Ruth Finley dies at the age of 89

Posted: Updated:

Ruth Finley, a woman involved in an infamous Wichita crime case back in the late 70s and early 80s has passed away at the age of 89.Finley admitted to lying to the police about sending herself and others threatening notes and even stabbing herself, to the point of serious injury. 

"Here's to you a tender valentine, red with blood and tied with twine," these are the words Ruth Finley wrote herself back in the late 70s on Valentines Day, claiming the poem came from a man who was stalking her.

"Along in there somewhere, I started getting poems from the poet. Which I think we've all decided, I wrote them all," Ruth said in an interview from May of 1988.

KAKE TV and Larry Hatteberg sat down with Finley and her therapist years after the case concluded.

"When I sat down with Ruth Finley, it was like seeing a story come to life because everyone thought maybe Ruth Finley was a monster, she wasn't," said Hatteberg.

Finley told the police she was kidnapped and even stabbed by her alleged stalker who became known as "The Poet."

"Everyone was fearful thinking, this could be me. This is just a nice lady in our city that has been being subjected to for whatever reason to this torment, this torture," said former Wichita Police Chief Richard Lamunyon, who worked heavily on the case. 

After four years of investigation and panic across Wichita, police caught Finley mailing herself a letter from her so called stalker. She then admitted she made the whole thing up.

Her therapist, Andrew Pickens, says Finley created this alter ego because of sexual abuse she endured as a 3-year-old, "let me say she really wasn't terrorizing herself, she was trying to get help for and protect herself from the terror she experienced as a little girl."

KAKE TV ran an hour-long special on this case and Ruth hoped sharing her story would help the world understand this was just a cry for help, "maybe if I explained my life a little, they would understand because I've changed my opinion of myself." 

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE