Kaysi McLeod

The teenage daughter of Scott Kimball’s wife-to-be, Kaysi McLeod died six months after her mother started dating the charming FBI informant.

Kaysi McLeod is laid to rest in Wheat Ridge, 6 1/2 years after Scott Kimball murdered her, and a few weeks after the FBI returned her remains to her family.

About 200 friends and well-wishers — including Howard Emry and Bob Marcum, whose daughters Kimball also killed — attend a memorial service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Kaysi’s divorced parents, Lori and Rob McLeod, walk down the aisle together as their 19-year-old daughter’s flower-draped casket is wheeled toward the altar.

“Life was not always easy, but her glass was always half full,” says Mike Harmon, a Baptist pastor and Lori McLeod’s half-brother. “She knew the Lord. She’s with him today.”

Then, the congregation gathers graveside in Crown Hill Cemetery as Kaysi is placed in the ground.

 

Scott Kimball at his sentencing hearing in the Boulder County Justice Center. Camera file photo

Scott Kimball at his sentencing hearing in the Boulder County Justice Center. Camera file photo

Scott Kimball pleads guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of LeAnn Emry, Jennifer Marcum, Kaysi McLeod and Terry Kimball, and is sentenced to 70 years in prison.

In an emotional hearing at the Boulder County Justice Center, the victims’ families finally have a chance to face the man who killed their loved ones.

LeAnn Emry’s mother said her daughter was “no more important to him than the carcass of a dead animal.”

“He made the deliberate choice to murder, and he made that choice at least four times,” Darlene Emry said through tears.

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Garnett mug

Boulder County DA Stan Garnett. (Camera file photo)

Without Jennifer Marcum’s body, Boulder County prosecutors revoke their deal with Kimball.

In a December 2008 “memorandum of understanding,” Kimball had agreed to lead investigators to the bodies of LeAnn Emry, Jennifer Marcum and Terry Kimball. In return, he would face only one count of second-degree murder.

In a letter to Kimball’s public defenders, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett writes that Kimball is considered “in breach” of the deal.

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Kimball's mug shot. (Rocky Mountain News)

Kimball's mug shot. (Rocky Mountain News)

Boulder County prosecutors make a deal with Scott Kimball.

He pleads guilty to stealing $55,000 from Lafayette optometrist Cleve Armstrong as a habitual offender, and is sentenced to 48 years in prison.

In exchange, prosecutors draw up a memorandum of understanding in the missing-persons case. If he will lead investigators to the bodies of Jennifer Marcum, LeAnn Emry and Terry Kimball, he will only face a single count of second-degree murder.

They will otherwise pursue a first-degree murder conviction, punishable by life in prison without parole or the death penalty. But that will be difficult with only one set of remains — Kaysi McLeod’s — that show no evidence of the cause or manner of death.

For prosecutors Amy Okubo and Katharina Booth, the deal represents their only chance of finding the missing victims.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that without his help,” Booth said. “It was a deal with the devil.”

Read the Rocky Mountain News article.

Lafayette police detective Gary Thatcher, left, and FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing, near the site where a hunter discovered Kaysi McLeod's body. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Lafayette police detective Gary Thatcher, left, and FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing, near the site where a hunter discovered Kaysi McLeod's body. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

A final DNA analysis at the FBI’s lab in Quantico, Va., identifies the remains found in Routt National Forest the previous fall as those of Kaysi McLeod.

Investigators, along with Kaysi’s family, will return to the site looking for evidence, but nothing is uncovered.

The receipt, found in a box of Kimball's belongings. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

The receipt, found in a box of Kimball's belongings. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

Nagged by a $17.95 grocery store receipt found in Scott Kimball’s possessions, FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing decides to take a closer look around Walden, Colo.

The receipt — dated Aug. 24, 2003, one day after the disappearance of Kaysi McLeod. — came from the North Park Supers store in the tiny northern Colorado mountain town.

Scott Kimball, who said he was alone in the mountains the day Kaysi disappeared, had later told Grusing that she might have overdosed on drugs somewhere on national forest land.

Grusing calls the Routt National Forest district office in Walden to ask for a map of the area, and a receptionist tells him it costs $8.

In no mood to fill out an expense sheet, Grusing asks to talk to someone higher up the chain of command.

He tells supervisor Sue Yeager he’s with the FBI and is searching for human remains. She says she’ll get some maps out right away.

Then, almost as an afterthought, she tells him to talk to the coroner. A skull, likely belonging to a young female, had been discovered by a hunter six months earlier in a remote area southwest of town.

“When she told me that, I pretty much knew it was Kaysi,” Grusing recalls.

An initial DNA analysis 2 1/2 weeks later will point to the same conclusion.

