A weekend jailbreak attempt at the Orange County Jail was foiled when sheriff's deputies arrested a Santa Ana woman and her 16-year-old son, who had planned to smuggle weapons and tools in to the woman's husband, a suspected rapist and murderer, authorities said Monday.
Sheriff's officials seized a .38-caliber handgun, 50 rounds of ammunition, two taser guns, a small hacksaw with two blades, metal-cutting shears, tire irons and a metal punch, said spokesman Lt. Richard J. Olson. Also seized were $5,000 in cash from the woman's purse, which apparently would have been used to finance an escape to Canada, and $500 the woman paid to an undercover officer who the woman believed was helping her plan the jailbreak, Olson said.
Under the escape plan, called "far-fetched" by Olson, the woman's son was to have entered the jail Saturday through a vent in the first-floor public restroom and crawled up through the ventilation system to the fourth-floor cell of his stepfather, Martin James Kipp, 29. Kipp is awaiting trial on 3-year-old charges of murder and kidnaping in both Huntington Beach and Long Beach, Olson said.
The son was to drop off a satchel of escape tools and then crawl back out the way he came in, Olson said. It is not known when Martin Kipp planned to attempt to break out, he said.
But even if Kipp's wife, a clerk for a local law firm, and her son had not been caught, their escape plan "'was not plausible," Olson said.
"They could not have accomplished what they planned to do" because the ventilation ducts are narrow in many places throughout the jail as a security precaution, Olson said. The men's room vent, which the son was to have crawled through, measures only 14 inches by 9 inches, and the ducts get narrower, he said.
"It would have been physically impossible," he said. Investigator Tom Dove, one of the arresting officers on the case, said Linda Kipp's son is about six feet tall and weighs about 175 pounds.
There was never a chance to learn that firsthand, however, because the boy did not show up at the appointed time Saturday. When the woman met with the undercover officer to revise their plans, investigators moved in for the arrest, Olson said.
Linda Ann Kipp, 37, a clerk at the law offices of Cesena & Lee in Orange, was arrested in a Santa Ana parking lot about 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Her son, who lives in Azusa, was arrested at his home about 6:45 p.m. Both were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to assist in an escape. Linda Kipp is being held at the Orange County Jail on $250,000 bail, and her son, who was not named because of his age, is lodged at Orange County Juvenile Hall.
Martin Kipp is being held for trial in connection with the rape and strangulation deaths of 19-year-old Tiffany Frizzell, of the Puget Sound, Wash., area, who was found in a Long Beach motel room on Sept. 17, 1983, and Antaya Yvette Howard, 19, who was killed about Dec. 30, 1983, in Huntington Beach. Howard's body was found Jan. 4, and Kipp was arrested on Jan. 6, 1984, in Laguna Beach on traffic warrants. He was charged with the Huntington Beach murder.
Olson said Linda Kipp married Martin Kipp about two years ago, while he was an inmate. He did not know how they met. As a paralegal, he said, Linda Kipp had unlimited visiting privileges at the jail.
A spokesman for the law firm of Cesena & Lee could not be reached for comment.
Sheriff's investigators first learned about two months ago that a woman named "Linda" was possibly assisting an inmate with an escape attempt, Olson said. They also determined that "Linda" was a paralegal who visited the jail often, he said. Olson would not elaborate on how sheriff's officials learned the information.
Records in the attorney-bonds section of the central men's jail were checked, and it was learned that paralegal Linda Kipp was married to an inmate, he said. Records indicated that she visited him on a "regular basis," Olson said.
As the investigation continued, a jail deputy monitoring inmate visits notified the jail administration of suspicious activity, Olson said. During one visit by his wife and stepson, Olson said, it appeared that Martin Kipp was drawing diagrams of the jail and holding them up to the window separating him from visitors, while his stepson attempted to distract deputies monitoring the visit.
Investigators arranged for an undercover officer--posing as "an individual off the street that would help"--to be introduced to Linda Kipp, Olson said. Their first meeting was Wednesday at a restaurant in Santa Ana, he said.
After meeting about 30 minutes, the two left the restaurant separately but met again about 20 minutes later near the men's jail, Olson said. They were observed walking the perimeter of the jail, then they entered the lobby area and later met for 18 minutes in her car.
During the next two days, Linda Kipp held several meetings with the officer in person and on the telephone, and conversations were recorded, Olson said.