Author says she was next
By Josh Heck
Last Updated: July 05, 2007
There was nothing out of the ordinary about Mary Capps watering her jasmine plant this week at her east Valley Center home. But it wasn’t until recently that Capps’ life started getting back to normal.
Haunted by the thought that she was the next target of convicted serial killer Dennis Rader, Capps’ life was turned upside down when Rader was arrested Feb. 25, 2005.
She battled post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, anger and nightmares after learning that her former boss was BTK.
In an effort to start living again, Capps revealed the events that led her to believe her life was in danger in a book set to be released July 10. “My boss was the BTK killer: I was the next victim” is being touted as the book that few saw coming — including those in the media. The book has been sold on the Internet since June.
The publication comes on the heels of the book recently released by the Wichita Eagle, titled “Bind Torture Kill: The inside story of the serial killer next door.”
Jim Dobkins, who has been working with Capps, said the only way for Capps to tell her side of the story was for her to write her own book. Capps declined to be extensively interviewed for the Wichita Eagle book, Dobkins said.
With the release of her book — which also gives some insight into Rader’s life before he was known as BTK — Capps has an extensive interview schedule in the coming weeks with various media across the country. A book signing has also been scheduled from 2 until 4 p.m. July 14 at the Watermark Books & Café, located at 4701 E. Douglas in Wichita.
“There is a surprising amount of national interest in Mary’s story,” Dobkins said.
But it wasn’t until recently that Capps was ready to tell her side of the story.
She sat down with The News July 2 to talk about some of what she went through in Park City with Rader as her boss and why she believes she was targeted as a murder victim.
Working with Rader
For years, Rader was the primary compliance officer in Park City, but that changed in 1998 when Capps was hired by the city. Rader was then promoted into a supervisor role.
From the beginning, Capps said their working relationship was strained.
“He hated me,” Capps said. “And I hated him.”
She said Rader always dispatched her to the animal control calls while he stayed in the office. She said she thought part of the job was to be more visible in the community and wondered why Rader often chose not to go out on calls.
Rader kept a number of items related to the murders in his office at city hall in Park City.
While she was out working, Capps contends Rader was in a sense “scrap booking” what he had done.
Capps contends all of her complaints and grievances about how Rader treated, harassed and bullied her essentially fell on deaf ears, She said city officials usually sided with Rader.
She wanted to quit, but needed the job, she said. She needed the insurance coverage.
Looking back, Capps said she was glad she never figured Rader out.
She wondered who she would have told if she had and who would have believed her, especially considering how she said her complaints against Rader were handled.
Capps often missed work for various reasons. Mostly, she said, because of Rader.
In 2001, Capps said she was visiting the doctor more frequently, complaining of various symptoms. Her doctor documented everything she told him about what she believed was happening to her.
Capps couldn’t explain why she said she would often experience leg cramps, trouble breathing or unexpected loss of memory while at work.
She said all of the “mysterious” symptoms went away when Rader was arrested.
Capps had a doctor’s appointment that day. But she would have to cancel her appointment.
She got a call that she needed to come to city hall as soon as she could that day near the end of February 2005. When Capps arrived, she said she met with Jack Whitson and then Mayor Emil Bergquist, who told her that the city was complying with a federal investigation and she was being put on paid vacation until further notice. Capps was told not to talk to anyone.
Still unsure of what was happening, Capps left city hall wondering if she had done something wrong
Had Rader finally pushed someone too far? Capps said she thought.
The next day during a news conference when Wichita police announced BTK had been arrested, “I broke down crying,” Capps said.
She said so much was going through her mind. Mostly, though, she said she was angry.
Angry because she said people didn’t listen to her complaints. Angry because all of the little things she said she encountered while working under Rader were starting to add up.
Despite Capps’ contentions that city officials didn’t listen to what she said about Rader, she said she was glad that she told someone about all of the things that went on while she worked for the city.
She said others would recall things that Capps told them and start putting the pieces together. During the month before Rader’s arrest, Capps said a number of “crazy” things were going on.
Rader was changing, she said.
Capps said she believes at some point Rader intended to kill her. She said a lot about Rader changed in the last year she worked with him that led her to believe he was targeting her as a victim.
Capps said Rader did a reversal from when she first started working for Park City. Rader started going back into the field and started making small talk with her about her family. Before that, Capps said she would try to talk with Rader, only to have him cut her off.
Capps contends he never stopped “trolling.”
In addition to Capps’ suspicions that she was a target, court records also indicate Rader might have killed again.
During his 32-hour interrogation after his arrest, records show Rader revealed plans for a Project Broadwater, or simply Broadwater.
“I tried to hit on her the day I dropped the Number Two at the UPS box,” court documents show that Rader said. “It was a run, it was a go and everything, but they were working on the roads. … You just do a back up and wait for another day. I was going to try it in the spring or fall …”
Capps lived in a duplex off of Broadway near 57th Street at the end of a cul-de-sac. A lagoon sits behind the
Hence the name “Broadwater,” Capps said.
Following Rader’s arrest, Capps went into hiding, rarely going anywhere, while battling constant nightmares, her depression and post-traumatic stress. Capps said she stayed away from people and public places as much as she could for 17 months.
Now, she is recovered.
She began working for her aunt and uncle and started getting out in public again. She also started writing her book.
After a short time with her aunt and uncle, Capps started working with her fiancé’s trucking company.
She said she may never forget what she went though for six and a half years while working in Park City and the 17 months that followed Rader’s arrest.
Capps said she was happy with the way her book came out.
By sharing her firsthand experiences, Capps said she hopes people will be able to stand up for being harassed in the workplace. She said she would also like to see more stringent grievance procedures at the federal level.
“I hope my message is being delivered in the way I want it to be delivered,” she said.
Rader pleaded guilty to killing 10 people, from 1974 to 1991.