Bill and Kathleen Lipscomb lived in San Antonio, Texas. They were attractive, young and hard-working. of course, that always means they held dark, nasty secrets they kept completely hidden. They would stop at nothing to keep their secrets a secret – including murder. Kathleen, 29, was a respected nurse at a local hospital. Bill, 33, was a hard-working military man, a Master Sergeant **this link has a spoiler alert** to be precise, and the General’s Flag-bearer, in the U.S. Air Force. Bill worked hard and made considerable demands of himself. He was constantly seeking a promotion to earn better money and take care of his family. Add to this Bill was a rising star in the military, being one of the youngest men to receive a promotion to Master Sergeant. Nothing wrong with that. Beneath the surface however, Bill wasn’t all that he seemed. At home he was overbearing with his family and he had a problem with Kathleen’s independence. What a surprise. Eventually Kathleen became drawn to a doctor on the hospital staff and they began an affair. Well you can’t really blame her. Overbearing husbands always seem to push their wives into someone else’s arms. Finally Kathleen demanded a divorce but Bill refused to sign divorce papers. Even their divorce was a big argument. Bill’s main concern was his access to the children. Ah, kids. They’re always in the way, aren’t they?
On June 9 1986, a dead, nude woman lay on a country road. She lay lifeless and cold in a “displayed manner.” Clearly, the sicko who did away with her wanted her found. The poor woman had been sexually assaulted and strangled. She was also washed. Shades of the Black Dahlia killer. Obviously, this woman knew her killer. within hours her co-worker identified the corpse. Naturally it was Kathleen Lipscomb. Right away, Bill was the number one suspect and why not? His wife was having an affair **spoiler alert** and wanted a divorce. Ouch. That wouldn’t look too good at work. However, it wasn’t long before the good doctor also came under suspicion. Kathleen was the doctor’s subordinate. He had exposed himself to be accused of sexual harassment. If Kathleen was pushing him to get a divorce and marry her the doctor could be ruined professionally. It seemed this could be the case: Kathleen wanted a divorce. It was possible she believed her lover would do the same so they could be together. The doctor of course, didn’t see the situation the same way as his lover.
When the doctor was brought in for questioning he refused to speak until his lawyer arrived. He stayed silent for 40 minutes, as was his legal right. However, a lack of willingness to help solve the murder of his lover came across as a little problematic to police. The autopsy showed Kathleen had sperm in her vaginal vault. her husband had a vasectomy. There was a problem with the semen sample however: it was contaminated (how I don’t know) and wasn’t usable. The doctor couldn’t be identified by contaminated DNA. Darn.
However, police dug a little deeper and discovered Kathleen had another little secret **spoiler alert** she had been keeping from Bill. Uh-oh. But wait. The doctor isn’t off the hook yet. Kathleen may well have threatened the good doctor with exposure if he didn’t leave his wife for her. Public humiliation would have been very nasty. Of course, the doctor’s wife would have suffered great humiliation too. The heck with that. Police now focused on Mrs. Doctor, a woman with a considerable status in the community. Naturally, the woman was enraged and jealous. Who wouldn’t be? There was no evidence whatsoever that could tie either spouse to the crime. Darnit. Why do criminals have to be so cagey?
Suddenly, a neighbour of the Lipscomb’s received a nasty telephone call: “you’re next.” Say what? Was the killer a weirdo on the street who simply targeted random women? Or was the neighbour aware of Kathleen’s affair? Mind you, all of the women on the block could have been targets; just some sick serial killer fantasy. Police began to dig a little deeper in to Kathleen’s life. An hispanic male nurse who had been a colleague of Kathleen’s, suddenly disappeared from the staff after Kathleen’s murder. This particular man had a shady character. He couldn’t hold down a job and he was also a drifter. How he got hired as a nurse in an institution that is meant to care for people and keep them safe from harm, I cannot say. Sort of gives one chills, doesn’t it? Anyhoo. No one on the staff had ever trusted the Hispanic male nurse. Now things were heating up. Of course, the nurse was on the lam and police had no idea where he’d gone.
Now what to do? Three suspects, no physical evidence. The Sheriff suspected this would be a murder case that would go cold. It might never be solved. But wait. This one’s a real cliffhanger. One more person waited in the shadows and would soon be forced into the spotlight. Naturally she was directly linked to Kathleen’s marriage. Bill had been involved with an attractive, red-haired woman and it was likely Kathleen knew about it. These things always get discovered sooner or later. Bill had once confided in a friend that the sex with his wife was over. He made the ludicrous statement that Kathleen might have been a “lesbian.” Red-head raised a red flag (pun). Kathleen’s body had been covered in them. Could it be that Kathleen was indeed a lesbian? But wait. There’s even more. Bill’s big mouth couldn’t stop flapping. He casually dropped the bomb that he wanted the life insurance he was due from Kathleen’s death. Say what? She wasn’t warm yet and he was already sniffing out compensation to the tune of $315,000.00 Sweet.
Bill’s alibi, that he had been with his two children on the night of his wife’s murder suddenly disintegrated. His daughter finally stepped up and stated her father wasn’t home on the night her mother died and that “daddy lied.” During the night, she and her brother had walked through the house looking for him and he wasn’t anywhere to be found. There was a good reason for the little girl to keep her story quiet. Daddy had threatened to “spank her very hard” if she told anyone “their” secret. Poor little soul. It was bad enough that Bill had savagely murdered his own wife but the emotional torture he’d put his children through was simply heinous. Sadly, police couldn’t take the little girl’s statement as fact: the family had already spoken to her at length and they feared she had been coached. Well, that’s understandable. A defense attorney could get that statement quashed in a San Antonio minute.
