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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Kansas Authorities Hold Press Conference
Aired February 26, 2005 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning everyone. I'm Andrea Koppel at the CNN center in Atlanta. We are awaiting a news conference from Wichita, Kansas on developments in the so-called BTK case serial killer case. Authorities began questioning what they called a person of interest yesterday and our Jonathan Freed is standing by live in Wichita. So Jonathan, how much of a sense have you gotten as to this is the moment when police are finally going to announce that they got the guy?
JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Andrea, it is the question of the hour and the reason that everybody here, the reason that expectations are as high as they are, is because of, A, where we are which is in the city council chambers here in Wichita and B, who is going to be attending this news conference. That includes the mayor of Wichita, the district attorney, the police chief, the Kansas attorney general, Phill Kline, a U.S. representative who brought in some $1 million to help keep the BTK investigation funded over the years.
As well as that, over on the left side of the room here, the first three rows, a hush came over this room Andrea, just a little while ago, as members, family members of some of the killer's victims were brought into the room. So, based on the cast of characters that is in this room, based on the fact that the police have actually telegraphed this as an event specific to BTK, expectations are very high that a significant announcement is going to be made. In fact, people that they're going to say that that they have arrested a suspect. Only as of yesterday, Andrea, all they were saying is that a person of interest was being questioned in that case. Andrea?
KOPPEL: Jonathan, stand by for us. Here in Atlanta, we have Mike Brooks who is with us, former law enforcement, former FBI. Mike, why don't the police just say that he is a suspect? Why do they call him a person of interest? What does that mean?
MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't like person of interest Andrea. I always say person of interest is suspect like if you will. They think it's the person, but don't have quite enough to say for sure that it is. But a number of months ago if you recall, they had arrested, also another person that they said was a person of interest. A man around 64, 65 years old, apparently fit the same profile as the BTK killer. But then, they wound up releasing him. So last night, when I heard it, I said, you know, is this another person of interest or do they really have the real killer BTK?
I spoke to some sources last night and they said that they believe they had him. They're waiting. They're waiting for DNA tests to come back because they had have his DNA. I found this out back when we were doing a story with an anchor from KAKE in Wichita who had been personally involved in this case. He had been receiving letters from the BTK killer and during one of the interviews he said, yes, they had DNA from the BTK killer. They why they know it was a man and not a woman.
KOPPEL: So did the DNA come from one of these letters? We know that the most recent letter was sent or the most recent evidence was sent to one of the TV stations about a year ago. Is that right?
BROOKS: Right. But then, last March the communications, you know, resumed again and there were packages being sent in October. There was on that actually included the driver's license of one of his victims. Whenever somebody leaves evidence for the police and many serial killers try to toy with the police. They think they're smarter than the police. Some people say does he want to get caught by leaving all this information, putting all these clues out there? They don't want to get caught. They just like kind of the thrill of the hunt, if you will. But, you leave a lot of evidence. You're going to leave some DNA possibly.
KOPPEL: OK. So, obviously, this technology DNA technology has been out there for a long time. This has been going on since 1974. He hasn't killed anyone. At least we believe he hasn't killed anyone for 25 years.
KOPPEL: Why are they only now getting the DNA to reach some sort of conclusion? Again, we don't know yet. We're going to have to wait until they come back with this press conference.
BROOKS: We don't know how they got the DNA. We don't know if they got it the DNA from one of the victims, if he left something at the scene of a crime going back 31 years. We don't know that. There's a 25-year vacant space in there. What was this person doing? Was he in jail? Was he sick? We're hearing a lot of rumors about him but Jonathan Freed on the scene probably knows a little bit more about maybe the background, what people are saying there in Wichita. Jonathan.
FREED: Well, that's right and it's a good point and I think you raised a good point earlier, Mike did, in that people here and the media here since that incident in December where the wrong person was named and focused on, had been somewhat hesitant to really jump in on this one. In fact, although everybody in town here fully expects that this case is done at least in terms of the police saying that they've made an arrest and people are very confident that they're about to name the suspect, still the headline in today's "Wichita Eagle" was police to talk about BTK today and that marks a somewhat departure, somewhat of a departure in tone from where things had been just a couple of months ago. The police chief came out and rebuked the media here in early December for jumping to conclusions saying that they ruined that other man's life, that people in his neighborhood would never look at him the same way again and it's been very, very sensitive here in town and Mike is right about that. It's one of the reason why people have been treading very carefully.
KOPPEL: Jonathan, what do we know if anything about this person of interest who the police picked up yesterday?
FREED: Well, what I can report at this point is I can tell you that the person was -- lives in the park city neighborhood which is about seven miles north of Wichita. We are privy to some more details than that but until we get to the point where they start naming people and there's an arraignment, the names are formally entered into the record, most people here think that they know who the police are focusing on, but we're really walking a very fine line here trying to respect peoples' rights and the process, too.
KOPPEL: Sure. Just for people who may not be as familiar with the BTK case, Jonathan, give us a feeling -- he is believed to have killed eight people beginning in 1974 but the last time that he's believed to have killed anyone was about 26 years ago in 1986. Was there anything about the victims that they shared, anything in common or was this very random?
