Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The BTK Story

BTK's Signature

Undoubtedly, BTK didn't want anyone to take the credit for the murders he committed. He was actually proud of his horrific actions. No where was it more evident then when he arrogantly signed his initials to many of the communications that were sent to Wichita media outlets.

According to Tim Potter's Kansas City Star article, only a select few working on the investigation ever knew that BTK signed his name in a "sexually suggestive configuration" in which he "stacked the 'B,' 'T' and 'K' from top to bottom with the 'B' shaped to look like a woman's breasts." The signature was deliberately kept from the public so that investigators could weed out possible copycat letters from authentic BTK communications, the report further suggested. Even though a large majority of the letters bore the BTK symbol, some of the communications did not.

BTK signature, image re-created
BTK signature, image re-created

Potter stated that the communications were evaluated by asking three specific questions and if most of the criteria were met then chances were high that the letter was from the murderer:

  • ·Do the contents reveal knowledge only the killer would possess?
  •  Do the messages show a continuity, where each communication builds on past ones?
  •  Do they repeatedly use certain words or symbols, including a logo or signature (such as the BTK signature)?

Investigators realized that the more communication they could establish with BTK, the more likely it would be that he would slip up and provide them with valuable information concerning his identity. Sometimes, investigators actually initiated contact by placing an advertisement in the newspaper.

In 1974, the police put an ad in the Wichita Eagle that read "B.T.K. Help is available," Stan Finger and Tim Potter reported 29 years later in the same paper. There was no known response to the police statement but in 1986 there was a suspicious ad that read, "Relief from Factor X is available at: P.O. Box 48265," the report stated. Interestingly, in a 1978 communication sent from BTK to KAKE-News, he wrote that he was driven by "Factor X" to commit the murders. Thus, it is highly likely that BTK used the ads as another means of communicating to the public.

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