Big news out of Walnut Creek tonight!
The body of Lou Ellen Burleigh has been found.
The Walnut Creek Police released the following information on the discovery of Burleigh, who has been missing since 1977:
In 1977, Lou Ellen Burleigh (21 years old) left her Walnut Creek residence and went to a job interview, she never returned home. Her vehicle was found later in Pleasant Hill.
A suspect by the name of Roger Kibbe was developed but the case went cold. In 2002, San Joaquin District Attorney Investigator Bertocchini resubmitted DNA evidence in the Interstate 5 strangler cases from the 1980’s. The DNA examination identified Roger Kibbe as the responsible. Kibbe was currently in custody for a murder in El Dorado County. Kibbe was interviewed and confessed to several I-5 strangler cases.
In addition he confessed that he had kidnapped Lou Ellen Burleigh, tied her up, drove her to Lake Berryessa where he raped and killed her. He said he left her body in a dry riverbed near the lake. In 2003, Bertocchini, Walnut Creek Police Detective Bill Jeha and Napa County District Attorney Investigator Michael Frey took Kibbe to several places near Lake Berryessa and conducted searches in hoping to find Burleigh, but they were unsuccessful.
In 2007, Frey discovered a place that was similar to where Kibbe described as the place he left Burleigh. An exhaustive search turned up nothing.
In 2009, the investigators took Kibbe to this same place but he denied it was the place. Later in 2009, Kibbe was convicted for six murders including Burleigh’s. He was sentenced to multiple life sentences without a possibility of parole.
In early 2011, Napa County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Bartlett took an interest in the Burleigh case and asked District Attorney’s Investigator Frey to be taken to the location where Lou Ellen Burleigh was most likely left.
A short time later, Bartlett discovered a small piece of bone sticking out of some gravel on the bottom of the creek bed. Frey and Bartlett confirmed with an anthropologist it was a human female bone. The bone was sent to a DNA lab where it was confirmed to be that of Lou Ellen Burleigh. Last Friday, Frey and Walnut Creek Police Detectives flew to Washington to notify Lou Ellen’s mother and two brothers of the news.