March 26, 2023

Wayne Adam Ford // 156 // Serial Killer // Part 2

Wayne Adam Ford // 156 // Serial Killer // Part 2
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Wayne Adam Ford was a former long-haul truck driver who murdered four women from 1997 to 1998.  When he turned himself into the Humboldt County Sheriff Department in Eureka, California, he had a woman's breast in a bag in his coat pocket.  He was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder on June 27th, 2006 and was sentenced to death in August of 2006.




RECAP: Wayne Adam Ford had a very difficult and confusing childhood.  His mother, didn’t have the nurturing gene and struggled with severe mood swings.  His father was a strict military man who was rarely home.  The two of them got divorced and Wayne bounced back and forth between living with his parents or his uncle Jimmy.  He was a very sensitive kid that was craving attention, but he felt like his parents had abandoned him.  He dropped out of high school, and he enlisted in the Marines and was initially doing very well.  


One night, Wayne and his girlfriend saw two vehicles that had been involved in an accident, so they stopped to help.  While Wayne was assisting a man who was seriously injured, a car hit him and he was tossed over an embankment down into a ditch that was 30-40 feet below and suffered severe head injuries.  After he married Leigh, his attitude changed and he forced her to always be naked and he was obsessed with her breasts.  She finally asked for a divorce and left Wayne, but he became obsessed with finding her.  He went AWOL from the Marine Corps because he was too busy stalking her. 


In the book, they discussed how Wayne’s behaviors really could be linked to that accident he had when he got hit by a car. He had initially been doing well in all of his reports in the Marines, but soon after the accident, there was a drastic change. They began noticing that he had a very hard time with authority, and he had an explosive temper. Before the accident, he had been moving up the ranks and afterwards, his superiors were saying they couldn't recommend him for a promotion. When Leigh had moved out of the house in 1983, Wayne reenlisted, and he received a truck driving license from the Marines in April. Three days later, he was in the El Toro clinic for psychiatric problems. It was noted that he was thinking about suicide and the clinician wrote, “Patient states that his performance started to deteriorate 18 months ago with the departure of two good supervisors. His marriage began declining shortly afterwards, resulting in separation in January. He complains of apathy, insomnia, poor concentration, 20 pound weight loss and nightmares. He expressed suicidal thoughts but no plans. He admits to alcohol abuse recently. Two days ago, he went UA unathorized absense, feeling hopeless.”  


He was admitted to the psych ward and ten days later, he was formally charged with being AWOL and this was due to him leaving the base to stalk Leigh and Bob. He was reprimanded and received some counseling. He signed a statement promising to do better and his performance continued to decline after this. In May of 1984, Wayne went AWOL again for three days and this corresponds with another time that he was stalking Leigh and Bob. He ended up misrepresenting himself as his commanding officer on the phone with another Marine and he got busted and he was fined a month’s pay.  


He received more psychiatric treatment, and the clinician wrote, “Patient states that he has a chemical imbalance that impairs his judgment under stress. He has lost his temper unreasonably after twice being reprimanded for being late. He continues to have trouble with his estranged wife, and he feels that his supervisor is out to get him. He denies alcohol or drug use. He complains of insomnia, poor appetite, and depression.” 


Wayne was prescribed an anti-depressant, but it was noted that he chose not to take it because he feared that he would be unable to wake up in time to get to work. He didn’t want any further treatment and he was found fit to continue with his duties. Wayne was very clearly saying there was a problem, and he was exhibiting some odd behavior. He was confronted by his Commanding Officer because his unit had failed inspection the day prior to his evaluation. He refused to listen to his commanding officer and got extremely upset when he was reprimanded in front of the other Marines. He was found in his barracks in a corner in a fetal position and refused to answer any questions. He was taken to the medical clinic, and he became violent and left. He was apprehended, restrained, and brought back to the hospital. 


This is when Wayne was diagnosed with depression, adjustment reactions with mixed features, and personality disorder with explosive and immature features. 

Depression: A mood disorder that causes persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. 

Adjustment disorders: The symptoms can very depending on how the disorder manifests. It can be present with anxiety, depressed mood, disturbance of emotions and conduct, or a combination of these. It’s an emotional or behavioral reaction to a stressful event or change in a person’s life. The reaction would be considered as unhealthy or excessive. 

Personality disorder: This is a type of mental disorder where you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. Someone that has this could have trouble perceiving and relation to situations and people. It was noted that Wayne’s disorder came with explosive and immature features. I’m guessing it’s not referred to this way anymore because I couldn’t find an exact fit. But, if it’s with intermittent explosive disorder, that would imply impulsive anger outburts or aggression. The immature part of the diagnosis is characterized by lack of emotional development, low tolerance of stress and anxiety, inability to accept personal responsibility, and reliance on age-innappropriate defense mechanisms.  


