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Cold Case Profiles:
Sherry Baker

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Sherry Baker was murdered in November, 1974, the same year as the Oteros and Kathryn Bright.  This case is among the most suspicious in terms of BTK.  She was a student at Wichita State University at the same time Dennis Rader was.  The method resembles other known BTK cases.  Her boyfriend was cleared, and the case remains open.

These are newspaper accounts from the time of the slaying:

Mother Finds Daughter Slain
The Wichita Beacon
November 12, 1974

A 23-year-old woman was found stabbed to death in her north Wichita apartment today.

Police said the woman, tentatively identified as Sherry D. Baker, 603 New York, was found by her mother about 9 a.m. lying partially clothed in the living room of the apartment.

Detective Maj. Bill Cornwell said she apparently died of multiple stab wounds. A final determination of death, however, will await an autopsy later today.

Details of the woman’s activities during the past 24 hours were sketchy, police said, but she was last seen Saturday by her mother.

Detectives said the living room was in shambles as well as other rooms in the house. The victim was lying face down with a six-inch long butcher knife by her side. Police said the knife had blood stains.

Police took fingerprints from a south window of the living room that apparently had been tampered with. Officers said the window screen had been torn and the metal frame storm window may have been pried open.

Cornwell said the victim’s hands were bound behind her back with a telephone cord, and that her throat had been slashed.

Police Interrogate Boyfriend In Probe of Scissors Murder
The Wichita Eagle    Eagle BTK Coverage
November 13, 1974
By Craig Ladwig

Police Tuesday were questioning a boyfriend of 23-year-old Sherry D. Baker who was found stabbed to death earlier in the day in her north Wichita apartment.

Detective Maj. Bill Cornwell said the suspect, who was not in custody, had been involved in several assault reports filed by the victim. He described the questioning as routine.

Another officer told The Eagle that on at least one occasion, Miss Baker had been admitted to a local hospital with injuries from an apparent fight. The officer said Miss Baker did not name her assailant at the time she was hospitalized.

Cornwell said she may have known her assailant, however, as there were no signs of forced entry at the 603 New York apartment.

The victim’s mother, who saw her daughter’s body through a front window about 9 a.m. Tuesday, told police all the doors were locked.

Cornwell said the mother had last seen her daughter about 5 p.m. Saturday. Police estimate she was killed late Sunday or early Monday.

Dr. Robert Daniels, district coroner, said late Tuesday night the woman died of multiple stab wounds to the head and neck. He said the most serious wound was to the woman’s jugular.

Daniels noted that the woman’s hands were bound together with the telephone’s coiled receiver cord and that the receiver was placed back on the phone carriage. The cord was not severed, he said.

Miss Baker, who police said has one child living with relatives, was lying face down on the living room floor with her hands bound behind her back. She was wearing a negligee and underpants.

She had been stabbed repeatedly in the head with a pair of scissors, Cornwell said. One blade was broken off in the victim’s skull.

Her throat also was cut. A 6-inch butcher knife was found on the floor next to her head.

She had been gagged with part of a torn towel. Another part of the towel was knotted around her neck. Her hands had been bound with a cord ripped from a nearby telephone.

Cornwell said blood had spattered against the south wall of the living room where the victim was apparently killed. Blood stains were found on the living room floor and couch. Additional blood was found on a bedroom windowsill and in the bathroom.

Police said the blood in the living room and bedroom belonged to the victim. The blood in the bathroom, they said, apparently was left when the murderer washed his hands.

Other than the boyfriend, police were questioning friends, relatives and neighbors.

It was the city’s 22nd homicide this year, police said, and the fifth that remains unsolved.

Services for Miss Baker will be at 2 p.m. Thursday in New Zion Baptist Church.

Police Continue Stabbing Death Investigation
The Wichita Beacon
November 13, 1974

Police today were continuing their investigation into the stabbing death of 23-year-old Sherry D. Baker Tuesday.

Detectives interviewed more friends and neighbors of the victims this morning, but said there were no new developments in the latest of the city’s five unsolved murder cases.

Miss Baker was found dead by her mother Tuesday in her north Wichita apartment, had been stabbed in the head and throat with a pair of scissors and a butcher knife.

Her body was found lying face down on the living room floor. Her hands had been tied behind her with the extension cord of a telephone, police said.

The cord had not been cut and the receiver was returned to the cradle after the victim was bound, police said.

Police said the apartment showed signs of a struggle, with blood stains in the living room, bedroom and bathroom.

Several persons questioned Tuesday, including a boyfriend of the victim, were released today.

From CBSNews.com  4/13/2004:
Bernita Autry is certain the death of her best friend in 1974 is related to the BTK killings. Sherry Baker was 23 when she was gagged with a pair of underwear, tied up with a telephone cord and stabbed more than 70 times. No charges were filed, and police have said the case is not tied to other slayings.

"I have a gut feeling," she said.

Bob Beattie, a Wichita lawyer who is writing a book about BTK, said the Baker case and at least two others could also be related to the killer.

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For more reading on Dennis Rader BTK see:  Dennis Rader - BTK KIller - a Biography