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The Remorseful Serial Killer: Wayne Adam Ford

The Remorseful Serial Killer: Wayne Adam Ford
The Remorseful Serial Killer: Wayne Adam Ford

Patricia Anne Tamez, 29, lived a turbulent life. When she wasn't roaming the streets for a quick fix or prostituting herself to support her drug habit, she could often be found in a mental institution or state hospital undergoing drug rehabilitation and psychiatric therapy. Tamez was a far cry from the vivacious college student she once was. Supporting her drug habit had become her sole ambition.

Patricia Anne Tamez, 29, lived a turbulent life. Victim of Wayne Adam Ford
Patricia Anne Tamez
On October 22, 1998, Tamez spent the early part of the afternoon soliciting sex from truckers at the intersection of 6th and D in Victorville, Calif. After several hours she got her first response when a man in a large, black truck pulled up and propositioned her. Following a brief conversation, Tamez got into the truck and drove off with the man toward the highway. It would be her last trick.

The following evening, two security guards at the California Aqueduct were patrolling the area when one of the men noticed something bobbing in the rolling waters near the pump house. To the guard's horror, he realized that the object was actually the nude body of a woman. The guard immediately called the police.

When the authorities arrived, they fished the woman's body out of the water. To their surprise, they realized that one of the woman's breasts had been cut off. It was obvious that she had been murdered.

An autopsy later revealed that the woman had undergone severe trauma prior to her death. There was evidence that she was bound, raped and hit on the head with a blunt object. Moreover, her attacker had broken her back and severed one her breasts before he strangled her. It was determined that the remains were those of Patricia Anne Tamez, who went missing a day earlier.

During a search of the area upstream from the aqueduct, police found items that were possibly linked with the murder, including a bloodied towel, blouse, pants and a .22 caliber air pistol. Police were not able to locate the victim's missing breast, nor did they have any clue as to the identity of the murderer. However, several weeks later detectives received a big break in the case.

On November 3, 1998, long-haul trucker Wayne Adam Ford, 36, walked into the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department in Eureka, Calif. His brother Rod, who accompanied him, had spent the previous day trying to convince Wayne to turn himself in to police. Shortly after arriving at the department Wayne amazed agents when he tearfully broke down and confessed to murdering four women. His claims were further supported by the contents of a plastic bag found in his pocket during a search. Shockingly, the bag contained a severed breast, which was later linked with Tamez.

Carlton Smith suggested in his book Shadows of Evil, the chances of a serial killer turning himself in and showing remorse for his victims is extraordinarily small. In fact, San Francisco State University Criminologist Mike Rustigan stated in an Associated Press article that Wayne's confessions were "truly an exception in the annals of serial killers." Wayne's apparent shame for his brutal crimes earned him the nickname the "serial killer with a conscience."

However, when police investigated the murders to which Wayne confessed they quickly realized that had he even the slightest measure of guilt, he would have never tortured and murdered the women in the first place. It was clear they were dealing with an evil person who had little if any regard for human life. Police also realized that had he not turned himself in, he would have continued to kill. Ford's violent passions were out of control.

Wayne's World

Wayne Adam Ford was born in Petaluma, Calif., to Calvin Eugene Ford and his German immigrant wife, Birgette on December 3, 1961. He was the couple's second son. Wayne's oldest sibling was his brother Rod who was born two years earlier. Little is known about Wayne's youth except that he didn't have a close relationship with his parents and he had some run-ins with the law.

Wayne' s mother and father divorced in 1971 after a turbulent marriage. Smith suggested that sometime after the divorce, Birgette traveled the world for approximately six years, leaving behind her two sons in the care of their father in Napa, Calif. It is believed that her prolonged absence was emotionally difficult for Wayne, especially because Wayne and his father didn't get along well.

According to Jeff Barnard's November 1998 Associated Press article, Wayne left high school before graduating and enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps. He further stated that he worked as a chemical and biological specialist. Wayne took his job seriously and he worked hard to advance rank.
While he was enlisted, Wayne began dating a woman whom he eventually married. Smith said that not long after their wedding, Wayne became increasingly demanding, obsessive and abusive towards his wife. Eventually the emotional strain proved too much and the marriage ended in divorce.

In 1985, Wayne was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after serving for a brief period in Okinawa, Japan. According to Rick Halperin's Death Penalty News-California article, he was let go after 6 years of service because of mental problems. Smith suggested that little is known about Wayne's activities after his discharge until a year later when he got into trouble with the police for allegedly beating, raping and robbing a prostitute. Interestingly, he was never prosecuted for the crime, probably because of a lack of evidence.

In January 1986, Wayne began a relationship with another young woman. The relationship was a turbulent one, marked with frequent arguments and break-ups. Halperin stated that shortly after the break-up Wayne was arrested for animal cruelty for having shot a dog to death in his backyard. Wayne pleaded guilty to the crime and received a brief jail sentence. His punishment did little to deter his violent behavior and his blatant disregard for life steadily grew more intense.

In 1994, Wayne began dating a 19-year-old girl, whom he met while briefly working at a karaoke bar as a singer. After a brief courtship, the couple married. It didn't take long for cracks to appear in the relationship.

Smith stated that from the beginning of the marriage, Wayne suffered from severe bouts of depression and he also became extremely controlling and aggressive toward his new wife. It was a pattern that seemed to repeat itself in every one of his relationships. Even though his wife desperately tried to please him, there was little she could do to make him happy.
Not even the birth of their fist child in 1995 was enough to save the failing relationship. Eventually the couple divorced and their son went to live with his mother and grandmother in Las Vegas. Wayne took up permanent residence in a trailer-home in Arcata, Calif.

Following the split, Wayne complained that he was refused visitation rights to his son. According to Halperin's article, his ex-wife's alleged non-compliance "hurt him badly." As a result, Wayne's anger, which was facilitated by alcohol abuse turned deadly.

Mental Leave of Absence

The year 1983 marked the beginning of Wayne's work-related problems and rapid psychological decline. He became highly irritable and aggressive. Moreover, his work performance and attitude towards his supervisors steadily worsened.

Wayne's superiors recommended that he be psychologically evaluated at a mental health clinic. They hoped that his problems were only a temporary effect of the divorce and that time would even out his temperament. Yet, time would eventually prove them wrong.
Physicians found that Wayne suffered from depression and alcohol abuse. They also worried that he was a threat to himself because he exhibited suicidal tendencies. Consequently, Wayne was transferred to the Naval Hospital Long Beach's psychiatric ward, where he underwent counseling and drug therapy.

When Wayne showed signs of recovery he was discharged and reassigned to duty. In the summer of 1984, he was sent on assignment to Okinawa, Japan. Approximately one month after his arrival, his mental problems escalated even more.

After being reprimanded by a commanding officer for failing an inspection, Wayne became very upset and confrontational. Author Carlton Smith claimed that Wayne's medical records indicated he was later found in a corner of his barracks, huddled in a fetal position, refusing to talk. He was promptly admitted to a medical facility. While there he became physically violent towards doctors before storming out of the hospital. He was later apprehended, involuntarily restrained and forced to return to the medical facility to undergo treatment.

Doctors diagnosed Wayne with atypical psychosis, due to his psychotic behavior. He was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, which is marked by inappropriate bursts of anger, frequent suicidal thoughts, irritability and depression. It is unclear if his behavior was the result of the brain injury he suffered four years earlier or a pre-existing problem that progressed over time.

Wayne was shipped back home to California that same year. In 1985, he was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps due to his mental status. Little is known about Wayne's activities after his discharge until a year later when he got into trouble with the police.

In January 1986, Garden Grove Police arrested Wayne for beating, raping and robbing a prostitute. Interestingly, he was never prosecuted for the crime, probably because of a lack of evidence. Once again, Wayne managed to escape responsibility for his violent behavior.

That same year, Wayne began a relationship with another young woman. The couple shared an apartment in San Clemente, Calif., where Wayne took a job as a mechanic. The relationship was a turbulent one, marked with frequent arguments and break-ups. Wayne and she separated permanently in 1991 and Wayne took up residence in a neighboring apartment.

