A Cereal Box And A Floppy Disk: How To Catch A Serial Killer

Heinous and unusual crimes are committed in the United States every day. Not as often, though, are these crimes connected and unsolved over many years. Even less common? A breakfast food sending police to a murder.

Charlie, the oldest child of the Otero family, returned home from school and noticed the house was dark and quiet. This was unusual for the Otero family, so Charlie took it upon himself to seek out answers. He was not prepared for the horror that would unfold before him on what he thought was just an average day.

A Devastating Discovery

Right before Charlie's eyes was his entire family. Mom Julie, father Joseph his younger sister and brother, Josephine and Joseph II. All bound and strangled by an unknown assailant.The police were on the investigation immediately, but the case would go unsolved for a number of years to follow.

Efforts But No Answers

The Otero family's murders were the most sickening acts of violence ever seen by Sedgwick County, Kansas. For months after their deaths, the county police along with other forces worked tirelessly trying to find who might be responsible for such acts. It wasn't until months later that they received their next lead...

Another Murder, But Still No Lead

Kathryn Bright, 21, was found stabbed multiple times in her Kansas home. When officers arrived, she was still gripping on to the last bits of life. As soon as she arrived at the hospital, she succumbed to her devastating injuries and became the unlikely second victim of the yet-to-be-named Kansas killer.

Three Years Gone By

The killer and cases that rocked a small portion of the state of Kansas had seemed to go cold. For three years, there were no clues as to who this person was or where he might be. Many thought he was either already in jail or had even died. That is until a next victim appeared...

The Murder of Shirley Vian

A 911 operator received a call from panicked children who claimed to be locked in a bathroom for hours with no response from their mother, Shirley Vian. When police arrived, they found Shirley strangled to death on the floor outside, and thus began a new spree for this mysterious murderer.

The Introduction Of BTK

In the years since the murder of Shirley Vian, the Kansas killer went on to murder multiple other women. Eventually, he even assumed a new nickname of BTK - "Bind, Torture, and Kill." However, the man who would soon be identified was far from that of a murderous maniac.. or so they thought.

The All-American Man

Dennis Rader was the man of every housewife's dream. A former member of the navy, a devoted father, and a man of his faith despite a mysterious and violent past. This ideal man wasn't going to be viewed in such a way for much longer, though, all thanks to a cereal box...

Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day

After spotting an unusually displaced box of cereal, one that didn't belong to him, a man discarded what would later be major evidence in the search for Dennis Rader. Inside, Rader left authorities a note agreeing to speak to them about the murders but only through an untrackable floppy disk.

The End Of An Ugly Era

After decades of going unsolved, the murders committed by Dennis Rader were finally brought to justice thanks to a floppy disk, a cereal box, and Rader's moment of misjudgment. He was caught and arrested in February of 2005 after nearly ten years and was sentenced to 175 years without parole.