My husband’s first twenty-year law enforcement career was for the Wichita Police Department in Kansas. He was a detective for thirteen years, a homicide detective for the final eleven and retired in October 1981 as the senior homicide detective for the last three. I am frequently asked if he worked the BTK cases. Yes, he worked the first four BTK cases in January 1974, April 1974, March 1977 and December 1977. He even spent the night in the Otero home (the first case, with four victims) as both a detective and SWAT Team member on the theory that killers often like to return to the scene of their crimes.
Recently there has been a lot of publicity about those BTK cases, but I’m not here to talk about the specifics of them. I’m going to focus on some strange personal ironies that occurred between the first four cases from 1974 through 1977, the last ones between 1985 and 1991 and his arrest in 2005.
When BTK was arrested on February 25, 2005, the name of the street where he was taken into custody was Kechi Parkway. I’d never heard the name Kechi (Key-cheye) before, and I liked it. My husband mentioned it was a Native American name. We were awaiting the flight and arrival of our now fourteen year old Siamese cat from Little Rock, Arkansas, so I decided we’d name the new kitty Kichai, which is the way the Indians spell it. It means He who walks in the sand.
An irony that cropped up after the arrest is that my husband’s homicide partner’s wife worked for a bank near Park City, Kansas and unknowingly managed transactions with BTK many times during the years my hubby and his partner were searching for him. In addition, they lived just three miles from the home of BTK.
While reading “A Serial Killer’s Daughter”, I discovered that BTK rode the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge railroad train in May 1999. We live just twenty miles from Silverton and went there often to watch the train come in and the passengers disembark. Most of them immediately went to a nearby restaurant for lunch where we frequently ate among the train passengers. There’s a good chance we sat and ate lunch in the same room with BTK and never knew it. If not, we likely saw him get off the train with his daughter.
While publicizing her book on Dr. Phil the other day, Kerri Rawson said she believes we aren’t catching this sort of criminal quickly enough because they are looking for someone who isn’t normal in appearance. However, from the very start, my husband told me BTK was not going to look like some weirdo. He would not stand out in a crowd. In appearance, he’d look very much like the average guy next door.
Personally, I am enjoying reading Kerri Rawson’s book. It is well written and, to me, quite interesting. I hope she has great success with it and that it gives her a measure of closure. Her book is “A Serial Killer’s Daughter”. She has a perspective that nobody else could possibly have and I hope writing it was cathartic.