Homeless man says he drowned woman during Vietnam flashback

JESSICA COOLEY/The Lufkin News
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 5:52pm

Lufkin, TX — A homeless man charged with murder in the apparent drowning death of a homeless woman told investigators he accidentally killed her in a Vietnam flashback, according to an arrest affidavit.

Although 55-year-old Winfred Kilgore spent the last five days sticking with the story that he stayed the night with 48-year-old Joy Bybee Aug. 10 and left in a panic after finding her dead the next morning, he claimed in an interview Monday with Lufkin Police detectives that he had accidentally killed her.

In the interview he told police he and Bybee had spent the day together Aug. 10 and were talking about their military training of holding their breath underwater as they stood naked in the water beneath the bridge between Timberland Drive and Chestnut Street in Lufkin. Kilgore said Bybee held her hand on top of his head while he held his breath for what he believed to be five minutes. Bybee then asked Kilgore to hold her under the water while she held her breath, but initially he refused, he told police.

According to the affidavit, Kilgore said Bybee ordered him to do it, noting that he was in the military and when someone orders you to do something, you do it. Complying with her order, Kilgore said he grabbed her by the back of the neck and held her head and body underwater. When he started thinking back about his Vietnam days, he said, he “blanked out.” When he came to — about three minutes later, he told investigators — he looked down, saw bubbles and realized he had held her down too long. One detective asked if Bybee struggled, to which Kilgore said she did, repeating again that he “blanked out.”

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