Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The BTK Story


Although Wichita police invested 100,000 hours in at least a half-dozen investigations from 1974 until 1991, BTK was not caught.  The FBI called the case one of its top unsolved mysteries.

The search for the "BTK Strangler" had been scaled down to one detective.  The remaining detective on the BTK case, Lt. Kenneth Landwehr, stated that the case files were not just sitting around collecting dust:  "I've been told by the chief that this investigation will stay open until we have no more (reasonable) leads to follow", adding: "that can almost be to infinity."

The investigation has involved thousands of suspects and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in man-hours, travel expenses and telephone bills.

The Otero home, undated photo
The Otero home, undated photo

Over twenty-five years later, the Otero house has changed hands a half-dozen times.  Charlie Otero and two siblings have since moved to Albuquerque but have not been heard from since the Ghostbusters investigation.

Suddenly in 2004, after so many years, BTK investigation was re-launched after the killer sent a letter to The Wichita Eagle that claimed responsibility for the 1986 murder of Vicki Wegerle, who was strangled in her home at 2404 W. 13th. BTK provided some very convincing evidence of the letter's authenticity by including crime scene photos and Wegerle's driver's license. She was the mother of two children, one of whom was home at the time of the murder.

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