How ‘BTK’ serial killer Dennis Rader terrorized the community for over 30 years killing 10 people and taunting police over creepy murders

Serial killer “BTK” Dennis Rader terrorized his community for more than 30 years, killing 10 people while taunting police by sending letters detailing his gruesome murders.

For several years, BTK Killer (“Tie, torture, kill”) mingled with his community in Wichita, Kansas, avoid detection by the police regarding chain of murders satisfy his sexual desires.

Dennis Rader is serving 10 life sentences


Dennis Rader is serving a 10 life sentenceCredit: Handout – Getty
A mask used in a crime brought before the court


A mask used in a crime brought before the courtCredit: Getty – Pool
A letter from BTK Killer to the press


A letter from BTK Killer to the press

To this day, Rader is a devoted family man to his wife, Paula Dietz, and his daughter, Kerri.

He is also a government employee at Wichita’s ADT Security Service, a director at Christ Lutheran Church, and a Cuban Scout leader.

However, Rader kept his sexual orientation hidden, as he was widely recognized in the community as a “normal”, “polite” and “polite” individual.

Rader’s rampage began in January 1974 with the murder of four members of the Otero family.

The victims, Joseph, 38 years old; Julie, 33 years old; Joseph Jr., 9 years old; and Josephine, 11, were discovered by the family’s three other children – Charlie, Danny and Carmen Otero, who were teenagers at the time.

A month later, he sent a letter to the Wichita Eagle detailing exactly how he had killed the Oteros.

“Three guys you’re keeping in custody are just talking publicly about Otero’s murder,” Rader wrote.

“They don’t know anything. I did it myself and without anyone’s help. There was also no talk. Let’s get this straight.”

Rader went on to provide graphic details that only someone at the crime scene would know.


In the letter, Rader wrestles with his urges, calling his murderous ego a “monster.”

“I’m sorry this has happened to society… It’s hard to control myself. You may call me ‘a psychopath with a sexual perversion’. Where this monster got into my brain I will never know,” he wrote.

“But, it’s here to stay. How does one heal themselves? If you ask for help, that you’ve killed four people, they’ll laugh or hit the panic button and call the police…. I can’t stop, the monster continued, and hurt me like wall like society.

“Perhaps you can stop him. I can’t. Good luck hunting,” Rader continued.

At the end of the letter, Rader solidified his image in the public eye, “BTK Killer”, which stands for “tie, torture, kill”.

P.S. Since sex offenders don’t change their MO or are intrinsically unable to do so, I won’t change mine. The code word for me would be… Tie them up, torture them, kill them, BTK, you see him there again,” he said.


Between 1974 and 777, Rader killed three more women – Kathryn Bright, 21; Shirley Vian Relford, 24 years old; and Nancy Fox, 25 years old.

In early 78, he sent another letter to local television station KAKE, demanding responsibility for the murders of Oteros, Bright, Relford, and Fox.

He killed three more people between 77 and 1991, including Marine Hedge, 53; Vicki Weerle, 28 years old; and Dolore Davis, 62 years old.

After the seventh murder, he wrote, “How many people do I have to kill before I can get my name on the papers or some kind of national recognition?”

Rader also invented a whole vocabulary to describe his interior landscape.

He calls his ability to switch from the “good” side to the “bad” side “observation.”

Rader calls his potential victims “projects” and is said to have tracked around 55 people over the years.

He calls a murder a “smash” and calls killing someone “knock them down.”

After his last murder in 1991, Rader went on a decade-long hiatus, and by 2004 the investigation into the BTK Killer was considered a cold case.


However, his need for attention led to his downfall, as he sent 10 letters to local shops between ’04 and ’05.

In January 2005, Rader sent a postcard to Wichita Television with the locations of two packages.

First, a cereal box containing details of Otero’s 1974 murder and dolls representing the victims.

The other, accidentally thrown from the Home Depot it was sent to, contained a floppy disk asking the police if he could “safely” communicate with them.

The police carried out his plot and ended up using the other discs Rader sent to track him down.

In February 2005, police officer Randy Stone decrypted hidden metadata on a computer disk sent to him by the BTK killer.

The disc was used by a “Dennis” at Christ Lutheran Church and Park City Library.

Officials matched the BTK killer’s DNA to that of Rader’s daughter, Kerri, who was at the hospital for a pap smear test.

On February 25, 2005, Rader was run over by several police cars following him and taken into custody.

He confessed to the murders after being confronted with DNA evidence.

In July 2005, Rader pleaded guilty to murdering BTK and was subsequently sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences, with a minimum of 175 years.


A&E’s upcoming docuseries, BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer, which airs January 8th – will revisit Rader’s crimes.

Throughout the documents, Rader discusses his misconduct in phone calls with Dr Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychology professor and author who communicated with the convicted killer. sentence for a decade.

Rader provides personal details of his murders, as well as the thoughts and impulses that led him to commit them in the first place.

The two-night, four-part docuseries will premiere on Saturday, January 8, at 9pm on A&E.

One of his victims was Vicki Wegerle


One of his victims was Vicki WegerleCredit: AP: Associated Press
Rader and daughter Kerri


Rader and daughter KerriCredit: Courtesy of Kerri Rawson
Charlie Otero, sister Carmen Montoya and brother Daniel Otero - children of the first victims of BTK Killer


Charlie Otero, sister Carmen Montoya and brother Daniel Otero – children of the first victims of BTK KillerCredit: Getty How ‘BTK’ serial killer Dennis Rader terrorized the community for over 30 years killing 10 people and taunting police over creepy murders


DevanCole is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DevanCole joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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