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Thursday, December 2, 2004

Person of Interest Held in Wichita BTK Strangler Case

Wichita BTK Strangler
News services are reporting this morning that Wichita Police are holding "a person of interest" in the Wichita BTK (Bind-Torture-Kill) Strangler case. Some initial reports say the man was born in November 1940 and some say he was born in 1939. So he is 64-65 years old. The arrest was made last night at 7:30 pm at the man's house in south Wichita, which is some 40 yards from some railroad tracks. This man was initially booked on trespassing charges stemming from 1995 and is being held at Sedgwick Co Jail. A second warrent charged him with several violations of city housing codes. On Tuesday Police released the following information about the serial killer:

Nov. 30, 2004
Wichita Police Dept. Statement
From Lt. Ken Landwehr

"Since last March, BTK has sent numerous communications to the media and the police. In these letters he has provided certain background information about himself which he claims is accurate. Based upon a review of that information, the following facts about BTK are being made available to the public in hopes of identifying BTK.

He claims the following:

• He was born in 1939, which would make his current age 64 or 65.
• His father died in World War II and his mother raised him.
• His mother was forced to work so his grandparents cared for him.
• His mother worked during the day near the railroad.
• He had a cousin named Susan who moved to Missouri.
• His family moved a lot, but always lived near a railroad.
• His grandfather played the fiddle and died of a lung disease.

• His mother started dating a railroad detective when BTK was around 11-years-old. This relationship would have occurred during the years of 1950 and 1955.

• In the early 1950's he built and operated a ham radio.
• He has participated in outdoor hobbies including hunting, fishing and camping.
• As a youth he attended church and Sunday school.
• He had a female hispanic acquaintance named Petra who had a younger sister named Tina.

• Around 1960 he went to tech military school.
• He then joined the military for active duty and was discharged in 1966.
• He has a basic knowledge of photography and the ability to develop and print pictures.
• In 1966 he moved back in with his mother, who had remarried and was renting out part of her house.

• His first job was an electro-mechanic, requiring some travel.
• After attending more tech school he worked repairing copiers and business equipment; this sometimes required travel and he was away from home for extended periods.

• He admits to soliciting prostitutes.
• He has had a lifetime fascination with railroads and trains.

Based upon the investigation to date, we believe that BTK:

• Frequented the WSU campus in the early 1970s
• Was acquainted with P.J. Wyatt who taught a folklore class at WSU during the 1970s.
• Has written or still writes poetry. An example of this is the Oh Anna Why Didn't You Appear poem and the Oh Death to Nancy poem that were released in earlier media advisories.
• He utilized fake identification to gain access to people's homes or to conduct surveillance.

We are again asking for help from the public. We want to talk to any citizen who currently knows or recalls anything or anyone having a similar background to the one described above.

Citizens with information who are calling locally are asked to call 383-8273. Those calling from outside the Wichita area are asked to call 1-866-SOLV-BTK, that is 1-866-765-8285.

This is a fast breaking story so some of the current best information will be found on the BTK message boards. Here are the three most active boards:

BTK Strangler Msg Board [ezboard.com of California]

BTK Strangler case [run by Kansas.com/The Wichita Eagle]

Message Board at catchBTK.com

The Wichita Police have a website with an archive of all 2004 BTK news releases:

BTK News Bulletins

Update- Additional information about the suspect:

• His name is Roger Valadez
Man in custody may be linked to BTK [msnbc]

• His home is at: 1421 East Mt. Vernon, Wichita, KS

• His older brother Raymond A. Valadez (retired Cessna machinist) died Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004. [obituary at Kansas.com]

• One neighbor told KAKE-TV that she sold the house to the man in 1976 and that he moved in with a wife and four young children, but they left soon after and he's lived by himself ever since.

• Other neighbors said the man once worked for camping equipment firm Coleman Company, where two of the BTK killer's victims also worked.

Police Test DNA of Man in BTK Killer Case [foxnews.com, Dec. 2, 2004]

• The suspect's sister has been interviewed on local TV in Wichita and she says only one of the items on the police profile match Mr. Valadez, i.e. military service. The suspect's grandparents lived in Mexico and they never saw them, while police briefing said BTK's grandparents raised him. Suspect has no cousin named Susan, while BTK had cousin Susan in Missouri. Suspect's grandfather died of leukemia, not lung disease as in BTK news briefing.

Long stakeout puts man, 65, in custody [Wichita Eagle, Dec. 2, 2004]
Victim's Son: Dad Knew Killer [foxnews.com, Dec. 2, 2004]
BTK 'clues' breed theories [Wichita Eagle, Dec. 2, 2004]
Mayor got first look at startling details [Wichita Eagle, Dec. 1, 2004]
BTK delivers self-portrait [Wichita Eagle, Dec. 1, 2004]
BTK's background, as he describes it [Wichita Eagle, Dec. 1, 2004]

BTK Information Summary [Johnsville News]

update: Roger Valadez is not BTK. He is very unhappy the media released his name and that the police took his DNA. Valadez brought a lawsuit against: Emmis Communications, which operates the KSN group of stations, including KSNW in Wichita and KSNT in Topeka; and Journal Communications Inc. and Journal Broadcasting Group of Kansas, which owns Wichita's KFDI 101.3-FM. In addition, the retiree's Fourth Amendment rights were violated by Wichita police's hasty actions, his lawyer says.

Valadez's lawyers: DNA swab was illegal [Wichita Eagle, Jan. 12, 2005]

A Wichita man whose arrest on minor charges last December set off speculation of a possible link to the BTK serial killer has dropped the Associated Press from a lawsuit that alleges he was defamed by coverage of his arrest.

Wichitan drops AP from BTK lawsuit [Wichita Eagle, Feb. 2, 2005]