Shortly after the break-up, Wayne was arrested for animal cruelty for having shot a dog to death in his backyard. He maintained that he killed the animal because he feared it would attack his former girlfriend's dog that he was caring for at the time. According to Smith, Wayne pleaded guilty to the crime and received a one-week jail sentence. His punishment did little to deter his violent behavior and his blatant disregard for life steadily grew more intense.

In 1994, Wayne began dating a 19-year-old girl, who he met while briefly working at a karaoke bar as a singer. After a brief courtship, the couple married. It didn't take long for cracks to appear in the relationship.

Growing Instability

From the beginning of the marriage, Wayne suffered from severe bouts of depression. He also became extremely controlling and aggressive toward his new wife. Even though she desperately tried to please him, there was little she could do to make him happy.

In 1995, she learned that she was pregnant. In her fifth month, she and Wayne had a dispute, after which he raped her. The incident horrified and frightened her. What made it worse was his indifference about what he had done. Shortly thereafter, she fled Wayne to temporarily live with her mother in Nevada.

Eventually, the two moved back in together only to split up again. Wayne and his wife's on-again, off-again relationship continued throughout the pregnancy and after the birth of their baby, who was born in December 1995. Many of the problems the couple experienced were due to Wayne's troublesome behavior.

According to Smith, Wayne frequently demanded that she participate in acting out his sexual fantasies, including sleeping with strange men while he watched and sticking needles into her breasts. Wayne also demanded that she clean the house, cook three times a day for him and care for the baby while he skipped from job to job between California and Las Vegas. No matter how hard she worked, Wayne criticized her.

Before long, his wife realized life would probably be much easier without Wayne. In the summer of 1996, she moved out with their son and began divorce proceedings. Wayne temporarily went to live with his grandmother before permanently moving into a trailer-home in Arcata, Calif.

Following the split, his former wife encouraged Wayne to visit their son but he made only a few attempts to see him. Wayne was too busy wallowing in his own self-pity and hatred. He slipped deeper and deeper into psychosis, which was further facilitated by alcohol abuse. His mounting anger soon turned deadly.


On October 26, 1997, a duck hunter was canoeing on the Ryan Slough near Eureka when he noticed an object that resembled a mannequin on the muddy bank. When he approached the object he realized that that it was the butchered remains of a woman that was missing a head, arms and legs. The hunter, who had a mobile phone, immediately contacted the Humboldt County Police.

When investigators arrived at the scene, they saw that the victim's torso had been sliced down the middle and almost completely disemboweled. Moreover, the woman's breasts had been cut off and there were approximately 30 stab wounds on her body. Because there were no fingers to fingerprint, head, tattoos or unusual features on the torso, investigators were unable to identify the woman.

The woman, whose remains were referred to as Jane Doe, was examined by the county coroner. The coroner determined that she was likely between the ages of 18 and 25, and had a dark complexion. It was believed that Jane Doe had been dead at least three or four days before she was discovered.

Almost three months after the autopsy, Jane Doe's arm and hand were found near a beach. However, the body parts had deteriorated so much that there was no way a fingerprint analysis could be conducted. Investigators realized that Jane Doe's identity might never be discovered.

In June 1998, another woman's body was found floating in the California Aqueduct near the town of Buttonwillow. The remains were taken to the Kern County Coroner's Office for examination. During an autopsy, it was discovered that the woman's death was likely caused by strangulation. It was suggested that she had been raped and murdered several days prior to being found.

Tina Renee Gibbs
The coroner was able to obtain the victim's fingerprints, which were given to the police for identification. That July, a print match was made. According to a Review Journal article by Glenn Puit, the woman was identified as Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, "a Tacoma, Wash., native who was working as a street prostitute in Las Vegas in the months before her disappearance."

