Dennis Lynn Rader: The BTK Killer BY Metkeol Abstract This research paper is about Dennis Lynn Rader, also known as the BTK Killer. He haunted the city of Wichita, Kansas for nearly thirty years, from his first killing of the Otero family in 1974 until his arrest in February of 2005. Ten people became his victims and throughout his “career” as serial killer he taunted the police with letters. You will learn about his upbringing, his methods to kill, his modus operandi, his victims and how he eventually got arrested. Dennis L. Rader, BTK This paper is about Dennis Lynn Rader, a serial killer who haunted the city ofOrder now
Wichita, Kansas for about 30 years, beginning in 1974 with his first murder until his capture in February 2005. It’s about his upbringing, his life, his career, his murders, his victims and his capture so many years later. Dennis Lynn Rader was born on March 9th 1945 in Pittsburgh, Kansas. He’s the oldest of four sons born to William and Dorothea Rader. The family moved to Wichita, Kansas when Dennis was a young boy. As a child, Dennis was normal and unremarkable. He was a Boy Scout and participated in his a lot of his church’s activities.
He was an average student in lementary school and by his own admission he says he developed fantasies about bondage and torture from a very early age. He said that when he was old enough to have sex he would dream about tying girls up and having his way with them. He also admits to having killed cats and dogs as an adolescent. He kept his love for bondage, torture and death a secret from everyone. He was described as quiet and polite who liked to keep to himself. He graduated from Wichita Heights High School in 1963 and started working in a grocery store until he entered college in 1965.
He was a poor student and when he turned 21 he entered the US Air Force. He then was send to Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio for basic training. During his time in the Air Force he was stationed in Wichita Falls/Texas, Mobile/Alabama, Okinawa/Japan and also spent time in Korea, Greece and Turkey while serving in the Air Force. He left the Air Force as sergeant and fellow soldiers said he was Just one of those guys who blend in. After his service in the Air Force he returned to his home town of Wichita/Kansas in 1970.
On May 22nd, 1971 he married Paula Dietz, a woman who grew up in the same area, attended the same high school and went to the same church as Rader did. The young coupled bought a home in Park City, located in north Wichita. At that time Dennis was working in the meat department of a supermarket and Paula was a bookkeeper. In 1972, Rader started working for Coleman, a large manufacturer of camping supplies. He worked there until 1973 and then switched workplaces again, starting working for Cessna and also attending college, earning an associate’s degree in Electronics.
In the fall of 1973 he began studies at Wichita State University, but it would take him six years to finish his degree. In early 1974 he was between Jobs he would start trolling neighborhoods, looking for women and his antasies about bondage, torture and killing would become stronger and stronger. observed the house for a while, learning their daily schedule. He would put together a kit, which he called a hit kit, consisting of a gun, cords, knives and different tools for entering a house. On January 15th, 1974 he committed his first murder.
He cut the telephone line before entering the house and was surprised in finding Joseph Otero still at home, as well as his wife and their youngest children Josephine and Joey. He didn’t expect everybody to be home but somehow controlled the situation using his un. He told the Otero’s he was a criminal and Just needed money and a car to flee the state. He managed to tie them all up and started to put a bag over Josephs head to kill him. But he fought hard and Rader strangled him with a cord instead. After Joe was dead he then went on to kill Julie, who begged him, not to kill the children.
The next one to die was Joey, the nine year old son of the family. He strangled and suffocated him and sat down in a chair to watch him die. Last but not least it was Josie’s turn. His first attempt of strangling her failed, so he forced her to walk ownstairs in the basement. There he put a noose around her neck and hanged her from a pipe, leaving her partially undressed. He masturbated on her bare legs, leaving semen behind. After cleaning up the house a little bit he took the familys car and drove it toa nearby supermarket. What Rader didn’t know is that the Oteros had three older children, who had already left the house that morning.
Charlie, Daniel and Carmen were the ones that found their parents dead that afternoon. Rader’s next victim was Kathryn Bright. He broke into her home and hid in the bedroom waiting for her to return home. Again something went wrong for Rader, and Bright returned home, accompanied by her younger brother Kevin. He surprised them and using his gun he forced Kevin to tie up his sister. Then he took Kevin in another room, trying to tie him up with material found in the home. Kevin got loose and Rader shot him twice in the head. Thinking Kevin was dead, Rader went on to work on Kathryn.
She resisted heavily and instead of strangling her, he ended up stabbing her multiple times. During that time Kevin, who wasn’t dead, fled the house and called for help. Rader was forced to leave the scene quickly, ran to his car, and drove ff. Kathryn died in the hospital a few hours later and Kevin survived miraculously. In October 1974, Rader began to taunt the police, a game he will play with the Wichita Police for over thirty years. He called a newspaper editor and directed him toa hidden letter in a book at the Wichita Public Library. The editor notified the police, who found the letter in the book.
