The I-5 Strangler's Only Known Survivor On How She Got Away: 'It Was About Anger, Hate'

The only known survivor of the notorious serial killer Roger Kibbe, dubbed the I-5 Strangler for his spree on the California highway, speaks up about how she got away.

By Oxygen

I-5 Strangler Roger Kibbe, a subject of “Mark of Killer” on Oxygen, terrorized and murdered young women along the California highway in the late '70s and '80s. But one woman survived to tell her story. 

On September 14, 1987, 29-year-old Debra Guffie was “down on her luck,” as she puts it, and doing sex work. 

She was picked up by a “very distinguished looking” mid-50s man in a white sports car. He told her they would go across the I-5 to the Auburn Golf Course. 

When he parked the car, Guffie recalls him locking the door as well. He grabbed her arm.

“As soon as he grabbed my arm, I knew I was in trouble,” she said in the latest episode of “Mark of a Killer.” “Serious trouble.” 

“I said ‘nooooo!’ and turned my arm back so fast that he lost the grip,” said Guffie, remembering how Kibbe then grabbed the back of her head and slammed her on the console. He shouted: “’S**t, don’t struggle, and you won’t get hurt.’” 

The I-5 Strangler killed at least six women that he picked up on the highway — women engaging in sex work or looking for roadside assistance. After raping and strangling the women to death, he would cut up their clothing in strange shapes, which became known as his "mark."

While struggling for her life, Guffie had the idea to act meek. She said to him, “please, I will do anything you say.”

Guffie waited for him to relax. 

“And then I started fighting…it was all about the fight then. Just about anger, and hate, and everything in life that had just beat me down, all my life, and everyone I loved, in that second.” 

She fought him off for a few moments more until, tiring of the tussle perhaps, Kibbe unlocked the door and pushed Guffie outside. 


Once outside, Guffie saw the headlights of a car heading her way--and it was the Sacramento police. The cop asked Guffie, “are you alright?”

She was, she shouted out to the police. “Get him! He’s crazy!” 

Kibbe, chased down, was taken into custody. Law enforcement found a bag he discarded along the pursuit, full of paraphernalia the murderer had been using. What authorities would call a murder kit. 

Roger Kibbe was sentenced to six consecutive life terms, the New York Times reported, after DNA evidence implicated him in more murders than the one he was sentenced to 25 years for in 1991.

“He will die in that cell. That’s what I think all monsters should do,” said Guffie, who added that she still has flashbacks. “Live with themselves, until they die.” 

Learn more about serial killers and their marks on “Mark of a Killer” airing on Oxygen, Sundays 7/6c.

[Photo: Mugshot, Oxygen screengrab]

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