BTK

Letter's route from Eagle to police

The BTK letter that was made public Thursday by The Wichita Eagle arrived in the paper's mail room on the morning of March 19, where a clerk opened it, looked at its contents, then placed it in a plastic bin headed for the newsroom.

Glenda Elliott, who reads and routes general newsroom mail, saw the contents of the envelope and passed it on to Tim Rogers, an assistant managing editor. Rogers handed the letter to reporter Hurst Laviana and asked him to make copies of the letter and give the original to the police so they could check it out.

The Eagle receives hundreds of pieces of mail a day, and letters with bizarre contents are not uncommon.

Laviana, who was leaving for a meeting at police headquarters, photocopied the letter and the envelope, then took the letter to City Hall.

After a daily 10 a.m. police briefing, he gave the letter to police spokeswoman Janet Johnson and Capt. Darrell Haynes.

After returning to the newsroom, Laviana looked closely at the page and noticed that the driver's license belonged to Vicki Wegerle, a name he recognized as a homicide victim from the 1980s.

He also noticed that the clothing in three pictures of what appeared to be a dead woman's body was arranged in a slightly different manner in each photograph. These did not appear to be crime-scene photographs.

After Monday's police meeting, Laviana asked Haynes about the letter, and Haynes realized he had left it on his desk. Haynes carried the letter upstairs and gave it to the homicide section.

Later that morning, homicide detective Kelly Otis contacted Laviana and asked a few questions about the letter. Otis also asked if the newspaper would wait for results of the police investigation before writing a story.

After checking with their supervisors, Otis and Laviana agreed that The Eagle would wait if police would answer questions about the letter Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, Lt. Ken Landwehr, who has been investigating the BTK case for 20 years, confirmed that the letter was from BTK.

All Eagle employees who touched the letter agreed to a request from police to provide finger and palm prints. Police said they recovered at least one print from the letter that they expected to rule out as BTK's.

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