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Analysis of BTK Killer Developments

Aired February 18, 2005 - 21:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today's message is eerily similar to a postcard KAKE received last week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another possible communication from BTK...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The theory is that this guy has probably been living amongst us for the past 30 years.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: After 25 years of silence, a notorious serial killer resurfaces to terrorize a whole new generation. The infamous BTK killer blamed for eight unsolved murders in Wichita, Kansas, once again is contacting and teasing the police and the press.

We've got the latest on this nightmare with Charlie Otero. His mother, father, sister and brother became the killer's first victims 31 years ago. Larry Hatteberg, the anchor with Wichita's KAKE, covering the story from the get-go, had his DNA tested in a police swab-a-thon. And his fellow anchor, Susan Peters. Susan has interviewed a man whose sister was stabbed to death by the killer as he lay wounded in the next room, and another who man was only 5 at the time when he saw his mother strangled by the BTK killer. Plus Pat Brown, the renowned criminal profiler, who has spent hundreds of hours on this case. Dr. Howard Brodsky, a psychologist who consulted with police on the case back in the '70s. And attorney Robert Beattie, author of a forthcoming book on the hunt for the BTK killer. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. This mysterious case lingers on. Later in the program, we'll be including your phone calls. We begin with the two journalists, both in Wichita, Kansas, Larry Hatteberg, the anchor at KAKE-TV, and also the anchor Susan Peters. Great pleasure to have both with us.

Larry, take me back. How did you get started with this? What happened 31 years ago?

LARRY HATTEBERG, ANCHOR, KAKE-TV, WICHITA, KANSAS: Well, the first case that BTK became involved with, the first killing that he did, was the Otero murder case. This was way back in 1974. I was a younger photojournalist back then, covering that particular story. And that was first time that we knew we had a really bad guy in our community. And the interesting thing about it is that killings like this, ritualistic-type killings like this, simply didn't happen in Wichita, Kansas. Those were things that happened on the East or West Coast. So just that one killing alone was a huge story in the Wichita area. Of course, it wasn't until later that we found out that we had a serial killer on our hands.

KING: And you found that out when?

HATTEBERG: Well, we found that out after a couple of years went by and more bodies started to be discovered. And then the serial killer started communicating with the local media. As you said in the beginning of this program, eight people so far have been killed by BTK, the last known killing to occur in 1986.

KING: Susan, how do you know the people -- or the person communicating with you is the killer?

SUSAN PETERS, ANCHOR, KAKE-TV, WICHITA, KANSAS: Well, police have confirmed at least one communication to KAKE television is from the killer. They send these communications to the FBI. Actually, they've confirmed two. As Larry mentioned, in 1977, the first reason we knew that this was a serial killer is he wrote to KAKE television back then and said, How many bodies do I have to -- How many people do I have to kill before I get some publicity?

And then he resurfaced in March of last year. And since then, KAKE received four -- or three communications from BTK, one of which has been authenticated that it definitely is from BTK. The other three are in the hands of the FBI, and police are assuming they're from BTK, too, because he has these little codes that we're not allowed to release, but has these codes. The police know that is the code from BTK.

KING: Larry, is there a pattern usually serial killers wind up, where they kill only blond women or young girls or children? Does he have a pattern?

HATTEBERG: Well, there doesn't necessarily seem to be a pattern. Of course, his first murder was a family of four, in which he killed a man and young boy and then a mother and a young girl. Now, the other murders after that have all been women. Now, we don't know if there's a particular pattern involved. Police obviously looking for that particular pattern. But the last few killings have all been women.

KING: All right, now, Susan, we're going to play two segments here where you've interviewed survivors of BTK. The first is Kevin Bright's story. We understand that on April 4 of 1974, Kathryn Bright was stabbed to death in her home in Wichita. You interviewed her brother. Is that it, Susan?

PETERS: That's right. And her brother walked into her home that day, and BTK was actually waiting for them in the home. And as soon as they walked into the home, BTK said, Hold it right there. And as a result, BTK killed his sister while he was hearing it, and he had him tied up and tried to kill him but did not succeed. KING: Let's watch that clip, Susan Peters's interview with survivor Kevin Bright.


KEVIN BRIGHT, SISTER KILLED BY BTK IN 1974: It was immediate in coming out of the front room. He said, Hold it right there.

So then I come out of the house. There was two men over there.

PETERS: You ran out of the house?

BRIGHT: Yes, and I came out and I went across the street. And the one took me on to the hospital. The other one stayed and called the police.


