‘BTK’ killer took pics wearing victim’s clothes while re-enacting their deaths
From the outside, Dennis Rader looked like an average family man who was president of his church congregation and a leader of the Boy Scouts.
But behind the facade lay dark desires that no-one would ever think he was capable of. While many thought he lived a wholesome life, he was in fact responsible for torturing and murdering 10 people – icluding two children – in Wichita, Kansas between 1974 and 1991.
When cops finally caught up with the self-anointed BTK killer (which stands for Bind, Torture, Kill), his wife and children refused to believe it. They had no idea that the man they loved harboured such sinister secrets.
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But after years spent taunting police and local media about his murderous spree, he admitted "the devil is in me" after a floppy disc led to his downfall in 2005.
Officers also discovered he had kept a treasure chest of horrors in a box titled the "mother lode." It contained mementos from his crime scenes such as his victim's underwear, drivers' licenses and pictures of himself wearing their clothes re-enacting how he had murdered them.
From an early age, Rader admitted he had a violent streak and had "weird" sexual fantasies "more than (what was deemed) normal".
He would cover his head with a bag and bind his own hands and ankles with rope. He cut photos of women out of magazines and drew ropes and gags on them.
Rader went to college for a short time before dropping out and joining the US Air Force for four years. He met and married his wife in 1971 before killing his first victims in 1974 after sneaking out of the house.
He killed an entire family, murdering the parents while the children aged 11 and nine were forced to watch before killing them too.
As the little girl told her mummy she loved her, Rader dragged her down to the basement and hung her from a sewer pipe. He took pictures of the dead bodies and gathered up the child's underwear as a memento of his first massacre.
He then went home to get ready for church.
Rader's wife was pregnant with their first child when he started to covertly advertise his crimes. He wrote a note detailing how he had killed the first family and tucked it inside a book at the local library before calling his local newspaper to tell them where to find it.
In it, he said that he intended to kill again and named himself BTK. He went on to kill 10 people in total aged from nine to 62.
At large for 30 years, Rader discovered a story marking the anniversary of his first kill and decided to send taunting letters and packages to the media and police, desperate to be recognised as a serial killer.
Some were full of mementos from his massacres, some of dolls bound up and gagged like his victims, and one even contained a pitch for an autobiographical novel he wanted to write called The BTK Story, All That's Interesting reports.
But a letter sent on a floppy disk revealed metadata that led detectives straight to his church.
He confessed to all 10 murders and was sentenced to 175 years in jail without the possibility of parole.
Asked about what urged him to commit such crimes, Rader told a journalist: "I personally think, and I know it’s not very Christian, but I actually think it’s a demon that’s within me.
"At some point in time, it entered me when I was young, and it basically controlled me."
Rader is currently serving his life sentence in the El Dorado Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Kansas.
He is in solitary confinement, allowed one hour of exercise per day, and has limited access to television, radio, and magazines.
In 2023, police released twisted drawings by Radar, now aged 78 in the hope they would link him to the cold case of Cynthia Dawn Kinney who they thought he may have buried in a barn in 1976. However prosecutors couldn't find sufficient evidence.
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