Letter's address a vacant unit

One of the mysteries surrounding BTK's latest communication is the return address on his letter: 1684 S. Old Manor — or "Oldmanor," as he typed it.

But for the families who live at Parkwood Village apartments, which includes the vacant unit at 1684, BTK's use of that address is not only mysterious; it is frighteningly close to home.

"I'm just dumbfounded on why he used that address. It's got everybody around her shooken up," said Abby Tietsort, an apartment manager.

The neighborhood is one of two that have become the focus of recent developments in the BTK case.

Those developments also have drawn attention to the 2400 block of West 13th Street, where Vicki Wegerle was found strangled in her home on Sept. 16, 1986. Her killing had been unsolved.

Police said they think a letter sent to The Wichita Eagle bearing pictures of Wegerle is from the BTK killer and that he is in Wichita.

Police told The Eagle on Wednesday that they think BTK killed Wegerle.

At Parkwood Village, residents can only wonder: Did the serial killer randomly pick the address? Did he once live there or know someone who lived there? Did something symbolic happen there?

And perhaps the most disturbing question: Does he now live near the unit?

A woman had lived in the apartment for some time before it became vacant, Tietsort said. Police searched the unit and storage areas around it, she said.

In light of the news about BTK and the address, she sent a letter to residents Thursday telling them the unit is vacant and urging them to be alert and to contact police immediately if they see anything suspicious. For the past year, the management has used off-duty police officers to patrol on foot.

The small unit at 1684 S. Old Manor sits in a yellow-brick fourplex built years ago. Markings in nearby sidewalks indicate the walkways were built in 1950. One resident thought at least some of the units date to World War II.

The unit sits back from Old Manor, behind a large grassy area. A mailbox at the unit sits askew, hanging partly by gray duct tape. Someone has carefully wrapped and hung twisted pieces of wire from a porch railing.

Across the city, residents of the quiet Indian Hills neighborhood where Wegerle lived were intrigued by the new twist in the case but seemed not to be worried.

"This neighborhood is calm and quiet," said Consuelo Trevino, who lives a few doors away from the home where Wegerle was killed. "There's nothing going on."

Trevino said she moved into her home in 1987, the year after Wegerle's death, and recalled that the murder was still "the talk of the neighborhood" even then. She remembered that neighbors found it odd that nothing had happened to Wegerle's 2-year-old child, who was home at the time of the killing.

After so many years, however, the news that the murder was the work of a serial killer had little effect.

"I don't worry about it, myself," Trevino said. "It's no big deal. I'm not afraid."

Other Indian Hills residents said they had moved to the neighborhood after the Wegerle murder, and in most cases were unaware that a killing had ever happened in the area. None said they had discussed the case with their neighbors, and none expressed personal concerns about the case.

At the apartments near Old Manor on Thursday, most of the neighbors contacted did not want to give their names — largely because they don't want the killer to know them.

One young man motioned to his teenage sister, who sat reading articles about the killer resurfacing.

The man said the development — and especially the return address on the BTK letter — has prompted his family to be extra careful. The family has decided that male relatives will never leave any of the women alone.

One resident, 18-year-old Christy Fisher, when informed of the return address, seemed stunned by the news. "He could have actually been there," she said, motioning toward the unit.

"It just gives me a head rush.

"Hopefully somebody finds him."