KING: Another person that Susan interviews was Stephen Relford, who was only 5 when he actually saw the man -- unwittingly let him into his family home and saw him kill his mother. What was that about?

PETERS: This was a heart-breaker, Larry. This is one of the most heart-breaking interviews I ever did simply because of two reasons. This poor man, who is now 34, was 5 years old when he saw his mother being murdered. And to this day, he feels terribly guilty, even though I told him several times during the interview, This is not your fault. But he said, Susan, I am the one that let this man in the door at age 5. I'm the one that let my mother's killer in the door. So he feels terribly guilty to this day.

KING: Let's see that clip right now.


STEPHEN RELFORD, SAW BTK KILL HIS MOTHER WHEN HE WAS 5: I stood on something in the bathroom, looking over the door. I don't remember what I stood on. I remember seeing my mama being stripped, her hands tied behind her back, taped behind her back, plastic bag over her head, rope tied around her neck.


KING: Well, this means, then, Larry and Susan, that we have -- Susan, we'll start with you -- a physical description of this person.

PETERS: Right, both from Kevin Bright and Stephen Relford, as you just saw. Now, Stephen Relford was only 5 years old. The only thing he remembers about him was that he had dark hair and he had a suit on and was carrying a briefcase. Mind you, he was only 5, and this was a traumatic experience for him. From Kevin Bright, we have much the same kind of description -- dark hair, possibly a mustache, kind of a dark complexion and kind of a stocky build. But that's about all the description we have. There were several artist's renditions, police composites made up of this man in the mid-'70s, but to no avail. They were even published in the paper, and no one seemed to recognize him.

KING: Larry, I understand they even took your DNA?

HATTEBERG: They did, Larry. Four thousand men in the Wichita area have been what they call swabbed for DNA, not that they are suspects but simply to eliminate people. And when the detectives took my DNA, they said that part of the reason was because that I've been on many national shows, like CNN, like your show, and because I was talking about it so much, they got a couple of tips into the BTK tip line that since I know so much about it, then I'm probably BTK, which, of course, is not the case.

KING: Now, he resurfaced when, Larry?

HATTEBERG: He resurfaced in March of 2004, last year in March. And this is the first serial killer, Larry, to ever do something like this. He disappeared for 18 years, and then all of a sudden last March, he came back and started communicating with the media and the police department. No serial kill has ever gone away and then come back and had an 18-year gap in between.

KING: And he's been doing that right up to recent?

HATTEBERG: That's right. He's been doing it right up to this week. He communicated this week with another television station, KSAS-TV, and left them a package and also a note. And in that note, he happened to mention our television station. So he has been communicating. There have been 11 communications now since last March, and 6 of those 11 have now been authenticated. Everything that he sent in 2004 has been authenticated. The ones that he sent in January and February are yet to be authenticated by the FBI.

KING: We'll take a break and come back. Charlie Otero will join us. When he was a young man, he came home to find his father, mother and two of his younger siblings, the first victims of BTK. Don't go away.


HATTEBERG: We know he is watching and we know he is listening. And to him we say, The message has been received and passed on.



KING: Joining us now in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is Charlie Otero. His father, mother and two of his younger siblings were BTK's first known victims back in Wichita 31 years ago. How old were you then, Charlie?

CHARLIE OTERO, FATHER, MOTHER, SISTER, BROTHER WERE BTK KILLER'S FIRST KNOWN VICTIMS: I was 15 years old. It was two weeks before my 16th birthday.

KING: And you came home to find this scene? Tell us what happened.

OTERO: Well, I came home after a long day at school. And I knew something was wrong right away when I noticed my garage door open, the car gone. And I went through the -- my backyard door. And I noticed that my dog was outside, and that was a very strange occurrence because the dog was always inside. I knew something was not right.

And as I went through the back door, I noticed our kitchen in a mess. And my mom always kept the kitchen real clean and in good shape and orderly. At that point I yelled out, is anybody home? And I heard my younger brother and sister, who survived, yelling for me from my parents' bedroom. And I ran back there, and I saw my mother and my father, and it was obvious they had been through a living hell and they were in pretty bad shape. I knew they were dead. They were cold. My father's tongue was halfway bit off. His eyes were bulging. My mother was beaten. She didn't even look like my mother really and...


KING: And what about the two other siblings? The two other siblings, where were they?

OTERO: They were in other parts of the house. But I was unaware at that point that they hadn't made it out of the house that morning. I thought they were still in school.

KING: So the two kids you got out were how old?

OTERO: My younger brother and sister were 13 and 14 respectively.