In the letter were detailed descriptions of the still unsolved Otero murder. The author of the letter was concerned about a recent arrest in the murder case and let the police know that they had the wrong man. It read “l id it myself with noone’s help”. Further he said, “the code words for me will be… Bind them, torture them, kill them, B. T. K… ” By the end of 1974 Rader finally found a steady job again, when he started working for ADT Security Systems. Another important milestone in his life came in 1975, when his first child was born, his son Brian. Rader’s schedule was busy with his Job at ADT, a newborn and night school at WSU.
He is not known to have committed any crimes in the years 1975-76. On March 17th 1977 his urge to kill came back and he tricked a 5 year old boy to show him the way to his home. There he forced the little boy and his two sibling in the bathroom and locked them in. He then tied up Shirley Vian, the mother of the children, and and fled the crime scene. The children eventually freed themselves from the bathroom and found their mother dead. After his arrest Rader stated, that he planned on killing the children as well, but a ringing telephone caused him to leave before doing so.
Later that same year, he found another victim, Nancy Fox. He stalked her for some time and on December 8th he broke into her duplex, after cutting the phone line and waited for her arrival at home. He tied her up and trangled her to death with a ligature, then masturbated on her nightgown, which was found next to the body. The next morning he placed a phone call to the police dispatcher and told them where to find a body. In early 1978 he send a letter to the newspaper Wichita Eagle, in which he claimed full responsibility for the Otero, Bright, Vian and Fox murders.
He also suggested some names he would like the media to name him. His suggestions included BTK Killer, the name he would become famous with. In his letter Rader mentioned a “factor x”, which he claimed was responsible for his need to kill people. Rader’s last letter led the police to publicly announce that Wichita had a serial killer on the loose. Also in 1978, Rader and his wife Paula had a daughter, Kerri. His urge to kill didn’t come back until April 1979. He broke into the home of 63 year old Anna Williams and waited for her return home.
Lucky for her, she was later than usual and Rader left the house, disappointed and angry. A few weeks later he send her a package with a poem entitled “Oh Anna why didn’t you appear” and some of the things he had stolen from her home the day he broke in. He also sends a similar package toa TV station in Wichita. Those packages were the last time, BTK would be heard of publicly until 2004. In the following years Rader finished his degree in Administration of Justice, became more active in his church and was involved in a reserve officer program as volunteer. This kept him busy and he didn’t kill for a few years.
On April 27th 1985 he found a new victim, 53 year old Marine Hedge, who lived in the same street as he did. He took great lengths to pull of her murder. He left for a scout camp trip, but left the camp saying he had a headache and needed some medicine. He then went to Hedges home, cut the elephone line, broke into her house and waited for her to come home. He choked her to death and dragged her body to her car. He drove to his church, carried her in the basement and photographed her in various poses before dumping her in a ditch outside Park City. Once he was done he returned to the Scout camp.
Over a year goes by until Rader strikes again. This time he set his eyes on 28 year old Vicky Wegerle, a mother of two. On September 16th 1986 he knocked on her door, dressed up as a telephone repairman and gained access to her house. Once inside he tied her up, but she resisted, scratching him fiercely. He then strangled her with her pantyhose and photographed her dying body in various poses before leaving the scene in Vickys car. The victim’s husband returned home a little while later, even seeing his wife’s car going in a different direction from the house. He could not identify the driver.
Bill Wegerle even was the prime suspect in his wife’s murder and the cloud of suspicion would hang over him for more than 18 years. In 1988 Rader was fired from his employer ADT Security and he did various Jobs, including working for the US Census Bureau. His next killing episode was in 1991. He found that it was safer to focus on older woman, since they were more vulnerable. The next victim he away on a Scout Camping trip; he drove back to the city and broke into Davis’ house at night. He tied her up in her bedroom and ended her life by ligature strangulation.
He dragged her body outside and put her in the trunk of her car. He left her body at a lake a short distance from Park City. After dumping her body he returned to the house and cleaned up his fingerprints. Rader decided to put the body somewhere else and drove back to the lake to put the body back in the trunk and later dumped it gain under a bridge in a different part of the county. Then he changed back into his Scout uniform, drove back to camp and lived life as usual. A few months after this murder, Rader was hired by Park City as an animal control and compliance officer.