Investigators find Kaysi McLeod’s Subway hat in a trailer owned by Scott Kimball. It is found in a black bag containing six zip ties, two rolls of electrical tape, and women’s shoes.

Routt National Forest, where a hunter found a human skeleton in September 2007. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Routt National Forest, where a hunter found a human skeleton in September 2007. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Bushwhacking through a dense section of Routt National Forest in the shadow of Little Haystack Mountain, a hunter finds a human skeleton.

“If I hadn’t been at that exact spot at that time of the morning with the sun glinting off the skull, I would not have seen it,” said the hunter, a Brighton resident who asked that his name not be used. “Something happened. Somebody wanted me to find it.”

With snow in the forecast, the hunter ties a rope to a tree to mark his find, packs the skull carefully in his backpack, and continues his trek.

He calls 911 the next day, and the Jackson County coroner takes possession of the remains, thought to belong to a young woman.

The Sheriff’s Office writes up a full report, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is notified, but news of the find doesn’t reach the FBI for six months.

Kimball's Montana Department of Corrections mug.

Kimball's Montana Department of Corrections mug.

Scott Kimball is interviewed by FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing and Lafayette police detective Gary Thatcher at the Cascade County Detention Facility in Great Falls, Mont.

Asked about the disappearances of Jennifer Marcum, Kaysi McLeod and Terry Kimball, he offers to provide information about Jennifer and his uncle if given immunity for his white-collar crimes. Kaysi, he tells the investigators, is still alive.

During the six-hour interview, Kimball makes statements like: “I can’t incriminate myself any further” and “I wish I could be honest with you.”

Kaysi McLeod, 2001. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi McLeod, 2001. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Dale Stewart, Scott Kimball’s former Adams County landlord, admits to investigators that he lied when he told Lori McLeod he had seen her daughter driving around the property after she disappeared in August 2003.

Stewart said Kimball asked him to lie.

The receipt. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

The receipt. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

FBI Special Agent Jonny Grusing and Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher find a receipt from North Park Supers grocery store, dated Aug. 24, 2003 — the day after Kaysi McLeod vanished — in boxes of old documents and receipts belonging to Scott Kimball.

They also find Kaysi’s date book and a map of the North Park area.

FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing. (Marty Caivano/Camera)

FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing. (Marty Caivano/Camera)

After Bob Marcum and Rob McLeod meet with the FBI about their missing daughters, Special Agent Jonathan Grusing is assigned to investigate the missing-persons cases surrounding Scott Kimball.

Working with Lafayette police detective Gary Thatcher, Grusing launches an exhaustive investigation, looking for clues that Kimball had transitioned from a white-collar criminal to a serial killer.

Bob Marcum mug

Bob Marcum.

Rob McLeod.

Rob McLeod.

Bob Marcum and Rob McLeod meet with Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher, who is investigating Kimball for check fraud, about their missing daughters.

They ask to have a bone pit on Kimball’s cattle pasture searched for human remains, but police find nothing.

The two fathers also meet with the FBI at the bureau’s Denver office and explain the similarities in their daughters’ cases. They tell the FBI about Terry Kimball, too, saying they don’t buy that he ran off to Mexico.

“You can look into this and see if it goes anywhere, or you can choose not to,” McLeod tells the bureau. “It’s your choice.”

Terry Kimball in 2002. (Courtesy of Karen Johnson)

Terry Kimball in 2002. (Courtesy of Karen Johnson)

Bob Marcum, who has flown out to Colorado, meets with Rob and Lori McLeod to search for clues to their daughters’ whereabouts.

They drive to Scott Kimball’s former condo in Lakewood, where Jennifer had left her furniture, and talk to the manager there.

They scope out his former Adams County property, and a nearby field where Kimball had run cattle. A pit on the property contains the bones of slaughtered cows.

Convinced that Kimball has claimed more victims, Marcum asks the others: “Is there anyone else Scott Kimball has been around who you’ve never seen again?”

In fact, Lori McLeod responds, Scott’s uncle Terry had vanished a couple of years ago after living with them for several weeks.

“She said it like she had never thought about it before,” Marcum said.

(Date is approximate.)

Rob McLeod (Mark Leffingwell/for the Camera)

Rob McLeod (Mark Leffingwell / Camera)

Reading a Westword article about a billboard erected for Jennifer Marcum, Rob McLeod spots Scott Kimball’s name.

McLeod’s ex-wife is still married to Kimball, who lived with their 19-year-old daughter, Kaysi McLeod, when she went missing three years earlier.

McLeod calls Jennifer’s father, Bob Marcum, who mentioned Kimball’s name to the Westword reporter as an acquaintance she stayed with before vanishing.

