Read Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door Online

Authors: Roy Wenzl,Tim Potter,L. Kelly,Hurst Laviana

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Serial murderers, #Biography, #Social Science, #Murder, #Biography & Autobiography, #Serial Murders, #Serial Murder Investigation, #True Crime, #Criminology, #Criminals & Outlaws, #Case studies, #Serial Killers, #Serial Murders - Kansas - Wichita, #Serial Murder Investigation - Kansas - Wichita, #Kansas, #Wichita, #Rader; Dennis, #Serial Murderers - Kansas - Wichita

Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door

BOOK: Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door
6.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Bind, Torture, Kill

The inside Story of
the Serial Killer Next Door

Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, L. Kelly, and Hurst Laviana


A few words about the dialogue


1. The Oteros (January 15, 1974)

2. All Tied Up (January 15, 1974)

3. Fear and Possibilities (January–April 1974)

4. Kathryn Bright (April 4, 1974)

5. Lessons to Learn (April–July 1974)

6. The Monster as Muse (October 1974)

7. A Scoop (December 1974–March 1977)

8. Toys for the Kids (March 17, 1977)

9. A Vigorous Debate (March 1977)

10. A Turning Point (Autumn 1977)

11. Nancy Fox (December 8, 1977)

12. “You Will Find a Homicide” (December 9, 1977)

13. Big News (February 10, 1978)

14. Fear and Frustration (1978)

15. Getting Focused (1978)

16. Ambush and Alibis (1979)

17. The Installer

18. Police Stories (1980 to 1982)

19. The Ghostbusters (1984)

20. Marine Hedge (April 26–27, 1985)

21. Vicki Wegerle (September 16, 1986)

22. Prime Suspect (September 1986)

23. Failures and Friendships (1987 to 1988)

24. The Rescuer (1988 to 1990)

25. Dolores Davis (January 18, 1991)

26. Out in the Country (January 19, 1991)

27. Bones (1991)

28. Little Hitler (May 1991)

29. Heading Homicide (1992)

30. A Year of Changes (1993)

31. BTK as Antiquity (1994 to 1997)

32. Covering Crime (1996 to 1999)

33. The Joy of Work, Part 1 (2000)

34. The Joy of Work, Part 2 (December 2000–2003)

35. An Anniversary Story (January 12–March 19, 2004)

36. The Monster Returns (March 22–25, 2004)

37. The Swab-a-thon (March–April 2004)

38. “The BTK Story” (May–June 2004)

39. Sidetracked (July 2004)

40. Landwehr Takes the Offensive (July–August 2004)

41. P. J. Wyatt (August–November 2004)

42. Valadez (December 1, 2004)

43. The First Breaks (December 2004–January 2005)

44. The Big Break (February 2005)

45. The Stalker Is Stalked (February 24, 2005)

46. “Hello, Mr. Landwehr” (February 25, 2005)

47. The Interview (February 25, 2005)

48. “BTK Is Arrested” (February 26, 2005)

49. Guilty Times Ten (June 27, 2005)

50. Demons Within Me (July 2, 2005)

51. Auction Bizarro (July 11, 2005)

52. The Monster Is Banished (August 17–19, 2005)


Searchable Terms
About the Author
About the Publisher

A few words about the dialogue:

We have reconstructed many conversations through the recollections of those involved, quotes in news coverage, and our own notes. To the best of our knowledge, remarks presented within quotation marks reflect what was said at the time.

In cases where dialogue could not be reconstructed but the essence was available, we did not use quotation marks; we used phrasing to indicate that these words are substantially similar to what was said�or in the case of BTK talking to his victims, the conversations as he recalled them.

Italicized phrases reflect participants’ recollections of their thoughts.


The Wichita Eagle
has covered the BTK serial killer since he first struck in January 1974. From 2004 to 2006 alone, the
published roughly eight hundred pieces about BTK’s reemergence, the intensive investigation, the resolution, and how the case affected our community. The paper spent thousands of dollars on transcripts of court proceedings, then posted them online for everyone to read. The newspaper’s expansive and in-depth coverage earned us awards and accolades. Some might think that there’d be little new to say�especially considering the 24/7 attention BTK got from cable news shows.

