True Crime Book Watch!
Dennis Rader kept her under surveillance as "Project Cookie."
Marine Wallace Hedge, 53, was a quiet, dependable second-shift supervisor at the medical center coffee shop. Originally from Arkansas, she had moved to Kansas with her late husband. She was widowed the previous year. She was described as a kind, petite, well dressed woman with a charming southern voice. She was a devoted mother to her three daughters, one son, and grandchildren. She enjoyed bingo, yard work, and attending the Baptist Church.
She lived on the same block as Rader for over 30 years. He often noticed her working in her yard; not good with names he referred to her as “Marie.”
Rader slipped away unnoticed to fulfill this fantasy while with a Cub Scout camp-out. The camp weekend gave him a perfect alibi.
Rader parked his car at the bowling alley on April 27, 1985.
His “hit kit” was in his bowling bag and his mind was consumed with sexual fantasies. He gargled with beer so the taxi driver would think he was drunk. As the taxi neared Marine’s house, he told the driver to let him out for fresh air.
Rader didn't expect Marine to be home so soon, so he was surprised to find her 1976 Monte Carlo there already. He cut the telephone lines outside before he quietly entered her house. He looked throughout but she wasn’t inside. When he heard the door rattle, he hid in a bedroom closet.
Marine came home with a male friend she had known for years after an evening of bingo. Her friend stayed until 1 AM and reported that, "she was in real good spirits" when he left.
When she slept during the early morning hours Rader went into her bedroom. When he flipped on the bathroom lights so he could see her better, she woke-up and screamed. He immediately jumped on her bed to strangled her to death with his hands or "throttle" her as he called it.
He stripped her nude and put her on a blanket. As he went through her personal items he contemplated how he was going to get her out of the house to further indulge his sexual fantasies.
"Alive or dead, she was going to that church."
Rader moved her to the trunk of her car with plans to take her body to a barn, but instead he took her to Christ Lutheran Church where he had stashed away plastic to tape over the windows. Once the windows were covered, he laid Marine on the altar with her body tied up in sexually graphic forms of bondage and took photographs with a Polaroid camera.
He placed her back in the car while he drove around looking for a place to dispose of her body. He buried her body in a road side culvert, a dump site for dog carcasses; her body was covered with trees and brush.
When Marine didn’t show up for her job on Saturday, the coffee shop manager was concerned. The manager and Marine's longtime friend described her as, “A quiet, dependable person who stuck with routine. She's not impulsive. She's not the type of person who would suddenly do something without considering it."
Marine’s car was found on May 2, 1985, with a blanket and bedspread in the trunk, with weeds and mud. Police located her purse in a ditch on April 28, 1985; the identification cards were gone.
On May 5, 1985, her nude body was discovered beside a pair of pantyhose in knots seven miles from her home. Moving a body from the crime scene is a deviation from the BTK's previous killings. An autopsy confirmed she died of strangulation by hand.
Killing someone who lived so close to him was a conquest for Rader.
Neighbors initially believed the killer hid in the hedges surrounding the homes on the street. After the murder, every property owner on the street removed their hedges, except Rader.
Next: Vicki Wegerle
June 26, 2006Kari & Associates
PO Box 6166
Olympia, WA 98507
Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2006