By the time he was discharged, he was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. It was noted as severe and said he had intense and inappropriate lack of control or anger, marked shifts in mood from normal to depression. He had depression when he was alone, a chronic feeling of emptiness or boredom, along with irritability and anxiety. He was also diagnosed with Atypical Psychosis manifested by frequent psychotic breaks. 


This finally caught up to Wayne and he was honorably discharged from the Marines in January of 1985. Things were fairly quiet in his life for a year, but on January 5th of 1986, he was arrested for attacking a woman. This incident wasn’t well documented and there are two different accounts and they’re wildly different. The Los Angeles Times published a story 12 years later where they said Wayne raped, beat, and robbed a woman. Other accounts said that he took a pack of cigarettes from her. An official of the Garden Grove Police Department said there was no records of this incident. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, it just wasn’t serious enough to be included in the permanent record-keeping. 


Around this time, Wayne got a job with a Garden Grove furniture delivery service and this is where he met Anaya and he started going by his middle name Adam. Anaya was only 19 or 20 when they met and started dating. Things didn’t work out right away and the two of them fought often. Wayne left the furniture delivering gig and took a job delivering newspapers. The following year, Anaya moved in with Wayne in a studio apartment. He started hopping around to different jobs and tried being a car salesman for a while, then he became a motorcycle mechanic. He and Anaya split up, he moved in with a Marine buddy and got a new job as a tow truck driver. 


Then, he and Anaya started dating again and he took a job with a towing company and also got a second job. He wanted to specifically work with handicapped children, but he got upset when he found out he would be driving the bus, not helping them. He worked at a garage as a lube and oil man and attended some community college classes, but nothing seemed to make him happy. 


Anaya did notice that Wayne had an obsession with breasts, just like he had when he was with Leigh. She said, “He wanted to put a safety pin in my nipple. I don’t know why. I just wanted to please him. We had been together for quite a while, and I loved him a lot. And I thought, well, I’ll try that. And it hurt. But he did that to me a couple of times. It didn’t go all the way in. It just kind of pricked me. But I don’t know why he did that.” 


On one occasion, Wayne came home crying and when Anaya asked him what happened, he said that he had just been walking on the sidewalk and he saw a younger woman. He grabbed her purse and threw it on the roof of a nearby building and he bit her breast. Anaya didn’t believe this story because it was so outlandish, she just didn’t understand how it could be real.  


Wayne did try to convince Anaya to have sex with another man or woman while he watched, but she was not comfortable with that. When he had been with Leigh, he refused to talk about his childhood, but that wasn’t the case with Anaya. He did tell her about when his mom left him and she said, “He was a very sensitive little boy, from what I understand. And he was very close to his mom, and he used to hang on her dress when she was in the kitchen. And he just always wanted to be with her. And then one day, he said, she just looked at him and said, I don’t want to be your mother anymore. And she just left.” 


After his father remarried, Wayne told Anaya that he did not get along with his stepmother because she believed he was tyring to have sex with his stepsister. Anaya said, “So his dad ended up putting him in a place like an apartment building, something he owned. And Wayne would say how his dad would come by and give him money like once a week for food. It was the only way to keep peace in the family.” Wayne would have been about 14 or 15 when this happened.” 


In 1991, Anaya and Wayne were ready to call it quits, but he told her he wanted to break up slowly because it would just be easier for him. They were renting a house together, so they each took separate rooms. They were platonic roommates for about a year before Wayne said he was ready to move out and  he already found a new was the house next door. Anaya was really angry, and this is when she finally saw how much control he had over her and she found a new place to live, but she had to leave her dog with Wayne. 


He was working as a tow truck driver and the towing company had a yard directly behind his house and they had a retriever. Wayne claims that the dog was trying to get through the fence to attack Anaya’s dog, so he shot the dog. She didn’t die immediately, but she did bleed to death. The towing company called the police, and he was arrested for animal cruelty, he pleaded guilty and was only sentenced to a week in jail. He lost his job, but he found another one as a DJ for a karaoke bar and this is where he met 19-year-old Lucie. She was actually dating someone else at the time, but Wayne was showering her in gifts, so she dumped her boyfriend and moved in with Wayne. He left his karaoke job and started working at an auto repair service. 


