The BTK Killer of Witchita, KS Message Board: Other Suspects: The BTK Killer of Witchita, KS

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - 01:35 pm:

I was browsing through and came across an unsolved case that started in 1974. The killer killed women in their homes. He sent taunting letters to the police and made phone calls to the press and dubbed himself the "BTK" strangler(bind them, torure them, kill them). If you go to that site and read up on it I think that you will find similarities that are worth investigating. The MO is different but the signature is hauntingly familiar.

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - 09:33 pm:


Yeah, this ia another 'classic' unsolved whodunnit that, on the surface, seems very similar to our boy's method of madness.For those who are unfamiliar with the case, please consider the following:
1. The crimes occurred between 1974-77(!)
2. Jan. 15, 1977. Members of the Otero family- the father, a grown daughter, an 11-year-old boy, and a 9-year-old daughter were found murdered in their home. Three of the four victims were TIED up with cord.They were strangled.
3. Prior to the murder, someone had cut the families phone line, and witnesses reported seeing a "suspicious looking" stranger lurking around the residence.
4. 10 months later, a local newspaper editor received an ANONYMOUS CALL from the killer, directing him to the Wichita Public LIBRARY. Inside a book the killer instructed him to find, the editor found a LETTER filled with NUMEROUS MISSPELLINGS THAT CLAIMED CREDIT FOR THE KILLINGS, and there was a PROMISE OF MORE TO COME.
5. Dec. 9, 1977. This killing involved a 25-year-old woman: strangled, but left fully clothed. An ANONYMOUS CALLER led police to the scene, and police traced the call to a downtown phone booth.
Witnesses recall that the person using this phone was blonde and around six feet in height.
6. The killer MAILED A POEM TO THE LOCAL PRESS on January 31. He sent a letter to a local televison station on February 10, after his aforementioned letter had been routed improperly. The killer was upset that NOBODY WAS GIVING HIM THE PUBLICITY HE DESIRED. In this letter, the killer claimed seven victims, but POLICE COULD ONLY ACCOUNT FOR SIX! The letter stated, "YOU GUESS THE MOTIVE AND THE VICTIMS."
7. The killer blamed his crimes on a "demon" and compared his work to that of Jack the Ripper and the Hillside Strangler (still operative at the time).Notice anybody missing from this list?
8. The killer vanished without a trace. To date, there have been no new letters, leaving the police and the public completely baffled.
Well, like I said, there are some interesting parallels to the Zodiac case, but there are many differences. As you mentioned, the greatest single difference is in MO. Still, I think it is quite conceivable that the BTK("Bind them, Torture them, Kill them")was inspired by Z. The fact that this sicko used the media in a manner that was virtually identical to Z is quite telling in and of itself. An interesting question is this: if the killer was inspired by Z, why did he consciously choose to leave him off his list? He did go to the trouble to mention JTR and the Hillside Strangler. Interesting. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of those cases would have to agree that the BTK killer had much more in common with the very infamous Zodiac! Also, it is important to remember the timeline: the first BTK murder took place in 1974. There was still an active interest in the Zodiac case, and Z-related stories were frequently on the wire services. Yet, outside of crime afficianados who cruised the stacks at the local library, JTR's 'stock' had fallen- his 'star' would not rise again until the early 1980's, with the glut of psuedo-scientific/ gore-filled bodice ripper that filled, and continue to fill (Graysmith et al.) the shelves. Why was Zodiac not referenced? Once again, very interesting.
I have listed this information with the hope that people will look up the BTK case. It would be interesting to examine the possibility of a link between the two cases,although, as I previously mentioned,there seems to be a number of differences between them. However, Zodiac did state that he would kill again and that we would be in the dark as to who were bona fide Z victims. He said that some of the killings would look like accidents etc. Has anyone ever considered the possibility that Zodiac might have assumed another 'identity'?
Food for thought.
p.s. By the way, if anyone is interested, I can come to your house and do a wicked Robert Stack/ Unsolved Mysteries pastiche. I will even wear my trenchcoat.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Wednesday, January 17, 2001 - 10:26 am:

I hope not JUST your trenchcoat.

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Wednesday, January 17, 2001 - 08:38 pm:

Of course! Clothing is such a drag (please see my other post/ re: "the Blue Demon"). Are you interested? When I feel ornery I do a darn fine Quincy as well.
Oscar (still trying to tame the savage beast).
p.s.Penn in 2004. Ride the scud!

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Thursday, January 18, 2001 - 10:38 am:

You left one thing out, he also wrote that he would change his m.o. I believe that is the one thing that makes him different than most of the typical serial killers, a never ending change of M.O. I also think that he did go from state to state.That he could care less about using the name Zodiac, because "he" was questioned at one time for those crimes.He had to continue his thing, and to do that he either had to stop printing his notes in a area he would have the police on his A-- or go somewhere else and play his game.For him to get the attention he so needed, he would have to commit a crime that would get that kind of attention.Wasn't Allen Dorphman killed around that time in K.S.? Just a thought,Kane worked for him in Las Vegas,and Dorphman kicked him out in 74.

By Realtor (Realtor) ( on Thursday, January 18, 2001 - 11:24 am:

Now that I've read up on BTK, I have two comments:

1. There ARE similarities between Z and this. Why? Who knows...Same guy? Copycat? Same syndrome?

2. There are strong, obvious similarities between BTK and the killing of JonBenet Ramsey: IN the house, cord around neck and hands/feet, black tape, no sign of forced entry, no rape, no prints (maybe one)...pre-adolescent females...were any of the victims minorities? Sure would like to see that handwriting...


By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Thursday, January 18, 2001 - 05:32 pm:

The first victims were Hispanic.