FREED: You've touched on a good point and that has been one of the most frustrated points of this for police in that they have found or at least they have been saying that they have not found any clear links or any consistency in terms of the nature of the victims. Now, most of them have been women. My own analysis shows most of them have been in their 20s. The first victims involved a family. They killed a husband, a wife and two of that family's children. But beyond that, the other victims have pretty well been younger women.
KOPPEL: So again, just to kind of bring people up to date, it looks like is that the Mayor, Jonathan, who's at the podium right there.
FREED: Yes it looks like that this is getting ready to start and they are getting into position now and you were right about that, that there were eight murders so far attributed to the BTK killer, the first ones in 1974, the most recent one in 1986 and Andrea, we didn't know about the 1986 murder until last March and it looks like the mayor's about to start.
KOPPEL: OK. This is Mayor Carlos Mayans. It looks like they're waiting for some other folks to come to the -- to get to the podium before he wants to begin. Jonathan, again, BTK stands for bind, torture, kill, the common elements that were involved in all of these eight killings, is that right?
FREED: Yes and it's significant in that the killer himself suggested a list of possible names for him. He did so after there were half a dozen victims and BTK was one of them and the former police chief at the time in the 1970s, by the name of Richard Lamunyon, he at a news conference announced that the killer wants to known by the name BTK, which stands for bind, torture and kill.
KOPPEL: Jonathan, I knew you've been covering this story for the last year, pretty intensively. What is the feeling among people who live in Kansas? Is this something that is on their minds day in and day out? The killer hasn't struck again we believe since 1986. How much is this a part of the lives of most Kansas residents?
FREED: Prior to last March, there have been no communication from the killer for about 25 years. That's a generation and people here had moved on. The media here had moved on and then suddenly out of the blue, last March, he sent another letter, effectively claiming responsibility for the 1986 killing and everything went off the charts once again. People were locking their doors. People were locking their windows. People were looking over their shoulders here. People were buying things like Mace and pepper spray.
The level of concern and in some cases panic among some people just vaulted right up there again and over the course of the last year, my sense is that people have come to grips with the fact that this killer was back in their lives, sending regular communiques, but there have been no indication whatsoever that another attack was coming. Now police could only go so far as to say that analyst could only go so far as to that, but you never know what's in somebody's mind. But one thing that the experts were pointing out here is that the tone of his communications have changed.
In the early days Andrea, he was much more intense, very mean spirited, expressing a tremendous amount of anger and horrid details of the crimes that have been committed and more recently, the tone had taken on concern for news anchors who expressed one to the other that they had recently had a bout of flu, that kind of thing, a lot more comparatively speaking, cordial.
KOPPEL: Jonathan, I just want you to turn around or wherever you need to in order to look at the police chief. Who's hands are he shaking right there? Are those family members?
FREED: I cannot easily see from where I am. The family members are sitting off to what would be your camera right in the first three rows.
KOPPEL: OK. Well, he was shaking the hands of a number of people who were seated in the front row and I guess we can figure out when this is over who they were. But you said that there are family members in the audience. OK, Jonathan, we are going to go to Mayor Carlos Mayans.
MAYOR CARLOS MAYANS, WICHITA, KANSAS: Good morning. Thank you for being here today with us. I want to especially thank the families for being here today. It is your day. I would like to recognize my colleagues in the city council. Vice Mayor Carl Brewer, (ph), council person Bob Marx (ph), Sue Schlap, (ph), Mr. Gray (ph), Mr. Lampke (ph) and Sharon Feary (ph). There's also other people as you well know with a group this large, I'm going to miss some. So, I'm going to count on the chief to fill in which I missed. Congressman Dehart (ph) is on his way and will be a little bit delayed. U.S. Attorney Eric Melgram (ph) is here with us today. Also, Phill Kline, attorney general, Larry Welch, KBI, Kevin Estefer, FBI, Nola Foulston, district attorney and State Senator Carolyn Magib (ph).
It has been a very long journey that has brought us to this day. The past year certainly has been a challenge. The national spotlight has been shining on us, but through diligence, tenacity, determination, and just plain good police work, the man and woman of our Wichita police department have once again made us proud of their accomplishment.
Today, I stand before you as the proud mayor of the city of Wichita on our police department, I am proud of our police chief Norman Williams, Lieutenant Ken Landwehr and the members of the task force team that have dedicated thousands and thousands of hours investigating the senseless and horrendous series of crimes that have plagued our city many years ago. This has not been an easy task. Our fine police department has been through times questioned. Their competence was questioned. Their actions were often second guessed. But all the while, these officers were steadfast in their commitments to solve the biggest police case in Wichita's history.
We knew that our officers were doing their job and that one day this nightmare will end. I would now like to ask our team of experts led by our Police Chief Norman Williams to brief you on the most recent findings on the case that we have all known as the BTK. Chief?
CHIEF NORMAN WILLIAMS, WICHITA KANSAS POLICE: Whew. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Today is a very historic day for the Wichita police department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the district attorney's office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Sedgwick County forensic center, the Sedgwick County sheriff's office, the office of the inspector general of the Social Security Administration and also, for the city of Park City, Kansas who's been instructional in helping us in the last couple of days.
