Dennis Rader–A to Z Challenge Day #4 (The History Of Serial Killers)

            We all remember BTK. It hasn’t been too many years since his acts hit the news. His sentencing was televised, and I can still recall his nonchalant straight forward recollection of killing his victims. He was (is) one of those serial killers who taunted the police by sending letters to news stations bragging and daring them to catch him. He was active for nearly 30 years and got away with way too much before getting caught. His friends and family had no clue as to who he really was which sort of makes you wonder about the people in your life. Psychopaths are a wily bunch and can blend into any environment. His communication with the press and police ultimately turned out to be his undoing. Below is a video of a BTK interview from jail and is a rare look into the mind of a serial killer.

Dennis Rader


Gender: Male
Active for 31 years (1974-2004) in United States
Born: Mon March 9, 1945
Born in: Pittsburg, Kansas, United States
State(s): Kansas
Country: United States
AKA(s): The BTK Killer, The BTK Strangler, Blind Torture Kill
Alias: Bill Thomas Killman
Birth Name: Dennis Lynn Rader

Dennis Lynn Rader is also known as the BTK Killer or BTK Strangler and was born March 9, 1945. BTK stands for “Bind, Torture, Kill” in which he detailed in his letters to the police and local news describing in full details his infamous signature (BTK). Dennis Radar killed during a long 17-year serial killing spree with ten proven victims from 1974 – 1991. Dennis Radar was apprehended on February 25, 2005 and is serving life imprisonment with no parole for 175 years. That is 10 consecutive life sentences in the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas. Dennis Radar”s earliest possible release date is February 26, 2180.

Dennis Radar Victims

  • Joseph Otero
  • Julie Otero
  • Joseph Otero, Jr.
  • Josephine Otero
  • Kathryn Bright
  • Shirley Vian
  • Nancy Fox
  • Marine Hedge
  • Vicki Wegerle
  • Dolores E. Davis

Arrest and conviction

By 2004, the investigation of the BTK Killer had gone cold. Then, Rader sent a letter to the police, claiming responsibility for a killing that had previously not been attributed to him. DNA collected
from under the fingernails of that victim provided police with previously unknown evidence. They then began DNA testing hundreds of men in an effort to find the serial killer. Altogether, some
1100 DNA samples would be taken.


The police corresponded with the BTK Killer (Rader) in an effort to gain his confidence. Then, in one of his communications with police, Rader asked them if it was possible to trace information from floppy disks. The police department replied that there was no way of knowing what computer such a
disk had been used on, when in fact such ways existed.


Rader then sent his message and floppy to the police disks. The police department replied that there was no way of knowing what computer such a disk had been used on, when in fact such ways existed. Rader then sent his message and floppy to the police link to they found his family name, and were able to identify a suspect: Dennis Rader, a Lutheran department, which quickly checked the metadata of the Microsoft Word document. In the metadata, Deacon. The police also knew BTK owned a black Jeep Cherokee. When investigators drove by Rader’s house they noticed a black Jeep Cherokee parked outside.

The police now had strong circumstantial evidence against Rader, but they needed more direct evidence in order to detain him. They controversially obtained a warrant to test the DNA of a Pap smear evidence in order to detain him. They controversially obtained a warrant to test the DNA of a Pap smear The DNA of the Pap smear was a near match to the DNA of the sample taken from the victim’s Rader’s daughter had taken at the University of Kansas medical clinic while she was a student there. fingernails indicating that the killer was closely related to Rader’s daughter.


This was the evidence the police needed to make an arrest. On February 25, 2005, Rader was detained near his home in Park City and accused of the BTK killings. At a press conference the next morning, Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams announced, “the bottom line… BTK is arrested.” Rader pleaded guilty to the murders on June 27, 2005, giving a graphic account of his crimes in court. On August 18, 2005, he was sentenced to serve 10 consecutive life sentences, one life sentence per murder victim.


This included nine life sentences that each had possibility of parole after 15 years, and one life sentence with the possibility of parole after 40 years. It meant that, in total, Rader would be eligible for parole after 175 years of imprisonment. This result guaranteed that Rader would spend the rest of his life in prison, without any possibility of parole.



Rader was particularly known for sending taunting letters to police and newspapers. There were several communications from BTK from 1974 to responsibility for the murders of the Oteros,
Shirley Vian, Nancy Fox and another unidentified victim assumed to be Kathryn Bright (not identified because her brother survived and could have identified him).


 He suggested a number of possible names for himself, including the one that stuck: BTK. He demanded media attention in this second letter, and it was finally announced that Wichita did indeed have a serial killer at large. A poem was enclosed entitled “Oh! Death to Nancy,” a botched version of the lyrics of the American folk song “Oh Death.” In 1979 he sent two another poem, “Oh Anna Why Didn’t You Appear”, a drawing of what he had intended to do to his victim, as well as some small items he had pilfered from Williams’ home. Apparently, Rader had waited for several hours inside the
home of Anna Williams, but left when she did not come home until later.

