My Boss was the BTK Killer... I was the Next Victim

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9780943247090: My Boss was the BTK Killer... I was the Next Victim
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Mary Capps worked 6-1/2 years under the supervision of Dennis Rader in the Compliance Department for the City of Park City, Kansas. Rader was her boss until his arrest in February 2005 as the BTK (Bind Torture Kill) serial killer, confessing ten brutal murders, over 17 years, 1974 to 1991. The realization that he had targeted her as his eleventh murder victim sent her into Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. She reveals things about Dennis Rader not previously made public, including the time her aunt and another Park City employee saved his life; how he terrorized her on the job; how he might have been poisoning her; and documents why she believes she was Project Broadwater -- Dennis Rader's intended eleventh murder victim. Capps reveals why Park City Management unfailingly sided with her serial killer supervisor instead of her when she filed grievances about her boss' erratic, intimidating behavior towards her. She interweaves the despicable acts of BTK with events happening simultaneously in her life; from little girl daydreams to tormenting nightmares. Capps gives a unique insight into the man and monster before his exposure as BTK. Mary Capps began having horrible nightmares and premonitions of impending danger during the final months she worked under Rader's supervision. Those nightmares intensified when she realized he had been planning to murder her. It was her own Nightmare on Elm Street -- she desperately needed to sleep but was afraid to sleep because she knew what awaited her. And what about the physical symptoms she experienced many times djuring the afternoons -- after feeling fine when she went to work? The leg cramps. The sudden trouble breathing. The unexpected loss of memory -- all symptoms like those caused by a certain illegal date rape drug. Was her boss poisoning her? Mary gives two plausible ways he could have done so. Was it a miracle when all of the symptoms cleared up immediately after her last day of working with him? Mary does not think so.

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From the Publisher:

Sometimes evil is so out in the open that it goes unnoticed. Thirty-one years had elapsed from the time Dennis Rader bound, tortured and killed four members of the Otero family on January 15, 1974 until his arrest February 25, 2005. He confessed to ten murders committed over 17 years.

When I asked former Park City policeman Dan Lickey how Rader was able to pull this off, he shook his head. "Plain dumb luck."

Probably no man was hated more by Rader than Lickey, who along with others at City Hall had dismissed Rader as being a weirdo who was not good at socializing with people. Looking back, Lickey's biggest regret is that on one particular occasion he did not recognize Rader's actions for what they really were--the demeanor of a man who was hiding something. This occasion will be revealed later in this book.

I interviewed Lickey and others during a one-week visit to Kansas in November 2006 in which I finally got to meet Mary Capps in person. Her zest for life and the twinkle in her eyes gave no hint of her months-long bout with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which she'd been diagnosed as having in the wake of her boss' arrest as the BTK serial killer. She appeared as fully recovered as is possible. Mary's dad, George, former Police Chief of Park City, called Rader a "strange ranger...a lazy ass...a coward." George Capps said his biggest regret was "not doing more to get City Hall to take action with regard to Mary's complaints about Dennis. I did not want people to think I was favoring Mary because she was my daughter." His face reddened and his neck veins strained moments after beginning to discuss City Hall's refusal to erase Mary's negative job reviews posted by Rader. "How would you feel if a serial killer gave you a bad job review...and his supervisor would not even consider expunging it from your employment records AFTER the guy was arrested as a serial killer? It's just not right. She will be a victim of Dennis Rader as long as those job performance reviews remain on file for any prospective employer to check out." While I was in Park City and vicinity, Mary gave me a tour of Dennis' neighborhood. A lasting impression I have is of facing five particular houses. Picture this in your mind--the house to the far right is the house where Rader lived with his wife Paula and their children. Four houses to the far left on the corner is the house, 6254 Independence, in which Rader murdered Marine Hedge in 1985--and in the house right in the middle is where Paula lived with her mother. "My God," I thought. "How could any woman live two doors down from the house she'd lived in so many years in the presence of the BTK killer and two doors from the house in which he committed one of the murders? In my mind this did not, and still does not compute. (The house Dennis Rader lived in was demolished on March 7, 2007 as the first step by Park City to create a new entryway to Jardine Memorial Park.)

One question I asked of nearly everyone I talked to in Park City and neighboring communities was, "Do you think Paula knew or suspected her husband was the BTK killer?" The response I most often got was, "I don't see how she could not have suspected him, especially with all those things he kept in their bedroom closet." Violet Capps, Mary's mother, had a more direct assessment. "She's either on the moon or in denial about her husband. How could she not know? She had to be curious about what was in that closet." I asked her, "What would you do if you found out your husband was a serial killer?" "I'd turn him in in a heartbeat." George said, "We shouldn't jump to conclusions about Paula. We have no way of knowing what she knew or was thinking." Violet got up from a chair at the dinette table and walked the several feet onto the back patio of their home to puff a cigarette. That was when George's neck veins began to strain. I said, "I don`t want you to have a heart attack." Violet heard my comment through the open arcadia door, and laughed. "He always does that when he gets worked up about something." Mary's parents wear well their many years of marriage. He's inches over 6-feet tall and in good physical shape; she's a short wisp of a woman. Kind of a Mutt and Jeff duo. Good people. This book, although it does intertwine the evil deeds of Dennis Rader with various time periods of Mary's life, it is not so much about the BTK killer as it is about a woman whose innocent childhood hopes and dreams morphed into terrible nightmares under his work supervision. The nightmares didn't stop with Rader's arrest on February 25, 2005. They intensified. Literally crippled by stress and fear, months of psychological counseling enabled her to start reclaiming her life, and a gradual return toward being the person she was before her hire to work for Rader. Having heard her story, I concur that she indeed was the next victim. Being supervisor in the two-person Compliance Dept for the City of Park City was the perfect cover. It afforded the opportunity for Rader to keep his nastiness against Mary secretive and tormenting. There is strong reason to believe that Rader was gradually poisoning her to affect her enough physically and mentally that she would quit her job. And then he would kill her, as he suspected she was getting too close to figuring out that he was the BTK killer.

Jim Dobkins May 18, 2007

From the Author:

I have played "What if....?" a lot since finding out that my boss planned to murder me. What if Aunt Ruth had never helped save Dennis Lynn Rader's Life? Here's how it happened. The construction crew was nearing completion of the new addition at the back of City Hall. One night they left a propane heater running inside the unfinished area. I think they did this to keep the mudding on the sheet rock from getting too cold. As usual, Dennis showed up to work way before anyone else, probably about 7:30, a half-hour early. So, he caught the full brunt of the carbon monoxide. He was slumped over his desk when Aunt Ruth, Deputy City Clerk for Water Service, and Sylvia, who also worked there, walked past the open door to our little office. One of them asked, "Dennis ...Dennis...are you all right?" He raised himself a bit and mumbled, "I need to sit for a while..." Then he slumped again and closed his eyes. Aunt Ruth and Sylvia grabbed him and dragged him out of the building. A little longer and he probably would have died. Some time after Dennis was arrested I asked her, "How do you and Sylvia feel about helping the BTK killer out of his office and saving his life?" "Oh my gosh, I forgot all about that," my aunt replied, her face flushing red. Although I didn't voice it, I wondered if I should grab her and shake her every now and then just to remind her of what she'd done.

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