by Brandon Peace
July 20, 2004 ...
Charlie is the oldest surviving Otero son. Charlie Otero is 46 now
and is an inmate at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Grants. He
is serving a three-year sentence for felony aggravated battery in a case
involving domestic violence. He expects to be released in mid 2005.
Charlie gave an interview from prison and here is what transpired in that
(Schwanke) "Do you think about what happened?"
(Otero) "Every day...many times every day. Little things remind me. People,
family get-togethers, people talking about their mother and father. I know what
kind of parents I had and what kind of situation I was lucky to be a part of and
wished it hadn't of stopped."
30 years later Charlie's life is far from what it was then.
"I have nothing I'm sitting here in a penal institution looking to get out in
six months with nothing."
He says BTK took everything he had that day.
"I went pretty black at that point as far as outlook on life...on everything.
Part of you just dies, pain in your heart, a chest that won't stop hurting, a
gut that won't stop turning over."
Charlie says there's not a day that goes by that he doesn't think about
what happened 30 years ago. When asked about his feelings toward BTK Charlie
says he has no fear and if he had a chance he would meet B.T.K face to face.
(Schwanke) "What would you say to him?"
(Otero) Bring it on. See what you can do to a man that's not trying to
protect his family cause I don't have any anymore. More than willing to
meet you anytime, anywhere anyplace...all alone...me and you...see how bad you are."
"Any man who will use a man's family and loved ones to put him in a position
of helplessness is a coward."
That's how Charlie says Wichitans should look at BTK.
"Don't fear him cause if you fear him then he wins. He lives to put fear
in people. Fear is his only goal like a terrorist because then he wins without
having done anything."
"Live life the best you can. Put him behind you. Don't make him feel like he's
got power over anybody."
For years Charlie wondered why. Why his family? He says he doesn't ask
that question anymore and says neither should you.
Charlie says there's no answer.
Charlie Otero Shares More Information
The following is Charlie's account from that horrific day in 1974 ...
morning, his dad Joseph drove Charlie and two of his siblings, Danny and Carmen,
school. Charlie wanted to get to Southeast High School early so he could get in
an additional study hall. It was exam day. On his walked home later, he picked
up a religious pamphlet on the ground." You need God for your life,"
it said. He dropped it back to the ground. His family had recently moved into
the house at 803 N. Edgemoor. Upon arrival, he noticed the garage door was up.
Inside, he found things in disarray like an ice tray left out, his mother's
purse dumped out. In his parents' room, he encountered something that would make
him hate God for the next 20 years ... His father and mother, clothed, lying
side by side on their bed, tied up. He knew they were dead. His 38-year old dad,
a muscular man with air commando training, who had boxed his way into the Air
Force, had a belt around his neck, cutting into his throat. His mother,
34-year-old Julie Otero, had torn and broken fingernails, as if they'd been
scraped against concrete. Charlie grabbed his father's head and said, "What have
you done!" He suspected the killings had something to do with his father's
military past. He went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and yelled out ...
"Whoever is in this house is dead!" but the intruder was gone. Charlie thought
his youngest sister and brother had gone to school that morning, but police
found 9-year old Joseph in another bedroom. 11 year old Josephine was hanging
from a pipe in the basement, wearing only socks and a sweater. All four had been
strangled with the kind of cord.
know anything about BTK yet. But he knew what he had lost his family.
Life would never be the same.
Charlie's Own Theories
He spoke to an
Eagle reporter in a prison office for hours. This was the second time he has
talked publicly about the killing of his family. He said that police have not
asked him about his family's deaths since 1974. He refuses to believe that
someone randomly preyed on his family. He wonders if his dad's secretive life in
the military had something to do with the killings. Joseph Otero had been in the
Air Force for more than 20 years and retired less than a year before his death.
He had been away from his family on missions overseas for months at a time. To
Charlie Otero, it doesn't make sense that one killer tied up and killed four
people in three different rooms. he believes it was too much for one killer to
control. His dad was a boxer. He believes his dad let someone in he knew and
others may have been involved. Charlie's mom knew judo as did his siblings
which even won awards. How could one man take on his family single handedly.
