February 25, 2005: The BTK Killer is Arrested


Dennis Lynn Radar was an American serial killer, and is still an American prisoner, known as BTK: standing for Bind, Torture, Kill. He gave himself the name.

Between 1974 and 1991, he killed 10 people in the Wichita, Kansas area. He began sending letters and taunts to police and newspapers in 2004, more than a decade after his last murder, which lead to his eventual arrest in 2005.

He is serving 10 consecutive life sentences in El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas.


Rader was born on March 9, 1945, and was one of 4 sons. Though born in Pittsburg, Kansas, he grew up in Wichita. His parents worked long hours and supposedly did not pay much attention to their children. He resented his mother because she ignored him.

From an early age, he had sadistic sexual fantasies. He would think about torturing trapped, helpless women, and he tortured, killed and hung small animals as a kid. So, definitely all of the steps in the how-to become a serial killer guide.

He also acted out many of his sexual fantasies and interests, including voyeurism, auto-erotic asphyxiation, and cross-dressing... Often all at the same time. He would spy on female neighbors while dressed in stolen women's underwear, getting off with ropes tied around his neck.

In fact, during his "cooling off" periods between murders, he would take photos of himself in women's clothing while bound, pretending to be his victims.

He attended Kansas Wesleyan University after high school, but dropped out after a year of mediocre grades, and then went to the Air Force from 1966-1970. He worked in Park City in the meat department of a grocery store.

He married Paula Dietz on May 22, 1971, and had 2 children with her. (In 2005 after his arrest, she was granted an emergency divorce.)

He went back to community college in 1973 for an associates degree in electronics, and then graduated from Wichita State University in 1979 with a degree in administration of justice. He began working at ADT Security Services from 1974 to 1988, where he installed security systems, many of them for people who were scared of the BTK serial killer.

But, despite being clearly a psychopath, he was regarded as friendly and polite in his community. He was a member of the Christ Lutheran Church and was even elected president of the church council, and he was a Cub Scout leader. So, trust no one.


On January 15, 1974, 4 members of the Otero family, parents Joseph and Julie and their children Joseph and Josephine were murdered. Their oldest son, a 10th grader, discovered the bodies of his entire family when he came home from school.

He sent a letter to the TV station in 1978 claiming responsibility for those murders, and also the murders of Kathryn Bright, Shirley Vian and Nancy Fox. In that letter, he suggested several names for himself, including BTK which stuck. He said he was motivated by supernatural elements, the same elements that motivated Jack the Ripper, Son of Sam and the Hillside Strangler.

He claimed that he attempted to kill a 63 year old woman named Anna Williams, but she escaped death by coming home late, which made him absolutely livid.

BTK killed Marine Hedge, 53, and then took her body to his church where he photographed her body, bound, and then dumped her body in a ditch. Vicki Lynn Wegerle and Dolores Earline Johnson Davis were also victims of his.

By 2004, the case was cold. But then, he sent 11 different communications to local media that lead directly to his arrest.

One letter claimed Vicki's death and enclosed photos of the crime scene and her stolen driver's license. Before that, it was not proven that she was one of his victims. Other packages included confessions for murders he was never proven to have committed (including one 19-year-old boy who had committed suicide), more driver's licenses, and dolls with bound legs and arms, bags died over their heads.

Now, in the dumbest and most 2000s way possible, he got arrested.

In his communication with the police, he asked if a floppy disk would be traced or if he could safely send to media. They responded via a newspaper ad that it would be safe to send. SO HE SENT A FLOPPY DISK TO THE POLICE with more writings and communication to them.

The police were able to find a deleted Word document on the floppy disk that contained the name of his church, and said the last modifier of the document was someone named Dennis. Earlier, they found out the type of car he drove from a message-drop-gone-wrong, so when they drove by Dennis from Christ Lutheran Church's house and saw that same car, they knew they had him.

Because it was circumstantial, they needed DNA, which they retrieved from his daughter's pap smear (which is one of the creepiest things about this case, but I'll go on). They compared the DNA and found it was a familial match to DNA under victim's fingernails, and he was caught.


He was arrested while driving near his home, and he said "oh, I have suspicions why" when the police asked why he was being arrested. He was arrested on February 25, 2005.

He was charged on February 28 with 10 counts of first degree murder. Initially, his public defender put in a not guilty plea for him, but he ultimately changed it to guilty, providing the details of his murders and expressing no remorse.

After the family statements on August 18, he gave a 30-minute monologue where he seemed detached from reality and, for lack of better phrasing, like a complete psychopath.

He was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences, as Kansas did not have the death penalty.

During the drive to the jail, he made small talk about the weather, but began crying when the family statements came on the radio.

He is in solitary confinement with 1 hour of exercise per day and 3 showers per week.

His wife was a bookkeeper in their hometown, known for her volunteer work at the same church he was president of. She filed for emergency divorce which was granted the same day, and she moved out of Kansas. She's never made a statement about him, never went to any of his hearings, and never written to or visited him. (2)

One of his children, Kerri, said there was no way her mother knew about him and would not have raised them with him had she known. She wrote to him after his arrest, and wrote a book called A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love and Overcoming. (2)


­ Joseph Otero, 38, Suffocated with a plastic bag

­ Julia Maria Otero, 33, Strangled with a rope

­ Joseph Otero, 9, Suffocated with a plastic bag

­ Josephine Otero, 11, Strangled with a rope

­ Kathryn Bright, 21, Stabbed 3 times

­ Shirley Vian Relford, 24, Strangled with a rope

­ Nancy Fox, 25, Strangled with a belt

­ Marine Hedge, 53, Strangled with his hands

­ Vicki Wederle, 28, Strangled with Nylon stockings

­ Dolores Johnson Davis, 62, Strangled with pantyhose


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Rader

2. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/tv/a28861972/btk-killer-dennis-rader-wife-mindhunter/

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