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BTK: What you didn't know

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, June 2, 2007, at 9:59 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, at 1:04 p.m.

The Eagle's new book on the BTK investigation takes readers inside a case that terrorized Wichita and captivated a nation.

The reporters who authored "Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door" (HC, an imprint of HarperCollins) knew going into the project that some might think there'd be little new to say -- especially considering The Eagle's extensive coverage and the 24/7 attention BTK got from cable news shows.

But when BTK -- family man, church president and killer of 10 Dennis Rader -- was finally in his prison cell, Wichita police Lt. Ken Landwehr and key members of his task force told their side of the story in intimate detail, revealing comprehensive new details and twists in the 31-year case.

The people who stopped BTK are real cops -- and real characters. Investigators like Detectives Dana Gouge, Kelly Otis, Tim Relph and Clint Snyder lowered their shields to let us take readers along on stakeouts and shoot-outs and into their homes and hearts. In the past, talking to us for newspaper stories, they've been guarded.

Landwehr -- the head of Wichita's homicide section who hunted BTK for 20 years -- has always been stoic in public. He has never sought publicity, never played games, never answered questions about himself. He is witty in person but not easy to know.

Opening up took daring, but they -- and dozens of others interviewed for the book -- wanted to help ensure that it was the most accurate account of the investigation and how this case affected the people involved.

Today The Eagle offers the first of four excerpts from "Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door" by Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, L. Kelly and Hurst Laviana. Additional excerpts will be published every Sunday in June.

The scene opens on March 22, 2004, in Wichita's former Riverside Hospital, where Lt. Ken Landwehr's wife, Cindy, is being prepped for gall bladder surgery.

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