Sheriff 'Furious' About DA's Remarks on BTK Killer, Cold Case

Sheriff, DA in dispute over his possible involvement in death of Cynthia Kinney
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 24, 2023 3:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 13, 2023 2:30 AM CDT
BTK Killer Is Prime Suspect in at Least 2 More Murders
Convicted BTK killer Dennis Rader listens during a court proceeding, Oct. 12, 2005, in El Dorado, Kansas.   (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle via AP, Pool, File)
UPDATE Sep 13, 2023 2:30 AM CDT

An Oklahoma sheriff said Dennis Rader, who dubbed himself the "BTK Killer," was a prime suspect in the disappearance of a 16-year-old cheerleader whose body was never found. But now the local district attorney is saying there's not enough evidence to label Rader a suspect in the disappearance of Cynthia Kinney, NBC News reports. The DA says speculation about Rader's possible involvement has caused Kinney's family "pain, heartache, sleepless nights and emotional distress." But the sheriff's office says the DA has not gotten all the details on the investigation and thus has "incomplete information." At a press conference Tuesday, the sheriff said he was "absolutely furious" at the DA's comments, KAKE reports. (In other recent developments, a woman featured in Rader's drawings may have been identified.)

Aug 24, 2023 3:00 AM CDT

The BTK serial killer has been named the "prime suspect" in two unsolved killings—one in Oklahoma and another in Missouri—leading authorities to dig this week near his former Kansas property in Park City, authorities announced Wednesday. Osage County, Oklahoma, Undersheriff Gary Upton told the AP that the investigation into whether Dennis Rader was responsible for additional crimes started with the re-examination last year of the 1976 disappearance of Cynthia Kinney, a 16-year-old cheerleader in Pawhuska. The case, which was investigated on and off over the years, was reopened in December.

Sheriff Eddie Virden told KAKE-TV that a bank was having new alarms installed across the street from the laundromat where Kinney was last seen. Rader was a regional installer for ADT at the time, although the sheriff wasn't able to confirm that Rader installed the systems. He also was involved in Boy Scouts in the area. Virden said he decided to investigate when he learned that Rader had included the phrase "bad laundry day" in his writings. Upton, the undersheriff, said the investigation "spiraled out from there" into other unsolved murders and missing persons cases.

story continues below

Upton said Rader is also the prime suspect in the death of 22-year-old Shawna Beth Garber, whose body was discovered in December 1990 in McDonald County, Missouri. An autopsy revealed she had been raped, strangled, and restrained with different bindings about two months before her body was found. Her remains weren't identified until 2021. Rader killed from 1974 to 1991, giving himself the nickname BTK—for "bind, torture and kill." A city code inspector in Kansas, he was arrested in February 2005—a year after resuming communications with police and the media after going silent years earlier. Upton declined to say how many other missing person and homicide cases are being re-examined, but told the AP that Rader could be a suspect in more cases. (More BTK Killer stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.