The BTK Story
Shirley Vian Relford Case Evidence
By Rachael Bell
Wichita Police Department Detective Dana Gouge testified on August 17th about Shirley Vian Relford's murder. Rader told her that he initially approached Relford's son on March 17, 1977, asking him if he knew who the people were in a picture he held out to the boy. Rader told Gouge that the people in the picture were actually his own wife and son. The lure worked and the young boy unknowingly led the killer to his home. While there, Rader told Gouge that he promised Relford that he wouldn't hurt them but that he just wanted to tie her up and take some pictures of her, Liz Collins reported for KWCH 12 Eyewitness News.
As Rader previously confessed in June 2005, he locked up Relford's three young children, aged 4, 6 and 8 in the bathroom with toys and a blanket. Gouge said that one of the kids threatened to break out of the bathroom but Rader said he would blow the kids heads off if he did. In the meantime, he tied Relford up, put a plastic bag around her neck and strangled her. He hoped to also make her a servant in his afterlife, much like he planned with the Otero's.
During the court proceedings, autopsy photos of Relford were shown to the court. The photos prompted the first emotional response from Rader since the beginning of the hearings. Buselt stated that he, "looked away, rubbed his forehead and let out a sigh." Steve Relford, who had been one of the children locked in the bathroom that managed to escape, stared contemptuously at Rader as evidence was being presented in court. At one point, when crime scene photos were shown, Steven Relford "frowned and looked away," Buselt further reported. It was simply too painful.
Rader told Gouge that if the kids hadn't fled from the house through a window in the bathroom, he would have killed them too. He was quoted as saying, "I probably would have hung the little girl. Like I said, I'm pretty mean or could be. But on the other hand I'm very -- you know, I'm a nice guy."