idea where she had gone.

Jennifer Marcum had stopped calling her parents, who lived in the Midwest and were divorced when she was an infant. Her phone went dead in the spring of 2003, disconnected with no forwarding number.

Her parents’ concerns grew.

At 25, Jennifer had already been through a failed marriage, had a son with a former boyfriend and was in love with an accused drug dealer in federal prison.

“We kept hoping she’d been arrested and that she was in prison and didn’t want us to know,” remembers Bob Marcum, who lives in Springfield, Ill. “We thought maybe she was in the witness protection program.”

One day in May 2004, the worried father asked a cop friend in Springfield to run his daughter’s name through a federal criminal database.

The next day

Alerted of the search on Jennifer Marcum, FBI Special Agent Carle Schlaff called Bob Marcum from his Denver office.

Schlaff had been Scott Kimball’s primary FBI contact since Kimball’s release from prison in December 2002 as a paid informant. Kimball was supposed to keep an eye on Jennifer and tell Schlaff about a murder-for-hire plot he said she was involved in.

Instead, she wound up dead — murdered by a drug dealer, according to Kimball. Schlaff had been suspicious of Kimball, who’d been out of touch the weekend Jennifer went missing and had all of her furniture at his Lakewood house, but the informant allayed those concerns with a successful lie-detector test.

Kimball also provided Schlaff with a lease showing that he had paid Jennifer $400 to rent the furniture for a year.

But Schlaff didn’t share those details with Bob Marcum. He said Jennifer had “just dropped off the map” after leasing her furniture to a man. There had been few leads in the case.

“They were concerned that something had happened to her,” Bob Marcum remembers.

Scott Kimball gave this lease to his FBI handler to explain why he had Jennifer Marcum’s belongings. She moved her furniture to his house just before disappearing in February 2003. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

Marcum didn’t believe the furniture lease could be legitimate, but he couldn’t get more information out of Schlaff.

“I know my daughter,” Marcum says. “My daughter would not lease her belongings and furniture to anyone.”

August 2005

After trying for more than a year to find the man with Jennifer’s belongings, Marcum and Willis booked a trip to Denver. They would put up fliers of their missing daughter all over town.

Marcum insisted that Schlaff give him the man’s name. Schlaff said he couldn’t. Marcum pushed.

“I told him I wanted my daughter’s belongings and furniture, and we were tired of waiting,” he remembers.

Schlaff relented.

He wouldn’t give a name, but he did give Marcum a cell-phone number for Kimball.

Ask for Joe Snitch, the agent said.

Aug. 23, 2005

Joe Snitch showed up at North Midway Park in Broomfield an hour and 15 minutes late. His words, chilling and surreal, rose above the afternoon traffic on West Midway Boulevard.

“The reason we’re all having this meeting is because Jennifer deserves a Christian burial,” Marcum remembers the man telling him and his ex-wife.

Jennifer Marcum’s parents met "Joe Snitch" at Broomfield’s North Midway Park in August 2005. They got the man’s phone number from FBI agent Carle Schlaff. (Paul Aiken / Camera)

The night before, Jennifer Marcum’s parents had met for the first time the man who had their daughter’s furniture. Over a bowl of chips and salsa at a nearby Mexican restaurant, Joe Snitch had seemed like a friendly guy.

Now he seemed a bit unhinged.

Pulling Bob Marcum aside, Joe Snitch told him Jennifer had been murdered, and he knew who did it. The killers, he said, told him where they left her body and asked him to remove her IUD and breast implants.

“If you stay tomorrow, I’ll take you up to the mountains and show you where she is,” Marcum remembers Joe Snitch saying.

Marcum, beginning to feel more uncomfortable as the minutes went by, refused the macabre offer. But Joe Snitch, stocky and powerfully built, wasn’t easily deterred.

He pulled Mary Willis aside. Let me into your hotel room tonight, he proposed, and I will demonstrate on you what the killer did to Jennifer.

“He told me he could show me exactly how my daughter died,” Willis remembers.

That night

A contract found among Scott Kimball’s belongings was intended for Jennifer Marcum’s mother, Mary Willis, according to investigators. Kimball was known to Willis only as "Joe Snitch" but used his FBI handle in the contract. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

Joe Snitch showed up at Willis’ Lakewood hotel room at midnight. He had a contract for her to sign, giving him permission to bind, gag and have sex with her.

“I am a willing participant and I expect to engage in bondage and sexual activity,” the agreement read.

Willis refused to open the door.

The man noisily circled the parking lot, laid down hot rubber and peeled out into the night.

“He was so angry because he wanted in my room,” Willis remembers. “I wouldn’t be here today had I let him in.”

Both parents came away from the bizarre encounters with the certainty that they had just looked into the eyes of their daughter’s killer.

“There were no maybes,” Bob Marcum said.

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