In 1988, after the murders of three members of the Fager family in Wichita, a letter was received from someone claiming to be the BTK killer in that this letter was in fact written by the
genuine BTK killer (Rader), although he is not considered by police to have committed this crime.

In March 2004, a series of 11 communications from BTK (Rader) to the local media led directly to his arrest in February 2005. The Wichita Eagle received a letter from someone using the return
address Bill Thomas Killman. The author of the letter claimed that he had murdered Vicki Wegerle on September 16, 1986, and enclosed photographs of the crime scene and a photocopy of
her driver’s license, which had been stolen at the time of the crime.


Prior to this, it had not been definitively established that Wegerle was killed by BTK (Rader). In May 2004, a word puzzle was received by KAKE. On June 9, 2004, a package was found taped to a stop sign at the corner of First and Kansas in Wichita, containing graphic descriptions of the Otero murders and a sketch labeled, “The Sexual Thrill Is My Bill.” Also enclosed was a chapter list for a proposed book entitled “The BTK Story,” which mimicked a story written in 1999 by Court TV (now truTV)
crime writer David Lohr.


Chapter One was entitled, “A Serial Killer Is Born.”. In July, a package was dropped into the return slot at the downtown public library containing more bizarre material, including the claim that he was responsible for the death of 19-year-old Jake Allen in Argonia, Kansas earlier that same month. This claim was found to be false and the death has been ruled a suicide. In October 2004, a manila envelope was dropped into a UPS box in Wichita containing a series of cards with images of terror and bondage of children pasted on them.

Also included was a poem threatening the life of lead investigator Lt. Ken Landwehr and a false autobiography containing many details about Rader’s life. These details were later released to
the public.

In December 2004, Wichita police received another package from the BTK killer. This time the package was found in Wichita’s Murdock Park. It contained the driver’s license of Nancy Fox,
which was noted as stolen from the crime scene, as well as a doll that was symbolically bound at the hands and feet with a plastic bag tied over its head.


In January 2005, Rader attempted to leave a cereal box in the bed of a pickup truck at a Home Depot in Wichita, but the box was at first discarded by the owner. It was later retrieved from the trash after Rader himself asked what had become of it in a later message. Surveillance tape of the parking lot from that date revealed a distant figure driving a black Jeep Cherokee leaving the box in the pickup.


In February, more postcards were sent to KAKE, and another cereal box left at a rural location that contained another bound doll, apparently meant to symbolize the murder of 11-year-old Josephine
Otero. In his letters to police, Rader asked if his writings, if put on a floppy disk, could be traced or not. The police answered his question via a newspaper ad posted in the Wichita Eagle
saying it would be OK to use the disk. On February 16, 2005 he sent a floppy disk to Fox TV station KSAS in Wichita.


Forensic analysis quickly determined that the disk had been used by the
Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita, as well as a reference to the name “Dennis”. An internet search determined that a “Dennis Rader” was president of the church council. He was arrested on
February 25.


Example of Letter to Police

The following is reportedly the text of a 1978 letter, including spelling and grammatical errors:


strangling mostly women, there 7 in the ground; who will be next?

How many do I have to Kill before I get a name in the paper or some national attention. Do the cop think that all those deaths are not related? Golly -gee, yes the M.O. is different in each, but look a pattern is developing. The victims are tie up-most except the Vain’s Kids.


They were very lucky; a phone call save them. I was go-ng to tape the boys and put plastics bag over there head like I did Joseph, and Shirley. And then hang the girl. God-oh God what a
beautiful sexual relief that would been. Josephine,when I hung her really turn me on; her pleading for mercy then the rope took whole, she helpless; staring at me with factor x).


The same thing that made Son of Sam, Jack the Ripper, Havery Glatman, Boston Strangler, Dr. H. H. Holmes Panty wide terror fill eyes the rope getting tighter-tighter. You don’t understand these things because your not underthe influence of Hose Strangler OF Florida, Hillside Strangler, Ted of the West Coast and many more infamous character kill. Which seem s senseless, but we cannot help it.


There is no help, no cure, except death or being caught and put away. It a terrible nightmarebut, you see I don’t lose any sleep over it. After a thing like Fox I ccome home and go about life
like anyone else. And I will be like that until the urge hit me again. It not continuous and I don;t have a lot of time. It take time to set a kill, one mistake and it all over.


Since I about blew it on the phone-handwriting is out-letter guide is to long and typewriter can be traced too,.My short poem of death and maybe a drawing;later on real picture and maybe a tape of the sound will come your way.


How will you know me. Before a murder or murders you will
receive a copy of the initials B.T.K. , you keep that copy the original will show up some day on guess who? May you not be the unluck one!

How about some name for me, its time: 7 down and many more to go. I like the following How aboutyou?




About G.Edward Smith

A stranger in a strange land...
This entry was posted in Just Thinking and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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