IONE, Calif. — A California serial killer who strangled and raped at least seven women was strangled to death himself in a state prison, officials said Wednesday.
Roger Reece Kibbe, known as the “I-5 Strangler” in the 1970s and 1980s, was found unresponsive in his cell Sunday at Mule Creek State Prison, southeast of Sacramento.
His 40-year-old cellmate was standing nearby.
An autopsy showed the 81-year-old Kibbe had been manually strangled, and the Amador County Sheriff’s Office is calling the death a homicide.
Kibbe was serving multiple life sentences at the time of his death.
He was initially sentenced to 25 years to life in May 1991 for the murder of Darcie Frackenpohl, a Seattle runaway whose nearly nude body was found in El Dorado County, California.
In 2009, Kibbe pleaded guilty to six more killings dating back to 1977 after DNA evidence connected him to them. He was sentenced to an additional six life sentences in the murders of Lou Ellen Burleigh, Lora Heedick, Barbara Ann Scott, Stephanie Brown, Charmaine Sabrah and Katherine Kelly Quinones.
Kibbe kidnapped his victims, then raped them and strangled them to death.
Investigators had continued to try to prove that he was responsible for even more deaths, secretly taking Kibbe on multiple field trips from prison in the hope that he would reveal the whereabouts of more victims.
No charges have been filed in his death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.