But we’ve got the inside scoop. It’s not only that we know more about the BTK story than anyone else, we’ve lived it�in my case, grown up with it. We have drawn on the
’s thirty-two-year archive�including original reporters’ notes, internal memos, and photographs.

Over the course of three decades, BTK, the
Wichita Eagle
, and the Wichita police developed complicated relationships. It was through the
that BTK sent his first message in 1974. It was to the
a few years later that the Wichita police chief desperately turned for help in trapping the killer. It was in a macabre letter to the
�delivered to the police by reporter Hurst Laviana�that the killer announced his reemergence in 2004. And it was through the
’s classifieds that the head of the investigation tricked BTK into making a mistake that led to his capture in 2005.

And when BTK�family man and church president Dennis Rader�was finally in his prison cell, it was to us, for this book, that Police Lt. Ken Landwehr and his key investigators told their side of the story in intimate detail.

Landwehr and the detectives were unhappy with the rampant errors in other books about this case; they knew we cared about this chapter of our community’s history just as much as they did, and they trusted us to get the facts right. Laviana has covered crime in Wichita for more than twenty years. Tim Potter has been nicknamed “Columbo” by the cops for his habit of calling back to double-check facts in his notes. Roy Wenzl has two brothers in law enforcement. My father was a Wichita homicide detective.

But this is not a “just the facts, ma’am” recitation of the case. The people who stopped BTK are real cops�and real characters. They’ve lowered their shields to let us take you along with them on stakeouts and shoot-outs and into their homes and hearts. In the past, talking to us for newspaper stories, they’ve been guarded. Landwehr’s public face has always been stoic. He has never sought publicity, never played games, never answered questions about himself. He is witty in person, but not easy to know.

Starting work with him on this book, Wenzl told Landwehr that we wanted to portray him accurately, not as “a plaster saint, all sweetness and success…. I want to know your flaws. I want to ask your wife about your flaws.”

Wenzl, who had covered cops for years, could not imagine any police supervisor saying yes to this. It required daring.

Landwehr shrugged, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed Cindy Landwehr.

“Hey,” he said. “Do ya wanna talk to these guys?”

Then Landwehr looked at Wenzl.

“Once you get her started about that, she might not ever stop.”

The portraits of Rader and Landwehr that we have been able to draw for this book are mirror images�both men are native sons of the heartland of America, products of churchgoing middle-class families, Boy Scouts who grew up to marry and have children of their own. Yet one became a sexual deviant who killed for his personal pleasure while the other became a cop who dedicated himself to protecting the lives of others. The choices they made destined Rader and Landwehr to become opponents in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

In writing this book, we had a choice to make as well. Others have focused on portraying the evil; we wanted to give equal time to the people who stopped it.



January 15, 1974, 8:20

The Oteros

Her name was Josie Otero. She was eleven years old and wore glasses and wrote poetry and drew pictures and worried about her looks. She had started wearing a bra and growing her hair out; it fell so thick around her head and throat that the man with the gun would soon have a hard time tying the cloth to keep the gag stuffed in her mouth.

As Josie woke up that morning, the man with the gun crept to her back door and saw something that made him sweat: a paw print in the snowy backyard. He had not expected a dog.

He whistled softly; no dog. Still, he pulled a Colt Woodsman. 22 from his waistband and slunk to the garage wall to think.

In the house, Josie had pulled on a blue T-shirt and walked from her room to the kitchen. It was a short walk; it was a small house. Her mom, Julie, was in the kitchen, wearing her blue housecoat. She had set the table, putting out cereal and milk for breakfast and tins of potted meat for school-lunch sandwiches. Joe, Josie’s dad, was eating canned pears.

BOOK: Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door
6.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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