BTK Victims

BTK Survivor

BTK murder details from the story of the only BTK survivor and how the BTK murders affected the family of the BTK victims who became a living BTK victim.

Living Water at the Oasis
Living Water at the Oasis

BTK Victims Events
BTK Survivors Stories

Of all of the BTK murders and attempted murders, the only known BTK survivor was a man who was a teenager at the time whose name was Kevin Bright. He was able to escape the evil monster while BTK was busy torturing his 21 year old sister in another room. Her name was Kathryn Bright and she was to become a BTK murder victim. Here is their story.

On April 4 of 1974 the authorities were led to the lifeless body of Kathryn Bright in her home. She had been bound, tortured and killed which was the BTK M.O. She was strangled and stabbed multiple times in the stomach. BTK liked to stalk his potential victims prior to the actual attack so he knew the daily routine of the BTK victims. This includes Kathryn Bright. She normally arrived home alone, so after observing her for a while, he broke into her home and awaited her arrival.

But, on that particular day, Kathryn Bright did not come home alone as BTK had imagined in his murderous plan. Her brother Kevin was with her. When they both entered her house an armed man said ... Hold it right there. This is when they encountered the BTK strangler who would change their lives forever.

As they stood there confused and afraid, BTK promised them that he was not going to hurt them and only wanted money and transportation. But, that was a lie concocted to keep them calm and clinging to hope for the best outcome, when he obviously had the full intent on torturing and killing them both.

Next, BTK had Kevin tie up his sister in one room and then BTK led Kevin to another room and BTK bound him as well. Immediately BTK then started strangling Kevin who in desperation, tried to grab the gun from BTK. As you can imagine, BTK became angry and wrestled the weapon back from Kevin and shot him.

With Kevin bleeding and in pain, BTK left the room that Kevin was in for a bit, probably to focus his attention on Kathryn and then came back to shot him again. Kevin knowing the danger that he was in decided to play dead and this fooled BTK and he went back to torturing Kathryn. Kevin could hear the pleas and moans from his older sister echoing through the house.

Not knowing what else to do, Kevin unable to help his screaming sister was able to escape and ran out of the home and found 2 men who called the authorities and even took him to the hospital. That was the last thing Kevin remembered. He was never to see his sister again. He would become the only BTK survivor.

There are actually other BTK survivors who were not physically involved in the BTK murders. They are the family and friends of the BTK victims:

Charlie Otero
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 interview as a BTK Survivor:

(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 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
BTK Survivor Story

The following is Charlie's account from that horrific day in 1974 ...

That chilly 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.

Charlie didn't 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.

"I've always 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 his parole.

"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 on them.

"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.

Charlie 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 killed.

Charlie has something he would like to tell BTK:

"Why? Turn yourself in. Tell me why."

Steve Relford
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.

Potential BTK Victims ... Apparently, BTK 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.

After the 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



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