The bottom line, BTK is arrested. To the task force members, outstanding job, outstanding. Please stand and be recognized. You know, this has been the most intense and challenging investigation in the entire history of the Wichita police department. When you look back on March of 2004, when we began to receive our first correspondence, we knew that we had a challenging and very tiring road ahead of us in this investigation. But then when you look at what drove us to where we are today, it was a commitment that we made to the family and friends of our victims.
We knew that we had to get to this day. We knew that we had to do everything within our powers to bring about resolution and justice. And that is what we set our sights on. When you look at this investigation, it wasn't about one department. It wasn't about two departments. It was about the law enforcement community coming together with one goal and one goal only, to identify and apprehend BTK. And dog gone it, we did it. We did it.
As I mentioned to you, it was a law enforcement team effort. And before I continue with my comments, I'm going to introduce some of the key partners that make up this law enforcement team. The first person I asked to address you is Miss Nola Foulston. Despite the challenges of her office, despite all the things going on, Miss Foulston and several of her key staff with us from day one. They were with us doing the briefings over the last 12 months. They were with us doing the criticisms. Miss Foulston stepped forward to correct the media, to provide direction to the community in regards to inaccurate information. Miss Foulston.
NOLA FOULSTON, SEDGWICK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming today to this very important meeting of our community and to bring together those individuals who have waited so long over these past decades for a resolution to a very trying time in our community and in the criminal justice system. I would be remiss if I didn't point not only to our wonderful members of the task force, other members of our law enforcement community from our local, state and Federal partners, but also, to the partners of our task force members, the wives and families who have been working alongside of our law enforcement officers and I see them in this group, as well. And I thank you, too, ladies and gentlemen, for the time that you have lent us your spouses to do this very difficult work. And, you are wonderful ladies and wonderful gentlemen who have lent us your husbands and your wives in this very, very important investigation for our community.
Thank you, Cindy. Thank you. Thank you. I also look around me and I see some of the wonderful law enforcement people that I have worked with. I started in law enforcement as an assistant district attorney in 1976 shortly after the Otero murders had occurred and as an assistant district attorney, one of the most horrible things that had happened was that I was in the office at the time of the Nancy Fox homicide. But I was privileged to work with chief Lamunyon and members of his staff as they began the long task and arduous task of working with our community in an attempt to solve and put together the long investigation that was to commence at that time.
And with what they had at that time, they gathered evidence and worked day and night with their task force, and so, in those years, and even faithful to this day, Chief Lamunyon, thank you for your work and your dedication. And now, it comes a time when this investigation is still in the hands of law enforcement. And so, the inquiry becomes what happens next?
As we work alongside of law enforcement, it is our responsibility to work with them in a legal capacity to assist them in questions of law, not to direct their investigation, but to be their partners as the chief law enforcement office in this community, to assist them in making sure that legal issues are completed in a timely task and that they are done properly. It is our job to oversee and to watch for those legal matters and to make sure that things are done correctly. And so, we monitor those issues. And then, this matter is at a point in time when the investigation is concluded, turned over to the office of the district attorney for its final review.
At that time, members of the law enforcement community will present their case, their evidence, their information, all that they have to the office of the district attorney. And at that time, my staff will review this matter and make determinations as to what charges if any will be filed in the district court of Sedgwick County, Kansas. In that effort, following this case, for the years that it's been in process in the law enforcement community, have been the brightest and the best of prosecutors from my office. In the last year, since the reemergence of the individual, the John Doe serial killer, I have appointed and have maintained a competent, qualified and extraordinary staff of prosecutors and assistants to work with law enforcement 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And those prosecutors have been named to assist me in the prosecution of any case that will be filed as a result of this investigation.
Please let me introduce to you, chief deputy district attorney Kim Parker. I'm sure you're all well acquainted with Miss Parker. She and I tried the state of Kansas versus Jonathan and Reginald car case to its successful conclusion. In this particular case, I needed some fighting Irish. I therefore have asked and have received the assistance of a deputy district attorney Kevin O'Connor, the head of my criminal division. Kevin will be assisting in this case.
So that is the trial team and the three of us together will be the prosecutors on this case. We'll be reviewing this case and be looking at each and every piece of evidence that is brought to us in making a determination. Now, I have to tell you that in the prosecution of any criminal case, we must look at the statute of limitations that applies a case. The statute of limitations on most criminal charges runs after two years. Those charges that are older than two years under the law may not be prosecuted.
However, there is no statute of limitations on the crime of homicide. However, in the state of Kansas, you will know that the death penalty was not introduced into the state of Kansas until the later past years, 1994. Prior to that date, no death penalty applies to cases of homicide. In the recent past, the state of Kansas first as Michael Marsh (ph) eradicated the death penalty in the state of Kansas. And at this time, the death penalty is in abeyance for those crimes that occurred from this date of that case forward. There have been no allegations of crimes that have occurred subsequent to the Marsh case.
So any crimes that have occurred in a period prior to 1994 are not eligible for the death penalty. Any crimes of homicide that have occurred at any point in time are eligible to be considered for filing. Any other charges that are not within a window of opportunity of two years cannot be charged. That is the basic information with regard to the charging of criminal indictments.