“Now we’ve got two people missing, and there’s only one commonality — Scott Kimball,” McLeod said.

Boulder County prosecutors Katharina Booth, left, and Amy Okubo, dubbed by Scott Kimball as "the Boulder bitches," pose in Courtroom Q at the Boulder County Justice Center. (Marty Caivano / Camera)

Boulder County prosecutors Katharina Booth, left, and Amy Okubo, dubbed by Scott Kimball as "the Boulder bitches," pose in Courtroom Q at the Boulder County Justice Center. (Marty Caivano / Camera)

Boulder County prosecutors Amy Okubo and Katharina Booth, assigned to the Lafayette check-fraud case against Scott Kimball, meet with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in Denver, asking for a wider investigation.

Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher had found out about Kaysi McLeod’s disappearance, and had also been told by FBI Special Agent Carle Schlaff that Kimball might be connected to the disappearance of Jennifer Marcum.

But neither federal agency launched a missing-persons probe.

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Kaysi McLeod missing

(Camera file photo)

Kaysi McLeod is entered into the missing persons database by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Kaysi's schedule. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

Kaysi's schedule. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

In a box belonging to her estranged husband, Lori McLeod find her daughter’s hand-written work schedule for the week she went missing.

McLeod takes it to the Lafayette Police Department, which is already investigating Scott Kimball for check fraud.

Kaysi McLeod, at 16. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi McLeod, at 16. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

In investigating Scott Kimball for stealing $55,000 from optometrist Cleve Armstrong, Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher interviews Kimball’s now-estranged wife, Lori McLeod, and learns that her daughter has been missing for more than two years.

Lori McLeod says she has long suspected that her husband played a role in Kaysi’s disappearance.

Kaysi as a teenager. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi as a teenager. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Scott Kimball tells Lori McLeod that he’ll take a polygraph test to show that he’s not lying when he says he didn’t kill Kaysi McLeod or take her to the mountains back in August 2003.

He is tested at a private polygraph business in Englewood and passes.

The trailer that Scott Kimball stole from his former fellow FCI-Englewood inmate John Alderman burns to the ground on Kimball’s Adams County property.

It was the same trailer that Kimball picked Kaysi McLeod up on the day she disappeared, according to her boyfriend.

Emergency officials deem the trailer fire accidental, but years later a witness — one of Kimball’s business associates — tells police Kimball intentionally burned it to destroy any evidence that Kaysi might have been in it and also to collect insurance money.

Red Mountain RV Park. (struck.us/bikepics)

Red Mountain RV Park. (struck.us/bikepics)

On Kaysi McLeod’s birthday, her mother is honeymooning with Scott Kimball at Red Mountain RV Park in Kremmling, Colo. But the new bride can’t get her mind off her daughter, missing for three weeks.

“Happy 20th birthday sweet love,” Lori McLeod writes in her diary. “I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying your day. I miss you and wish I could celebrate with you. Anticipating your arrival 20 years ago today, I was in the most severe pain I thought I would ever feel. That would also not be the last time I would be wrong in my life.”

McLeod would later learn that her new husband had murdered her daughter, and that their honeymoon camping trip took place less than 30 miles from the spot where she was left to rot.

las vegas

Scott Kimball and Lori McLeod get married in Las Vegas, in a “drive-through” wedding devoid of romance.

McLeod says she married Kimball because she saw him as the only link to her daughter, Kaysi, who had been missing for eight days.

The frantic mother thought her new husband might be involved in the disappearance, but she also knew he worked for the FBI in some capacity and hoped he might help find Kaysi.

Throughout their marriage, Kimball kept McLeod’s hope alive by fabricating signs that Kaysi had been at the house but wasn’t ready to talk to her mother.

He looped Kaysi’s necklace – the one she was wearing the day she went missing – around her bedroom doorknob one day. He took her makeup box out of the bedroom. And he asked their landlord to lie about having seen Kaysi driving nearby.

Scott Kimball, an avid outdoorsman and hunter, insisted he’d been alone in the mountains scouting out bow-hunting grounds the night Kaysi McLeod disappeared. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Scott Kimball, an avid outdoorsman and hunter, insisted he’d been alone in the mountains scouting out bow-hunting grounds the night Kaysi McLeod disappeared. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Scott Kimball’s cell phone goes dead from 8:15 p.m. Aug. 23 through 4:38 p.m. Aug. 24.

When he turns his phone back on, its signal is picked up by a tower near Walden, Colo. A receipt later found in his belongings also shows that he bought pasta, meat, lighter fluid and spaghetti sauce at the North Park Supers market in Walden on Aug. 24.

When Kimball’s girlfriend Lori McLeod — frantic that her daughter Kaysi never showed up for work the night before — finally gets a hold of Kimball, he insists he’d been in the mountains alone, scouting out bow-hunting grounds.

