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Dennis Rader’s confession lasted for 30 hours, which filled 17 DVDs, even the cops couldn’t shut him up. The BTK killer just went on describing his murder spree and what he has done to the victims. BTK described the murders as someone who asked him how to make a cake.

BTK with his daughter
BTK with his daughter

The cold-hearted killer, Dennis Rader was born on March 9, 1945, as the oldest of four in Pittsburgh, Kansan. He grew up in Wichita, with parents working long hours and paying no attention to the child, he would later describe feeling ignored by his mother in particular.

Dennis Rader childhood

From a young age, Rader exhibited zoo sadism by torturing, killing and hanging stray animals which he explained as, “When I was in grade school, I sort of had some problems.”

Sexual, sexual fantasies. Probably more than normal. All males probably go through some kind of uh, sexual fantasy. Mine was just probably a bit weirder than other people.” as said by the BTK Killer during his confessions.

Rader in his childhood had some weird fantasies, wearing women’s underwear and spying on female neighbor while they were changing clothes. He would bind himself, arms and neck with ropes and would masturbate on the women’s underwear he had stolen.

He would cover his head with a bag – actions he would employ on his victims later. He cut out photos of women from magazines whom he found arousing and drew ropes and gags on them. BTK imagined how he could restrain and control them.

Dennis Rader kept his weird sexual fantasy behavior to himself and as to the world outside, he was a kind and polite person. He attended college for some time before he dropped out and joined the U.S. Air Force.

Eventually, he was discharged and worked with his mom on a supermarket in Park city and attended Buttler County Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree in Electronics. He later went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice.

In 1971 he met his wife Paula Dietz through the church, she was a bookkeeper for Snacks convenience store and he proposed after just a few dates. The couple got married in 1971.

Rader’s electrician job didn’t pan out for him and he was laid off from his job in 1973 and just shortly afterward he killed his first victim in 1974.

The BTK Killer — Otero Family

On the morning of January 15, 1974, somewhere between 7 and 7:30 A.M, Dennis Rader walked to the house of the Otero family to cut their phone lines and waited at the backdoor. While he was having second thoughts about going in or just walking away.

BTK victims
List of BTK victims

Joseph opened to door to let the dog out, he went in, confronted the family and pulled his pistol on Mr. Otero. Rader asked Mr. Otero for the car and that he was hungry and requested to let the dog out.

He then took the family to the bedroom and strangled them one by one, he strangled Mr. Otero first then his wife and then the son. He dragged Josephine to the basement where he pulled off her underwear and hung her from a sewer pipe.

He choked the girl to death and after she was dead, Rader masturbated over her dead body and took her underwear as a souvenir. He cleaned the house before leaving and took Mr. Otero’s watch and a radio.

Rader then took their car, drove to another place, left the car there and walked the remaining distance to his farm.

One that got away from the BTK Killer

Dennis Rader took his next two victims just a few months after of Otero family murders. He stalked Kathryn Bright for days before breaking into he house.

Rader claimed that he had two stages before he will end up doing the worst for victims. Trolling and stalking, apparently Kathryn Bright was in her stalking stage.

When asked Rader how did he select her (Kathryn Bright)? He replied, “I was just driving by one day and I saw her go in the house with somebody else and I thought that’s a possibility.

BTK Killer and Kerri Rawson
Dennis Rader with his daughter credit: Twitter
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On April 4, he broke into the house from the backdoor and waited for her to come home. After Kathryn and her brother arrived at the house. He told them he was wanted in California and needed their car, basically the same thing he told the Otero family.

Rader had Kevin tied up by Kathryn and took her to the bedroom. When he came back to strangle Kevin, they had a fight and Rader shot him.

By the time he was strangling Kathryn, he heard a noise coming out from the other bedroom. He went there and tried to re-strangle Kevin but this time Kevin shot him in his shoulder, the fight continued and Rader shot Kevin second time. Rader went back to strangle Kathryn and killed her with a knife.

However, Kevin survived and Rader ran away. Kevin later described Rader as having “psychotic eyes”

“If I had brought my stuff and used them, Kevin would probably be dead today.. I’m not bragging on it’s just a matter of fact.” — Dennis Rader during his confession.

