WICHITA, Kan. – As Dennis Rader (search) was formally charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder in the BTK serial killings, investigators used metal detectors to search for new evidence along roads in Rader's suburban hometown.
Sheriff Gary Steed said the Park City search was sparked by new information from the task force investigating the serial killings. He declined to elaborate.
The Wichita Eagle reported Wednesday that Wichita police did surveillance in Park City of a BTK suspect in early February, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
A Home Depot spokeswoman said one of the company's stores in Wichita was involved in the investigation, but would not elaborate.
Rader met for about 45 minutes Wedesnday morning with his pastor, Mike Clark, of Christ Lutheran Church. Clark would not say what the two talked about, and said he wasn't prepared to discuss anything related to the case until Thursday.
The district attorney's office had no additional information on whether more charges would be filed against Rader, a churchgoing family man and Cub Scout leader accused of leading a double life as the serial killer.
The BTK killer (search), whose nickname stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill," was suspected of eight deaths beginning in 1974. But authorities said they had linked two additional victims to the serial killer, who resurfaced about a year ago with letters to the media and police after 25 years of silence.
The Eagle reported that a letter it received in March 2004 contained a string of letters and numbers, apparently written with the aid of a stencil.
And KAKE-TV on Tuesday night revealed contents of packages it had seen. One package, found in a Wichita park in December, contained the driver's license of one of BTK's victims as well as a doll with a bag over its head, its hands bound by panty hose. The package was found by a man who showed the package to KAKE, which videotaped it.
KAKE also said it received a word game from BTK on May 5 and had found more than 40 words hidden in the puzzle, including a grouping of letters spelling D. Rader and 6220, the numbers of Rader's street address.
Authorities have declined to say what led them to the 59-year-old Rader, a married father of two, scout leader and active member of a Lutheran church.
There were indications a computer disk BTK sent to the television station KSAS provided a key piece of evidence.
Scott Robertson, an assignment editor for the station that produces KSAS' news broadcast, told The Associated Press a package the station received Feb. 16 contained the disk as well jewelry that may have been from one of the victims.
Clark, the pastor, said police asked him for a list of people who had access to the church computer. On Friday, he provided 10 or 15 names, including Rader's, he said.
Clark told the Eagle and The New York Times that he had shown Rader how to use the computer.
"I remember showing him how to use the computer, how to use the printer because his wasn't working at home," Clark told The Times. "What the investigators found, from what I understand, running that disk through scanning and processing, was that that disk had to have been in our computer."
Rader made his first court appearance by videoconference from his jail cell. During the brief hearing Tuesday, Rader stood behind a podium, his hands folded at times, at others leafing through a copy of the charges against him. He told the judge he is married and was employed with the city of Park City, and said "Thank you, sir" at the end of the hearing.
About a dozen family members of victims were in the courtroom, but they did not speak to reporters. The judge appointed the state's public defender's office to represent Rader.
It appears unlikely Rader will face the death penalty. He has yet to be charged with a slaying that occurred after 1994, when Kansas passed its capital punishment law. Additionally, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional in December over a provision on how juries weigh evidence for and against execution.
A preliminary hearing was set for March 15.