KING: Did they see this?

OTERO: Yes. They had been in the house. I don't know how long. We've never discussed it. We can't even talk about it amongst ourselves. And they'd been in there for a while before I got there. Lord knows how long.

KING: So you had to get the other two out, right, the two who were left alive?

OTERO: Yes. I did. At first, I just was filled with rage. and I went to the kitchen to get a knife. And then I realized that I really needed to take care of my siblings. It was more important than getting any revenge at that point. So I removed my brother and my sister from the house and sent my brother to get the police and comforted my sister as best I could.

KING: Now that he is back and you are back in front of the media and the like, what's this been like for you?

OTERO: It's a mixture of emotions all the time, every day, all night long. I mean, when I first heard about this, I was in a position where I really couldn't act out in any way, as far as finding information or getting any kind of word to the police or anything. And now that I'm able to, I'm just going through a plethora of emotion. I mean, rage, hate, everything.

KING: How about your surviving siblings? How are they doing?

OTERO: They just wish it would all go away. You know, it's just something that we've never really discussed. It isn't going to go away, and I think they're realizing it now. And I think they do support me in my efforts to bring this subject to light.

KING: Yes, why are you doing this?

OTERO: I want to know why. I want to know why he picked my family. I don't believe for a minute that he just saw my family somewhere and decided he was going to kill them. My father was an air commando. My mother was a brown belt in judo. We had an attack dog. There was a reason for him killing my family. I want to know why.

KING: Larry Hatteberg, do you understand that?

HATTEBERG: Well, of course. I think everybody understands what Charlie Otero has gone through there. A very difficult position. And he wants to know the same answer that all of us want to know. We want to sit down with this guy, look this guy in the eye and say, Why? Why in the world would you do this? And what makes you inside do this?

BTK has talked about "factor X" in the past, that it's "factor X" that makes him kill. And he says he's like Son of Sam and he's like Jack the Ripper. He has the same thing inside of him that makes him kill. But I think all of us want to ask the same thing that Charlie Otero wants to ask him, Why?

KING: Well, Susan...

HATTEBERG: Why in the world would you do this?

KING: Susan, wouldn't we understand if Charlie Otero also had said, I want it to just -- I want it to go away. I don't want to even deal with it. Wouldn't that have been just as understandable?

PETERS: Absolutely. In fact, when I interviewed Kevin Bright -- when I first started making contact with him, he said, I don't want to talk about it. We haven't talked about it in years. And it's interesting, Charlie Otero said he hasn't talked with his siblings about it. There were two other siblings with Steve Relford locked in the bathroom, watching their mother being killed. They haven't talked about it in 28 years. And he said it messed up all three of -- his two siblings' and his life. And they haven't talked about it, either.

I imagine, and you can understand, it is way too painful to, as Charlie did, see his mother and father in the condition they were in and dead at age 15. And in Steve Relford's case, can you imagine seeing that? And now all this media attention coming back to him. And a lot of the media attention, to be honest, has to do with clues that BTK is dropping and sending to the media. But I got to tell you, Larry, we've been intrigued and some of the Wichita community is intrigued with the clues and these little things, and they're trying to play ``CSI'' and trying to figure out who this guy is.

But when I did the interview with Steve Relford, I came to realize this is not just an intelligent person who's trying to lead us on a path to possibly catching him, this is a cold-blooded killer. And that's what police are dealing with and that's what they're looking for. And that's why the whole Wichita community wants to see him caught very soon.

KING: Charlie, do you have any gut feelings of confidence that you will -- that in your lifetime, this killer will be found?

OTERO: I hope that the authorities can get their faculties all in sync and maybe make an arrest in this case. But as far as, like, me being satisfied, I'll never be satisfied until I know the truth as to why.

KING: Yes. Thanks, Charlie. Best of luck to you.

OTERO: Thank you.

KING: One can only imagine.

Larry Hatteberg and Susan Peters remain. They'll be with us throughout the show. We'll be joined by our criminal profiler, our psychologist and our attorney and author. Later, we'll take your phone calls. It's all ahead. Don't go away.


PETERS: What did he say to you when he walked in the door or when he -- when you went to the door?

RELFORD: Are your parents home?

PETERS: What did you say?

RELFORD: My mother. She's sick in bed. So he proceed to come on in, turn off the TV.

PETERS: And then what?