Dennis Rader’s family

During the time Rader was busy killing his wife Paula was three months pregnant with Rader’s first child. Unknown to her, her husband began to advertise his crimes.

btk mask
Detective Sam Houston holds up the mask Dennis Rader used while killing one of his victims, Wichita, Kansas. August 18, 2005

BTK wrote a letter for the local paper describing how he killed the Oteros and stashed the letter inside an engineering book at the Wichita Public Library. Rader later called the newspaper and told them where they could find his confession. He named himself BTK, which was his preferred method Bind, Torture, and Kill.

Dennis Rader took some time off his murder streak when his wife, Paula told him that she was pregnant. “I was so excited, for us and our folks. We were now a family. With a job and a baby, I got busy.”

This lasted only for a few years and the BTK Killer struck again in 1977. Paula never asked any questions, even when the clues added up. Paula found an early draft of a poem entitle Shirley Locks in which her husband writes “Thou shall not scream… but lay on the cushion and think of me and death.”

“You spell just like BTK,” said Paula Dietz when she noticed the BTK letters were full of same misspellings as she got from her husband. Neither did she ask him about the mysterious sealed box he kept in their home.

The sealed box contained mementos from the BTK Killer’s crime scenes: Josephine’s underwear, driving licenses, along with pictures of him dressed up in his victim’s underwear, chocking himself and burying himself alive, re-enacting the ways he killed them.

“Part of my M.O. was to find and keep the victim’s underwear, then in my fantasy, I would relive the day, or start a new fantasy,” Dennis Rader explained in an interview.

BTK Killer — Working as a security specialist?

Dennis was working as a home security specialist at the time and would often set up the home alarm for customers. Little did customers know that the alarms they were setting up to keep the BTK killer up were being installed by the BTK himself.

Locals were unknowingly allowing a notorious serial killer into their house.

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After the break, BTK struck again on March 17, 1977. This time he strangled another woman named Shirley Ruth Vian Relford. Vian was random, he did not plan anything. There was someone else he was waiting for and named the plan “Project Green”.

Rader went on to a house and identified himself as a private detective. He forced himself inside, pulled his gun up and told Vian that he had a problem with sexual fantasies. For that, he was going to tie her up and explained to her that he had done this before. BTK then tied her up, put a black bag over her head and strangled the lady.

On 8th December 1977, BTK broke into Nancy Fox’s house and confronted her told her about her sexual fantasy and strangled her with a belt.

BTK — The Proud Father

None of his children suspected him or have any idea that their loving father would do something like this. Their father was at, his worst a strict moral Christian. However, there was an incident when Rader angrily grabs his son by the neck and his daughter — Kerri Rawson had to call her mother to pull him off to save the boy’s life.

Dennis Raider with his daughter.
BTK with his daughter — Kerri Rawson

Rader’s next victim was the woman he waved every morning while on his way to church, a 53-year-old Marine Hedge. While she was the BTK killer’s eight victims. Dennis Rader went to the family and assured them “Don’t worry, we are safe.” Rader tied her and chocked her to death. This time he didn’t use rope or belt, in fact, he strangled her with his own hands.

In 1986, he killed his next victim, 28-year-old Vicki Wegerle, while her two-year-old watched from a playpen. Her murder would remain until BTK confessed of the crime himself.

Dennis Rader maliciously, willfully, deliberately and with premeditation by strangulation inflicting injuries from which Dolores Earline Johnson David died on January 19, 1991.

Confession and Trial of BTK

After the last murder, Dennis Rader stopped and didn’t write any letter to local news or police station. But after reading an article he sent nearly a dozen taunting letters and packages to the media and police.

Dennis Rader looking away from his evidence photos
Dennis Rader looking away from his evidence photos

The one that got him away was his letter in the floppy disk, in which he asked the police that can the floppy disk be traced form a computer? If it doesn’t tell me through a newspaper ad. After receiving the floppy disk the police tracked him down. The document was made from someone named Dennis. When the officials looked up the name popped up Dennis Rader, the president of Church Council.

DNA samples resulted in a match with his daughter, and eventually, a floppy disk finally ended the killing spree of The BTK Killer.

Dennis Rader was 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.

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