I must also tell you that while one would like to give you every bit of information that we could possibly tell you to alleviate any questions, to give you all of the information we possibly could to put your mind at ease, the law provides that we cannot give you any information with regard to any statements made, any evidence that has been used in the case, any forensic sciences that have been used. Once the case has been closed by investigation, we are sealing our files. We will not be discussing the case because as you know, we want a case to proceed through the justice system so that any case that is filed remains as pristine as it can be and that any conviction that may be given is given in the most constitutional manner.
And therefore, we will not be discussing this case publicly after any charges that might be filed are filed with the courts. And I hope you will understand that. We will, however, have a Web site with the district attorney's office and on that Web site will be posted only the most basic of information regarding this case. And at the time when a complaint and information may be filed, it will be accessible on the Web site and you will be getting further instructions regarding that.
There will also be a dedicated communications line to the district attorney's office with a private number for individuals to call from the media for a daily update on any changes that may be made regarding status of the case. And that is the basic information we can give you. That is the basic things that will be happening within the next period of time. And I give you this information so that you have that for your conference today, but mainly to be here to say thank you to a community that has responded to the law enforcement. And with a smile on my face, thank you to the media for being here today To cover this occasion and to be able to report what is being told to you today without having to scramble any place to get the information except from those who give it to you freely, willingly and voluntarily. Thank you.
WILLIAMS: I would like to ask the Kansas attorney general, Mr. Phill Kline, if he would like to make any comments. Before he does, I'd just like to say to Mr. Kline, thank you. In December, when the Wichita police department was criticized for inappropriate entering the residence, Mr. Kline was at a news conference and he very boldly stated that I have confidence in the Wichita police department that they're doing a good job and that was it. And so, just want to say thank you, sir. Comments?
PHILL KLINE, KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: My confidence was well placed. Congratulations, Wichita. Your perseverance and dedication to truth and justice has made Kansas proud. On this day, the voice of justice is heard in Wichita. And due to the dedication of a community and the commitment to duty of literally hundreds of law enforcement officers across this nation, victims whose voices were brutally silenced by the evil of one man, will now have their voices heard again.
Justice alone cannot bring healing for justice cannot undo that which never should have happened in the first place. And so, our prayers, our thoughts, and our hearts go out to those family members who at the hands of one evil man have had a life sentence of agony and pain. Justice, however, can give us hope, the hope that we can prevent such evil in the future, the hope that right will eventually prevail, the hope that if our dignity and rights are violated, that there will be someone who cares and who is concerned enough that they will pursue the ends of justice whether that pursuit takes one year or 30 years.
The full story of this investigation as the district attorney said, cannot be made known now in order to protect the integrity of the judicial process and to protect innocent persons. In fact, he full story really will never be known.
But as the story is told, let me tell you of some things that you will learn. You will learn of a community that came together to overcome fear with action. If you desire, you will learn of neighbors who watched homes for neighbors. Those who stepped in to dark driveways and parking lots to insure of safety of those who were cautious and afraid.
Of the significance of the eyes and ears of a community that provided reasonable and meaningful tips and of a law enforcement agency and task force that investigated every lead. Of a mayor of a community and its city council that resolutely expressed determination for the right result and who stood firmly behind the efforts of their community's law enforcement officials and whose passion inspired all involved.
I've spoken often to the mayor about this case. And Mayor, thank you for your leadership.
Of a congressman who ached for his community and turned his concerns into actions by moving critical legislation through Congress. And who -- which greatly assisted this effort. So Congressman Tiahrt deserves our appreciation.
You will learn of a remarkable team of law enforcement personnel who came together under remarkable circumstances to approach this investigation with tireless dedication, unparalleled professionalism, and incredible humility to what is right and true. A team of all jurisdictions.
The Wichita Police Department led by a tremendous leader in Chief Williams and which is comprised of some tremendous law enforcement officials, including the man who led this effort and who never gave up in his pursuit and a man that deserves our full appreciation, Lieutenant Ken Landwehr.
A team that included, since its inception, members of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, led by the best director of such a bureau in the nation, Director Larry Welch.
And a cold case squad that includes a man that I know now of as a friend, Mr. Larry Thomas. And is directed by a man who does not rest until justice is served, Mr. Ray Lundeen.
You will learn the importance of the KBI lab and the Wichita lab and a woman in the KBI lab named Cindy Schuler. You will learn of remarkable technology, and you will learn of our appreciation for all of those jurisdictions that assisted.
You will learn of a Federal Bureau of Investigation that provided significant and meaningful assistance in virtually every category of the investigation. And the leadership of special agent in charge of the Kansas City field office, Mr. Kevin Stafford.
Of the dedicated efforts of Sheriff Steed and his leadership within the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department.
And you will learn how this team came together under tremendous media pressure and in a matter of only 11 months were able to solve heinous crimes since the latest communication, the oldest crime of which occurred over 30 years ago.
And you will come face to face with evil, if you desire, the horrific knowledge of what this evil did. And, a knowledge that this law enforcement team and the family members have been burdened with every day since this investigation began.
All investigations involve delicate information and especially one of this type. There are demands for greater information from media and others, but you will learn, if you allow, how this team properly balanced the need for public safety and the need for public assistance with privacy, in order the protect the innocent by not revealing sensitive information and in order to protect the integrity of the investigation.
