The 'BTK' Case: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer

ByABC News
December 1, 2004, 10:39 AM

Dec. 2, 2004 — -- Some believe Wichita's mysterious "BTK" serial killer has taunted investigators since he resurfaced almost nine months ago after a 25-year absence. But will his taunts lead to his arrest?

In an appeal for help, Wichita, Kan., police on Tuesday released some of the information provided in recent letters sent by the person they believe is the BTK serial killer.

BTK -- the self-coined nickname that stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill" -- has been linked to eight unsolved homicides in Wichita between 1974 and 1986. He had remained silent for 25 years until last March, when he sent The Wichita Eagle a letter that detailed an unsolved 1986 slaying and contained the victim's driver's license and photos of her body.

BTK has stayed in the spotlight since then, sending various letters to police and the media. The letters have been authenticated by the FBI.

In a statement read at a news conference, Lt. Ken Landwehr said the BTK killer claimed he was born in 1939, making him either 64 or 65 years old. BTK said he had served in the military in the 1960s and has had a lifelong fascination with trains. Though his family moved frequently when he was a child, BTK said he always lived near railroad tracks.

Some experts believe the information BTK provided is a challenge to police to catch him. Investigators believe BTK may still live in Wichita and hope the information he has provided -- and his arrogance -- will lead to his capture.

"One thing about serial killers is that they will always tend to make mistakes," said Tod Burke, professor of criminal justice at Radford University and a former police officer. "Whether it's a situation where they get a parking ticket and the arresting police officer makes the discovery when he apprehends him or whether they run a traffic light, they will make a mistake. The BTK Killer's been taunting police. And with serial killers, greed almost always takes over. They give one too many clues."