Four months later on September 25, a woman's nude body was found lying in a roadside irrigation ditch off Interstate 5 near Lodi, Calif. Several items were found lying nearby that were thought to be connected with the woman, including women's clothing, a bloodied tarp, hair samples, a white plastic bag with the logo of a truck stop titled "Flying J" and some pieces of jewelry. Investigators hoped that the evidence would provide some clues as to the identity of the victim and how she died.

An autopsy determined that the woman had been dead for several days, due to the advanced state of decomposition. A puncture mark was found on one of the victim's breasts and there was evidence of suffocation. Investigators believed the woman was murdered in another location and thrown from a moving vehicle into the ditch.

Lanette White
Fingerprints were taken of the victim and analyzed by investigators. The woman was identified as Lanette White, 25, of Fontana, Calif. She had been last seen by her cousin on September 20 preparing to go to the grocery store to get milk for her baby. Friends and family became concerned when White never returned home. The last thing they ever expected was that she'd been murdered.


After a day of drinking, Wayne went to a pay phone at the Ocean Grove Lodge in Trinidad, Calif., and called his brother Rod. Wayne was emotional and had something important to tell him. He asked his brother to come to the lodge as soon as he could.

Rod was five hours away. Yet, despite the distance he hopped in his car and drove to his brother. He arrived at the lodge in the early morning hours of November 3, 1998, tired but ready to talk.

During their conversation, Wayne appeared to be highly emotional and anxious about something. However, he refused to tell Rod what exactly was wrong. After several hours of trying to get Wayne to talk with no success, Rod gave in to fatigue and went to bed. Later that same day, Rod tried to pry out of his brother what was bothering him. Eventually, Wayne confessed that he hurt some people, but who they were and to what extent they were hurt remained unclear.

Rod spent the better part of the afternoon trying to wrestle information out of his brother with no success. He finally decided that if Wayne had done something that resulted in people getting hurt, then it was absolutely necessary for him to turn himself into the authorities. Wracked with guilt, Wayne took his brother's advice and went to the Humboldt County Sheriff's department that same evening. It was there that Rod learned what his brother had done.

While in police custody, Wayne confessed to murdering Patricia Tamez, Tina Gibbs, Lanette White and the unidentified woman whose torso was found on the banks of the Ryan Slough. He gave investigators a detailed account of how he murdered each victim, why he did it and where he put the missing body parts. Needless to say, Wayne was promptly arrested.

At the time of the murders Wayne worked as a long-haul truck driver, carrying lumber throughout Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona . It was during his road trips that he abducted and murdered his victims. According to Bhavna Mistry's 1998 Daily News article, Wayne's killing rampage was sparked by anger at his ex-wife, whom he believed withheld their son from him. The article further stated that he turned himself in because, "he was afraid he would kill his ex-wife and he didn't want his son to be an orphan."


During interviews with police, Wayne revealed the location of some of the body parts of the unidentified woman he killed and dismembered. He claimed that he buried the woman's head and arms near the Mad River. The remaining parts, including the victim's thighs, were temporarily kept in his freezer before being buried at a Trinidad campsite.

Investigators went to the campsite and to the Mad River to investigate Wayne's story. They were unable to find the victim's head, which reduced the likelihood of her being identified. However, they did manage to find at the campsite six or seven other body parts that were linked with Jane Doe.

Wayne confessed that he picked up the woman whom was hitchhiking near Eureka. Smith suggested that Wayne was initially attracted to the woman because of her large breasts, something for which Wayne had a fixation. He told investigators that he took her back to his trailer, had rough sex and then strangled her. It was a process he repeated on three other occasions. However, unlike with the other victims, he dismembered the unidentified woman in his bathtub with a saw and knives. He said that he dismembered her because it made it easier to dispose of her body.

A search of Wayne's trailer revealed even more critical evidence. They found in the kitchen a coffee can that was believed to have contained Jane Doe's breast. Moreover, a plastic bag with the "Flying J" logo was also discovered, which matched the bag discovered earlier nearby Lanette White's remains. Moreover, the freezer in which Wayne stored body parts was also found and confiscated.