And you will come, also, to know of the office of a competent and professional district attorney, who is well suited to insure that justice is served. And that is District Attorney Nola Foulston.
This story as is all stories of justice, if achieved, is a story of our best, brought out by the necessity of the worst of mankind. And our best will prevail. Next to being the husband of my wife and the father of my daughter, the greatest honor of my life is to serve with these men and women, the men and women of law enforcement. And personally, and on behalf of our state, I thank you.
WILLIAMS: I would like to ask the director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, Mr. Larry Welch, for comments, please.
LARRY WELCH, DIRECTOR, KANSAS BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS: As is undoubtedly clearly evident to you, I've been in law enforcement 44 years. And let me assure you that today is one of the happiest days in all those 44 years.
In law enforcement, when the numbers of agencies in an investigative endeavor exceed the number of potential defendants in the case, the good guys always win. And this multiagency task force, in place since March 2004 under the able command of Chief Norman Williams and Lieutenant Ken Landwehr, is a marvelous example of that well-established law enforcement principle.
It has been the privilege and the pleasure of the KBI to have agents of our cold case squad and our forensic scientists involved this since March 2004. And, we are delighted at this predicted outcome. Thank you very much.
WILLIAMS: To give you an indication of the KBI's commitment to this information, they committed, as Mr. Welch has alluded to, two full-time special agents, as well as a chemist at our disposal throughout this investigation, despite some of the shortages that he had in his staff, because he felt so -- he felt that this case was so important that he stepped forward and he says, "Chief, what do you need? We will provide."
And to me, that's what it's all about, ladies and gentlemen. So let's just give him another hand.
You know, so often you hear criticisms of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the fact that the only time you see them is in a major case or things of that nature there, which to me is unjust. I can tell you firsthand I've worked closely with this gentleman I'm about to introduce to you, Mr. Kevin Stafford.
Early on in this investigation, he contacted me to say, "Hey, whatever you need, call us." In the month of November, he and I traveled to Washington, D.C. We met with key personnel in the management staff of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We walked away from that meeting feeling good.
Within 30 days, Mr. Stafford called me and said, "Chief, the question is what do you need? How soon do you need it? We'll get it."
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kevin Stafford.
KEVIN STAFFORD, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: I've never heard any of those criticisms before.
KOPPEL: I'm Andrea Koppel at CNN Center in Atlanta. And we've been listening to a press conference in Wichita, Kansas, in which the headline is that BTK, the serial killer responsible for at least eight murders, primarily in the 1970s but one of them in the 1980s, has been caught.
What we've been waiting to hear is who the guy is. Police picked him up yesterday. Jonathan Freed is in Wichita in the courtroom there where the -- where the -- or the city hall, where this press conference is going on.
Jonathan, do we have any idea who this suspect that they picked up yesterday, the man that they say is BTK, is?
FREED: They have not made that announcement yet. Stand by just a second, though. I wasn't sure, Andrea, if they were about to...
WILLIAMS: Early on in this investigation...
FREED: We can tell that we know whose house they were searching yesterday. Only that information is not yet being made public. The process has to work its way through, and I think it's one of the reasons why they are being very careful here right now.
I can summarize for you that the three or four main points that we've heard so far. Chief Norman Williams, who you might see right now at the podium right now, he came out, and this room rose to its feet and there was an outpouring of emotion when he said earlier, "The bottom line, BTK is arrested."
The district attorney, Nola Foulston, came out and said that there will be likely no death penalty applicable in this case, because the crimes in question were committed before 1994, which is when the death penalty began to take place here in Kansas.
And the Kansas attorney general, Phil Klein, basically said that you will -- I'm quoting now -- "you will come face to face with evil as you learn the details of this case" -- Andrea.
KOPPEL: Jonathan, thanks. We're going to let you listen to what they're saying, and please get back to us if and when they actually do announce who BTK is, the man that they took into custody yesterday.
In the meantime, let's bring in Mike Brooks, our law enforcement officer.
Mike, one of the thing that we heard them say, and obviously, this is a huge day, a huge moment in Wichita for the law enforcement community and for the people of Kansas to know that this man is off the streets.
KOPPEL: But they said is, that I found interesting, is that they said that this was, you know, showing great police work. But in point of fact, if BTK had not sent, had not communicated again with the public by sending this package to a local TV station a year ago in March, would they have solved this case?
BROOKS: That remains to be seen. There's a cold case squad that they keep referring to in Wichita. And these are -- these are detectives that they take the case and they kind of put it on a back shelf and they really haven't had too many more leads on it. But they do keep some investigators on that particular case to keep the investigation going.
Now, whether or not they would have had any more information, in that 25-year gap until he reemerged last March, we don't know. But he was giving a lot of different clues along the way, you know, so I think...
KOPPEL: BTK in communications, in letters and whatnot with the police.
BROOKS: Yes. I'll be anxious to see whether or not he fits everything that he said he was. They said he was born in 1939, making him 65, 64 years old. His father died in World War II. His grandparents raised him while he mother worked.
