Police: Homeless man admits to killing Lufkin woman

Winfred Kilgore mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Winfred Kilgore mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Joy Bybee mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Joy Bybee mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A homeless man admitted during a police interview Monday evening to killing a Lufkin woman by drowning her in a creek earlier this month, according to a press release issued from Lufkin Police Tuesday morning.

Winfred Montgomery Kilgore Jr., 55, is charged with murder.

According to the press release, Kilgore said he grabbed the back of Joy Yvonne Bybee's neck and held her head and body under the water until she died. He then said he dragged her body from the water and onto the mattress, according to the report.

Larry Penick, who says Bybee was his girlfriend, saw marks on her body that could be consistent with Kilgore's confession.

"She looked like - like on her back and everything and her buttocks and everything looked like there was purpling of the skin.  I don't know if that was from bruises," said Penick.

Kilgore then said he finished drinking the remaining beers from a 30-count package he bought earlier that evening, smoked a few cigarettes and slept next to Bybee's dead body, according to the report.

Investigators were back at the scene of the alleged murder Tuesday morning.  They were looking for any last pieces of evidence.

Lufkin city workers spent the morning draining around 15,000 gallons of water from the creek.

"Really didn't find much of anything... It does help out in confirming whether or not there was certain items down there we might've been looking for," said Detective Gabe Wall.

Investigators say the water itself may be evidence.

"Needed to collect water samples to assist with the death investigation and some of the information we received from Jefferson County morgue," said Wall.

Samples taken from under the bridge will now be compared with fluid officials say was found in Bybee's lungs.

Boyfriend Larry Penick, who was in jail at the time, wishes he could have protected her.

"How come I couldn't get out some time Wednesday? Well, she would probably still be alive," said Penick.

Police say Kilgore told the detective that when he woke the next morning he saw Bybee's dead body next to him and saw the drag marks from the creek to the mattress, so he destroyed the drag marks and left Lufkin.

According to police spokesman Det. J.B. Smith, police are still waiting on an autopsy report, but believe that Kilgore's confession matches the physical evidence, like the fluid found in Bybee's lungs.

"This case illustrates the importance of cooperation in solving crime," Smith said. "The hard work of the involved detectives was assisted by other officers, both inside and outside this department, the media, and the public."

Police began the investigation into Bybee's death on Aug. 11, after her boyfriend found her body under a bridge on Chestnut Street.

Police arrested Kilgore on a charge with tampering with evidence on Friday after he admitted to waking up next to Bybee's dead body and leaving the scene.

Police served the warrant for murder on Kilgore at the Angelina County Jail on Monday. He is being held without bail as of 10:20 a.m.

Detectives and city workers were on the scene of the death Tuesday morning, pumping water out of the creek to look for additional evidence.

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