Bind. Torture. Kill.
March 28, 2004 9:31 AM   Subscribe

After twenty five years of silence, BTK (Bind Torture Kill) has resurfaced in Wichita, Kansas.
posted by Captain_Tenille (19 comments total)
Is it just me, or does the the author of the crimelibrary article look just like the stereotype of a serial killer?
posted by Nelson at 10:12 AM on March 28, 2004

Weird, I was just reading about this last night (it's been on the news, so I looked it up on Crime Library). It sounds as though the killer had been locked up or otherwise taken out of commission in the Wichita area for the period from the last incident in 1979 to the killing in 1986, and then again from 1986 until now. Reading through some of the stories of victims and near-victims was very frightening (like the last confirmed incident when the killer broke into a woman's house, but left before she came home, and he later mailed her a scarf he'd taken and a letter which said "Be glad you weren't here, because I was"). And most frightening is that it's pretty unlikely that someone like this (i.e. someone who really seems to enjoy it) won't kill again. It will be interesting to see how they go about catching him, since they have evidence from the killings which was less useful at the time than it is now (like semen).
posted by biscotti at 10:29 AM on March 28, 2004

"I've learned that if man gets the opportunity, he will do devious things," Ressler said. "He has a dark side, whether it's poisoning his neighbor's roses or killing his neighbor."
posted by JohnR at 10:39 AM on March 28, 2004

I'm something of a crime buff and was unfamiliar with the BTK murders - thanks for the link.

I'd always thought of Kansas as a bucolic, "Our Town" kind of place, but BTK and the Wichita Massacre further drive home the point that no place is truly a haven from crime.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:51 AM on March 28, 2004

I was unfamiliar with BTK too until I read about it on Crime Library a couple of years ago. I get the feeling that BTK is not super well known outside of Wichita, because I have a friend who grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and he had no idea who BTK was (he thought I was talking about the Wichita Massacre, I think). As far as serial killers go, BTK has never struck me as anything super special; he has brutality and an interesting choice of location going for him (the peaceful Midwest), but his totals aren't that high* and other unsolved serial killers (Zodiac comes to mind) certainly outweird him.

That said, while I think the Crime Library is a neat resource, I have some mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it's full of neat information about all sorts of strange folks, but on the other hand, it's written in a very sensationalistic style that's a bit off-putting. Just my feeling.

Of course, since I live in an area that I'm told has had more serial killers than anywhere else on Earth (go greater Puget Sound region!), I may be a bit jaded. Ted Bundy killed someone not far from my house.

*: Not that that's a bad thing.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 11:13 AM on March 28, 2004

Sigh. If every resurfacing serial killer is going to be posted on the Blue, it's going to be a tiresome decade.

What's "tiresome" is crapping on threads by whining about epidemics which do not even exist (how many other resurfacing serial killers have been posted about on the blue? Certainly not enough to make this post worth complaining about).

Captain_Tenille: I think what's interesting about him is less about how weird or prolific (ugh) he is, and more that he took some pretty high risks (talking to the son of one victim on the street before killing her, locking that child and his two siblings in a closet while he killed their mother), some of which weren't all that high risk at the time but are very risky now (leaving semen all over the crime scene was risky then, but nowhere near as risky as it is now with DNA testing being what it is), and the whole resurfacing thing is also quite interesting (where has he been? Why resurface now? Where did he keep the evidence from the 1986 murder in the 18 years between then and now?). As I said earlier, it will be very interesting to see the new technology brought to bear on the old evidence.
posted by biscotti at 11:41 AM on March 28, 2004

biscotti, I think the "tiresome" remark was a joke - poking fun at endless political threads and the negative reactions to them.
posted by crazy finger at 11:48 AM on March 28, 2004

biscotti, I think the "tiresome" remark was a joke - poking fun at endless political threads and the negative reactions to them.