He said his hobbies were hunting, fishing, camping. Around 1960, he said he attended military school, then served in the military. Then after he was discharged in 1966, he repaired copy machines and business equipment and had a female Latino acquaintance named Petra.
So I'll be anxious to see -- you know, these are specific clues that he was giving to the police.
KOPPEL: Let's get into the psyche of serial killers, and clearly, BTK is one of them. He killed seven of his eight victims in the 1970s.
KOPPEL: And then in this communication that he sent to the local police department -- the local television station in March of last year said, "Hey guys, I also killed someone in the 1980s and then they were able to confirm that there was another victim in 1986."
With somebody like them him, is he -- does he want to be caught? Is that why he emerged after 25 years of silence? Or is he -- just loved the cat and mouse of all of this?
BROOKS: Most serial killers love the cat and mouse. And in this particular case, and we've seen it in other serial killers, they will always take -- they may take something from the victim or the scene.
KOPPEL: And he did.
BROOKS: And he did. He got the driver's license in October. There's some other things he took from the victims that showed up again.
KOPPEL: A necklace that he apparently may have given to one of his girlfriends.
BROOKS: Right. And the FBI is looking into that, that jewelry connection.
And so they -- they take this, but they love the thrill of the hunt, if you will. You know, why did this guy wants to now get caught? I mean, they were -- all the clues that he was giving over the years about himself and more recently, just giving more and more information after 25 years.
I'm going to be very anxious to see who this guy is, what his background is. Was he away for that 25 years? Was he there? There are some have said, you know, they thought that he may kill again. But there's no indication at all right now that he would kill again with the communications he's had with the anchors there at -- in Wichita.
KOPPEL: Well, you and I were chatting about this during the press conference, and we noted that seven of the eight victims were killed in the 1970s. One of them was killed, the last victim that was killed in the '70s was killed in 1979. He waited eight years, then until -- is that right?
BROOKS: Nine years.
KOPPEL: Nine years until 1986 to kill again.
KOPPEL: Doesn't that sound a little odd that there would have been this gap of nine years between the killings?
BROOKS: Very odd. Very, very odd. And whatever the motive that drives these serial killer, you know, there have been so many books about Jeffrey Dahmer and other serial killers. There's always something different that drives each one of them. The motive keeps them going.
But what was this person doing in that nine-year gap? You know, there was a -- there was a three-year gap between the night, the first one in January of '74. Then in April of '74. Then March of '77. So we're talking, you know, March and then December of '77. Then the nine-year gap, as you said, and then to 1986.
I'll be very, very anxious to find out who this guy is, what his background is, what his background as a child -- what kind of things did he do as a child? You know, were there some things that maybe some serial killers -- you know, we call a homicidal triad. There's certain things that are in the background of some serial killers. I'll be very anxious to see if he fits that profile or not.
KOPPEL: We should just tell our viewers, if you're just tuning in, we are monitoring a press conference there in Wichita, right there on your screen in the city hall in which just about everyone in local government and law enforcement is there to announce the big news that the BTK serial killer, the man responsible for at least eight murders, primarily in the 1970s and also 1980s, has been caught.
We are still waiting to hear who the man is, and we will bring that to you as soon as we get it. We are monitoring this press conference. We think that they're announcing it right now.
So let's listen in.
WILLIAMS: ... the first correspondence in almost 20-plus years back in March 2004 from the serial killer known as BTK.
At that time, he sent us some information involving a Mrs. Susan Wegerle. We suspected for many years that he may have committed that crime, but when he sent us the correspondence, that verified it.
From that day forward, Lieutenant Landwehr was called upon to spearhead the investigation, the reemergence of BTK.
When you look at the last 11 months, the toll that it's taken on every member of not only the task force, but every member of law enforcement that are out there on the streets because citizens were concerned about is BTK my next door neighbor?
And when you look at the ebb and flows of this investigation, you look at the trials and tribulations, we continue to maintain our focus on professionalism. We maintain our commitment on working within the United States Constitution, because we had an obligation to insure a professional, quality and successful investigation for the family members.
Lieutenant Landwehr took that charge, took that challenge, and he spearheaded that investigation. And he's done a damn good job with it.
I'd like to acknowledge the police chief from Park City as well as the mayor, Mayor Burgess. Thank you for your assistance over the last couple of days. We realize that we invaded your city. And we appreciate the cooperation that you've given us.
KOPPEL: If you're just joining us, we're still waiting to learn who the BTK Killer is, or at least the alleged suspect, the man that was taken into custody by Wichita police just yesterday.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the eight victims of this man over the last couple of decades, David Mattingly has prepared a report to give us a feeling for who these individuals were.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The killer calls himself BTK, which stands for bind them, torture them, kill them, a pattern he has followed with most of his victims.
He's also developed a taste for publicity. Over 31 years, he's sent many notes to Wichita police and the local media. And once, even reported one of his own murders to 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will find a homicide at 843 South Pershing.
MATTINGLY (on camera): Experts following the case agree the killer's greatest talent may be deception. His actions do not fit into any one particular profile. And his communications contain such a wide array of possible clues that no clear picture of him emerges.
(voice-over) The last known murder was in 1986. A 28-year-old mother named Vicki 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 letterers sent to "The Wichita Eagle" by the BTK Killer.