RELFORD: Then he tell her to put us three kids in there, tied a rope around one doorknob and then put the bed against the other door.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received a call to the dispatcher about 8:20 or so from an individual that said we had a homicide at 843 South Pershing. The officers came down to the house and were able to look in through one of the windows and seen a person laying on the bed. So we kicked the front door in, went in and found there had been a homicide there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Remaining with us are Larry Hatteberg and Susan Peters, the anchors at KAKE-TV in Wichita. Joining us now in Minneapolis is Pat Brown, criminal profiler, founder and CEO of SHE -- that's S-H-E -- the Sexual Homicide Exchange, has spent hundreds of hours working independently on these particular killings. Dr. Howard Brodsky is in Wichita, a psychologist. He consulted on the BTK case in the '70s. And also in Wichita is Robert Beattie, attorney and author. He has written the soon to be published book on this case, "Secrets Long Hidden: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler." And we'll ask questions. We'll also have Larry and Susan have questions of the panel. And we'll be including your calls.

Before we meet them, on December 8, 1977, Nancy Fox, age 25, was found bound and strangled in her home in Wichita. BTK's voice was captured on audiotape when he called into police dispatch from a pay phone to report the homicide. In August of 1979, police released the 1977 police dispatch phone call. It played repeatedly on TV and radio. Police got more than 100 tips in one day. Here is the BTK killer.


911 OPERATOR: Dispatcher.

BTK: Yes. You will find a homicide at 843 South Pershing, Nancy Fox.

911 OPERATOR: I'm sorry, sir. I can't understand you. What is your address?

911 OPERATOR: It seems to be 843 South Pershing.


KING: OK. You're the criminal profiler, Pat Brown, and you deal with this all the time. You spent hundreds of hours working on this. What's your overall read on this case?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: My read is that BTK is having a wonderful time playing his game with the police. And recently, Landwehr came out, Lieutenant Landwehr, and said he's established a rapport with BTK, and that's absolutely ridiculous. You don't establish a rapport with a serial killer. You're being used.

BTK has been successful in doing things his way for 31 years. He's never been caught. Nobody has any clue, apparently, who he is, although every investigator seems to have a favorite suspect, and I have a favorite suspect myself.

But why is it that this guy is able to control things for so long, 31 years? This case is an anomaly. It's a very unusual case. Most serial killers just drop you in the bushes and with a quick strangulation and disappear. This guy has had inside crime scenes where the evidence is still available, where we can still see the crime scene. He has very unusual type of behaviors at that crime scene. He's given tons of communications out to the police. Why can't we catch this guy, then, if he's giving so much help to everybody? It boggles the mind. So to me, something is wrong with the investigation if you can't catch somebody after 31 years with this much help that he's giving to the WPD.

KING: Dr. Brodsky, is this a very sick person?

DR. HOWARD BRODSKY, PSYCHOLOGIST: This is a very sick person. You know, when I looked at some materials years and years ago, I looked at them and came away thinking this is really a tortured mind. And the style of the writing, I kind of kept that in mind all these years, if I ever saw anybody with anything close to this style. I've never seen anything like this before.

KING: Meaning what?

BROWN: Meaning that this is really a different breed of guy, that he is really unusual in this -- the length of time that this has gone on, the number of murders, the style of the murders, and wanting to take credit for it, wanting to push himself forward and wanting the world to be interested in his deeds. It's a very interesting case.

KING: Robert Beattie, your book is soon to come out, "Secrets Long Hidden." In a perverted sense, is he brilliant?

ROBERT BEATTIE, ATTORNEY, AUTHOR, "SECRETS LONG HIDDEN": He's sort of an evil Walter Mitty. He had these fantasies, and unlike many people, he's lived them out, bondage and torture. He has been -- and I hate to say anything about him like this, but he's been brilliant at eluding detection for 31 years. That's pretty incredible.

KING: Would you guess, Pat, that he is married, that he is -- we know he's Caucasian, right?

BROWN: That's a guess, but we're not absolutely sure of that. But...

KING: Would you say he's married? Would you say he's, like, in business? Or what's your profile?

BROWN: Well, one thing is I believe he's a long-term Wichita citizen. I don't believe he's somebody from another location who's been coming and going, or anybody who's been in jail for years and years and that's why he disappeared. I believe this is a Wichita man. He is very involved in everything about Wichita -- the media, the politics, the police. He is in his own pond. And he's saying, Can you catch me in my own pond?

Now, he is a very disturbed individual, but that's not unusual for a serial killer. Serial killers are disturbed. Is he brilliant? He's not brilliant, but he is good enough at what he does. And if we don't handle serial homicide investigation properly, serial killers get away with things.

