Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The BTK Story

The Next Step

Although the two-year investigation ended without an arrest, the knowledge gained and some of the samples collected formed the of the basis for the work of the squad.

''We tried a hundred thousand theories," now retired Lt. Al Stewart said.  "We checked house numbers, the victims' length of residency, the phases of the moon, we read books, looking for arcane connections to mythology, witchcraft and demonology."

On Oct. 31, 1987, the body of 15-year-old Shannon Olson was found dumped in a pond in an industrial area, partially disrobed and stabbed numerous times.  Her hands and feet were bound. The murder sparked off an outbreak of letters to the police and media suggesting the BTK Strangler committed the crime.

On Dec. 31, 1987, Mary Fager, the married mother of two daughters, returned to her Wichita home after spending 2 1/2 days out of town.  Upon entering her house, she discovered her husband, Phillip Fager, dead; he had been shot twice in the back.  Her two daughters, 16-year-old Kelli and 10-year-old Sherri, were both found strangled in the hot tub situated in the basement of the home.  Sherri's hands and feet were bound with black electrical tape, which later washed loose.  Kelli Fager was nude.

Soon after the Fager murders, someone wrote a letter to Mary Fager, claiming to be the BTK Strangler.  The letter declared that while he had not committed the murders he was a fan of whoever had.  FBI experts said they cannot irrefutably say that the letter came from BTK, but one source involved in the investigation who saw the letter himself, states that there is no doubt in his mind that it was authentic.  "It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck," the source stated.

According to Lt. Landwehr, a local contractor stated to police that he went to the Fager house, where he was doing construction work, and discovered the father's body.  He went on to claim that he had heard some noise in the house and fled in the family's car.  The contractor was arrested in Florida four days later.  According to Landwehr, the man claimed he had a total blank of the events that had occurred.

The contractor was arrested and subsequently charged with the Fager murders. However, a jury acquitted him of all charges.

Lt. Landwehr said they have closed the Fager case because they are confident that the contractor was the killer.


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