Two years passed. Kathleen’s death indeed was shaping up to be a cold case but Kathleen’s family (bless them) hired a private investigator, Tom Bevans, to investigate their child’s death. The P.I. tread lightly with police. He didn’t want to act as though he doubted their abilities or cooperation wouldn’t be forthcoming. Clearly, Bevans did a good job. Police handed him a file with all listed suspects. Starting at the beginning, Bevans took a close look at the doctor and his wife first. Nope. They were clean. Bevans tracked down the male nurse. No new information there. He was just a drifter and had moved on as was usual for his lifestyle. Bevans looked closely at the red hairs that might have been placed on Kathleen’s body. After all, police only had Bill’s word that Kathleen was a lesbian. Bevans re-examined Bill more closely. Yes she was having an affair. Nasty. But would that really cause him to murder Kathleen? Nonsense. His ego would be bruised of course, but he still had his professional status and career to soothe him. Bevans felt it was something much deeper.
Bevans dug through Kathleen’s belongings, the same items police had already confiscated. Lo and behold, Bevans found Kathleen’s date book and flipped through it. In it she had written, “Theresa attended one of Bill’s softball games.” Theresa? No one had noticed that clue before. Theresa, Bill’s attractive work colleague, voluntarily walked into the police station and stated quite grandly, “if this is about Bill Lipscomb I need an attorney.” A light bulb went on in everyone’s head at the same time. The room even got brighter. Meanwhile, Bevans asked Kathleen’s sister Darlene who Theresa might be. “Bill’s girlfriend,” came the easy reply. Darlene hadn’t made a connection between Bill’s girlfriend and Kathleen’s murder. Let’s give poor Darlene a break. When you think about it, who would make that connection? Suppose your loved one was murdered (heaven forbid) and you knew her husband had a girlfriend. Would this really send up an alarm that maybe the girlfriend did her in? Very few women commit violent crimes and this one was a sexually sadistic murder. In retrospect, it seems obvious that Theresa should have been brought in for questioning, but during the actual investigation I don’t believe most people would have thought that one through. Anyhoo. Interestingly, Darlene stated it would “have surprised her if [Bill] didn’t have a girlfriend….he was very handsome and manipulative.”
Theresa interviewed with police, explaining Bill was her superior at the air force. Bill and Theresa soon became lovers and Bill spilled the beans about his intention to kill Kathleen. Of course, Teresa didn’t believe him. Theresa had more to tell investigators. Kathleen was committing blackmail against Bill. Say what? Police re-examined Kathleen’s notebook. “Bill has all questions to the WAPS.“ Now what did that cryptic message mean? Theresa informed police that in Bill’s words “she has everything on me, she can do whatever she wants right now.” What were WAPS? As it turned out the acronym stood for “Weighted Airman Promotion System.” It’s a standardized test that an airman must take to climb up the rungs on the promotional ladder. Our sneaky Bill had been trading or selling answers to people who were taking the WAPS. Holy cheat system, Batman! He had helped to falsely promote numerous airmen. Not only was this a local cheat, it was worldwide. Who needs the internet to pull off a major scam?
Bill hired his air force friend Nicholas Richards to assist him. Airmen worldwide would contact Bill with questions. The two men then looked up the answers and passed them back to the airmen with Bill eventually making a bundle. Who needs a Ponzi scheme? Of course in her bid to maintain full access to the children, Kathleen threatened to expose Bill. Sign the papers or else, was the general idea. Kathleen threatened the wrong man. Bill wasn’t going to let his wife ruin him. Not only would he have been fired, there would have been jail time and a criminal record. Bill’s life would be over. The heck with that. He decided Kathleen’s life would be over. It didn’t matter she was the mother of his children and had been his wife for several years. His reputation meant much more to him. Besides, he would be free of blackmail, gain access of the children. receive a huge insurance payout and continue as the rising star in the air force that he seemed to be. If that isn’t motive, what is?
Police went straight to Richards. Theresa was certain that if Bill had murdered Kathleen, Richards had helped. Good old Richards. Nothing like a true friend to rely on. Naturally Richards had a rather passive, controllable personality. Bill had a knack for recognizing and selecting weaklings. Richards was more than happy to help police. His conscience had been tormenting him for three years. Richards however, didn’t help to murder Kathleen but he did offer Bill an alibi. Richards had picked up Bill’s children from school, taken them to McDonald’s then brought them home to Bill, That way, the innocence children would believe their father had indeed been home the night of the murder.
During that same evening, Katheen went to Bill’s house and sat on a couch looking through family photographs. The couple was even going to separate the pictures. As soon as she was distracted, Bill approached his wife from behind and wrapped a cable around her neck. He strangled the poor woman to death. Bill hid Kathleen in a cedar chest, crossing her legs to make her fit. Richards, wanting nothing else to do with the crime, left the house. Investigators worked out a deal with Richards: wear a wire and gain immunity from criminal charges. It led nowhere. Bill wasn’t going to discuss the case. It was three years ago and as far as he was concerned, it was done. Bill suspected Richards was wearing a wire, but he didn’t become angry. Richards then revealed that he’d kept the cedar chest that had held Kathleen’s body. Bill simply told him to “get rid of it.“ Richards wasn’t only passive he was downright stupid. Police had been searching for a piece of evidence that might have held Kathleen’s body. It hadn’t occurred to Richards that the cedar chest was an important piece of evidence. Duh.
Faced with the overwhelming evidence, a shocked and unsuspecting Bill buckled and confessed to the crime. So much for his weakling friend Richards. He was stronger than Bill had thought. He was given a prison sentence of 60 years. The air force scam was dismantled and an investigation was begun into the contacts Bill had made during the fraudulent operation. If it hadn’t been for Kathleen’s family, Bevans, and Kathleen’s own handwritten notes about the WAPS, the case might have remained unsolved to this day.