Maybe, but I've noticed a pattern over the last few days, so I got a bit annoyed, my apologies. We now return you to your previously-scheduled programming.
posted by biscotti at 12:00 PM on March 28, 2004

biscotti: Point taken.

I think this case is likely to get a lot more interesting, especially as detectives go through the records of prisoners released around 1986 and now. I had always had this case tucked away under the "Interesting, but Not Likely to have Anything Else Happen" file. Of course, I thought Green River was like that too, and look what happened. Maybe BTK got jealous?
posted by Captain_Tenille at 12:05 PM on March 28, 2004

My family lives in Wichita and I spent the last half of my spring break there this week, right as BTK came back into the headlines.

Most kids in my generation had never heard of him because he'd not been heard from since shortly before we were born. I had a nutty psychology/drama/art history teacher who was obsessed with serial killers (and claims that Bundy tried to catch her) and decided to fill us in on the local lore one day my junior year in high school.

Right now, everyone's looking at the map in the Wichita Eagle of where the murders were committed and shivering at the thought of how close to home it all is (one was the house next door to my neighborhood grocery store, one was two houses down from my great aunt's house). Local media is advising us to watch out for stalkers, to suspect anyone we know who vaguely fits the profile (which is mostly just 50+, male, and smart), and to cross our collective fingers that some of the evidence from the early murders will still have usable DNA.
posted by katieinshoes at 4:55 PM on March 28, 2004

I read this story in the local newspaper (in the center text box) a few years back about an unsolved murder in rural Northern California. I really hope they get these guys.
posted by echolalia67 at 7:05 PM on March 28, 2004

For interest, read the posts from "Unknown" on this forum, posted shortly before the "resurfacing", and warning about talking about it (two on the linked page, two on the previous page 12, one, with a zip code, on the following page 14). I'm sure it's nothing at all but the timing is an interesting coincidence (if nothing else, there are some knowledgeable people discussing the case there).
posted by biscotti at 8:21 PM on March 28, 2004

Nice detective work, biscotti. That is an odd coincidence, to say the least.
posted by samuelad at 9:14 PM on March 28, 2004

The thing with the zip code from biscotti's post, which I didn't really understand at first, is that the zip code is the same as the 1986 victim, and it was published in that post less than a month before the letter referring to the killing was received by the Wichita newspaper. (See the last post on this page). The poster "Unknown" earlier explains that " 67203 was my zip code a long time ago. I put the zip there because i wanted everone to know that i was from wichita ks" (on this page). Not that I think this person is BTK, but - yes - strange, indeed... especially after first insisting that BTK was still alive and "watching". Thanks for the link, biscotti.
posted by taz at 12:23 AM on March 29, 2004

Perhaps he got upset when he realised that the acronym to his self-administered, super-evil-badboy moniker sounds like some kind of flagship hamburger.
posted by ed\26h at 3:26 AM on March 29, 2004

I found a followup thread on the message board about Unknown:
We have been in contact with WPD and this is official:

Subpoenas were served and Unknown has been interviewed and found to be not related to the case.

This information is provided to you from the Wichita Police Department which has stated to us that "Unknown" is no longer a WPD concern.

Hopefully this will satisfy our Crime & Justice forum members and readers on the behavior of Unknown and the reactions it may have caused.
posted by Nelson at 4:27 PM on March 29, 2004

That forum is loaded with people who live in the BLT's murder zone, and it is utterly fascinating (if not slightly macabre) to read their reactions from ground zero.

Thanks for that link, biscotti.
posted by pemulis at 5:17 PM on March 29, 2004

Of course, props to Captain_Tenille for the thread, as well.
posted by pemulis at 5:29 PM on March 29, 2004

"BLT" - love it, pemulis. I've also read most of the btk posts over there, and they have some pretty smart cookies hanging out... I don't have the energy to go find the appropriate post, but it appears that the people at this forum have had some success at helping to break some tough cases.
posted by taz at 5:01 AM on March 30, 2004

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