Lucie and Wayne decided to get married. She found out she was pregnant, but she got an abortion, then they went to Vegas and got married. Lucie said that things were really fun at first. They had another couple that they went out with all the time, and they would drink and play darts. Then, the other couple moved away, and Lucie didn’t like what she was left with. When talking about Wayne she said, “He wanted to like expand sexually. He would want me to sleep with other men. While he was there in the room. And I would say, No, I don’t really want to do that. And he would get very depressed. He would just make my life hell. I can’t even put this into words. He would just make my life so bad that I thought...if this will make him’s stupid on my part.” 


Lucie says that Wayne went into “black moods.”He would sulk, belittle her, and get very depressed. When he was in these moods, she couldn’t do anything right and he would sleep a ton. When he kept badgering her to have sex with other men, she finally agreed because she thought things would go back to normal. They picked a night, and she got really drunk and they found a Marine at a bus stop. She went through with this three times and kept telling her husband that she couldn’t do it anymore and he would ask why she didn’t want to make him happy and make her feel bad about it. 


In March of 1995, Lucie was pregnant again and this time, Wayne wanted to keep the baby because they found out it was a boy. When she was five months pregnant, she woke up one morning and made herself breakfast, Wayne lost it because he wanted it, and she told him to make his own. He ended up brutally raping her and wrapped a belt around her neck. Soon after this, they moved to Las Vegas and Lucie’s uncle went out of his way to get him a job as an electrician. The pay was really good, but he couldn’t stand being an apprentice, so he quit and got a job as a cab driver.  


Lucie’s family was all in Vegas, and she felt more secure when they moved into the same apartment complex as her mother because she had someone who could look after the baby if they needed help. It didn’t take long for Wayne to start pestering Lucie about piercing her breasts with needles. She did it for a while and didn’t like it. He still wanted her to have sex with other men, but she said no. Then, he tried to convince her that she needed to admit that she was a sex worker, but she wasn’t. She didn’t understand why he wanted her to lie. 


She did find herself a job, bought a car and put the baby in day care and Wayne hated this. She had gained some independence and that just didn’t work for him. Lucie actually left with the baby several times and went to her mother’s place, but Wayne always convinced her to come back. Finally, on July 4th of 1996, Lucie officially called it quits and she took her son and moved in with her mother, then she later moved in with her father and he was a police officer. Wayne didn’t have very many visits with his son, but one occasion would become a very significant date for investigators later on.  


Lucie arranged for Wayne to go to a mutual friend’s home to see the baby and she waited at a motel with her boyfriend. On October 13th, 1997, he left his friend’s home after the visit with his son. Years later, Lucie read that he blamed her for the killings that happened and said it was because she refused to let him see his son. Lucie said he could have seen his son anytime he wanted, she never stopped him. She even showed phone records that proved she called him many times, but he rarely answered.  


Wayne drove for a concrete company for about a year, but in the fall of 1997, he sustained an injury on the job and obtained temporary disability compensation. Several months later, when the injury healed, he got a new job driving a large long-haul. On Sunday, October 26th, 1997, Bob Potterberg put his canoe in the water of Freshwater Slough (SLEW). He and a few friends planned on following the slough all the way around the watery northern outskirts of the town to a small boat ramp. As he came around a wide bend, he passed under a rickety wooden cattle bridge and he saw what appeared to be a large log on the muddy east bank. As he paddled closer, it looked like the log was a mannequin, well, part of one anyways. 


His friend Lynne worked at a local hospital, so he asked her to go check it out, but she said no. Lynne’s husband had their 4-year-old son in his kayak, so he just paddled away with him.  Bob looked again and told himself, this had to be a mannequin. The arms, legs, and head were missing. He moved close enough to poke it with his paddle and a swarm of flies shot out and it didn’t sound like the hard plastic he expected. It was squishy and he could see fatty tissue. Bob immediately realized that this was a human, so he paddled to a location where he could call the police. 


It took almost an hour for the Eureka police to arrive, but they checked their maps and realized that the human remains were actually just outside the city limits. The body was located on the north bank, so it was determined that the Humboldt police should handle this case because the Eureka police department jurisdiction only covered the south bank. She was officially dubbed Torso Girl. There were 27 stab wounds on the right side of her back and buttocks. All of which appeared to have been inflicted after death, except for one. Some of the stab wounds looked like they were from a small double edged blade and others including the premortem wound were single edged and ranged in size from a half inch to 9/16th inch. They were all cut with a jerking or hesitating motion.  All 11 of her bruises were before death and three of them were the size of fingertips on the back of her right shoulder and the rest were on her lower back.  