And most serial homicides are not solved. Why? Because the police do not use the proper techniques, which is going forth to the public as soon as possible after every crime and giving them information where they can then identify who this guy is because that's the problem. We don't know who he is. And somebody has to help us point him out. Like, remember, the Unabomber? When you go forward and say, Hey, does anybody recognize his writing? Ted Kaczynski's brother says, Well, yes, that's my brother. That's a simple as it could be. We need to get the information out.

KING: You're saying there have been errors here.

BROWN: Yes, I do believe so. I believe that keeping everything closed and hidden, we're not even getting tips today . I mean, there's a little bit coming out here and there, vague stuff, like, We think the guy knows P.J. Wyatt over at the college, this professor. Well, do we really know that he knows her? Why are you even saying that?

KING: I'm going to...

BROWN: And here's one writing. That's not enough. You cannot identify somebody by two or three items because that's why we have so many suspects. If you only point out two or three things, that'll match a good portion of people in town. But if you point out 20 or 30 things, you're going to be able to say, Wait a minute, that's not him, but it is him. And that's the kind of information we need out to the public. I will believe then they would identify this man.

KING: We'll take a break and come back. We'll get Larry and Susan's thoughts on what our guests have said. They can participate in the panel. We'll also then begin including your phone calls. Don't go away.


HATTEBERG: January 15, 1974, Julie Otero is murdered in her home in Wichita, Kansas. The killer then murders her husband and two of her children. Months later, a chilling arrives at the local paper. "When this monster entered my brain I will never know, but it is here to stay," the killer writes. "Maybe you can stop him. I can't. He has already chosen his next victim."




911 OPERATOR: Dispatcher?

BTK: Yes, you will find a homicide at B43 South Pershing, Nancy Fox.

911 OPERATOR: I'm sorry, sir. I can't understand you. What is the address?

OPERATOR #2: It seems to be B43 South Pershing.


KING: Larry Hatteberg, what do you make of Pat Brown's critique?

HATTEBERG: Well, I'm certainly not ready to write off the Wichita Police Department. My feeling is that Wichita Police Department is doing a wonderful job behind the scenes. The fact that they're not talking about it -- and my sources tell me that we have an excellent set of investigators working on the case.

But she's right. This is an incredibly complex case. And I don't think there's ever been a case like this before.

I don't think Lieutenant Ken Landwehr ever said that he had established a rapport with BTK. What he said was that he was pleased with the communications that the police department had been receiving from BTK, I think both through the media and direct communications between the police department and BTK.

The Wichita Police Department is not working on this by themselves. They're working arm and arm with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They have people in town actively working on this case. And I'm told that this is an excellent set of investigators that we have on the scene.

As news people, certainly we wish they would give out more information. That's our job, is to disseminate information to the public. But I would in no way write off what the Wichita Police Department is doing.

KING: Susan, Pat says that in not coming forward that hampers, because the public can help. Is that a valid critique?

BROWN: There are people in Wichita, I have to be honest with you, who are -- who are saying that very thing, that they wish the police would be more forthcoming. Now, in the communications we have received from BTK, there are things that we do not tell the public through the newscast, what's on there. And there are also items the BTK is sending in a relatively -- it seems like he's planning this out.

OK, now, this week I'll send in this item and this week I'll send in this item. And some of them are actual souvenirs, if you will, from the crime scene, souvenirs from the victim. Some of them we are able to tell the public about. Some of them the Wichita Police Department has told us not to tell the public about even though we know.

KING: Why?

BROWN: We have to abide -- they are apparently getting some advice and, like Larry said, the FBI is in on this, and so is the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

KING: All right.

BROWN: And they're all working together. So we have to assume that they are getting this advice or deciding on their own that this is the best way to solve the case.

KING: Before we bring Pat Brown back in, Robert Beattie, what do you make of this, are the police doing enough, and why they don't give out enough information?

BEATTIE: I've been looking at this for a number of years. When I started, I thought I would find big mistakes. I found mistakes only in retrospect. What they did in each step of the investigation of the time made sense.

They did talk about this a lot. Ken Landwehr did interviews with my students in 2003. And he answered questions in 2004 at the first press conference.

I think maybe they -- I mean, they are -- they have released a lot of information. But they leave it out just as they see fit. And I've agreed to keep some information that I know out of my book.

But I don't think I'm keeping -- filing anything that's going to help -- you know, just help the public catch the killer. We all want to help the public catch the killer.

KING: Dr. Brodsky, can you get anything out of listening to the voice?

