March 30, 2004

Was girl 7th victim? Police seek connection

Police said Saturday they were still trying to track down the seventh victim of the man who identified himself as the BTK Strangler in a letter.

The letter, sent to KAKE-TV and turned over to police Friday, claimed responsibility for seven Wichita murders. The letter named six victims and said of the seventh: "You guess the motive and the victim."

One of the unsolved murder cases of the past four years is that of Kathryn Bright, 20, who was stabbed to death in her home, 3217 E. 13th on April 4, 1974.

Miss Bright was stabbed three times in the abdomen. She died five hours later at Wesley Medical Center. Her brother, Kevin, 19, was shot twice in the head.

Police reports at the time of the slaying said Miss Bright and her brother had gone to her home about 1 p.m. on the day of the attack. The intruder was in the house, hiding in a back bedroom, the reports said.

According to a report given to police by Kevin Bright, the man told them he wouldn't hurt them but needed money and their car for a trip to New York. He said he was wanted by police in California.

The man forced Bright to tie his sister to a chair, then took Bright to another room, where he was tied and gagged, police said.

The man left the room and rummaged through the house for several minutes, Bright told police. The man returned to the room where Bright was tied and began strangling him with a rope. Bright told police he struggled and got his hands free. The man then shot Bright in the forehead.

The killer returned to the living room, where Miss Bright was tied, police said.

Bright told police he heard his sister say, "What have you done to my brother?"

The man returned to the room where Bright was tied, and began strangling Bright a second time. Bright said he again struggled. The man shot him again, with the second bullet hitting him in the face just above the mouth. Bright said he feigned death and remembered hearing his sister moaning from the next room.

Bright said he was able to escape through a side door and flag down a passing motorist.

Police found Miss Bright with three stab wounds in the abdomen. The killer had gone.

A description by Bright was used to produce drawings of the man, and several hundred copies of the drawing were distributed. The man was never located.

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