They also had a family dog which was protective. Police believe the killer
entered the home while Joseph Otero was taking his three oldest children to
school, but Charlie believes his dad was there when the attack began, based on
police records he says he has seen.
thought my father knew him, that is about all," Charlie said citing several
times in the days before the murders that were "very suspicious." One time when
the lights went out, his dad made the family get into a closet until he made
sure it was a real power outage. Another time, when a telephone repairman showed
up at the house, his dad made his son go to a window to make sure there was a
company van there before he opened the door. Then just days before he died, his
dad tried to give him his ring in case something happened to him.
"Nobody hated my family," Otero said. "I am sure it had something to do with my
dad's military history. My dad did things. ... He had to tell somebody what he
had been up to in the last few years and he was dead days later."
Years later Charlie is still convinced based on an overheard telephone
conversation his dad had days before his death that the murders had something to
do with his service in the Air Force. Charlie said his dad was involved with the
Inter-American Air Forces Academy, a program that had trained Air Force
personnel from Latin America for decades. Charlie declined to say what his
dad did in the military because he was afraid talking about it might jeopardize
"I've had this bottled up inside me for 30 years,"
Charlie said that it was his younger siblings who first found their parents
bodies and were crying out to him that their mom and dad were playing a bad joke
"My dad was cold,
hard. You could smell the death. His tongue was almost bit off, a belt was
around his neck." He and his two surviving siblings would also be dead had they
not left an hour earlier than usual for school, he said.
he learned further details of his family's murders after hiring a lawyer and
private investigator and reading some of the FBI files on the case. That is
where he said he found out that his dad was apparently untied in the middle of
his torture session and made to write something before he was tied up again and
Charlie has something he would like to tell BTK:
"Why? Turn yourself in. Tell me why."
February 03, 2005 ...
Steve Relford, one of the surviving
children of Shirley Vian has come forth and shared what happened the
day BTK murdered his mother. He said that back in 1977 his mother
sent him for some soup. On his way home a well dressed man
approached him and showed him a photo of a woman with a child and
asked him if he had ever seen the two people in the photo. He told
the man that he had not. The man asked him if he was certain and to
look at the photo again. The five year old boy then went into his
house. A few minutes later, someone knocked on his home's door and
it was the well dressed man with a brief case and asked where his
mother was. The child told him that his mother was ill and let the
man inside the home as many other 5 year old children would do. The
man turned off the television and closed the blinds. He then pulled
a gun from under his coat and Shirley Vian entered the room and saw
the intruder and said "Don't hurt us" ... The man said "I'm not
going to." Then the phone rang and little Steve asked if he should
answer the phone and the man said no. That phone call would later
prove to save the three children's lives. The man ordered Shirley
Vian to put toys and blankets in the bathroom for the children. The
man began to tie up the oldest of her children, bud, which was eight
years old. The other child was a four year old girl named Stephanie.
The children were then locked in the bathroom. Steve remembers
standing on something as to be able to see through a hole in the
door to the bathroom into his mother's room. He saw his mom being
stripped, tied up and a plastic bag being placed over her head and a
rope tied around her neck. Steve recalls yelling to the man that he
was going to untie his ropes and the man responded "I'll blow your
******* head off" they were in the bathroom about 40 minutes before
they could get free from the locked bathroom and they found their
mother dead and the man who did it ... Was gone. He later found out
the man was BTK.
Steve Relford said ... "It's been 28 years and I hope to hell I meet this ****** ****** face to face."
He also said if he did meet BTK face to face. BTK would suffer.
had been at a house three doors down at 1243 S. Hydraulic, but nobody was home.
The owner of that home was single mom named Cheryl and she had a 5 year old son.
The police contacted Cheryl and told her of these events. Years later they asked
her if she wore glasses at the time of the murder of Shirley Vian and she said
yes. They contacted her again later and asked if she frequented a club known as
"A Blackout" ... Cheryl also attended the university during the fall of 1976.
This was a place BTK was thought to frequent as well.
capture of Dennis Rader, Steve positively identified Dennis Rader as BTK.
The information on this website was gathered from many sources including:
The Wichita Eagle
KAKE TV 10
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