MATTINGLY: 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.
(on camera) How unusual is this for a serial killer to give back mementos that he's taken?
ROBERT BEATTIE, ATTORNEY: I have never heard of that happening before at all.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Wichita attorney Robert Beattie has written a soon to be published book on BTK and is among those believing the killer has reemerged with a purpose.
(on camera) Is it possible he's winding down, maybe coming to some sort of conclusion?
BEATTIE: He may be winding down to a conclusion or climax or he may be teasing us. When we're all expecting something, he'll just disappear like Jack the Ripper.
MATTINGLY: Do you think he'll kill again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I -- you cannot rule that out. I personally don't think he will. And the reason is, you know, he's still has these memories. I think he's guilt ridden down now, and I think he will -- that the final hurrah that he refers to is the idea that he will come forward.
KOPPEL: BTK, bind them, torture them and kill them. That was the nickname that the killer wanted police and the media to use, had actually put that in one of his first communications to police and to the media when he said, basically, this is his modus operandi.
We do know, Mike Brooks, that the man who was picked up -- we still don't know his identity. We know that Wichita police are saying that they've got BTK. But we do know that he lived on the same street as one of his victims.
BROOKS: That's -- that's...
KOPPEL: That just gives me chills...
BROOKS: It does.
KOPPEL: ... to think about it.
BROOKS: It really does. And we look at the family, you know. We see the family in the courtroom. They -- there are cameras panning around. Look at the family. Very, very emotional time for them.
When the chief said, BTK is arrested, you know, you can see the tears on the family. That's a lot of closure for them. But it's still not over yet.
And it's still not over for law enforcement. This case is still going to be ongoing. They still have got a lot of gaps to fill in. A lot of the pieces of this puzzle that they are going to have to -- have to fill in to make this whole complete picture.
It's -- we don't know if he's given a statement to law enforcement, admitting to all of these -- all of these crimes. We don't know that yet. You know, it's kind of building to a crescendo here at the news conference.
BROOKS: And we're hearing now when we last cut back there was a lieutenant who's been this charge of this investigation over the years. And but...
KOPPEL: You know, what I'm -- just kind of thinking about the fact that if, in fact -- and we know that the person of interest who was picked up by police yesterday, who has now been labeled by police, by the district attorney, as the man they believe is responsible for all of these murders, that he lived the same street as one of his victims for the last number of years and they never knew it. How could he blend in that well? BROOKS: Well, he said, you know, in all of his communications, he told exactly who he was. But how -- they don't have any firm evidence.
It's really -- it just shocks me that he would be living there but again, a serial killer, that's part of the game. That could be part of the serial killer's game. You take evidence from the scene. You take some little pieces from the victims.
You know, and then they said there's DNA. Where did this DNA come from? We just saw David's piece, and I was looking at that. And whenever -- having been a former investigator myself, OK, did that -- did the BTK Killer, did lick that stamp? Did he lick those envelopes?
KOPPEL: His thumbprints, perhaps...
KOPPEL: ... being on the license that we know that he sent from the person that he claimed he killed in 1986 that the police hadn't linked to him.
BROOKS: Exactly. Well, you can get DNA off of the glue from the stamps, if they weren't the self-adhering kind of stamps. You can get it if he licked the envelope. You can get DNA off of that.
Was there other DNA that he left at the scene? Was there any skin flakes that he left at the scene? How well did the crime scene, the forensic investigators do their job back a number of years ago to make sure they had the evidence to go with this case and to have a strong case against the person they have in custody?
KOPPEL: Obviously, this press conference going on now for just about an hour. As a former law enforcement official, I mean, this is clearly a moment of tremendous joy and relief, not just for the family members that you said, but for the men and women who put in, as we heard the police chief say, thousands of hours, trying to find this guy.
BROOKS: Absolutely. When he made that announcement, I got emotional myself, because, having been involved in cases, when you come to an end of a case and you can finally say, yes, we've locked him up, that is just an unbelievable feeling. And it's emotional for the cops there, for the investigators. You know, the FBI, Wichita police, Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, the Park City Police Department, the forensics lab. Everybody working together as a team, this task force that had been in place.
KOPPEL: And this is the community. They live there.
KOPPEL: They're a part of the story as much as they're not living in Washington, D.C., flying in for assignments.
BROOKS: Exactly. They eat -- they've been eating this case, breathing this case, living this case for years. And, they have been going -- I can guarantee you, they have been going nonstop since the BTK Killer reemerged last March, nonstop.
They have been going nonstop, bring out the case jackets, go through every little piece again. Talk to the investigators who were working it back in the '70s. Talk to them. See exactly what they've done. Try to cross all the "T's," dot all the "I's." Look for any gaps that may have been -- may have been left in the old cases. Go through it again, and it's just painstaking work. But it looks like it paid off.
KOPPEL: Did it sound to you, just hearing the various officials there speaking, the district attorney and the various police officials that the break in the case, obviously, came when he reemerged and they got some of that evidence.
KOPPEL: But was it the 1986 case? Did it sound like that to you?