All of the evidence from the trailer and campsite was taken to a police crime lab to be examined. Wayne's semi tractor truck, which was used for work and also his personal truck were confiscated for examination. The trucks were of particular importance to investigators because Wayne confessed that he drove for days on end with at least two of the dead victim's bodies in tow.

They hoped that remnants of the bodies might be found in the trucks, which could be used to strengthen their case. Even though Wayne presented himself on a silver platter to the authorities, investigators wanted to be sure that there was enough supporting evidence. They didn't want to take any chances.

On November 6, 1998, Wayne was arraigned at Humboldt County's Superior Court. He was charged with only one count of first-degree murder, that of Jane Doe. The other murders were not committed in the court's jurisdiction. Therefore, Wayne could only be tried in the counties where the bodies were found.

During the proceedings, Wayne complained to Judge W. Bruce Watson that he didn't have a lawyer, even though he repeatedly requested one. The court then appointed attorney Kevin Robinson to defend Wayne. Robinson immediately entered a plea of "not guilty" on behalf of his new client.

One of the primary issues that Robinson wanted to address was the fact that Wayne was allegedly prevented from having contact with a lawyer from the moment of his arrest to his arraignment. Smith suggested that if it could be proved that he was denied access to legal counsel, Wayne's confessions "might be rendered inadmissible in a trial." It would prove to be a difficult obstacle for the prosecution to overcome.
A new serial killer law was enacted approximately two months after Wayne's arrest, which allowed prosecutors the right to combine all of the murders into a single trial if they could d prove that they were related. Thus, instead of Wayne being tried for each murder separately in different counties, he would have just one trial for all four murders. Whether the law was constitutionally applicable to Wayne's case was a controversial matter because it was enacted a considerable amount of time after the crimes were actually committed. It was another issue that Robinson wanted to argue.

On April 6, 1999, Wayne was indicted by a Humboldt County grand jury on a single count of murder. However, he would not be tried in Humboldt because that June, a final decision was made to have Wayne arrested and charged in San Bernardino County for the murders of all four victims. The defense team lost their first battle and faced the prospect of Wayne getting the death penalty. That August, he was transferred to West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino County to await his upcoming trial.

In November 2003, a hearing was held at San Bernardino County Superior Court to determine whether Wayne's confessions to police were admissible in court. According to Tim Grenda's article Defense Battles to Bar Confession, the defense team, led by attorney Joseph D. Canty, argued that the confessions were, "the result of unreasonable police actions in the hours and days after Ford surrendered." However, the prosecution maintained that the confessions were legally obtained and that Ford initially asked for an attorney but later changed his mind.

Superior Court Judge Michael Smith ruled in January 2004 that most of Wayne's confessions were admissible at trial. Yet, those made after November 5, 1998, three days after Wayne turned himself in, could not be used by the prosecution because the police should have allowed him legal counsel by then. Tim Grenda stated in a January 2004 article that the judge's ruling meant that Wayne's confessions regarding Lanette White, which were made on the third day of questioning, were jeopardized. Nevertheless, the prosecution decided that they would likely include the murder charge concerning White at trial because there was adequate evidence linking Wayne to her death.

Almost six years after Wayne's arrest, the murder trial still had not begun because of delays in the legal system. The trial date had been moved up on several occasions and was finally scheduled to commence on March 1, 2004. However, it was stalled once again in mid-January 2004 because the lead prosecuting attorney handling the case, Deputy District Attorney David Whitney, retired from his position.

Deputy District Attorney Dave Mazurek was chosen to replace Whitney and lead the case against Wayne. In Ben Goad's article Retirement Delays Murder Trial, Canty was quoted saying that the commencement of the trial, "will depend on how much time Mazurek needs to become familiar with the case." Goad suggested that the trial could be pushed up to the fall of 2004 or later.

In the meantime, Wayne's future hangs in the balance. If he is found guilty, he could face the death penalty. At the time of his arrest, Wayne allegedly told family members that he'd rather be sentenced to death. If the prosecution has its way, he just might get his wish.

