The place was Wichita, Kansas during the early days of 1974; it was a large conservative community where the BTK murders would take place. It was January 15, 1974 when Joseph Otero, 38, and his wife, Julie, 34, where strangled in their home along with two of their children, Josephine, 11, and Joseph II, 9. The day had begun as a chilly winter day; when 15-year-old Charlie Oterobegan his afternoon walk home from school. Charlie, his parents, and four siblings had recently moved into a quiet peaceful suburban neighborhood in a small frame house located at 803 North Edgemoor Street. Charlie walked gingerly up the side walk towards his home. At the unusual quite he walked toward his parents' bedroom.
Charlie's father, Joseph, 38, was lying face down on the floor at thefoot of his bed; his wrists and ankles had been bound. His mother, Julie, 34, lay on the bed bound in similar fashion, only she had been gagged. Charlie rushed out to get help for his parents. A neighbor who came over to the house to help realized that when he tried to call the police, the phone lines had been severed.
As the police searched the house, they were shocked to find nine-year-oldJoseph II in his bedroom face down on the floor at the foot of his bed. His wrists and ankles were also bound; the only difference being that over his head was a hood. Downstairs in the basement, Charlie's eleven-year-old sister, Josephine, was discovered hanging by her neck from a pipe; she was partially nude, dressed only in a sweatshirt and socks, and she had been gagged.
The killer hungaround for about an hour and a half, then took the Otero family car and left it parked near Dillons grocery not far away. The position of the seat showed that the driver might be short. Otero's neighbors noticed a man, possibly with a dark complexion, leaving Otero's home in their car.
None of the victims had been sexually assaulted, though police found semen at the crime scene. Aside from thekiller’s ritualistic MODUS OPERANDI, police knew the crime had been planned in advance.
The detectives noticed that whoever had done the crimes had used a variety of knots to tie wrists, ankles, and throats. They suspected the killer had run out of cord: some of the victims’ wrists had been taped.
In the boy’s room there were chair imprints on the carpet. They looked fresh. The cops suspected thatthe killer after tying the boy’s wrists, pulled two T-shirts and a plastic bag over the boy’s head. After that he pulled the clothesline tight around the boy’s neck and placed a chair beside the child so he could watch him suffocate.
There were so many ligature marks on the throats of the other Oteros it looked as though the killer had strangled them more than once, letting them have some air,then finishing them. The detectives also found dried fluid on the girl’s naked thigh, and spots of the same stuff on the floor. It looked like the killer had masturbated on her.
The coroner determined that all four murders occurred well before noon and very likely around 8 or nine in the morning. Police theorized that while Joseph Otero was driving the older three children to school that themurderer gained entry into the house where Julie and her two younger children were by themselves. Once the killer subdued and bound the three of them, he waited for Joseph to come home to take the younger two children to school and caught him by surprise. Someone had put the Oteros' notoriously unfriendly large dog out in back of the house.
The coroner found bruising on Julie’s face; she had beenbeaten before she died. There were deep indentations around Joe’s wrists; he had fought to break his bonds. There were ligature marks and broken capillaries on Joey’s neck and face; he had died of strangulation and suffocation.
The autopsy showed that Josie had died in a hangman’s noose with her hands tied behind her back. She was bound at the ankles and knees with cord that snaked up to her...