BRODSKY: Well, of course the most interesting thing is that everybody has heard that voice in this part of the country and nobody has identified this guy. So that's kind of interesting.

It is really hard to tell from the voice. He's so cold. You know, a guy who just did a murder, for him to have as cold and direct and emotionless voice is indeed amazing.

KING: Pat, we know you won't say -- I don't want you to name anyone because we are covered by law here. But you said you have a suspect in mind. Where did that come from?

BROWN: Well, I have a person of interest. And I -- as I said, there is a lot of people that have persons of interest.

Many ex-investigators called me and said, "I know who this guy is." That's their guy they think it is. I have many people calling in tips to my -- because I have a Web site and information is there, they call into me and they say, "Look, I don't want to go to the police yet, because I don't know if this is -- if I should do this, if I've got anybody who is even important."

There's a lot of people that have persons of interest. How you develop a person of interest is by finding enough information.

Now, for example, what was just said about the 911 tape, there are a number of people who have said, "I know who that voice is." So he has been identified. But, of course, people have identified more than one person.

That's why one piece of information doesn't lock anything to place. You can't jump to a conclusion.

You may have three or four items about somebody and think, well, that makes them pretty interesting. But until you have 15 or 16 or 20, you don't have enough. And that's why the more information you have, the more you can actually link this into somebody.

KING: Of course, Larry, he could pass away tonight of a heart attack and you'll never know, right?

HATTEBERG: That's always a possibility. And, you know, there are a million theories. There are a million theories about where he was for those 18 years.

People thought maybe he was incarcerated, people thought he died. The former police chief believes that he's been living right here among us, that he's been going to the mall with us, he's been going to the grocery stores with us, he's been sitting with us in the movies. And that's sort of the prevailing theory that is going on in the Wichita area now, that he is still here, he's been here all the time, and he's still here watching us.

KING: Dr. Brodsky, why do you think he stopped killing?

BRODSKY: Well, that's open to speculation as well. If he...

KING: What's your speculation?

BRODSKY: He might have been incarcerated on another offense. My best guess is he was out of town. And it would fit the with the economy, that the economy was down for a while and that might have been what brought him back to town, coming back to his home roots.

KING: Might he have killed out of town?

BRODSKY: Well, you know, the recent chapters that he's released kind of lead me away from thinking that, although it would be possible that that is certainly has happened. But these chapters of his own book which he arrogantly promotes don't seem to suggest that anything happened anywhere else besides Wichita.

KING: Robert, what do you mean by calling it "Secrets Long Hidden?"

BEATTIE: Well, that was a line from Faust's opening monologue. But that's what has happened with this book.

I mean, there has been so many secrets revealed to me that I'll reveal in the book. This has been just an enormous investigation, like Kennedy assassination size, and it is almost invisible.

For years this has been one of the first cases taught in the FBI profiler school. Congress appropriated $500,000 for this investigation in the '80s. There was a special investigative unit called The Ghost Busters, the National Reconnaissance Office, satellites were used.

This has just been a huge investigation for 31 years. And I didn't know about it until I started asking questions.

KING: Are those examples of secrets not before revealed?

BEATTIE: Yes. I don't think anybody's been talking about this. It was always there.

I was a firefighter and medic before I became an attorney. And I knew a lot of these officers. And a couple of years ago, when I wanted to do a class project on this, I started talking to detectives, and they were the ones who told me, "You have to write a book," because people don't know this story and how big this story is.

KING: So we're going to learn a lot more when your book comes out?

BEATTIE: I think so. I hope so.

KING: Do you think it might help find him?

BEATTIE: Well, I hope that the attention continues. There have been the stories waxed and waned over years, there have been several major investigations that would come to an end.

There was an arrest in December of a man, a raid on his home. I found that was not the only raid. There was a major raid in 1998 I have a whole chapter about.

They never stopped looking for this guy. Until March of last year, virtually everyone I spoke with said, "Well, this guy's dead." They say it's possible he's live, but if so he's institutionalized.

Now the prevailing belief is, well, he's always been here. So there's been a sea change in the perception.

KING: We'll take a break. And when we come back we'll include your phone calls. It's a puzzlement. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): He's also developed a taste for publicity. Over 31 years he sent many notes to Wichita Police and the local media. And once even reported one of his own murders to 911.

BTK: Yes, you will find a homicide at B43 South Pershing.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're operating now on two theories. One, that it is some person within our community. As an example, a window peeper who has gone into the place, suffering from a mentality disorder, leaning toward a fetish type sexual relief, committed these offenses. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Let's take a call. Montreal, Canada, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello, Larry.


