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Wichita serial killer back?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
This is really frightening for Wichita residents - I remember when this was national news way back when.

BTK killer back in the news
By Jason Kravarik, Lauragail Locke, Alia Mahi
Updated: 8:44 a.m. ET March 26, 2004 March 25 - New developments in the BTK strangler case have rocked the city of Wichita. The Wichita Eagle has received a letter concerning the BTK case. Editors say they got the letter last Friday.

A police investigation is underway and officers say the letter contains details that make it appear legitimate.

The word serial killer simply didn't fit in Wichita until BTK. It was a time when Wichitan's were afraid to leave their homes -- a memory that has now been dusted off some 30 years later.


It began when four bodies were pulled from a Wichita home. The youngest was just nine years old. Three of the victims were bound with cord. The other was found hanging in the basement.

"It was a period of time when Wichita grew up," said Mike McKenna, retired detective.

But no one could know there was more "growing up" to come. Not far from the Otero-family murder police would find their next victim on East 13th Street just three months later.

Someone had bound 21-year-old Kathryn Bright, then stabbed her to death.

Six months later that someone would identify their mantra - BTK, bind, torture, kill -- in an anonymous call to the local media.

"This type of personality doesn't stop voluntarily. This type of person continues to kill," said Paul Dotson, former police captain.

And he would again, but not for three years.

On March 17th, 1977, police head to the 1300 block of South Hydraulic. There they find another victim -- 26-year-old Shirley Vian, bound with cord -- some of it was wrapped around her neck.

"It captivated the attention of virtually everyone you knew," said Dotson.

It captivated and paralyzed the city, wondering what would come next. Nine months after the latest homicide, 911 received a phone call from a downtown payphone.

"Just shortly after 8:00, about 8:20, individual said 'there's a homicide at 843 S. Pershing' and hangs up the phone."

Police rush in every direction to the payphone where the call is made and to the address where a body is, indeed, found.

Police found 25-year-old Nancy Fox strangled and bound -- the seventh victim.

Back at the payphone, a fireman gets the only-known glance of the killer, but it is too vague.

The killing would end there but not the question of "why."

Even after the murders, BTK sent letters to the newspaper boasting of his accomplishments and clamoring for national attention.

No one had heard from him since 1978 until, perhaps, right now.


The mention of BTK still upsets some Wichitans, especially those who lived near the homes where the killings took place.

30 years ago, police believe the BTK killer went to a home on North Edgemoor and murdered four members of the Otero family. One woman who lived in the neighborhood at the time would only speak with us on the condition we don't reveal her name because the BTK killer still frightens her to this day.

"I don't want myself in danger and I don't want any of my family in danger."

"I ran a daycare and some police came to my door and asked if I had seen any strange looking people in the area. I said, 'why has something happened' and he said, 'well we can't say right now.' I remember to this day and I've never understood why I said, 'they're all dead aren't they?' And I don't know why I said that and he said 'yes ma'am'".

"So they camped out in my living room for a few hours. I heard a few things, it was just places they wanted to check out and some names they had collected and things like that."

"But it was a very, very, very scary time when this happened. There was a lot of crying. Mr. And Mrs. Johnson and I spoke a lot and they were very upset and he was the one who had to go over with the kids when they came home and saw the family as they were and he was the one who called the police."

"I would like to think the real BTK killer is either in prison serving time and nobody knows it's him. I didn't know anything about a letter surfacing and if it's true, it's scary to think that person is still out there."

The woman we spoke with moved away from the neighborhood several years ago but she tells us what happened there still haunts her to this day.


The BTK serial killings certainly terrorized local families, but also the journalists who covered the story. We spoke to a former TV anchor whom the killer mentioned several times in letters.

Former news anchor Rose Stanley dealt first hand with the BTK serial killings. Her station received several threatening letters from the killer. In the letters, the killer delivered some haunting threats.

"'I'm gonna get that news lady.' Well at that time it was pretty obvious there weren't that many gals in news. It was pretty obvious he was talking about me," said Stanley.

Stanley, now an investment executive, recalls the feeling of fear around the city.

"The city was scared, very scared. You had a string of brutal unsolved murders. It shook the place up."

During that time, Stanley says her station tried to address the killer.

"We ran a message that said 'BTK, call police now.'"

Police believed the suspect watched Stanley while she reported.

Thirty years later, she says she can't even guess if the new letter is real.

"I have no idea if the police are taking it seriously. They know their job."


Wichita police held a special briefing Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

In that news conference, they said they do believe the letter, referring to the unsolved Sept. 16, 1986 strangulation death of Vicki Wegerle is authentic and that it may very well have come from the BTK killer.

They ask that anyone who knows anything about this case please call (316) 263-0138 or email them at coldcase@wichita.gov or write to them at P.O. Box 9202, Wichita KS, 67277-0202.

Related links:

The Wichita Eagle
post #2 of 3
Yeah. Wichita resident here. I have been having bad dreams from this. Everyone (especially women I know who live alone) are really scared.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Aquarius
Yeah. Wichita resident here. I have been having bad dreams from this. Everyone (especially women I know who live alone) are really scared.

Make sure all your windows and doors are locked, and keep a charged-up cell phone within easy reach at all times.
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