Sheriff finds name of missing girl,16, who vanished in 1976 hidden in BTK serial killer's cryptic crossword

15 May 2024, 21:32

A sheriff in Oklahoma believes he has broken a cryptic code hidden in a crossword, linking a death from almost 50 years ago to the infamous BTK serial killer.
A sheriff in Oklahoma believes he has broken a cryptic code hidden in a crossword, linking a death from almost 50 years ago to the infamous BTK serial killer. Picture: Alamy / Orange County Sheriff's Office

By Danielle De Wolfe

A sheriff in Oklahoma believes he has broken a cryptic code hidden in a crossword, linking a death from almost 50 years ago to the infamous BTK serial killer.

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The crossword was sent by convicted murderer Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK serial killer, to a local newspaper decades previously.

Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden launched a task force last year looking into cold cases and their possible connection to the BTK,.

Mr Virden now believes the crossword was sent by Rader - and could be evidence of his involvement in the killing of Cynthia Dawn Kinney in 1976.

Rader, who gave himself the moniker BTK, standing for ‘bind, torture, kill’, was convicted for the murders of 10 people but investigators feared the number was greater than this.

Orange County Sheriff's Department released the crossword images as part of the investigation into the cold case
Orange County Sheriff's Department released the crossword images as part of the investigation into the cold case. Picture: Orange County Sheriff's Department

The Sheriff’s task force has also found BTK to be the prime suspect in the killing of Shawna Beth Garber, whose remains were discovered in 1990 in Missouri.

BTK was renowned for taunting the police and media with cryptic letters and cyphers during the period his murders took place from 1974 to 1991.

But it wasn’t until 2005 that he was arrested after he reappeared with another series of letters and cyphers.

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Rader is also believed to be the prime suspect in the murder of Garber, whose remains were found in 1990.

Rader has always denied the killings, although he did reportedly admit that he "enjoyed" his interrogation over Garber's disappearance.

Rader is also believed to be the prime suspect in the murder of Garber, whose remains were found in 1990.
Rader is also believed to be the prime suspect in the murder of Garber, whose remains were found in 1990. Picture: Orange County Sheriff's Department

In one of the communications that led to his arrest, Rader mailed a crossword puzzle that spelled out the names of his 10 known victims, which Virden now believes could contain Kinney’s name.

He said: “It’s more than just a simple crossword-type puzzle, it’s more in-depth.”

It follows never-before-seen drawings released by the Sherrif's department last year which give a snapshot into the mind of BTK.

The images show an unidentified women tied up in barns.

Virden said this week that the evidence could also indicate that the murderer was active in Osage at the time of Kinney's murder.

He added that investigators "found carvings marking in barns, things we believe are 100% proof he has operated within our area."