Saturday, February 26, 2005

BTK is arrested after 31 years!

Wichita's most notorious murder case is finally solved!

Yesterday, police and FBI agents surrounded a house in a Wichita suburb and apprehended a man suspected in the murder of ten people in the Wichita area, some of whom were murdered 31 years ago, and two of which were unsolved until now. He apparently confessed after being apprehended without incident. Police had been looking at this individual for at least a week, under surveillance.

The murderer was nicknamed BTK because of his serial style of murdering his victims: he would bind them up, torture them, and then kill them. One of the first cases the police dealt with involving BTK was an entire family that was killed. In nearly every case, BTK entered the home after first cutting phone lines, bound up his victims, tortured them, and then killed them.

It was known through a series of communications the killer made with the media (including The Wichita Eagle and KAKE TV, the ABC affiliate, and most recently KSAS, the Fox affiliate), that he was a graduate of Wichita State University, had some kind of connection to an instructor in the literature department, and had military experience, among other things. He recently (within the last year) sent a list of what appeared to be chapters for a book to KAKE TV. Many of the titles were thought to be clues, others were thought to be predictive of his capture.

Other communications came in the form of items that had been taken from victims' homes, including driver's licenses of the victims and some of their jewelry that had been taken, police suspected, as trophies by the killer. Recently, a postcard was sent to KAKE that led investigators to the side of a rural road where a Kelloggs Toasties cereal box was found with a brick on top (a brick was used to enter one of the victim's homes), and a number of items were found inside that were taken from victims' homes, but the police would not say what those items were.

Police, at this point, are still calling the man they arrested a suspect. He's 59 years old, married and has two grown children. His name is Dennis Rader, and he lived in Park City, Kansas, where he's lived since 1976, just after the first murder. He was a compliance officer and the chief animal control officer, and worked in the Park City city hall building, which was right across from the police station. He also, apparently, was the president of the congregation of Christ Lutheran Church, an E*CA church!

District Attorney Nola Foulston spoke of the death penalty in this case. "The law that was applicable at the time of the crimes... Kansas did not have a death penalty through all those periods of years when the allegations were made. None of them would fall within an applicable death penalty in the State of Kansas... This is not a Federal prosecution." The case will be tried in Wichita, but it does not look like he will be given the death penalty.

He was arrested while on duty driving a company vehicle. He spent four years in the Air Force, worked at ADT Security, was a graduate of Wichita Heights High School and graduated in 1979 from Wichita State University with a degree in administration of justice. He was a Boy Scout leader, too! This according to a news report on KAKE TV that I'm watching as I type.

He may have used his job at ADT to be able to break into and find his victims. That's probably why people trusted him. It's suspected that he was responsible for a number of other crimes, as well, for instance possibly burglaries, according to law enforcement officials.

No more information is going to be disclosed on the case after charges have been filed, which will happen early next week. We may hear something after the case has gone to trial, and hopefully after the trial has ended. Until then, there may be more information on the websites of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, The Wichita Eagle, KAKE TV and KSN TV (the NBC affiliate). Also check out America's Most Wanted. They have pictures of Dennis Rader, a.k.a. BTK, along with information about the investigation leading to his arrest. You may also be hearing about this on the national news, as did my brother-in-law in Colorado.

BTW, I should add that Ron, my husband, is skeptical and thinks that this may not be the man.

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