- The Washington Times - Monday, February 21, 2005

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The letters and poems began arriving in 1974. Filled with spelling and grammatical errors, they alternated between tortured rambling and cold-blooded, gleeful detail.

Then, the BTK killer ” whose nickname stands for “bind, torture, kill” and has since been linked to eight unsolved homicides from 1974 to 1986 ” vanished. But he resurfaced last March with new letters to police and the press and, although still enigmatic, they have taken on a new tone.

The frequency of the new communications and the accompanying attention concern at least one researcher.

“For some of these killers, there is kind of a cycle that once the spiral begins to accelerate, the next step is to kill and get a whole new generation of people scared,” said Dirk Gibson, author of “Clues From Killers: Serial Murder and Crime Scene Messages.”

The killer once raved about his inability to control a “monster” living inside him and gave graphic descriptions of his crimes. The few details released about the new messages indicate an almost cordial approach.

Officials said last week that the killer recently had sent at least three packages containing jewelry, and investigators were trying to determine whether any of it was taken from BTK’s victims.

Along with a padded manila envelope sent to KSAS-TV in Wichita, the communications included a cereal box found in a rural area northwest of Wichita in late January and a package found a few days later that police identified only as Communication No. 7.

Mr. Gibson, who has studied more than 500 serial killers, said BTK loves the attention. That already was apparent in the 1970s, when the self-named BTK terrorized Wichita.

But the tenor has changed: In a postcard sent earlier this month, BTK thanked the station for its quick response to two other messages and expressed concern for two news anchors after a passing comment one made on the air about having the flu.

Randy Brown, a senior fellow at Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Journalism, was a reporter at the defunct Wichita Sun when the weekly paper first broke the story about BTK.

“This is a very different BTK than the original,” Mr. Brown said. “It is hard to believe this is really the same twisted killer that was scaring the heck out of everybody ” had a town completely on edge ” in the late 1970s and 1980s.”

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