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DNA probed in a hunt for killer

WICHITA, Kan. -- A man whose arrest sparked speculation about a link to the decades-old BTK serial-killings case was released on bond after a court appearance on two unrelated misdemeanor counts.

The man was arrested at his home Wednesday on minor trespassing and housing code violations, and State Police said his DNA was being tested for any link to the man sought for eight unsolved homicides between 1974 and 1986.

He appeared before Wichita Municipal Judge Jennifer Jones, who reduced his bond Thursday from $17,500 to $6,125 and ordered him to return to court next month. He was released from jail.

Results of the DNA testing had not been released, but Norman Williams, Wichita police chief, was adamant Thursday that no arrest had been made in the BTK case, which involves a serial killer who had been silent for years before resurfacing in March with letters to police and news media.

"We have not, I repeat, have not, made an arrest in connection to BTK," the chief said.

It was not clear whether the DNA test results had been completed. Department policy bars discussion of test results or evidence, police spokeswoman Janet Johnson said yesterday.

Authorities noted that thousands of tips have been received in the BTK killings. If people named in the tips have outstanding warrants, they are picked up, as the man arrested Wednesday was, said Wichita police spokeswoman Janet Johnson.

The killer is known by the self-coined nickname BTK, which stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill."

Appealing to the public for clues, investigators released details Tuesday mentioned by the killer in the letters. They suggest the killer was born in 1939, is a railroad buff, and his father died in World War II.

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