By all standards, anyone else could be a killer but not someone like Dennis Rader; a church leader and responsible man with a loving wife and kids anyone would be proud of. However, the man the light shone on was different from the man darkness met as he was a brutal serial killer who terrorized his neighborhood.
What makes his case more interesting was the fact that having spent years killing people, no one had ever suspected him, not even his wife or daughter who at first believed the law had got the wrong man. As she would come to find out, the man who was a loving father, was a monster or something worse – the BTK Killer.
Who Is Dennis Rader?
March 9, 1945, was the day Dennis Rader was born in Pittsburgh, Kansas. He was raised in a normal family as the oldest with three siblings in Wichita. It is this same community that he would later visit with his acts of evil.
Although on the outside he seemed very normal, something was already wrong with him since he was a teenager. He revealed that he had a crazy sexual fantasy and would sometimes bind his legs and ankle with a bag over his head. This became the manner in which he later killed some of his victims.
He attended college for a while before dropping out to join the U.S. Air Force. After he was done with that, he took various jobs including as an electrician and as an ADT serviceman, installing security systems for homes for close to 15 years. At the time, he was already a killer.
Who Are His Victims?
Before he became a serial killer, Dennis Rader would look through the pages of magazines as a young boy and find the pictures of women. He would draw ropes and gags on them. This was a fantasy he had for a long time.
His first victims were four members of the Otero family. He entered their home in Wichita where he killed Joseph and Julie who were the parents and then Josephine and Joseph Jr. – their two kids. While killing the last girl whom he dragged to the basement and choked, he masturbated.
By the time he was done, he rushed home to his sleeping wife to also rest before its time to go to church. He took with him some of the little girl’s underwear.
Another of his victim was Shirley Vian. According to him, he selected her on March 17, 1977, randomly three years after he murdered his last victim. The woman he had wanted going after was a woman he met in a bar, Cheryl. Because she was not at home, he entered the home of Vian where he murdered the 24 years old mother of three after sleeping with her.
While he used a gun on Sheryl, he killed his next victim, Kathryn Bright with a knife. According to him, he tried strangling her but because it failed to work, he decided to use a knife and finish her off. After killing the 21-year-old, he shot her brother.
Next, it was Nancy Fox. The BTK killer revealed he saw her enter her house one night and immediately, he signed her fate as his next victim. On December 8, 1977, he would strangle her. For the next years, Dennis Rader would remain silent until 1985 when he killed another woman, Marine Hedge followed by Vicki Wegerle in 1986. His last victim who also happened to be his oldest was Dolores E. Davis, a woman of 62 whom he abducted from her home before going on to strangle her.
What Happened To Dennis Rader?
Following his first murder, he detailed his confession in a public library before calling a local paper to tell them where to get the confession. He revealed to the paper, Wichita Eagle, that he was not done with killing, and he named himself BTK which stands for Bind, Torture, and Kill – his method of killing.
Not wanting to be forgotten, he wrote another letter in 2004, many years since his last killing. He taunted that he was going to publish an autobiography detailing his killings. He also sent various media files including floppy disk which ended up becoming his undoing. From the disk, it was realized that there was a deleted document from the Christ Lutheran Church council president which was Rader.
Thanks to this and other evidence the police were able to build against him, he was finally arrested in February 2005. At the end of his trial, he was handed 10 life sentences. He is now serving his time at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas.
Wife and Family
Until his bad judgment of taunting the law, Dennis Rader was believed to be a good and reliable family man. He got married to Paula Dietz in 1971 and all through their years together, she never suspected her husband could be the notorious killer. Their family was blessed with two kids, Kerri and Brian.