Thursday, October 2, 2008

BTK - and The Redemption Of Charlie Otero # 3

Charlie switched to a vocational institute, the drifted to Las Cruces, where a Honda dealership hired him as a mechanic. After he was injured in a traffic accident, he wound up in a dispute with the hospital over his unpaid bills. When the judge ruled against him, Charlie says, “ I went outlaw.”

He quit his job and got by on freelance work – rebuilding Harleys, selling handguns, and breeding pit bulls and dorbermans – for clients who didn’t need to see his ID. He figured that without a paper trial, a hit squad would have a harder time finding him. He began drinking heavily and using drugs, becoming lost among his increasingly embatled thoughts.

By 1987 ha was living with a girlfriend, Lynette Shafer, in a remote desert area in New Mexico. Their house was a shack made of shipping containers from a local missile range, encircled by barbed wire and guarded by attack dogs. Carved into the hillside behind it was an abandoned jail in which Billie the Kid was briefly imprisoned a hundred years earlier. Sometimes Charlie would sequester himself for days behind the lockup’s steel-plate door. “ Nobody could get to me,” he says.

When Lynette announced that she was pregnant, Charlie sent her back home to Wisconsin to have the baby, whom she named Joseph, afetr Charlie’s father abd brother. Just weeks later, the couple cut off all communication with each other. Both believed that Charlie would-be assasins might harm the child as well – and that letters or phone calls might be intercepted by the killers.

In times, Charlie found a new girlfreind and became a father for 2 daughthers. “ I loved those girls, ” he says. “ We’s do to the park with the dogs. I’d take them motocycle riding. But neither Charlie, then in his mid-30s, nor the childrem’s mother, not yet 20, was able to fully care for them. When the girls were four and five, the couple separated. Charlie tried to stay in touch, but that grew difficult after he married a woman with bipolar disorder and a taste for methamphetiamine.

Then came an event that would sgain change Charlie’s life. He became a plaintiff’s witness in a civil lawsuit his wife had filed. While doing a routine background check on Charlie, the attorney received case file on the Otelo family murders. That day, while the two were having lunch at the Mexican restaurant, he asked Charlie, “ Have you ever heard of the the BTK killer? No, ” Charlie said.
The layer told him that a serial killer who went by the intitials BTK for what he did with his victims – bind, torture, and kill – had long ago contacted a Wichita newspaper claiming responsibility for the Otero murders and vowing to strike again. And he did: Over the next 12 years, he committed at least four more murders in the Wichita area. The victims, each a woman, were trussed up with elabortae knots and strangled slowly.

BTK’s subsequent messages for investigators took the form of macabre poetry, puzzles, anf gruesome works of art. He knew details of the murders that the police had not made public. He wrote that he had a “ monster ” inside him. He sent half dozen notes In all, then. In 1988, stopped all corrspondence. The trail went cold.

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