Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The BTK Story

More Clues

On June 17, 2004 another letter was found in a mechanical engineering book in the drop box of the Wichita Public Library. The letter was immediately handed over to police, who later revealed that it was yet another genuine BTK communication. This time the letter detailed some of the events surrounding the 1974 Otero murders, among other things.

The entire letter's contents have not yet been revealed by authorities. However, it is believed that there might have been more clues present in the letter, which linked the killer to Wichita State University. Initially, it was unclear why the hunt for BTK continuously led the police to the school campus. Yet, in August 2004 investigators finally revealed the significance of the university in their investigation.

Professor P.J. Wyatt, who taught an English literature class at the university between 1964 and 1986, was of interest to police because of a folksong she analyzed titled "Oh Death." The song was of great significance to the BTK killer and inspired a poem he wrote called "Oh! Death to Nancy" which was found in a 1978 letter. It was alleged that the altered poem referenced BTK's murder of Nancy Fox in December 1977. Investigators looked for hidden meanings in the poem that might help them apprehend the killer but it turned out to be of little use. Unfortunately, the professor could not assist investigators in the case because she passed away in 1991 of cancer.

Nancy Fox, victim
Nancy Fox, victim

More interesting than "Oh! Death to Nancy" is the poem that BTK wrote to Anna, an intended victim, who did not come home in time to be murdered by BTK. He waited in her home for her to return, but then became impatient and left. This poem, part of which is printed below, commemorates this event.

Oh, Anna Why Didn't You Appear 

T' was perfect plan of deviant pleasure so bold on that Spring nite
My inner felling hot with propension of the new awakening season

Warn, wet with inner fear and rapture, my pleasure of entanglement,
like new vines at night

Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce
Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce
The poem is in many ways remarkable because of the levels of meaning that BTK suggests in the words he uses. Reminiscent of James Joyce's epic, Finnegan's Wake, BTK uses words that suggest several meanings. Starting with the very first line in the poem, the T with the superscript 1 is used in scientific research to designate the beginning phase of a study. Subsequent phases would be T2, T3, etc. On another more ordinary level, the superscript 1 could be interpreted as an apostrophe to create "T'was" except that "T'was perfect plan" is missing a word, like "a" or "the." It appears as though whatever BTK had in store for Anna was something "bold" and new.

"Felling," for example, suggests the purposeful killing of a living tree, as well as the taking of Anna's life. It also describes his feelings of excitement as he anticipates his meeting with her. Like Joyce, he creates words by juxtaposing parts of other words. "Propension" is not some mistake on BTK's part, it is his creation of a new word to represent the anticipation of this new encounter. "Propension" may be a combination of other words like "propensity" or "property" or "possessions."

 What's the point of these intellectual gymnastics? No doubt, BTK sees himself as an artist and gets pleasure in creating these poems and lyrics with multiple levels of meaning. There is almost certainly another motivation as well. BTK likes to demonstrate his considerable intelligence. He believes that he is a superior intellect and enjoys pointing out to authorities that he is still at large.  In other words, he is smarter than all of them – local experts, FBI profilers, amateur sleuths, psychics. Thus far, it appears that he is right.

The search for BTK has not only caught the attention of those in the United States but also that of millions around the world. The BTK case has even led to the production of a British documentary film concerning the murders and the ongoing investigation, Theresa Freed reported in a September 2004 KAKE-TV article. Freed reported that the "British film crew not only wants to tell the BTK story but (also) offer police new insight into the case."

The new insight came in the form of a British psychic named Dennis McKenzie who traveled with the crew to Wichita. Freed said that McKenzie has successfully assisted in several high profile investigations, including the Soham murders. He was also able to contribute to the BTK investigation by producing an image of the killer with the help of a sketch artist, as well as other potentially valuable information concerning the murder cases, Freed stated. It is hoped that the new leads will result in the eventual apprehension of the BTK killer. Until that time, Wichita residents are left in a perpetual state of fear, wondering if there will be a new victim in the near future.

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