By Mhoward (Mhoward) ( - on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 08:09 am:

Some of the similarities between the two are rather striking, and why Z's name failed to make his short list, is beyond me. Very strange indeed. However, I in no way believe this could have been Z. If my memory serves me correctly, the investigators were nearly certain that the perp was a college student attending WSU at the time of the killings. This would make him too young to fit the Z profile. He was also described by witnesses and profilers alike, as being in his twenties.

Another thing that is vastly different about BTK, he murdered children (i.e., under the age of 12) If Z was in fact, the man who abducted Kathleen Johns, (and I believe he was) he had the opportunity to kill a child, but instead chose to drive around for hours without killing. I think the kid really bothered him for some reason, and I don't believe he would have killed a child.

Very strange, the similarities. At this rate, anything's possible. Maybe it was a 60s & 70's thing, who knows.

Mysteries & Monsters

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 09:00 pm:

I wholeheartedly agree- Zodiac and the BTK were/are probably not the same, as there is not a shred of evidence to link the two cases. Failing this, any attempt to establish such a link is utter speculation.
I do, however, want to draw a distinction between a child and an infant. I may be splitting the proverbial hair with a chainsaw, but Zodiac was "bothered" by the fact that John's was holding an infant. Most people, even the worst, most perverted creeps, will not cross this sacred line when indulging their sick fantasies. If it was Z, and I am doubtful of this, I have often wondered if the day might have ended differently for Johns if she had been traveling with a ten-year-old child. Once again, utter speculation.
Into the Mystic,

By Mhoward (Mhoward) ( - on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 12:35 am:

Oscar, I'd better say something now, before the board gets us confused. I am not Howard, I'm Mhoward. I became a member here in October of last year. If I had known that Howard was already posting here, I would have chosen a different moniker. I apologize for any confusion.

As for the point you raise about infants, it definitely bears consideration. In fact, even though BTK killed kids, there is evidence to suggest that he too, may have been bothered in doing so. The kids he killed where found, either with plastic bags over their heads, or laying face down. This may indicate his reluctance to see their faces. Maybe they were collateral killings, the kids simply may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.


By Howard (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 01:43 am:

Yes-Some think that I am Mhoward and it gets confusing as they contact me about something Mhoward said .I hope the distinction is now clear!

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 01:54 am:


By Chrissy (Chrissy) ( - on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 10:26 pm:

Dear Board:

Yes, this person rings to z and another case where the perp left the boy alive in a closet while killing the remaining family members(sorry, the exact case alludes me.) This other case series the per was also a media bragger and also vanished, but did write the media to dis-claim credit on a new unsolved homicide after he dropped out of media sight. I can't recall completely, but in the latter case it seems the date was somewhere early to late eighties and on the east coast.

There are actually a number of cases of this type of predator documented. Z, nor the ones who followed him were genuine originals. With only target victim differences, I think all of these cases serve up the pathology type to which z himself belonged. These type of killers are simply unable to feel powerful without their self-designated titles being whispered with fear and reverence. Arsonist/playground bullies!

Chrissy Shaw

By Eduard Versluijs (Eduard) ( - on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 12:09 am:

Hi Howard, or was it Mhoward, no it was Howard or was it....mmmmm....I forgot the subject, nevermind!

By Matt Howard (Matthoward) ( - on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 06:07 am:


Maybe the new name will end the confusion.

By Eduard Versluijs (Eduard) ( - on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 01:02 am:

I also think so, hey I was just kidding Matt!

-Eduard (not Edaurd, that is my evil twin!)

By Matt Howard (Matthoward) ( - on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 02:02 pm:

My apologies, Eduard.

My dyslexia is sneaking up on me again. It wasn't my intention to appear so serious, I knew you were kidding. I was just taking advantage of the opportunity to flaunt my new member name.

Matt Howard
Mysteries & Monsters

By ZK (Zander_Kite) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 07:50 am:

Does anyone think that Ted Kazcinski could have been the BTK killer as well as Zodiac ? BTK could also stand for Born Theodore Kazcinski. Mail from Kansas City was found in Teds cabin and was dated 1976.
The crimes (74-77) would fit between Zodiac and Unabomber activity. The first BTK murders were Jan 15, 1974. Zodiac mailed a letter Jan 29, 1974. In it is possibly a reference to the death of Zodiac. This new murder series could be the end of Z, as a new identity as BTK is created. Possible ???

By Sharkey (Sharkey) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 11:07 am:

Highly doubt it. Ted would have had to live in Wichita and attended or teach at the local University to be a good suspect. And he would have to be a lot younger. The police believe he lived in the general area. All the crimes were in 3 1/2 mile radius, and it is believed he knew the areas well. The police also believe that the BTK was a true crime buff, possible law enforcement student, or somehow had connections w/ the police. Some Detectives still believe he still lives in the area, but in an incapacitated state, i.e. wheelchair, disabled, etc. Does anyone on this board have any insite on the BTK besides what is posted on Crime library?

By Sharkey (Sharkey) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 11:11 am:

Didn't mean to be to discouraging, if you can find any evidence that Ted lived in Wichita, you might have something. I doubt it, but you might. Also, I forgot to mention that the police believe that the BTK was a teacher or student assistant at the local University. You might want to look into any ties Teds teaching might have had to Wichita State University. It is a long shot and I don't think it was Ted at all, but you never know.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 11:50 am:

Ted's a long shot on BTK, although some of the similarities are intriguing (not least, the initials). No one knows where he was in January of '74. All we know is that he wrote a letter to his family stating that he would be "away camping" for a while and that they weren't to worry if they didn't hear from him.

Some of his journals entries from later that year speak of his brutally torturing animals.