Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sante and Kenneth Kimes: A Life of Crime

Sante, Sandra, Sandy

Irene Silverman's co-killer was born Sante Louise Singhrs in July 1934 on the edge of Oklahoma City. Her father, Rattan, was East Indian; her mother, Mary, was Irish. Sante was the third of four children. After they had migrated to Southern California in the late thirties, her father deserted the family. Their mother then became a prostitute in Los Angeles and the children found themselves in foster homes or in orphanages. Sante, the last to be separated from her mother, ran wild on the streets of the City of Angels.

Her hangout was a soda shop on one of L.A.'s main thoroughfares, Melrose Avenue. The couple that owned the place, Kelly and Dorothy Seligman, also owned a movie theater in the same block and from time to time would waive the admission charge and let the dark-haired wild child in for free. Dottie Seligman had a sister who couldn't conceive children with her husband, and they wanted to adopt. The sister and brother-in-law, Edwin and Mary Chambers, were more than willing to share their home with a needy youngster. Ed, a career military man, was about to take an important position as the third highest-ranking officer in the Nevada National Guard. Would she like to move to the state capital, Carson City, with them? She would.

"She came here in the seventh grade," her friend Ruth Tanis remembered. "At first she was known as Sante Singhrs, but the kids made fun of that, and so then she went by the name of Sandy Singer. Then when she was adopted her name became Sandra Chambers. But we always called her Sandy." (Author's Note: The National Crime Information Center lists 28 different aliases for Sante Kimes.)

On the surface, Sandy Chambers appeared to fit in. At Carson High School, she got decent grades, was a cheerleader for the basketball team, the historian for the Spanish club, member of the Glee club, and co-editor of the school's newspaper, The Chatter, but was best known for being "boy crazy," a consummate flirt.

Sante in 1952
Sante in 1952

"She ran for a freshman class office and the next year for a sophomore class post. She lost both times and never tried after that. We were a little guilty, I suppose, of treating her like an outsider," recalled Duane Glanzman, the 1952 senior class president.

"But she never lacked for dates," said Ruth Tanis.

There was a darker side emerging as well. She was caught shoplifting at a local five-and-dime (the offense wasn't prosecuted) and once went on a shopping spree after stealing her adoptive father's credit card. She seemed to be happy — so much so that when her own mother showed up in Carson City one day without warning and wanted her back, Sante refused.

 

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