Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sante and Kenneth Kimes: A Life of Crime

Where's Papa?

Most mothers don't go off to college with their children. Sante Kimes did. And at the University of California at Santa Barbara, she lived off-campus with Kenny and her husband. At UCSB, she often co-hosted keg parties with her son. If that was strange, so was the family's travel. She now shared a bed with her son on the road and not her husband.

On March 28, 1994, Sante Kimes pulled up in front of a Santa Barbara bank and went inside, leaving Ken Sr., now 77, in the car. When she came back out, he was dead of a heart attack. Sante didn't tell their son, who was away on spring break in Hawaii. Instead, she greeted him at the airport when he returned.

"Where's Papa?" Kenny asked.

"He's right here," Sante said and in a macabre move worthy of a Stephen King novel, whipped out Ken's ashes, which were inside an urn. Kenny was horrified, particularly when Sante produced two airline tickets. She forced him to get right back on a plane, and  they returned to Hawaii. There, they disposed of her husband's ashes by scattering them on the waves of the Pacific Ocean on a beach near Honolulu.

Sante never told anyone about her husband's death. When his children or old friends telephoned, she would make up a story. One of her favorites: He's gone off to Japan to build a motel.


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