LeAnn Emry graduates. (Courtesy Howard Emry)
LeAnn Emry, a straight-A student, graduates one year early from Eaglecrest High School in Centennial, Colo., and earns a community service award from President Clinton for her volunteer work at the University of Colorado Medical Center and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
She will go on to become a veterinary technician, and her love of animals — Dalmations in particular — will prompt her specialized license plates: DAL-GAL.
She is diagnosed as bipolar, though, and lives with nearly constant back pain after cracking a vertebra while play-wrestling with her father.
LeAnn Emry marries Kevin Niner, an old high-school classmate who had asked for her help in bailing him out of jail.
The couple will live between Colorado and Dallas, Texas, for their first year.
LeAnn’s life spirals downward throughout their marriage, and she ends up stripping at private parties and being physically abused.
LeAnn Emry pleads guilty to felony menacing in Arapahoe County District Court, after brandishing a gun and threatening to kill her husband and herself.
She is given a deferred two-year prison sentence, meaning she remains free if she stays out of trouble.
Having returned to Colorado from Dallas, LeAnn Emry files for a divorce from Kevin Niner.
She becomes romantically involved with Steven Holley, an FCI-Englewood prisoner whom she met through Niner.
Holley, facing a life sentence on charges that he shot at an officer during a Lakewood bank robbery, is held in the same prison unit as Scott Kimball.
After his release from FCI-Englewood as an FBI informant, Scott Kimball calls LeAnn Emry for the first time. He introduces himself as “Hannibal.”
Emry’s boyfriend, federal inmate Steven Holley, knew Kimball behind bars, and asked him to connect with LeAnn to share the details of a plan to help him escape prison.
Holley told LeAnn to listen to Hannibal, that if everything went off as it should, the couple would soon be able to unite in Mexico and start a new chapter in their lives.
Holley writes LeAnn: "You can trust Hannible." (Courtesy of Howard Emry)
LeAnn, in a photo found on Kimball's laptop. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)
LeAnn Emry uses her debit card to buy Scott Kimball a $1,685 Toshiba laptop computer at Best Buy in Lakewood, Colo.
When investigators search the laptop years later, they find a photo of LeAnn, dated 11 days before her death.
E-mailing her cousin, LeAnn Emry wrote that "Hannibal" was a major blessing in her life. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)
In e-mails to her cousin, LeAnn Emry writes about her relationship with “Hannibal,” the alias Scott Kimball used with her. She claims they’re having sex, and makes vague references to criminal activity they’re involved in.
“I need him to get what I want and desperately need,” LeAnn writes. “He doesn’t ask much in return, and he never abuses the situation that I am in, even though he could very easily.”
“He’s a major blessing in my life. Major.”
But she knew he had a dangerous side, too.
“Hell, if Hanable knew I was talking to you, he’d fucking have me killed in a second,” she wrote the same cousin four days earlier. “Plus, he’d have you killed too.”
Read more of LeAnn’s emails to her cousin (PDF).
LeAnn, in a photo later found on Kimball's computer.
LeAnn Emry leaves her home in Centennial, where she lives with her parents, Howard and Darlene Emry.
She tells them she is going on a caving trip to Mexico with friends.
Instead, she secretly leaves on a whirlwind voyage through five states, intermittently meeting up with Scott Kimball, aka “Hannibal.”
Before heading out, LeAnn called her younger sister, Michelle, with a message: If anything bad should happen, Michelle should know her sister loved her.
LeAnn's Super 8 receipt (Courtesy of Howard Emry)
During a two-week trip across the West, LeAnn Emry writes a cascade of bad checks, overdrawing her account by $4,000.
She bounces checks in Laramie, Wyo., Baker City, Ore., Vancouver, Wash., and Reno, Nev., leaving a paper trail that her father will piece together after her disappearance.
Investigators later place Kimball in some of the same spots at the same time, but he also goes to Seattle on FBI business.
At a pawnshop in Hermiston, Ore., Emry buys the .40-caliber Firestar handgun that will become her murder weapon.
She is back in Colorado by Jan. 27, when she checks into a Super 8 motel in Grand Junction.
She checks out two days later.
Scott Kimball’s cell phone records no activity from 8:15 p.m. Jan. 28 until 1:13 a.m. Jan. 30.
Kimball tells FBI Special Agent Carle Schlaff that he’s going to California to see his brother.
Utah’s Bryson Canyon, where Scott Kimball killed LeAnn Emry. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)
After checking out of the Super 8 motel in Grand Junction, Colo., LeAnn Emry is never heard from again.
Kimball later told a fellow inmate that he killed LeAnn after telling her they were going for a hike in Bryson Canyon in eastern Utah.
According to that account, Kimball told her to strip nude and to kneel down before shooting her in the head.
Kimball has since claimed that members of a drug gang executed LeAnn and he was only a witness.
LeAnn, 24, was shot with the gun she bought a few days earlier.
LeAnn Emry's abandoned car. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)
A Grand County, Utah, sheriff’s deputy finds LeAnn Emry’s Toyota Corolla abandoned in the remote Harley Dome area off of Interstate 70.
Her belongings — camping and caving equipment, a cell phone, a purse — are still in the car.
“Everything was there, except her,” said her father, Howard Emry.
There are footprints outside the vehicle, but no sign of a struggle or fight.