The method of limb removal varied. Some bones looked like they were sawed cleanly in half, but others appeared to be half sawed and then smashed or broken. It looked like the killer became frustrated or impatient with how long it was taking and tried to speed up the process. The head was severed at the neck below the voice box between the C5 and C6 vertebrae. Her breasts had been sliced off and paired down to the rib cage, her torso was slit down the center to the pubic area and her pubic mound had been cut off which is the fatty tissue that lies over the pubic bones. The body had been carried by the water and lodged in the mudbank. So, the other body parts could be floating somewhere else and it was believed that the body had been in the water for less than 24 hours because the torso didn’t have much damage from animals. 


The pathologist, Dr. Bob Lawrence said his best guess was that she had been about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds. She was white with a possibility of some Hispanic blood, and she had either brown or auburn hair. Based on low carbon content in her lung tissues, he theorized that she had never been a smoker and she lived in an area that had little air pollution. It was also determined that she had given birth when she was very young.  


Investigators began to canvass the area where the torso was discovered, and they found a man who operated a wood shop on the west bank of the slough. He says oh yeah, I saw the torso floating in the slough several days before it was reported. He didn’t say anything because he thought it was a piece of driftwood. Detective Juan Freeman got a call from a detective in Calaveras (Cal-a-ver-ez) County, in the Sierra Nevada foothills. He said that he had a similar dismemberment case involving a sex worker from Sacramento, where the head, arms and legs had been removed and it was never solved, but one of the suspects in the case had moved to Humboldt County.  


A few days later, Detective Freeman was informed that someone discovered a large amount of blood on the railroad trestle over the slough, but it turned out to be red paint. Agent Sharon Pagaling believed that the killer had to be someone local because they knew about the backroads of Eureka and they were able to get into the slough without someone seeing them. She believed that the killer dismembered the body to conceal its identity and that could mean that someone had seen the killer with the victim prior to death.   


In January, Detective Freeman was told that a human arm with a hand attached had been found in the surf near Clam Beach, an area far to the north of the slough. He tried to get fingerprints, but the prints were unusable because they couldn’t be raised. He was running out of options, so he decided to consult a psychic and her name is Kay Rhea (Ree-a). She had provided accurate information in the past, so he decided, why not? He asked Kay to describe the location where Jane Doe was found. After she did this, she said that the victim had brown hair and that Jane Doe had lived with the man that murdered her and she traveled with him. He lived in a wooded area, and he may have worked with wood, such as logs, not firewood. 


Kay felt that the killer was hardened, and he had a beard. He was at least 45 years old, and he lived in a cabin or small house far up in the hills up a dirt road. He had sex with the victim more than once, owned a short pickup with a camper shell and it rattles. There is evidence of dried blood in the camper or near this man. He waits for a monthly check to come in and it would be disability or veterans, not retirement. He had several tattoos on his right arm and one is large and has to do with the Marines. He drinks a lot and takes drugs and killed Jane Doe in a drunken rage. The man is not clear-headed and feels sorry for himself. The license plate to his truck is wired on the right side of the rear plate and the truck is about 15 years old, not well maintained. He knows the area, but doesn’t live in Eureka. 


Kay said the body parts were scattered and she was surprised that the leg hadn’t been found yet, but she felt that the legs were near Trinidad. The victim had an irregular nose, brown eyes, and an upper right tooth with metal in it, possibly gold. She is not tall and knew the murderer for about 2-3 months and they didn’t have a lot of money. He has a water barrel next to the house and the two of them had smoked marijuana together. The man regrets killing her, but it’s mainly because he misses the things she did for him. Kay said the man had bad teeth, they were yellow and something happened to his ear. He had been beaten and deprived as a child and he was from somewhere else that started with the letter M, but it’s not Montana. 


He is not a serial killer type, but his ability to have sex is low because he has a small penis and gets very mad when somebody laughs at him about this. He was a Vietnam veteran who worked with explosives and the reason he got so angry with Jane Doe was because she was going to leave him. He was a veteran deranged by the war and the couple had a fight when he was drunk. Jane Doe was collecting her things and was going to leave, but the killer struck her in the head and killed her. He fell asleep, then woke up later and started cutting her body with a knife. 


The psychic was absolutely wrong on many points, but she was absolutely right on others. Wayne felt sorry for himself, and he felt deprived as a child. He couldn’t handle it when women dumped him, he had bad teeth that were broken when he was hit by the car. He was in the Marines and trained in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. At the time of the murder, he was receiving a disability check and he lived in an Airstream trailer which was similar to a cabin. It’s super interesting, but it wasn’t concrete information that could actually help. 



