Missouri detectives crack cold case once linked to serial killer BTK

FIRST ON FOX: Missouri investigators say they have solved the 1990 murder of a 22-year-old woman who was last seen alive on Halloween of that year, months before police found her remains hogtied behind a barn.

Dennis Rader, the BTK serial killer, had been a potential suspect, according to the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office. So had Larry Hall, a suspected mass murderer who is serving a life sentence for kidnapping an Illinois girl in 1993.

However, neither of them killed the victim, who was unidentified until 2021, known as “Grace Doe” rather than “Jane,” because detectives Lorie Howard and Rhonda Wise believed they would only discover the truth “by the Grace of God.”

The cold case detectives stuck with the case for years, eventually teaming up with the Othram genealogy lab and finding estranged relatives who knew “Grace” as Shawna Garber. They later found her legal name was Shauna Harvey, the sheriff’s office said Thursday.

BTK CALLED ‘PRIME SUSPECT’ IN COLD CASES, SERIAL KILLER SAYS SEARCH FOR MORE BODIES UNDERWAY

A facial reconstruction by artist Victoria Lywood shows what Shauna Harvey is believed to have looked like when she died. (NamUS via Othram)

Harvey “met the devil” on Oct. 31, 1990, in the form of a local man named Talfey Reeves, according to authorities.

Detectives believe Reeves hogtied Harvey with multiple types of bindings, sexually assaulted her and then killed her with a high dose of drugs.

“Shauna had a hard life,” Howard told Fox News Digital. “She was born in a car, set on fire by her mother, had a failed adoption, in and out of foster care. Then met the devil and was killed in such a horrific manner.”

Talfey Reeves had a long history of run-ins with law enforcement dating back to the 1980s, according to the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office. His mugshot from his most recent arrest, left, was taken just days before he died in a crash on Highway 71 in Missouri in November 2021. (McDonald County Sheriff’s Office)

Howard and Wise’s investigation spanned multiple states as they looked for suspects, interviewing Rader in a Kansas prison, Hall in federal custody and other known killers whose victims were young women.

However, Reeves was a locally known figure with a rap sheet dating back to the 1980s, the sheriff’s office revealed.

He died in November 2021 when a car crashed into his scooter while he was attempting a U-turn on Highway 71, Missouri State Police announced at the time. He had been arrested days before his death for driving without a license.

If he were alive today, he would face charges of first-degree murder, according to McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney Maleia Cheney.

Reeves’ nephew, Derek Reeves, was also questioned in another unsolved death, according to authorities.

Shauna Harvey pictured as a child. No known photographs of her as an adult exist. (Othram)

Danielle Pixler, the victim’s half sister, told investigators Harvey had been in foster care and state custody during her childhood and that she lost touch with her after that. She had been looking for her sister for nearly 30 years.

Even photos of Harvey as an adult have proven hard to come by.

Howard, the cold case detective, said she was still searching for some even after the case was cracked.

“I refuse to let her be invisible,” she said.

Serial killer Dennis Rader stands before Sedgwick County District Court Judge Greg Waller as sentencing is read Aug. 18, 2005 in Wichita, Kansas. Rader received nine life terms and a “hard 40” for the 10 murders he committed over nearly 30 years. (Bo Rader-Pool/Getty Images)

Rader, who is imprisoned for life in Kansas, is still under investigation in other cases in Osage County, Oklahoma, according to Sheriff Eddie Virden.

Chief among them is the death of Cynthia “Cyndi” Dawn Kinney, who was last seen leaving the laundromat in Pawhuska on June 23, 1976. Across the street, Rader’s then-employer, the ADT security firm, was installing an alarm system at a new bank.

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Police arrested him in 2005 after years of cat-and-mouse games in which he taunted investigators and the media with messages, ultimately leading police to his own doorstep by failing to cover his tracks.

The former home of Dennis Rader “BTK” in Park City, Kansas, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. Detectives returned to the site decades after Rader received 10 consecutive life prison sentences to dig for clues in multiple cold case murders. (Alon Skuy for Fox News Digital )

Rader, now 78, confessed to 10 murders after his arrest — all of which took place near his home in Park City, Kansas.

He has denied involvement in any others, and continues to do so even after falling into poor health, with ailments including cancer and cellulitis.

BTK BOMBSHELL: SHERIFF REVEALS ‘PANTYHOSE LIGATURE’ FOUND ON SERIAL KILLER’S FORMER KANSAS PROPERTY

Oklahoma investigators have shared several sketches from the notebook of serial killer Dennis Rader, also known as BTK, about his preferred method to “bind, torture, kill.” Rader had a “fascination” with barns, according to investigators. Shawna Garber was found hogtied near a Missouri barn in the early 1990s. (Osage County Sheriff’s Office)

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Rader himself previously denied any wrongdoing in Osage County in a letter to Fox News Digital and called the investigation there a “waste of taxpayer money.”

Hoping they might gain a confession in exchange for sparing him the death penalty in any new cases, investigators offered him immunity earlier this year, Howard said.

He waived his right to remain silent, spoke with them at length — and denied involvement in any other slayings.

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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