CALLER: Good panel tonight.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I was just wondering, what are the odds that BTK has been in jail for 25 years?

KING: You think pretty good, Pat?

BROWN: I really don't think so. This is just not something I'm seeing as it -- as a reason to stop killing.

A lot of people think that serial killers only stop killing if they're ill or they're dead or they're in prison. But most serial killers actually do stop killing for quite big periods of time because they're afraid they're going to get caught or they simply lose interest for a while of doing all that work.

And as you grow older, people just tend to not do as much as they did when they were younger. And they find their thrills in other ways, as BTK is finding today. So, no, I don't think he was incarcerated. I think he was right there in Wichita.

KING: Larry, do you think -- Pat mentioned it earlier -- that the media is being used? Do you think you're being used?

HATTEBERG: No, I don't think we're being used at all. I think we're covering probably the biggest story of our careers right now. But I don't think we're being used.

I think we are part of the process. I think we're part of the communications process that BTK is using, because on one of the postcards he wrote to us in the last few weeks, he asked us a specific question.

He asked us if we had received the message and could we somehow let him know that we had received the message. So we did that actually on the air to let him know.

I think this is part of the communication process. And as long as he's communicating, he's not killing. And I think that's an important factor.

KING: Dallas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi. CALLER: I have two questions.

KING: Yes?

CALLER: What are the chances of BTK being active on the Internet dating Web sites? And what clues should women look for in particular?

KING: Doctor?

BRODSKY: Well, that's a possibility. My image of BTK is that he's very anti-woman. You know, he could seek out victims that way. But I don't think he's seeking a relationship that way. I don't think his intentions would be to have a nice home with a white picket fence around it.

KING: Is there something people can look for? I mean, obviously don't walk out to a car by yourself late at night in a parking lot. But what do you do if you live in Wichita?

BRODSKY: Well, you know, people are real concerned about security. And women are talking about fearing being alone and they're talking about leaving lights on more. So there is a security issue there.

But this guy probably is pretty isolated. And I think he would be easy to spot as somebody who is socially different than others. That he's very negative, he's got very high levels of anger which are easily tapped into.

You might be able to say hello to him the first time and get back some kind of an answer. But as you start talking to him in any kind of depth, you're going to find out, "I don't want to continue this conversation, he's too negative."

KING: Pat, do you think he's using Larry and Susan, or are they doing the right thing in reporting what he says?

BROWN: Well, I think my statement, Larry, was misunderstood. Yes, BTK is using Larry and Susan. BTK is using the WPD. BTK is using me.

Anybody he comes in contact with, BTK is using. That's what psychopaths do. You're useful or you're in the way.

Now, does that mean we shouldn't allow the communications? No, I'm not saying that at all. As a matter of fact, I'm perfectly happy with what the media is doing because they're giving -- disseminating the information that will get people to turn this guy in.

So I'm all for the communication with media. I'm just saying that from his point of view, he's using everybody.

KING: I get you.

Bremerton, Washington, hello. CALLER: Hi. I just wanted to know if you think that maybe he's in cahoots with somebody, if he has somebody maybe working with him on the side.

KING: Susan, you buy that?

PETERS: Yes, actually there has been some talk of that recently simply because they can't catch this guy. There has been talk. And I can only tell you about the talk that has been -- there has been nothing to prove this, that maybe there were two guys and one of them died and the other one kept all the souvenirs.

But police actually believe this is just one man. And you talk about security here in Wichita. I know women and men are being more careful, they're being more secure. They're not necessarily afraid, they're just being more careful.

KING: Robert Beattie, when does your book come out?

BEATTIE: Well, that's a publishing production issue with the publisher. And I don't know. I think it will be out this summer.

KING: Well, wouldn't the quicker the better?

BEATTIE: I think so. The book is in the final editing process now. But the actual production is up to the publisher.

KING: Do you try to do a tin type, a look at what he might be like in personality, job, looks, et cetera?

BEATTIE: There is a lot more witnesses that have seen this guy around the crime scenes than people realize. And they -- unfortunately, the description back in the '70s, he may look much different now.

I weighed almost literally half what I weigh now back in the '70s. So the killer has aged. Back then he was 5'10" to 6' tall, well groomed, trimmed, carried a bag.

The police actually -- at one time in the '70s, every police car carried a drawing that they no longer do. And he looked like a typical '70s guy, almost like a Jim Morrison in the drawing that I saw.

KING: Dr. Brodsky, would you gather that if he is watching us now, he is enjoying this?