Victoria Redstall's Fixation

Among serial killer groupies Victoria Redstall stands out (although she insists, "I'm nothing like those lunatics who want to seek out serial killers"). In the summer of 2006 she made headlines for her multiple meetings with Wayne Adam Ford. What sets the British-born, busty, one-time weathergirl apart is this: she is a former spokesperson for a breast enhancement supplement, Herbal Grobust, and he is renowned for delivering to police a severed female breast in a plastic bag.

It's not often that fantasies click quite this well between a serial killer and his fans, but this one seems both bizarre and a bit too "well-formed" to be real.

Ford, a one-time long-haul trucker, was convicted in June 2006 on four counts of murder. In 1997 and 1998, he had bound, strangled and stabbed four women, three of them prostitutes and the other a hitchhiker. He dismembered two, keeping parts in his freezer. His stabbed his first victim, still unidentified, 27 times, removing her head, arms, legs, and breasts to "make her smaller." Ford tossed her torso into a waterway, as he would do with the next three as well.

He blamed a failed marriage and alcohol abuse for his problems. After he confessed for over an hour to his last assault, turning himself in so he would "stop hurting people," he claimed to be a different man. Yet anger is still an issue, as he's threatened jail officials and smuggled weapons into his cell.

Redstall, an actress who's landed commercial voice-overs and bit parts in several films, apparently befriended Ford while on a tour of the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. She went there specifically to see him, and persuaded a guard to take her to his cell. During the spring, she visited Ford regularly, often spending as much as three hours at a time. Featured in the LA Times on August 1, Redstall told reporters that she and Ford liked to sing country songs together, and his singing gave her "gooseflesh." Several sources reported that she'd long been interested in serial killers.

Like most groupies, she romanticized Ford (while denying that her connection is romantic), believing that who he was during his killing spree is not the man he is today. She says that he is full of remorse, and anyway, "We all have evil in us." Even as she shed tears over his apparent show of conscience, she thought it was "hysterical" that this offender with a breast fetish had become so attuned to a model for breast enhancement.

Attention Seeking And Publicity

During Ford's trial, Redstall entered as part of the press, claiming she was making a documentary, so the sheriff's department asked to have her credentials checked. It turned out that she'd already made one documentary, "Hover Me: The Making of Helicopter Girl," in which she had photographers in helicopters film her as she stood on her balcony at night in skimpy nightwear. News photographers also found her and hovered overhead, causing her annoyed neighbors to force her to move.

While the San Bernardino sheriff's department barred Redstall from the prison, the judge allowed her to take photographs and bring in a camera. She and Ford had worked out a series of hand signals, so he could assure her he received her notes. She took pictures so freely, in fact, that the court reprimanded her, and then decreased all media access. After closing arguments, she drove alongside the van in which Ford rode back to the prison, so that he could see her in her red convertible. Once he was convicted, however, his own defense team asked that no one be allowed to visit him.

"I trust Wayne with my life," Redstall said in a press interview, stating that the two of them had grown completely "tuned in" to each other. "He's got such a kindness to him, and such a conscience."

In fact, part of his defense drew on this notion, since he had turned himself in. A defense psychiatrist even stated (erroneously) that this was unheard of for a serial killer. The jury ignored the appeal and convicted Ford on all counts, recommending death.

Many people believe that Redstall, 34, is in this relationship strictly for publicity, because her career as an actress never really got off the ground. As for her documentary, which she will call either "Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer" or "A Killer with a Conscience," she may or may not have the financing to get it made. (The company she named told inquiring reporters it was not involved in the film project.) When the media glow finally fades, one can only wonder just how long Redstall will stick with her plan to make Ford "a star."

In another play for attention, she stated on August 19 that she's going to search for the missing head of Ford's first victim, not recovered when investigators brought in the corpse. According to the San Bernardino Count Sun, she laughingly refers to it as "going headhunting." While she claims she hopes to help a family get closure, she also wants "something exciting for my documentary." Victim advocates are incensed at her tasteless stunt. Nevertheless, with such tabloid headlines, someone will surely step forward and fulfill this groupie's fantasies.

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