Who was Ruth Finley? Meet the unassuming Wichita housewife

Who was Ruth Finley?

Ruth Finley, a woman from Fort Scott, Kansas, was at the center of a three-year police investigation after claiming to be the victim of stalking and harassment by a criminal known as The Poet.

The terrifying ordeal began in 1977 when Ruth received a threatening phone call at her home, followed by numerous letters demanding money and threatening harm.

The situation escalated when Ruth received a newspaper clipping detailing a past assault she had experienced. The perpetrator, who went by the nickname The Poet, also targeted Ruth’s husband, Ed, and their family home. The threats included cutting the phone lines, setting fire to their Christmas wreath, and leaving dangerous items like a Molotov cocktail and a jar of feces on their front porch.

The police became involved in the case, and Ruth was placed under surveillance for five weeks amid concerns that her stalker could be the BTK Killer. Despite interviewing over 300 people, the police were unable to identify any suspects. Ruth continued to receive threatening letters and was even physically attacked in a mall parking lot, resulting in stab wounds.

Eventually, the police chief, Richard LaMunyon, began to suspect that Ruth herself was The Poet. After placing the Finleys under secret surveillance, Ruth was caught mailing one of The Poet’s letters to herself. During an interrogation in October 1981, Ruth confessed to threatening, kidnapping, and stabbing herself under psychosis. A psychiatric examination determined her actions were a result of childhood trauma from physical and sexual abuse.

Ruth spent years in therapy to address her psychological issues and trauma. Eventually, she shared her story with a local news program in hopes of helping other survivors. She passed away in May 2019 at the age of 89.

A Lifetime movie based on Ruth’s case, titled The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story, is set to debut in June 2024, starring actress Teri Hatcher and Canadian actor Tahmoh Penikett.