Dolores Davis is Rader’s last murder. He kept his urges under control and lived a normal life for the next thirteen years. In 2003 his daughter got married and moved away to Michigan. His son Brian Joined the Navvy and left for the East Coast. In 2004, Rader was elected vice president of the Church Council in his Lutheran Church. He was seen as a trusted leader and helper. Despite being busy with work and church, Rader became increasingly bored. This might be one of the reasons why he decided to emerge again, haunting the people of Wichita.
On March 17th 2004 Rader mailed a letter to the Wichita Eagle, which contained photographs of the body of Vicki Wegerle, as well as a copy of her drivers’ license. With the arrival of this letter, Wegerle’s husband Bill was cleared as a suspect in his wife’s murder. Another letter arrived on May 5th 2004 at a Wichita TV station. It was a letter containing puzzles, but the FBI couldn’t make any sense out of it. On June 9th 2004 a package was found ontaining grisly sketches of his victims and a letter with horrendous details of the Otero familys murder.
Rader then deposited another package on July 17th 2004. This time he put it in the book return of Wichita Public Library downtown. This package contained a letter, saying that he had found his new victim and is about to strike. His sixth package was found on December 14th 2004 by a man, who was walking in a park. He took it home to look inside and found out what he had in his hands. He handed the package over to the police who found a doll inside with a plastic bag wrapped around her head, her hands and feet tied and the drivers’ icense of Nancy Fox.
By January 2005 Rader was now President of the Church Council. That didn’t stop him from delivering more packages to taunt the Wichita Police. This time he put a cereal box in the bed ofa pickup truck parked outside of Home Depot. In this package the Police found some information Rader revealed about himself (and to be found not true later in the investigation), names of victims he had watched and a questions for the investigators: If they would be able to trace a floppy disc! He said that he wants an answer to this question posted in the Wichita Eagle classified section in the miscellaneous section.
The police answered his question that it is impossible to trace a floppy disk to the source where it has been used. Rader deposited a few more packages and in his eleventh package a floppy disk was found. The disc was immediately analyzed and traced back to Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita and the name Dennis. Apparently Rader was sure he had erased all contents that could tie him to the diskette. Police found out that the name of the church’s president was Dennis. They drove by Rader’s house and found that he owned a black Jeep Cherokee, a car that was seen on surveillance tapes from Home
DNA sample taken from his daughter was compared to the DNA found in semen at earlier crime scenes. It was a close match, meaning that the crime scene DNA must come from a close relative of Kerri Rader. On February 25th 2005 the BTK Killer was arrested shortly after 12pm. At first he refused to talk about the murders, but when confronted with the evidence (DNA match, floppy disk) he started talking and made a 30 hour confession. He revealed details never known before and proudly recited his achievements. Police searched Rader’s home, office and church office.
They found lenty of evidence, like the original letters, drivers’ licenses, photos, etc… On February 28th 2005, Rader was formally charged with 10 counts of first degree murder. Rader never spoke at his arraignment, so District Court Judge Gregory Waller entered not guilty pleas to the 10 charges on Rader’s behalf. When the scheduled trial date arrived on June 27th, Rader changed his plea to guilty. He was found guilty and received 10 consecutive life terms. He is now serving his life sentence at El Dorado Correctional Facility in El Dorado/Kansas with an earliest possible release date of
February 26th 2180. In the end, a simple mistake led to Dennis Rader’s capture. He simply believed the police, when they told him a diskette can’t be traced to the source. Being so smart and getting arrested due to such a big mistake makes me believe that he couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to be arrested. He haunted the city of Wichita/Kansas for over thirty years, becoming one of the most notorious serial killers in the United States. He lived a double life. Famous profilers like Robert Ressler were wrong in many points of the profile they made up for him.
He fooled the police nd the people of Wichita for a long time but now it’s over and he’s in prison for the rest of his natural life. Dennis Rader as young men. Dennis Rader as animal control and compliance officer. Mug shot after his arrest in February 2005. His trademark signature. Crime scene photo from the Nancy Fox murder. Him posing in a grave he dug. One of the dolls he send investigators. References Dennis Rader – BTK Killer – a Biography. (2007, January). Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://dennisraderbtk. blogspot. com Dennis Rader I Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers. (n. d. ).
In Murderpedia, he encyclopedia of murderers. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http:// www. murderpedia. org/male. R/r/rader-dennis. htm King, G. C. (n. d. ). Dennis Lynn Rader : Serial Killers : Investigation Discovery. Investigation Discovery : Investigation Discovery. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://investigation. discovery. com/criminals/serial-killers/dennis-rader. html Dennis Rader. (n. d. ). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 26, Fox, J. A. , Levin, J. , & Quinet, K. (2012). The will to kill: Making sense of senseless murder (4th ed. ). Boston: Pearson. Add Comment Grade: A Heading: Comment: