Kathleen Heisey header

It's been 18 years and Kathleen Heisey's family and friends still cry out of for justice.

They say they aren't getting it from the Bakersfield Police Department, so they reached out to us. By the dozen. They wanted us to tell them what detectives wouldn't. They wanted us to make sure the case wasn't forgotten.

They want justice. They want to know: Who killed Kathleen Heisey?

Timeline of Events

1977

  • Sept. 28 – Kathleen Heisey’s cousin, Charles Curran Shannon, then 23, is arrested on charges he beat a woman, threatened to shoot her, and attempted to kidnap her from a local motel.

    A psychiatric examination says he has “perhaps schizoid and paranoid features which are associated with habitual alcoholism.”

    He later pleads guilty in a plea bargain to a reduced charge of false imprisonment. He is sentenced to a year in jail, three years probation and alcohol abuse counseling.

1981

  • Feb. 18 – An Oildale woman tells sheriff’s deputies she accepted a ride from a man who drove her to a remote oilfield and tried to forcibly rape her. Detectives traced the car used in the crime to Charles Curran Shannon, then 26. He was arrested, charged and pleaded guilty in July 1981 to attempted rape. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

    He is ordered to register as a sex offender wherever he lives in the U.S. for the rest of his life.

1983

  • Oct. 26 – Lloyd Wakelee is arrested for assaulting a postal worker in Oklahoma City. Witnesses say Wakelee was angry a letter had not been delivered. He snatched a computer off a counter and smashed it to the ground. When confronted by a postal employee, he threatened the employee with a pistol.

1984

  • Feb. 2 – Lloyd Wakelee is sentenced in a federal court after pleading guilty to assaulting a postal worker. He receives four years probation and is ordered to undergo psychological treatment.

1998

  • Feb 24 – Kathleen Heisey is praised in as a hero for organizing and then conducting an emergency evacuation of 700 students and staff when a flash flood threatens Browning Road Elementary school.
  • March 11 – Lloyd Wakelee is questioned in connection with an alleged road rage incident. A Bakersfield man says Wakelee threatened him with a sword and said, “Someone might cut your heart out one day.” Wakelee tells officers he was acting in self-defense. No charges are filed – in fact, the police report on the incident is not even typed up until the day of the Heisey killing.
  • June 25 – Thursday – Kathleen Heisey’s son, Timm Heisey, says his mom comes home from work trembling, saying she was terrified of co-worker Lloyd Wakelee because he threatened her over a negative employee performance evaluation she had written about him.

    “He flipped out,” Timm said Kathleen told him. Wakelee, “basically said, ‘If you submit that, it’ll be the last thing you ever do.’ She became hysterical, and several days later she was stabbed to death in her home.”
  • June 28 – Sunday – Timm Heisey, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, returns to Virginia for military training. He had worked the summer as a substitute teacher in McFarland so, he says, everyone at Browning Road School knew he was leaving his mother alone in her Bakersfield home. He says he went to the neighbors before he left and asked them to be on the lookout for Wakelee.
  • June 28 – Sunday evening – Kathleen’s daughter, Lisa Heisey, calls her mom and learns Kathleen’s married boyfriend, Bob Taylor, is at the house.
  • June 29 – Monday – Kathleen Heisey visits lifelong friend Lynn Runyan at Runyan’s home. Kathleen leaves around 7 p.m. It was apparently the last time anyone besides the killer saw her alive.
  • June 29 – Monday – 7:45 p.m. – Kathleen Heisey leaves a message on the answering machine of her daughter, Lisa, in Washington state. Lisa recalls it as a chatty check-in call with no significant purpose. “Nothing sounded out of the ordinary,” Lisa remembered. It was the last time she heard her mother’s voice.

    Debbie Wakelee says she and Lloyd spend all day in the Sequoias with her brother and sister-in-law, returning home around 10:30 p.m. She says a receipt from a gas station in Bakersfield and statements from her relatives prove this alibi.
  • June 30 – Tuesday – Kathleen Heisey misses a morning meeting at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office.

    A woman’s body is discovered in a field off Madison Street. She is later determined to be Leslie Dawn Preston. She was stabbed to death in what is still an unsolved crime.
  • July 1 – Wednesday – When Kathleen Heisey missed a second meeting in two days, employees at Browning Road Elementary School call friends and colleagues, asking if they know where she is. Heisey’s friend, Lynn Runyan, visits Heisey’s home at about noon and finds her grotesquely mutilated body.

    Detectives Kevin Legg and Richard Herman are assigned to the case. Kern County Crime Lab Director Greg Laskowski and his team spend 15 hours processing the crime scene. Coroner’s spokesman Jim Malouf estimates Heisey was killed Monday night or Tuesday morning.

    At 11:45 pm, the police report regarding Wakelee using a sword in the March 3 road rage incident is transcribed.
  • July 2 – Lloyd Wakelee tells detectives he had nothing to do with the killing. “The police showed up at our house,” Debbie Wakelee remembered. “For some reason, they decided to focus on Lloyd. Lloyd’s incapable of doing something like that. As far as the timeline, we weren’t even in town.”
  • July 7 – More than 500 people pack Fruitvale Community Church, spilling out of the sanctuary and into the lobby, for funeral services for Kathleen Heisey. The church is covered in letters from mourners describing how Heisey had inspired them.
  • July 8 – More than 400 people jam into the Browning Road Elementary School cafeteria for memorial services for Kathleen Heisey. Dozens of students, former students, teachers and parents line up to recall how Heisey had helped them.
  • July 10 – Lloyd Wakelee, feeling disrespected by treatment by the Bakersfield Police Department, retains Bakersfield criminal defense attorney Kyle Humphrey. Humphrey cautions detectives that he has advised Wakelee to remain silent and refuse searches without court orders.
  • July 12 – Attorney Kyle Humphrey sends a second letter to BPD Detective Sgt. David Haskins reiterating Wakelee will comply with police requests only under court order.
  • July 18The Bakersfield Californian reports a search warrant was filed and sealed by Judge Michael B. Lewis at the request of detectives. The article quotes Sgt. Mike Cantrell, who says there are no suspects named in the warrant and no suspects in the case.
  • Aug. 6 – An informant – not named in police reports – tells BPD Detective Kevin Legg about Kathleen Heisey’s cousin, Charles Curran Shannon. The informant tells Legg that Shannon is a registered sex offender with a history of violent crimes who moved to Bakersfield just days before the killing, and moved out of Bakersfield the day after the body was found.
  • Aug. 10 – Detective Kevin Legg discovers Charles Curran Shannon had failed to register as a sex offender. Legg and two other detectives travel to Shannon’s mother’s home in Glennville to arrest him.

    Legg returns Shannon to Bakersfield and questions him about the Heisey killing; Shannon’s sister says Shannon denied all involvement; no charges are ever filed in connection with the homicide, but Shannon ultimately pleads guilty to failing to register as a sex offender and is sentenced to a year in the Kern County Jail.
  • Oct. 17The Bakersfield Californian reports a $5,000 reward is offered by the Secret Witness Program for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the Heisey case.

1999

  • June 26 – Lloyd Wakelee is involved in a road rage incident in which he allegedly attacks another man with a bullwhip.

2000

  • Feb. 16 – Misdemeanor charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery are filed against Wakelee, based on allegations in the June 26 bullwhip incident.
  • April 18 – Lloyd Wakelee’s attorney, Kyle Humphrey, files court documents accusing BPD homicide detective Kevin Legg of using the bullwhip incident as a “ruse” to investigate Wakelee in connection with the Heisey case.

    Humphrey says Legg attempted to question Wakelee about the Heisey case after Wakelee was arrested in the bullwhip case. “Clearly, this entire case investigation by Detective Legg has been tainted by his bias and outrageous conduct,” Humphrey wrote. “His overzealousness and clear bias in this case in an effort to conclude another case investigation has resulted in the tainting of witnesses and their recall of events.”

    Humphrey says blood drawn from Wakelee in connection with the bullwhip case is really for use in the Heisey homicide case.
  • May 25Bakersfield Californian reporter Steve E. Swenson publishes an article quoting Lloyd Wakelee co-counsel Larry Fields as saying Wakelee is a suspect in the Heisey killing.

    Fields says Detective Kevin Legg obtained a search warrant for Wakelee’s blood, the article says. Fields says another sealed search warrant was used to seize Wakelee’s knives, which were returned to him.
  • July 12 – The bullwhip case against Lloyd Wakelee is amended to include five misdemeanors, including assault with a whip, assault with an automobile, battery, challenging someone to fight, and leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Sept. 27 – Lloyd Wakelee enters a 10-week anger management counseling course required in connection with the bullwhip case, court records show.
  • Nov. 27 – Lloyd Wakelee completes the anger management course ordered in the bullwhip case, court documents show.
  • Dec. 19 – Lloyd Wakelee is convicted of two misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace in the bullwhip case. All other charges are dismissed. He is sentenced to three years probation, community service, and required to attend anger management classes.

2002

  • July 9 – Another search warrant regarding the Heisey case is issued and sealed by Judge John L. Fielder.

2004

  • March 29 – Two misdemeanor convictions of disturbing the peace are expunged from Lloyd Wakelee’s record. These are the only two remaining charges in the June 26, 1999 road rage bullwhip case. The court action leaves Wakelee with a clean criminal record.

2007

  • Jan. 11 – BPD Detective Mark Charmley requests a search warrant regarding the Heisey case be sealed.

2016

  • April – KGET reporter Olivia LaVoice is assigned to explore the Heisey case.
  • June – BPD Capt. Joe Bianco says detective Ken Sporer is removed from other cases, and assigned to the Heisey case full-time.
  • Sept. 29 – BPD Detective Ken Sporer has Washington state detective take Lisa Heisey’s DNA.

Information

If you or anyone you know has information regarding this case, you are urged to contact the
Bakersfield Police Department at

661-327-7111