Families, detectives discover there’s one man linking the missing victims
By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer
The name stunned Rob McLeod. Twelve letters in black and white could be the key to his daughter’s disappearance.
Kaysi had been missing for three years, and her father was reading a June 29, 2006, Westword article online about another woman who had disappeared. The story profiled Bob Marcum’s search for his own daughter, 25-year-old Jennifer, who had gone missing six months before Kaysi.
Marcum and his ex-wife, Mary Willis, had erected a billboard two days earlier above Shotgun Willie’s, the Glendale strip club where Jennifer had worked. The sign asked plaintively: “Jennifer, where are you?”
McLeod had long suspected Kimball in Kaysi’s disappearance but had no evidence to prove it.
He knew he had to get in touch with Bob Marcum right away.
Marcum had simmering suspicions of his own. He had learned Kimball’s real name shortly after his bizarre meeting with “Joe Snitch” the year before, and he made a point of getting it into the Westword story.
“Now we’ve got two people missing, and there’s only one commonality — Scott Kimball,” Marcum recalls.
Early October 2006
Bob Marcum flew from Illinois to Colorado to stay with Rob McLeod in Wheat Ridge.
The two men met up with Lori Kimball and searched for clues about her now-estranged husband, who was still in prison following his March arrest in California for violating the terms of his probation in an Alaska check-fraud case.
They drove to Scott Kimball’s former condo in Lakewood — where Jennifer had moved her furniture in February 2003 — and talked to the manager there.
They scoped out his former Adams County property and a nearby field where Kimball had run cattle. A pit on the property contained the bones of slaughtered cows.
Marcum became convinced that the man he’d met the previous summer — who had offered to show him where his daughter was buried — had claimed more victims. But how many?
“Is there anyone else Scott Kimball has been around who you’ve never seen again?” he remembers asking the others.
“She said it like she had never thought about it before,” Marcum recalls.
Mid-October through November 2006
If there was ever a time to put pressure on law enforcement, that time was now.
“I told my boss I didn’t know when I’d be back,” Marcum says.
They asked to have the bone pit on Kimball’s cattle pasture searched for human remains.
Police found nothing.
Detectives also dug up a swimming pool that Kimball had filled in on the Adams County property.
The two fathers met with the FBI at the bureau’s Denver office and explained the similarities in their daughters’ cases.
They said they didn’t believe the story about his uncle moving to Mexico.
McLeod ended the conversation with a simple, but poignant, appeal for help.
“You can look into this and see if it goes anywhere, or you can choose not to,” he remembers saying. “It’s your choice.”
Within weeks, the FBI assigned Special Agent Jonathan Grusing, a 10-year veteran of the agency, to investigate Kimball in connection with the missing-persons cases.
Late 2006 to mid-2007
Known simply as “Jonny,” Grusing launched an exhaustive investigation, looking for any and all clues that Kimball had transitioned from a garden-variety fraudster to a cold-blooded killer.
Working together, he and Thatcher interviewed dozens of family members, friends, associates and inmates.
They subpoenaed cell-phone records, and they plunged deep into Kimball’s criminal and family history.
They searched boxes of Kimball’s belongings, trailers that had been associated with his beef business, and the truck he’d driven during the California chase. They analyzed hard drives and company ledgers.
They found Kaysi’s date book in a box of old documents and receipts.
They found evidence of the fake e-mail account set up for Terry Kimball.
They found Scott Kimball’s handgun and rifle at a friend’s house in Indio, Calif.
As incriminating as some of the evidence was, it didn’t confirm Kimball as a serial murderer.
“We knew what Scott was about, but we didn’t know how to prove it,” Thatcher says.
The investigators, it turned out, didn’t have the whole story.
Oct. 11, 2007
They wouldn’t glimpse the next chapter until they headed down to Texas to talk with federal inmate Steve Ennis — Jennifer Marcum’s former boyfriend and Kimball’s former cellmate.
As the interview drew to a close, Ennis told them about another inmate who knew Kimball from FCI-Englewood. Like Ennis, this inmate had become friends with Kimball behind bars in 2002. Like Ennis, he had put Kimball in touch with a girlfriend upon his release.
Both women went missing within weeks.
Talk to Steven Holley, Ennis told the investigators.
It wouldn’t this time.
“Here’s another one,” Thatcher recalls telling himself, as he and Grusing boarded a plane back to Colorado.