He denies picking Kaysi up from her motel the night before, but he pledges to help McLeod track down her daughter.

Kaysi McLeod, pictured on a memorial Web site. (respectance.com)

Kaysi McLeod, pictured on a memorial Web site. (respectance.com)

Scott Kimball comes by the Motel 6 in Thornton, Colo., where Kaysi McLeod is staying with her boyfriend, Celestino Bovill.

After chatting with the couple in their room, Kimball offers to take Kaysi to her 6 p.m. shift at a Subway in Broomfield.

Kaysi leaves with Kimball in a pickup truck, with trailer attached, that he had stolen from fellow federal prison inmate John Alderman the previous spring.

Kaysi McLeod is never heard from again.

Motel6

The Motel 6 in Thornton, where Kaysi McLeod stayed. (John Aguilar/Camera)

Scott Kimball shows up at his girlfriend Lori McLeod’s work with a vial filled with white crystals, claiming he found it at their home.

McLeod decides that her 19-year-old daughter, Kaysi McLeod, who has struggled with meth addiction, needs to talk to police.

After a fight at home, Kaysi goes outside with Kimball and ends up leaving on her bike. She ends up at a Motel 6 in Thornton, where she gets a room with her boyfriend.

Kimball assures McLeod that her daughter just needs time on her own.

Kimball's rental property in Adams County. (Lafayette police)

Kimball's rental property in Adams County. (Lafayette police)

The FBI pays Scott Kimball $2,000 in relocation expenses so he can move from his Lakewood condo to a home in rural Adams County, at 14701 Huron St.

Kimball moves into the new property with his girlfriend, Lori McLeod, and her daughter, Kaysi.

Three weeks later, the FBI pays Kimball another $500 to cover expenses at his new house.

Kaysi McLeod's driver's license photo

Kaysi's driver's license photo, copied by Westminster police

Kaysi McLeod is charged with felony theft and forgery after admitting to buying more than $3,400 worth of merchandise with a stolen credit card, according to Westminster police.

She went on her alleged week-long shopping spree starting in late February 2003.

Scott Kimball, according to the victim in the case, took Kaysi into a room for 45 minutes when she was first accused of the theft. She emerged from the room and admitted to using the card fraudulently.

first date bennigan's Scott Kimball and Lori McLeod go on their first date on Valentine’s Day. They meet at a Bennigan’s in Westminster, and Kimball brings flowers.

“He was funny. He was fun. He was smooth,” McLeod remembers.

Within a matter of days, McLeod introduces her new boyfriend to her 19-year-old daughter, Kaysi.

The Lodge Casino at Black Hawk. (blackhawkcolorado.com)

The Lodge Casino at Black Hawk. (blackhawkcolorado.com)

Scott Kimball meets Lori McLeod at the Lodge Casino at Black Hawk, where the 39-year-old mother is a regular at Boston 5-card poker.

McLeod  is taken with Kimball, who is pushing his mother around in a wheelchair and attending to her every need. He has an easy smile, and pleasant demeanor.

McLeod, who lives in Westminster with her 19-year-old daughter, Kaysi, gives Kimball her number at the end of the night. “Wait,” she jokes, “You’re not a felon or anything, are you?”

Kaysi and her father, Rob McLeod. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi and her father, Rob McLeod. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi McLeod graduates from high school in Phoenix, where she had been living with her aunt.

While she was there, Kaysi started dabbling with prescription drugs, then meth. Friends said she was losing weight fast and “wasn’t herself anymore.”

After graduation, Kaysi returned to Colorado to live with her mother, who’s convinced she was getting off drugs and turning a corner in her life.

Kaysi McLeod is born

September 14th, 1983

Kaysi as a baby. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi as a baby. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi McLeod is born in Westminster, Colo., to Rob and Lori McLeod.

She would grow up to love jewelry-making, drawing, dancing and music, especially Sarah McLachlan, said her mother.

“She didn’t ever talk back,” Lori McLeod said. “I got very lucky.”

But Kaysi tested her boundaries like any adolescent. She smoked, pierced her bellybutton, got tattoos — a four-leaf clover with the Virgo sign on her foot and a fairy on the small of her back.

Kaysi as a girl. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi at age 6. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi moved to Phoenix at age 15 because she needed some time away from her parents, who divorced when she was 6 and didn’t agree on how to raise her, said her maternal aunt, Donna Harper.

“I gave her consistency,” Harper said.

In Arizona, Kaysi worked at a skating rink in her spare time, even driving the Zamboni around the ice.

Tabetha Blow, her best friend there, said Kaysi had a “passion for life” but ended up falling in with a bad crowd.