BRODSKY: Oh, absolutely. He's using us, he's manipulating us, and he's a master at taking control. And he'll tell us what the next step is.

There's kind of no sense guessing it, because he's going to make his move. There will be another move. More is going to happen. But he's in control.

KING: We'll be back with more moments on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The last known murder was in 1986. A 28-year-old mother named Vicky Wegerle was killed like all the others in her Wichita home.

But this time there were no calls, no notes. So many years went by that some believed BTK was dead. They were wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This morning we have more information on the letter sent to "The Wichita Eagle" by the BTK killer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last spring, after nearly a 25-year silence, the killer unleashed a flurry of communications to local media, including a package dropped in this Wichita park, containing the driver's license of one of his victims.



KING: Susan Peters, I'm given to understand that some of his missives, his letters, are rather personal. Did he ask you about whether you had a cold or not?

PETERS: Yes. This was the one we received, I believe, about two-and-a-half weeks ago.

He's been communicating with KAKE TV, and in these communications there's messages to the police department, and little code things that we don't know what they mean. The police department presumably does.

But in the one about two-and-a-half weeks ago, you know he watches KAKE TV because my co-anchor and I, Jeff Herndon, and I had a cold about two-and-a-half weeks ago, and we, you know, played with that on the air and said, "Oh, we're contagious, the weatherman better move out."

And in the communication four days later it said, "Sorry about Susan's and Jeff's cold." And at first that was kind of eerie, but really we didn't know what to make of it.

We didn't know whether to be frightened, to be honest with you, and think, oh, how strange that is, or whether to say, well, I mean -- I hate to say this, but at least he's caring about us. However much a killer can care.

KING: Pat Brown CSI Wichita would have solved this in an hour with commercials.

BROWN: That's true.

KING: What about -- once you get envelopes, and written, can't you siphon up the envelope? Can't you tell where the paper came, kind of pen used? BROWN: Not really, no. Most of the things that are used are such normal items, anything you buy from a staples store or something that it really -- you're not going to get that much off of it. And that is the problem. Unless you've got DNA just locking it down to one person and you can find that person, these cases are hard to solve unless you can get somebody to point out who it is.

KING: Got it.

BROWN: And then you can focus in. The problem is a lot of wasted man hours.

These investigators are working very hard, don't get me wrong. I appreciate the police working. I think the methodologies don't help. And when you have only a small task force and they're trying to figure it out, and they're trying to figure out who is this person, when they don't know, if you open it up to more people, they can help you narrow down your leads, and that saves you a whole lot of time. It's been done very well successfully before, and I'd like to see that technique used here.

KING: Dr. Brodsky, would you bet they catch him?

BRODSKY: Well, yes, I've been saying that I think this will be all over by the end of the year. And I think they do have DNA which was collected at the crime scene.

So, you know, when it fits, it is going to fit. And we're all going to say, oh, we should have known. But at this point it's a mystery.

KING: Robert Beattie, you think so?

BEATTIE: It may be like Jack the Ripper and we may never hear from him again, or they may catch him tonight. And I really can't forecast which ending it will be.

KING: Larry, it's kind of been weird for you, hasn't it, being part of it for so long?

HATTEBERG: Well, it has been. It has been weird.

I've been at the station now for some 41 years. And this is a story that, as I said earlier, only comes along once in a lifetime. And it is a fascinating story.

It's like a mystery novel with no ending. And every week, every month, a new chapter is written.

KING: And you've all done great work with it. And I thank you all very much, Larry Hatteberg, Susan Peters, Pat Brown, Dr. Howard Brodsky and Robert Beattie.

And I'll be back and tell you about an exciting weekend after this.


KING: Happy birthday to our friend Vanna White. I'll buy a vowel. Happy birthday, Vanna. And many, many, many more.

Tomorrow night we'll repeat our interview with Mary Kay Letourneau, who has announced that she's going to marry that young man. You remember that story.

Sunday night, an in-depth interview with Nancy Grace, who on Monday night will start her own show on CNN Headline News.

Tracy Gold will be with us Monday night. And then an exclusive interview with Dana Reeve, the widow of Chris Reeve.

And as we head toward the weekend, we head toward "NEWSNIGHT." And that means we head toward one of my favorite people, Aaron Brown.

Mr. B., on a cold night in New York...


KING: ... rainy night in Los Angeles, there's probably no gold in store.

BROWN: Maybe not even on TV from the sounds of it out there. Thank you, Mr. King. Have a terrific weekend.

KING: You, too, my man. Go get 'em.


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