Scott Kimball hires a prostitute in Indian Wells, Calif., a golf-resort town in the Coachella Valley.
Police believe he paid for her services by giving her LeAnn Emry’s credit card.
The card is soon used fraudulently in the Los Angeles area.
LeAnn Emry’s boyfriend, FCI-Englewood inmate Steven Holley, writes a letter to her father, telling him he’s worried because he hasn’t heard from LeAnn in more than a month.
“So have you heard from her and is she alright?” he asks Howard Emry.
Holley's letter to Howard Emry. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)
Frantic, Steven Holley writes another letter to Howard Emry from FCI-Englewood.
LeAnn is in “real trouble,” he warns.
“I don’t fully understand what the hell she thought she was doing, but I know she is way out of her league!”
Holley asks Howard Emry to call the FBI and have an agent come talk to him in prison.
An excerpt of Holley's letter. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)
Read Holley’s full Feb. 24, 2003, letter to Howard Emry. (PDF)
Howard Emry (Matthew Cilley / for the Camera)
Howard Emry contacts the FBI in Denver, and talks to an agent about the alarming letter he received from Steven Holley, his daughter’s boyfriend.
The agent calls Holley a liar, and says he will not waste his time visiting him in prison to talk.
(Date is approximate.)
LeAnn Emry’s father, Howard Emry, meets with Steven Holley in prison.
Holley, who was dating LeAnn when she disappeared, again asks Emry to contact the FBI.
He tells Howard that LeAnn was under the care of “Hannibal,” but he won’t say who that is.
Emry calls the FBI again but never hears back.
(Date is approximate.)
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.
Investigators found this photo of LeAnn Emry on Kimball's laptop but did not yet know who it was. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)
In a search of Scott Kimball’s Toshiba laptop, the FBI finds a search of the term “Jennifer Marcum missing” and pictures of various women, including LeAnn Emry, although investigators don’t yet know who she is.
They also find 291 graphic images “depicting women clothed and unclothed, being assaulted, forced into violent sexual activities or raped, bound and gagged, feigning or posing as being dead and threatened at gunpoint or knife point.”
The search finds that Kimball logged into Internet sex sites as “Beefman1996″ and visited multiple rape video Web sites, including “Brutally Raped Young Girls,” “Rape Island TGP,” and “Japanese Girl Rape.”
Read the search-warrant affidavit. (PDF)
Investigating Jennifer Marcum’s disappearance, FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing and Lafayette police detective Gary Thatcher interview Steve Ennis, who shared a cell with Scott Kimball at FCI-Englewood while dating Jennifer.
Ennis — being held at a federal prison in Seagoville, Texas — tells the investigators of another former FCI-Englewood inmate with an eerily similar story.
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.
Holley, the inmate who had dated LeAnn Emry, had never had his own plea for an FBI interview granted.
Howard and Darlene Emry, with a photo of their daughter LeAnn.
FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing calls Howard Emry at home in Payette, Idaho, and asks to speak to his daughter, LeAnn.
“She’s been missing for nearly five years now,” Emry replies.
He tells the agent he fears LeAnn was killed back in January 2003.
Find “Hannibal,” he says. “That’s who murdered my daughter.”
FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing and Lafayette police detective Gary Thatcher interview Steven Holley at the federal prison in Florence, Colo.
They learn that his girlfriend, LeAnn Emry, had been with Scott Kimball in the month before she disappeared on Jan. 29, 2003.
Holley, who spent time in the same unit as Kimball at FCI-Englewood in 2002, said Kimball went by the name “Hannibal.”
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.
Scott Kimball leads investigators and FBI agents on a hunt for bodies in eastern Utah, where he claims LeAnn Emry and Jennifer Marcum are buried.
Kimball and investigators pore over computer-generated maps and satellite photos in an effort to narrow down the search field. No remains are found.
The Utah site where LeAnn Emry's remains were found. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)
During a second hunt for bodies, Scott Kimball leads investigators to a wash in Bryson Canyon.
FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing is the first to find a bone and then additional remains. They are later determined to be LeAnn Emry’s, based on DNA from her parents, Darlene and Howard Emry.
Boulder County prosecutor Katharina Booth said coming upon Emry’s bones was extremely emotional and moving.
A fragment of a brass-jacketed bullet is found the next day in the area where LeAnn’s skull would have been located when she was killed.
In a separate search for Jennifer Marcum’s remains, which Kimball insists are nearby, nothing is found.
Amy Okubo, also a chief deputy with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, said Kimball knows exactly where Marcum is and was simply “messing with us.”
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.
Read More >>
A fragment from a brass-jacketed bullet found near LeAnn Emry’s remains in Utah’s Bryson Canyon is determined to be consistent with the .40-caliber Firestar handgun Scott Kimball owned.
The bullet fragment is found right where Emry’s skull would have been located, according to authorities.
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.
Read More >>
LeAnn Emry’s family holds her memorial service at Payette Church of the Nazarene in Payette, Idaho, just a few weeks before getting her remains back from the FBI.
Howard Emry remembers his daughter as a smart student who loved animals.
He says LeAnn’s murder “taught me the lesson of forgiveness.”
“I still have moments of sadness for what happened to LeAnn because I will always miss her, but God has given me the strength to forgive the man who caused this grief,” he says.
Read Howard Emry’s eulogy of his daughter. (PDF)