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Remains of I-5 Strangler victim returning home

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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) - The remains of a young woman murdered more than 30 years ago by a killer known as the I-5 Strangler are coming home.

A piece of bone discovered near Lake Berryessa in California last summer is all that investigators have found of Lou Ellen Burleigh.

The remains will be laid to rest in Klamath County, where Burleigh was born, her cousin, Sharon Havlina, told the Herald and News) in a story Friday

Burleigh lived in the farming community of Merrill, where her mother was a teacher, until she was 6 and her father moved the family to Pleasant Hill, Calif., to take a job as a draughtsman.

Now relatives "can actually go to a spot, like people sometimes do, and just talk," said the victim's mother, Wilma Burleigh, who now lives in Seattle.

For years, whenever a family member would die, others would say, "They know where Ellen is now," recalled Havlina, who used to babysit Burleigh.

Roger Reece Kibbe was serving time for the murder of a teen prostitute when authorities confronted him in 2003 with evidence about other women. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to killing six woman along Interstate 5 between 1977 and 1987.

Burleigh was 21 and living in Walnut Creek, Calif., when she disappeared in 1977 after going to meet Kibbe to talk about a secretarial job.

As part of the plea agreement, Kibbe agreed to help investigators locate Burleigh's body, but it proved difficult. Former San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department investigator Vito Bertocchini said Kibbe had trouble finding landmarks because the landscape had been changed by fires and landslides.

Later, a Napa County deputy searching on his own time found the bone fragment in a creekbed.

Family members plan a quiet and intimate memorial service after Christmas.

Wilma Burleigh said when she dies, she will have her daughter's remains buried with her.
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