He terrorized the Kansas community for decades, Dennis Rader called himself BTK, which stood for his particular method of murder — Bind, Torture, Kill.

Dennis Rader’s killing spree lasted from 1974-1991, in which he claimed to have taken 10 lives including 2 children. “He manipulates everyone he runs into… He lives a double life he doesn’t fit the profile of what we would have expected for the BTK Killer.”, a news broadcast after BTK confessed to his killings.

BTK killer being escorted out of the court
BTK killer on his way out, Bo Rader-The Wichita Eagle/Reuters

Between 1974 and 1991 he terrorized the people of Wichita, Kansas by a series of ten murders. He wanted fame for the killings he did and to do so he would write letters which involved drawings and poems to local police and news outlets describing what he had done. He wanted the credit and thus started signing his communications as “BTK”.

BTK Case Unsolved, 30 Years Later

After his last killing, all the communication with BTK has stopped and a report in the Wichita Eagle, 2004 titled “BTK Case Unsolved, 30 Years Later” which suggested that the killer was either dead or in prison as serial killers don’t quit until they are caught. This would turn out to be the mistake of Dennis Rader’s life. The man solely wanted attention and an article described him dead, he wanted the world to know that he was very much alive and free.

After 13 years of no communication, BTK decided to write again, this time replying to the article in the eagle, confessing to a murder he committed in 1986. As proof, he included a copy of the victim’s driver’s license within the letter.

Cereal box and Black Jeep

BTK was not stopping and he alerted a Wichita news station in January 2005 via postcard to two packages he’d left for authorities. Both of the boxes were Cereal boxes. One of them left by the side of a road and the other behind a home depot.

Police found the box on the road quickly which included a graphic description of his first murders, while the first box was easy to find the second box was proved more difficult to locate but would eventually lead to BTK’s downfall.

covers of the letter sent to BTK killer to police
Letter Addressed Bill Thomas Killman

The box was accidentally thrown away by an employee at home depot. Authorities searched the trash and found several documents inside. The most important item was the first line “Can I communicate with Floppy and not be traced by the computer… Be honest”. The document further asked police to place an ad, upon which police did the same, “Rex, it will be ok”

Floopy Disk- How he got caught

The police ran an ad fully intending to track the disk. The home depot security footage was examined in the hope of getting some additional insight about BTK who dropped the second box there. The footage revealed that the cereal box was left there by a man driving a black Jeep Grand Cherokee.

BTK's letter to police in which he asked if he could use a floppy disk and not tracked?
BTK’s letter to police

Two weeks after police placed an ad, a package arrived from BTK at a local news station. The package included a floppy disk. The floppy disk contained one file that stated: “This is a test.” It’s not what he included in the floppy disk but what he didn’t include on the floppy disk that changed the course of history.

Police traced the disk and found that the disk had been used in Park City Library and Christ Lutheran Church. They also managed to find out that the document was created by someone named Dennis. When they searched the internet it showed the name of the congregation president at the Christ Lutheran Church, “Dennis Rader”.


Police wasted no time in scoping out the suspect’s driveway and found a black Jeep Grand Cherokee, the same jeep which was used to drop the cereal box at home depot.

On February 25th, 2005 Dennis Rader was arrested, BTK killer tried to act innocent at first but it wasn’t long before he began confessing in full to the ten murders he committed over the years. His recorded confession lasted approximately 30 hours, as the lead interrogator puts it “We couldn’t shut him up.”

Witchita Eagle after BTk killer confessed
Witchita Eagle after BTk killer confessed

The serial killer who took 10 lives felt betrayed that the police lied about being able to trace the floppy disk. Rader even asked the interrogator “How come you lied to me” to which the interrogator replied, “Because I was trying to catch you.”

Rader was convicted of all ten murders and sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole, with a minimum of 175 years. He is currently serving his life sentence in El Dorado Correctional Facility.

Now that you’ve read about How BTK killer was caught, read more about The Church President who strangled people to death or the conspiracy behind the disappearance of D.B. Cooper.