Dennis Rader

"BTK" Serial Killer


Dennis Rader appeared to be a normal and unremarkable child. He joined Boy Scouts and youth church groups, but had withdrawn tendencies. He admits to have developed fantasies about bondage, control, and torture at early age, when he was in elementary school, and when he became sexual, he dreamed of tying girls up and having his way. He learned he had to keep is disturbing tendencies of bondage, torture, and death a secret. He also admits to having killed dogs and cats through hanging them as a youth.


  • Dennis Rader graduated from Wichita Heights High School 1963 and went to college at Kansas Wesleyan College in Salina. In college, he joined a fraternity to reinvent himself to be more extrovert and he also began keeping journals of his life.
  • In college when learned how to break and enter homes, found this type of activity exhilarating
  • Later on in life, Rader went back to community college at Butler County Community College in El Dorado, and earned his Associate’s degree in electronics 1973.
  • Then when he was older, he went to Wichita State University where it took him six years to attain his degree and was a C and D student.

Work Experiences

  • Dennis Rader joined US Air force 1966 to avoid being drafted during Vietnam war. Around this time in army, he engaged in sexual activities with prostitutes where he attempted to engage in bondage but was rejected; he also started stalking. Rader worked in a supermarket during college.
  • When Rader was married, he worked in meat department in IGA Supermarket
  • Later on in 1972, he worked at Coleman Co., a small aircraft manufacturer in Cessna.
  • He was later, fired Cessna cause oil embargo crisis, he then started exploring his dark side after losing this job fired.
  • In November 1974, Rader found a steady job for the next 14 years at ADT Security, a company that does installations of alarm systems
  • He rose to position of installation supervisor which gave flexibility where he could be during the day, which was used to his advantage when he wanted to commit murders.

Normal Social Life

Dennis Rader was often described as mediocre and blended into the crowd. He married Paula Dietz May 22, 1971 and had two children, Brian and Kerri. In their new home and neighborhood, Rader enjoyed trolling: driving and looking at women and imagined binding, torturing and killing them. He was very active in church and became a scout leader for his son.

Mental State

The only mental disability he had is that he could not spell well and had bad written grammar.

The First Kill

  • Dennis Rader admired hispanic women for their beauty and dark hair. When a new family moved in on the route Rader dropped his wife off for work, he spotted Julie Otero (34) and her daughter Josephine(11). Rader could not resist his dark urges and made plans for the first kill. He figured out the daily schedule of Otero house and on January 15, 1974, he took action. At 8 am, he went over to the Otero's household and cut the phone line and entered through back door, but there turned out to be more people than expected. The husband Joe(38), the children Josephine and Joey(9), wife Julie, and their vicious dog were all in the house that morning.
  • Rader ordered Joe put dog outside, he then told them that he was a criminal and needed car, money, and food. At first, Joe thought it was a joke from his brother-in-law, but then Rader told everyone to go to the bedroom.
  • He then tied them all up and Rader put bag over Joe’s head, but Joe fought and tore holes in bag. Rader then used a cord ligature to subdue and kill him
  • Then he tried to strangle Julie, but failed the first time, but succeed the second time all while she begged him not to kill children and said “God have mercy on your soul.”
  • After, Joey was taken to room and killed through strangulation and suffocation; Rader said he brought a chair and watched him die.
  • Josephine last, at first was failed attempt at strangulation, when she woke up, he took her to basement and told her she going to join her family.
  • Rader ask for camera, but she say no have one. She was hanged from sewer pipe in basement and left partially disrobed.
  • He masturbated over her bare leg and left semen on pipe behind her
  • He took Joe’s watch and a small radio, and took the family's station wagon to Dillon’s supermarket and tossed car keys on top of building
  • Rader didn’t know Otero had 3 older children, Charlie(15), Daniel(14), and Carmen(13), they found their family dead that afternoon after school.

Total Victims

  • 10 people

    • Joseph Otero(38), His wife Julie(34), their children Joseph(9) and Josephine(11), Kathryn Bright(21), Shirley Vian (24), Nancy Fox(25), Marine Hedge(53), Vicki Wegerie(28), and Dolores E. Davis(62)

Modus Operandi and Type of Killer

  • He would stalk and find the victim’s pattern and then bind and kill

  • Mostly aimed women
  • One exception was the second time he striked.
  • He abandoned strangulation when the two victims Kathryn and her brother Kevin struggled
      • He stabbed Kathryn

      • He shot Kevin in the head, but Kevin survived and got help

Dennis Rader could be classified as an organized killer because of all the planning he did before a murder.

  • He would stalk the victim, then cut the phone line and then proceed to killing them.
  • He had a hit kit that he would take with him when he committed the murders.

Reasoning behind and signature of Dennis Rader's killings

  • Rader wanted to fulfill his fantasy of death.
  • His signature was he would leave semen on a victim's item and leave the item near the victim.


  • Rader sent a drop, which was one of many, to KSAS-TV which consisted of a letter, a piece of jewelry and a purple diskette.
  • The detectives scanned the disc and found software from Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita and the name Dennis. They research the church and found Dennis was the president in the church.
  • They found Rader’s home and found that he had a black Jeep Cherokee parked in driveway (which was found around one of the murders he committed).
  • The officers obtained DNA secretly from Rader’s daughter Kerri from medical records and the familial DNA was a match to the DNA found from the semen of the BTK crime scene.
  • On his way home for lunch, Rader was surrounded by the police
  • Arrested February 25th, 2005, 14 years after his last kill.
  • He spent 30 hours in the confession room ranting about his killings


  • Plead not guilty

  • August 18, 2005 - Sentenced to 175 years in prison without parole
Big image

Extra information

  • October 1974, an editor of Wichita Eagle newspaper was directed to find a letter that described the Otero murders and saying that “I did it myself with noone’s help” The code words for me will be...Bind them, torture them, kill them, B.T.K…”

    • The author of the letter was concerned that the wrong man was arrested for the crime.

  • He called the police to find the body of one of his victims.

  • He also sent a package to one woman that was not home when he came to kill her one day.

  • Rader enjoyed the BTK attention.

  • He liked to take pictures of himself bonded and dressed in victim's belongings.

  • Rader was a psychopath

      • had 2 worlds, social realm everyone was in, and his own torture and death one


"Dennis Rader - BTK Killer - a Biography." Dennis Rader - BTK Killer - a Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2015.