Wednesday, October 1, 2008

BTK - and The Redemption Of Charlie Otero # 2

“ I hated God for allowing this happen to my family,” says Charlie, a former altar boy.” I lost my religion the minute I saw my mother lying there.”
THE OTERO KILLINGS baffled the Wichita authorities, but Charlie suspected that his father’s military career had included clandestine work, and he seized on the nation the the murders were related to Joshep’s double life. Joseph, a Puerto Rican immigrant to New York City like his wife, had joined the US Air Force in 1952 and wore the uniform for more than 2 decades. The family moved from posting in England, Where Charlie was born, to Camden, New Jersey, and then their expanding brood in tow, to Panama for 7 years. There, at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, Joseph taught military personnel from all over Latin American to repair Phantom fighter jets and C-130 cargo planes. Charlie says his father often disappeared for weeks at a time, flying on missions that he refused to discuss.

In Wichita, where Joseph retired and took a job at an airfield maintaining private planes, Charlie recalled troubling omens. One day, his father sent him to make sure that a phone company truck was parked outside when a repairman stopped by unannounced. Another time, Joshep shooed Charlie from a room to make a telephone call. Listening through the door, the boy heard him mention work for the Air Force Office of special investigations, the service’s counterintelligence agency. Soon after that, Joseph’s car was mysteriously run off the road. Returning from the hospital with two broken rips, he offered Charlie his signet ring. “If anything happens to me,” he said, ”I want you to leae this.”
“ I told him,’You’ll probably outlive me,old man.’” Charlie recalls. “Keep it.”

Days later, Joseph, his wife, and their two youngest children were dead.
CHARLIE AND HIS SURVIVING siblings were sent to live in Albuquerque, New Maxico, where on of their father’s Air Force buddies had offered to raise them alongside his own six kids. But before long, Charlie withdrew from his siblings and new family. He began to obsess about his theory that his loved one had been murdered by a team of assassins on the wrong side of his father;s intelligence work – and that the killers would return to finish the job.

“ I always thought that someone was coming to get me,” he says.
Back in Wichita, investigators probes several conspiracy scenarios. “ We tried to follow up on leads in the direction of Joseph’s military work,” says Gary Caldwell, one of the first detective on the case. “ We even sent a couple of invistigators to Panama.” They came up dry.

Fearing for his and his sublings’ lives, Charlie kept people at bay, neglected his school work, and spent most of his time racing motorcycles. After graduating from high school, he managed to get into the University of New Mexico, but the crime-scene flashbacks and nightmares made it hard to concentrate on his studies.

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