OSAGE COUNTY, Okla. (TCD) — A serial killer already serving 10 life sentences in prison is now the “prime suspect” in unsolved missing persons and murder cases in other states, authorities announced this week.
According to an Aug. 23 statement, the Osage County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search at Dennis Rader’s former home in Park City, Kansas, in the hopes of finding “items of evidentiary value based on specific leads that the OCSO had received.” The statement said officials were looking for evidence relating to the the 1976 disappearance of Cynthia Dawn Kinney from Pawhuska, Oklahoma.
The Osage County Sheriff’s Office said there are “potential connections to other missing persons cases and unsolved murders in the Kansas and Missouri areas” that they believe are connected to Rader.
Rader was sentenced in 2005 after pleading guilty to killing 10 people between 1974 and 1991, according to NBC News. Rader dubbed himself “BTK,” which is an acronym for bind, torture, kill.
The Osage County Sheriff’s Office said they recovered “items of interest” at the site of Rader’s former home, which will “undergo thorough examination to determine their potential relevance to the ongoing investigations.”
Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden told KSNW-TV Rader previously informed law enforcement officials he had “some trophies, souvenirs, and some victims’ driver’s licenses hidden in this location that weren’t found.”
Investigators reportedly conducted searches in two locations, and in the first spot, uncovered evidence that was buried about 14 to 16 inches underground, including an apparent time capsule. They also discovered a “pantyhose ligature that would be consistent to looking like the age and being what he was notorious for using.”
On Thursday, Aug. 24, the Osage County Sheriff’s Office shared a photo from one of Rader’s journal entries from 1976, which he titled “PJ-Bad Wash Day.” According to the Sheriff’s Office, PJ stands for “Project”.
He mentions calling a brunette “the target” and that he “would watch the nearby Laundry Mat for possible victim.”
Rader said the laundromat was a “good place to watch victims and dream.”
He references “C-9,” which the Sheriff’s Office said is linked to chapter nine of Rader’s unpublished book.
Kinney’s missing person bulletin shows she was 16 years old and last seen at a laundromat when she disappeared.
KAKE-TV reports investigators are also looking into whether Rader is linked to the 1990 strangulation death of 22-year-old Shawna Beth Garber.
Garber’s decomposing body, which had been hog-tied, was found near an abandoned farmhouse in December 1990 in rural Missouri, according to forensic genealogy company Othram Inc. An autopsy showed she had been strangled, raped, and “restrained with six different types of bindings: nylon and lead ropes, coaxial and telephone cables, paracord, and clothesline.
She is believed to have been dead for about two months prior to the discovery of her body.
The paracord was reportedly only sold to the military.
Investigators sent DNA from her remains to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), but there wasn’t a positive match in the Combined DNA Index System, also known as CODIS.
Garber was initially identified as “Grace Doe,” which occurred when one detective said it “would be only by the ‘Grace of God’ that they could find out who she was.”
In 2020, the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office contacted Othram and worked with them in the hopes of positively identifying Grace Doe or at least finding a living relative by creating a DNA profile and family tree. In January 2021, Othram identified a potential relative, who said Garber, her half-sister, was put into foster care in Kansas and then went into the state’s care. The half-sister said she had been looking for Garber for almost 30 years.
The relative submitted a DNA sample, and Othram positively identified Grace Doe as Garber in March 2021.
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