Did the police use ads to talk to BTK?

A possible BTK communication sent to KAKE, Channel 10, last month suggests that the killer received at least one communication from Wichita police through The Wichita Eagle's classified ads.

The postcard, postmarked Feb. 2, was sent just days after a woman placed a strange classified ad in The Wichita Eagle.

The ad, which ran Jan. 28 through Feb. 3., read:

"Rex, it will be ok, Contact me PO Box 1st four ref. numbers at 67202."

On Feb. 3, KAKE received the postcard — believed to be from BTK - that made mention to a "newspaper tip."

The postcard said, "Business Issues: Tell WPD that I receive the Newspaper Tip for a go. Test run soon. Thanks."

Besides police, only KAKE knew about this line on the postcard. At the request of police, the station did not reveal that part of the card until last night's newscast.

The Eagle was not contacted by police about publishing the ads to cooperate with them in the investigation.

It wouldn't be the first time police communicated with BTK through the newspaper's classified ads.

Police ran an ad to BTK in The Eagle in 1974.

The woman who placed the classified ad this January returned to The Eagle in mid-February to place another ad.

The woman, who was clean-cut and well-dressed, identified herself as Cyndi Johnson, but would not leave a contact number or address for the classified staff, said sales center manager Jim Black. She paid for the ad in cash.

Johnson told The Eagle that she wanted to run an ad that published an "adult talk" Web site.

Part of the ad read: "Only read message about card PO is your first four ref. numbers 67202"

The ad only ran once, on Feb. 18. Black said the staff pulled it after checking the Web address, which didn't seem to work.

"It just started looking a little fishy to me," he said.

Johnson called Black's work number and left messages asking why The Eagle stopped running the ad. She never left a call-back number.

Last Thursday, Black said, a man came to The Eagle and asked to run a similar ad, listing the same Web site.

The man, who said he was from REX Productions, said that he had fired the woman who was placing the original ads. Now he wanted the Web site ad to run.

Black's staff re-checked the site, and it worked. There were a few boxes alluding to sexual content that didn't link to anything, and a short text message reading: "Message for locals contact PO Box 3216-67202."

The site is odd, Black said.

"There is no activity on it at all, kind of like it's hanging out there doing nothing."

On Tuesday, an Eagle reporter called the cell phone number left by the man who took out the ad. He had left only a partial name with The Eagle.

The man told the reporter that REX Productions, the business listed in the classified ad, wasn't working out.

"We're about to shut that down," he said. "It was too much of a hassle, and the lady I hired didn't do very well at working with it."

When asked what the business was about, the man said: "I was trying to get into the advertising business and make some extra cash. But it was not working out."

The ad is set to run through Thursday. Because it does lead to a Web site and does not contain false advertising, The Eagle will run it unless there are complaints, Black said.

But it's still weird, he said.

"It was just all so bizarre, the way the whole thing played out, Black said. "It just keeps getting stranger and stranger."