On the evening of June 2nd, 1998, about two miles from the small town of Buttonwillow, four construction crew workers found a naked woman’s body floating in the water in the California Aqueduct. They stood at the fence that separated the public from the water, it was shortly after 6 PM and they called the police. The body was just east of a bridge over the canal, and it had been tied up in the buoyed line across the water. By the time investigators launched a boat to get there, the body had broken free and was washed up to a canal gate. 


The woman looked young, and her body had been in the water for a while. There were signs of decomposition, with various reddish patches. She had reddish-blonde hair and it was cropped short, she was 5 feet 8 inches tall, and weighed about 145 pounds. She had five rings on her left hand, a tattoo on her right hand and the letters JJ were inside a heart. There were no obvious signs of trauma such as stab wounds or gunshot wounds. She had bruises on her face and neck which indicated that she had been beaten and possibly strangled. 


After an autopsy, strangulation was confirmed by the presence of a fractured cartilage in the neck. A sexual assault test indicated evidence of semen in the vagina and a blood test was positive for cocaine and alcohol. Based on the amount of decomposition, it appeared that the victim had been dead for several days. Since she had been immersed in water, it was difficult to obtain fingerprints, so the Kern County pathologist removed her hands and was able to get a blurry set of finger and palm prints. Then, an evidence technician began trying to match the prints with sets that were on file. 


On July 29th, 1998, almost two months after the body had been discovered, a match was made by a technician with the state Department of Justice. She was identified as 26-year-old Tina Renee Gibbs. She had a record of arrests in Washington State and in Reno, Nevada and detectives were able to use this to track down her father Carlos Gibbs. He said he hadn’t seen his daughter since she was little because her mother took her when they broke up. He spoke to her sporadically over the years and the last time he heard from her was on Christmas Day of 1997, when Tina called to say she was with her boyfriend in Las Vegas. She told him that her mother had died, but Carlos later found out that wasn’t true. Her mother was alive and hadn’t seen her daughter since Christmas Eve in 1991, so Tina had been on her own for a long time. 


When Carlos last spoke to his daughter, she gave him a phone number and it was traced back to a Las Vegas motel. The police in that area were well acquainted with Tina. She had been arrested many times for drugs and she was a sex worker. For a stretch of time, she was arrested almost once per month. Once detectives found this out, they pretty much put this case on the back burner.  



It was close to midnight in the small city of Santa Rosa and a 22-year-old woman accepted sex work with a man driving a large black semi-tractor rig hauling a long flatbed trailer. Her name has been withheld from the public. They had sex and the trucker said his name was Adam (Wayne’s middle name). Everything was normal at first, but the trucker became belligerant and he quickly bound the woman with ropes and bungee cords. The attacker immediately started hitting her face, breasts, and back with his fists and a belt.  He told her she had to do everything he wanted or he would kill her and he put an object against her and said it was a gun. He drove the truck to a turnout off the highway, then shut the truck off. He repeatedly raped and sodomized the young woman, then tied a necktie around her neck and hands.  


She tried to do everything he asked with the least amount of resistance because she noticed that he became extremely agitated when she begged to be let go. At one point, she passed out and when she came to, the attacker told her she fainted and he had to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation to revive her. He told her that he had fantasized about doing this to someone, but it wasn’t as good as he thought it would be. After that, he dragged her out of the truck and brought her to a dark cliff on the far side of the turnout and gave her a shove, then drove off. 


Shortly after this, another semi pulled up and saw a woman wildly waving her arms and she was half-naked, with blood all over her upper torso. Other motorists passed her and refused to stop. Art Holquin was worried that this might be a set up, but as he got closer, he could tell that the woman was in a real panic. She was actually not looking forward to being around another trucker, but she didn’t have much of a choice, so she yelled for help. Art noticed that the woman was bruised and bloody all over and her upper arms and chest were filled with stickers that were stuck all over from rolling down the hillside. A necktie was around her neck and one wrist. 


She told Art what happened, he covered her in his jacket, and they drove to a payphone. Based on her description, Art was able to determine that she had been picked up by a Kenworth, whose sleeper portion was designed differently from the truck he drove which was a Peterbilt.  

-We don’t know for absolute certain that Wayne was the attacker, but some of it lines up. We know he was a trucker, and he had a serious obsession with needing to be in control. 

-The woman’s breasts were attacked 

-A necktie was around the woman’s neck and he used to put belts around Lucie’s neck 

-Wayne did actually confess to this attack much later, but the woman could no longer be found