BROOKS: It did. When he -- they said, you know, that he came out and he said -- the BTK Killer said, "Yes, I was responsible for the 1986 case." Gave them something to work on. Go back to the most recent case. Go back to the freshest case. Even though it was 25 years old, it's still the freshest case they had. Go back to that. Take a look at the forensics.
And then you look at -- you look for commonalities, commonalities within the cases. The method that the people were strangled. The method that they were stabbed. Was the same weapon used? All these kinds of things, because serial killers tend to use the same methodology. They tend -- we're going to go back to the press conference.
DETECTIVE KEN LANDWEHR: He's being held at this time in an undisclosed location. We will be approaching the district attorney's office next week in reference to charges to see if charges will be filed against this individual.
I thank you very much for your support. And I'll turn it back over to Chief Williams.
WILLIAMS: Thank you, sir.
We're now going to open it up for questions from the media. This is the first time since we initiated this investigation that we will now allow the media to ask myself, Lieutenant Landwehr, questions that you may have. From the media. Any questions that you may have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say what...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the break in the case? How did you break the case? What was the thing that broke the case? WILLIAMS: We're not at this time at liberty to give this information because the investigation is ongoing. So at this time, we cannot give that information.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chief, what's the time when (UNINTELLIGIBLE) detective (UNINTELLIGIBLE) located (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
WILLIAMS: Again, we're not going to discuss the particulars of the investigation. It will all come out during the judicial system, so at this time we're not going to respond to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about the two other homicides (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
WILLIAMS: Sheriff Steed, could you join us up here, please? There's a question on -- there's a question on the two homicides that you alluded to, sir.
GARY STEED, SEDGWICK COUNTY SHERIFF: Could you repeat the question, please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do believe you said he was responsible for two other homicides. Could you tell us who and why?
STEED: The death of Marine Hedge, which occurred in, I believe, April of 1985, and the death of Delores Davis, that I was -- believe was in January of 1991.
We'll take information from this investigation, information developed by the task force, and put that information together to file. And along with the Wichita Police Department, present that information to District Attorney Nola Foulston to obtain homicide charges there, there as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get that information from the suspect or (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
STEED: All of this information is being developed along with the task force and the investigators involved in this investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
LANDWEHR: The investigation is continuing. At this time we're going forward with 10 charges at this time. We won't comment on any additional charges that might be filed later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, what was your reaction and what was the suspect's reaction?
WILLIAMS: I wasn't there. So I can't answer that.
LANDWEHR: The suspect was arrested without incident. There was -- I can't comment any further on that part of the investigation, but he was arrested without incident in Park City.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Detective Landwehr, without being specific...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... gathering. Did you do DNA gathering. Was that a key to match to the suspect? And also, how are you so sure you have your guy?
LANDWEHR: We cannot discuss specifics of the investigation. We have, as I said, arrested an individual and we will present that case to the district attorney.
QUESTION: Can you tell us, you have been talking throughout these briefings that this individual will be interesting to talk with and this is the most challenging case you have worked on. Can you, at least tell -- tell us whether you've got the chance -- you had the chance to have that conversation?
LANDWEHR: I can't comment on any interview of any suspect if it did happen.
QUESTION: Can you describe his demeanor, at all? And is he talking?
LANDWEHR: I cannot comment on specifics of the investigation. There is no booking photo available at this time, but there will be shortly before the end of the day.
QUESTION: Can you describe (UNINTELLIGIBLE) aware of who he was.
LANDWEHR: His family knew who he is, yes, but I'm not going to...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, Larry. I'm sorry, Larry. That was uncalled for. You have been a great defender of us. I appreciate it. Thank you.
QUESTION: Prosecute his family members involved in the investigation in any way in turning him in? Did they play any kind of role in his capture?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, I cannot contact -- comment on any specifics of the investigation. I'm sorry (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I forgot.
QUESTION: Describe the -- maybe more details about the arrest itself, and how it went down and what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A car stop was made on east (UNINTELLIGIBLE) road, and the, as I say, Mr. Rader was taken into custody by members of the task force and transported to an undisclosed location. There was no incident, and that's all I can comment right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot comment on specifics of the investigation. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can not comment on specifics of the investigation.
QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) begun to re-communicate with you that he would never have been found? And that this may be an indication that he almost wanted to be caught?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't want to speculate on anybody's mindset.
QUESTION: Was he trying to get away at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he was pulled over in a routine car stop and was arrested.
QUESTION: What can you say about his background, maybe, his previous work history or anything that he's done in the past?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't comment on specifics of the investigation.
QUESTION: At what point (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to, of course, where we will have you more information?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The point will be, we will present the case to the district attorney, early next week, and then it will be...
KOPPEL: I'm Andrea Koppel at CNN Center in Atlanta, we've been listening to a press conference on and off now for the last hour. Wichita police, Wichita authorities, the district attorney's office announcing that they have arrested the man they believe is the BTK killer. His name is Dennis Rader, 59-year-old, who is believed to have lived on the street of one of his victims, responsible for, and he is the suspect in the case who has been taken into arrest -- taken into custody, believed responsible for at least eight murders beginning in 1974. An immensely important day for the people of Kansas. We're going to have lots more for you coming up at 2:00. But right now, we want to take you to a brand new show called the TURNAROUND with Ali Velshi.
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