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Law

BTK puzzle may reveal identity, tactics


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A puzzle reveals possible clues to the infamous BTK killings.

BTK suspect Dennis Rader appears in court via video.

There were two sides to Dennis Rader -- two very different sides.
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BTK puzzle (pdf)
• Gallery: Serial killers
• Gallery: BTK victims
• Details of investigation emerge
• Timeline: BTK killings and probe
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WICHITA, Kansas (CNN) -- A chart showing columns of 323 letters and 14 numbers that was sent almost a year ago to a Wichita television station, apparently from the BTK killer, appears to hold clues to his identity and tactics.

"Basically, everyone in the newsroom started looking at it as a puzzle ... and you know it's like a crossword or like one of the word games, and you just started looking for words," Glen Horn, news director of KAKE-TV, told CNN's David Mattingly.

But he said people in the newsroom were stunned after they began identifying words after Friday's arrest of 59-year-old Dennis Rader, who is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.

The signature of the self-named BTK killer was a preference to bind, torture and kill his victims in a string of murders that spanned three decades. The earliest was in 1974; the last linked to BTK was in 1991.

KAKE, which received several communications from the BTK killer over the years, withheld the three-part word puzzle from the public until after Rader's arrest Friday.

The first section seems to describe how the killer stalks a victim, showing words such as prowl, spot victim, follow, fantasies, steam builds and go for it.

Another section suggests possible disguises: realtor, insurance, serviceman, fake ID and handyman.

"Probably what he pretended to be, to perhaps gain entry into some of these homes, insurance salesman, realtor, maybe a handyman," said KAKE anchor Jeff Herndon.

Until his arrest, Rader worked as a compliance supervisor for Park City, north of Wichita, in charge of animal control, nuisances, inoperable vehicles and general code compliance. He worked for a home security company from the mid 1970s to the late 1980s -- a job that involved going into people's homes. He is married with two grown children.

The most surprising finding in the charts may be the numbers 6, 2, 2 and 0 -- the same as Rader's address in Park City.

The Wichita Eagle, which also has received numerous communications from BTK, reported finding 130 words, numbers and phrases.

Timothy Rogers, assistant managing editor, said of the findings: "Would you have seen it before Rader was arrested? Probably not."

"It could be the killer's way of saying, 'Hey, it was all there in front of your face. You just didn't see it'."

Correspondent David Mattingly contributed to this report.


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