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Trace Evidence: The Hunt for the I-5 Serial Killer Kindle Edition

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Length: 436 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews Review

Some books about serial killers are dramatic and emotional. Trace Evidence, by contrast, has a steady relentlessness that allows the reader to become fascinated by the characters of the investigators and the facts of how the evidence was assembled. This killer specialized in picking up his victims along Interstate 5, near Sacramento, California, and he had an odd penchant for snipping at their clothes with scissors. As deaths of young women in several different jurisdictions began to form a pattern, a few detectives with contrasting approaches (excitable and given to hunches vs. cool and logical) formed a team. Author Bruce Henderson relates how they followed through on a bewildering number of leads, how they ranked their potential suspects on a point system that proved remarkably effective, and how, finally, a trace evidence expert spent many long hours looking through a microscope to cinch the case with analysis of fibers. Trace Evidence is skillfully structured, emphasizing the investigation rather than the trial, and includes crisp photographs of the key evidence. It would have been a better book if the author had included a timeline of the crimes and a map of the area, but that is a small nitpick about an excellent work of journalism. --Fiona Webster

From Library Journal

Because of a composite drawing and his assault of a prostitute, Roger Kibbe was the prime suspect in a series of abductions and sex stranglings over several years in the vicinity of Sacramento, California. Without hard evidence, though, the investigation of the "I-5 Killer" dragged on and the murders continued until trace-evidence specialist Faye Springer entered the case. The outwardly mild-mannered Kibbe, brother of a homicide detective, was convicted in 1991 on the basis of microscopic fibers and paint chips linking him to multiple victims. Henderson, coauthor of And the Sea Will Tell (LJ 12/90), has written a solid, compelling account of the capture of that most vicious of criminals, the random serial killer. Recommended for true-crime collections.?Gregor A. Preston, formerly with Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6416 KB
  • Print Length: 436 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0989467511
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: BruceHendersonBooks (January 9, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 9, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,100 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Bruce Henderson is the author or coauthor of more than twenty nonfiction books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller AND THE SEA WILL TELL, which was made into a highly-rated TV miniseries. His latest book, RESCUE AT LOS BANOS: THE MOST DARING PRISON CAMP RAID OF WORLD WAR II, was published by William Morrow in April 2015. General Colin Powell has called the Los Baños raid "a textbook operation for all ages and all armies." Henderson's previous book, HERO FOUND: THE GREATEST POW ESCAPE OF THE VIETNAM WAR, a national bestseller, told the true story of U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, with whom Henderson served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) during Vietnam. Henderson is also the author of DOWN TO THE SEA: AN EPIC STORY OF NAVAL DISASTER AND HEROISM IN WORLD WAR II. An award-winning journalist and author, Henderson is a member of the Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He has taught reporting and writing courses at USC School of Journalism and Stanford University. Visit his website:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Steve German on January 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rarely do I find true crime books that are written so well. This book, although about a true killing spree, reads like a novel and is hard to put down. I can't count the number of nights I found myself reading it until 2 in the morning. Outstanding journalism which brings in the human interest of the detectives, the victims, and the killer. Must read!!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Pat Brown on December 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Bruce Henderson very carefully details the present day difficulties in conducting a successful serial homicide investigation. With so much unwarrented hoopla given to FBI profilers on bringing down serial killers, this fine book shows where the bulk of the work of a serial homicide investigation occurs; in the homicide bureau of the local police department. One must realize, however, that a number of extremely competent investigators were working on these cases, Ray Biondi and Vito Bertocchini just to name two, so excellent on-the-site profiling was accomplished. Even so, problems with police administration refusing to release information to the public, refusing to allocate resources to further the investigation and continuing difficulties with the D.A.'s office in taking the murders to trial are clearly described. This is one of the most useful accounts any profiling student will encounter in his reading. Pat Brown, Director/Investigative Criminal Profiler/The Sexual Homicide Exchange of Washington DC and Vicinity
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read the other comments and would like to say to the mother of one of Kibbe's victims that I am very sorry for her terrible loss... One of the elements that elevates this book above most true-crime reporting is the emphasis on the victims, who they were, who loved them, who misses them. Murder can so often seem like just numbers, incomprehensible and not close enough to home to worry about. Along with an excellent, compelling account of the development of the investigation, Henderson brings home the full tragedy.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Cleaver on July 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently saw an interview with a serial killer on "60 Minutes" and decided to order the new TRACE EVIDENCE ebook. This is behind-the-scenes of the police investigation to find and stop northern California's I-5 serial killer who kidnapped, raped and strangled at least a dozen young women (maybe a lot more) during the 1970s and 1980s. You are literally riding with the cops as they try to catch the killer. The cars of the victims were often found abandoned on the highway in working order, and the bodies of unidentified "Jane Does" were found miles away from where they were taken -- one as far as 100 miles. It took good, solid detective work to start making all the connections, and even when they knew who was responsible they still had to build a case in order to get him off the street and convict him. Reading this, you forget it is not a fictional novel but a true story. Like the fact that the killer serial's brother is a homicide detective in nearby Nevada!! The brothers were close, too, and this may have informed the killer about police procedures and helped him get away with murder for so long. The story is expertly researched and told by Bruce Henderson, a bestselling author I've read before. All his nonfiction books read like novels. Henderson makes the cops, victims and killer come alive on the pages. He even interviewed the killer's wife, who refused to speak to authorities. (An intriguing subtext here, as in "Portrait of a Serial Killer's Marriage.") I finished TRACE EVIDENCE in a few days, and had a hard time putting it down. The "shocking updates" with recent news about the killer was really interesting. This story would make a great movie, and I bet someday it will come to the big screen.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Wonderfully written and well researched. It provides great insight into the psychological origin of a serial killer. Great Book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mary Esterhammer-Fic VINE VOICE on December 20, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bruce Henderson is a compelling storyteller--despite the fact that he writes non-fiction. In this book, he leads the reader through the tedious, frustrating, and ultimately successful pursuit of a California serial killer.

The I-5 Strangler killed a lot of his victims right around the time forensic science really hit its stride. When the Strangler started out, a lot of evidence like fibers or fluid residue were pretty much circumstantial. But while the detectives and scientists doggedly ran down every lead, and used every possible tool in the box, more sophisticated crime-solving techniques were perfected. The fact that the people on the cases never gave up, and continued to push for a solution, eventually led to the Strangler's capture.

How long Roger Kibbe had been killing before his final arrest, and how many victims he claimed, is still up in the air. Like a lot of serial killers, he's suspected in numerous cases that could never be connected to him, and there are always the victims who never surface, but who litter the American landscape in shallow graves. Chronic runaways, emotionally ill people who have long fallen off the grid, people who lived their entire lives on the margins and so were never on any grid to begin with...who's looking for them? At any given time in this country, serial killers stalk their quarry and make their kills without getting caught--until they make a mistake.

The other bizarre quality to serial killers is how detached they are from the crime, when they're living their "other" life. Henderson doesn't go into this, but there is literature out there that addresses the demonic element to killers and their total lack of remorse.
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