BTK serial killer investigation: new clue unlocks missing 16-year-old girl’s name | Oklahoma

A newly re-examined word puzzle sent to a Kansas City TV station in 2004 could strengthen leads in a cold-case investigation into the disappearance of a 16-year-old girl in Oklahoma and link it to the convicted serial killer Dennis Rader, nicknamed BTK for “bind, torture, kill”.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Osage county sheriff Eddie Virden said he had received a package from a woman in April containing a crossword puzzle Rader allegedly used to taunt investigators.

The words Rader used identified places, names or fantasies connected to his work as a serial killer who murdered at least 10 people in Wichita and Park City, Kansas, between 1974 and 1991.

Rader was arrested in 2005, 13 years after the murders ceased, when he sent another clue – a floppy disk – to a TV station that contained data investigators used to uncover him as the killer.

The words Rader used in the crossword included “Wichita”, “prowl”, “fantasies”, “ruse”, “spot victim”. But a new examination of the document reveals “Cindy”, “Kinney”, but also “Kihekah”, the name of the street where 16-year-old Cynthia Kinney disappeared from the Osage Laundry in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, in June 1976.

Investigators were unable to pin Kinney’s disappearance on Rader. He admitted to killing 10 victims but has never confessed to any involvement in the disappearance of the 16-year-old cheerleader.

Sheriff Virden, however, said he believes he may have come close to conclusively tying Rader to Kinney. One piece of the puzzle, he told Oklahoma’s KFOR, was that generally Rader acted mid-morning, at about the same time that Kinney disappeared.

A second clue is the name of victim and the street the laundromat was on. A letter that came with the crossword puzzle Virden received last month advised: “Don’t view it as a puzzle. View the puzzle as a map that Rader created to plot his victims.”

“There’s hints all the way through that can’t be overlooked,” Virden told KFOR.

“It’s up to us to figure out everything he gave us and put those together, connect the dots, and then get the answers we’re looking for,” he added.

“We’re still in the process of trying to evaluate that and sending them out, trying to get some expert opinions on it to see what we can get. But it’s pretty hard to get around the fact that Cindy Kinney’s name is in there.”

Virden said there were a total of eight markings on the map-puzzle that referenced Oklahoma. Criminal psychologists have reasoned that Rader wanted his murders to be cataloged by authorities.

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“We know [BTK] refers to his murders as ‘factor X’ … that in some of his journals and other stuff he marked murders with Xs. In this particular case, everything is marked with a X. The clues go on and on,” Virden said.

“We have searched many locations. We’ve found items that we believe are evidence, and we’ve found carvings, markings in barns, things that we believe are 100% proof that he’s operated within our area.”

Last month, the Osage and Pawnee county district attorney Mike Fisher addressed mounting speculation that authorities were coming close to linking Rader to Kinney’s disappearance.

Fisher said there was still insufficient evidence to file charges against Rader but said he had directed the Oklahoma state bureau of investigation to open a formal investigation into Kinney’s disappearance.

But he added the things he had seen conducted by the Osage county sheriff’s office had given him “pause and concern”, and that it was not appropriate for the sheriff to conduct a dig at Rader’s previous residence before using proper investigative techniques.

One of Sheriff Virden’s digs at a Kansas property in Park City had apparently found “items of interest” including tangled pantyhose. Rader’s daughter Kerri Rawson has said she believes her father may have taken more lives.

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