Case study in BTK aka Dennis Rader to clarify popular misconception
Originally Posted by Jeeves
Excuse Me, spin.
First You try to compare,
an unsolved case, to another,
Now You do even worse,
You try to compare JBRs case,
to a fictious case.
What can I say.
Why dont You take a look at daubert,
and read what it says.
Even thou, that You think profiling is a bogus,
You have done profiling.
So, if the intruder was sadistic,
with twisted humor, and He had to know Rs habits,
how is it then, that the investigators,
including Lou Smith and all others, and Rs,
has failed to find this intruder ?
May I remind You, Rs gave MANY names,
and investigators checked them.
Originally Posted by Rupert
I asked this question some time ago. Either the Rs used their money or the intruder is a real special case.
RDI tunnelvision is the one sided focus on the R's, and refusing to research similar crimes and/or perps.
This is BTK aka Dennis Rader. The ONLY reason he got caught was that he taunted police.
On Monday, Rader gave grisly details of his crimes, in a cool, crisp manner, one after another.http://www.yourdiscovery.com/crime/s...tk/index.shtml
In so doing, "He really shows himself to be a serial killer," Dr. Howard Brodsky told
The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm Tuesday. "I was hoping we were going to find some motive that would at least tie him to the first case, but these are entirely, from his words, randomly selected victims.
"So, he would find people just in the community, on the streets, check out their lifestyle, follow them, figure out when they're most vulnerable, come up with some ruse about being able to get into the house fairly easily, overwhelm them in some fashion and then eventually take their lives."
Among the accounts Rader gave was one of his helping a woman who was vomiting by giving her water before strangling her. He also told of locking the children of another victim in the bathroom, but giving them toys to keep them occupied as he committed murder.
That shows Rader was "like a guy with a mission," Brodsky comments. "You'd think that he worked for some spy agency or something, and these were hits that he was assigned, because he methodically works toward his goal. A more bizarre set of facts than he presented yesterday just could not be considered.
"A sociopath or psychopath really appears to be what we're dealing with here. That's somebody with a very long-standing pattern of doing harm to others, having no conscience, sense of remorse, at all. And apparently it's something that started with him at a very young age."
Why were there no red flags, Storm asked, noting that Rader was a church leader and family man, right there in the middle of his community.
"I'm amazed by that as well," Brodsky said, "that nobody was able to figure out that this guy had this secret life that he was hiding, and that he was amazing in his ability to surround himself with people who just didn't ask the right questions, who were kind of naive as to what was going on."
|he BTK Killer |
| BTK stands for Bind, Torture, Kill - the method employed by Dennis Lynn Rader on ten victims in Sedgwick County, Kansas, USA between 1974 and 1991. Rader was a married man who held a variety of everyday jobs from council office worker to junior and middle management positions. He was known to be over-zealous and strict in his work and there is at least one reported incident of him using his position as a council worker in animal control to kill a domestic dog. |
His modus operandi was always the same. He would identify victims at random and then stalk them for a period of time to learn their daily routines.
When he was ready he would break into their house, cut the phone lines and hide. When they returned home he would tie them up under the pretence that he wanted to steal from them or rape them which made some of his victims more compliant, hoping they would live through the ordeal. He would then repeatedly strangle and revive his victims many times before eventually killing them.
After the killings he would send taunting letters, poems and drawings to the police and suggest possible names for himself, of which BTK was one.
In 2004 he sent a barrage of communication to the police which eventually gave him away. He was arrested and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, totalling 175 years.
Dennis Rader randomly selected his victims. They did not know him and he did not know them.
BTK letters never got through:
Starting in 1970s police kept information in killer's messages from public
BY TINA SUSMAN. STAFF CORRESPONDENT
WICHITA - Thirty-one years ago, a serial killer slipped a letter detailing some of his murders into a library book, then called a Wichita newspaper and told a columnist where to find it. In misspelled, rambling prose, the letter writer claimed responsibility for the ghastly murders nine months earlier of a couple and two of their children, and he warned that more killings were planned.
It would be four years before police, who persuaded the columnist not to report on the letter, would reveal that a man calling himself BTK - for Bind, Torture, Kill - was prowling Wichita's placid, shady streets.
By then, BTK had killed at least seven times.
It would be another 26 years, in February 2005, before Dennis L. Rader, an outwardly normal man with a family and a house in the suburbs, would be arrested and charged with the BTK slayings.
By then, he had killed at least 10 times.
Rader, 60, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 life terms in prison Thursday - there was no death penalty in Kansas when the murders were committed - but the case is far from closed. In his murderous wake lies a city stupefied by his ability to elude capture for three decades, and questioning whether police were right to withhold details from various BTK communiques - macabre sketches he did of his crime scenes, for example, and transcripts of his letters - that some say might have solved the case earlier.
"Had they released all of these things, you'd think someone would have gone, 'Oh my gosh!'" said Wichita attorney Charlie O'Hara.
Shortly before Rader's arrest, O'Hara was hired by a group of Wichitans who planned legal action to force police to release all their BTK information. The case became moot when Rader was arrested, but O'Hara hopes the issue will still be examined.
"Everyone got so wound up that the guy was caught and they got a confession that they couldn't or didn't have the objectivity to look at why it took so long," he said.
Police confident in decision
Law enforcement authorities have no second thoughts. Not only were they faced with their first serial killer, and taking advice from the FBI and experts across the country, they say they had to maintain communication with a human time bomb whose temper might explode at any time.
"We were trying so hard not to do something that would upset this man and get one of our citizens killed," police spokeswoman Janet Johnson said in July. "... Everything had to be read from a script."
Local cops and outside experts agree that releasing too much information could have unleashed a flood of copycats, making it harder to catch the real killer. In addition, they say Rader's communiques included bogus information that could have led to innocent people being suspected.
In short, police say Rader took so long to catch because he was so enigmatic, so unlikely a suspect. His name was not on any suspect list compiled by police over the years, and Rader's wife of 34 years and two grown children told police they had no inkling of his secret life.
Other serial killers have been more prolific. Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, each killed dozens. Others have been arguably more vile. Edward Gein skinned his victims. Jeffrey Dahmer ate his.
Few, though, have been as baffling as Rader, said Richard LaMunyon, Wichita's police chief from 1976 until his retirement in 1989.
"We could never find a tie between our victims. There just wasn't any commonality," said LaMunyon, comparing BTK to killers who target particular sectors of society such as prostitutes, women or young boys.
Rader's victims ranged in age from 9 to 63, and while he stalked women, he also killed two children and a man.
"It was truly random in the purest sense," LaMunyon said. "He just literally selected victims off the street."
Equally mystifying was Rader's outwardly normal, sociable lifestyle, which belied the nocturnal, lone-wolf behavior common among serial killers, said Vernon J. Geberth, the former Bronx homicide commander who helped briefly with the BTK case.
"If this guy had fit the profile of most serial killers, we would have been dealing with a non-social individual," said Geberth, whose book, "Practical Homicide Investigation," is used worldwide. "The fact was Rader was a city compliance officer, Boy Scout leader, church council member, and in all these social activities, he became invisible."
Geberth says it was Rader's "malignant narcissism" that finally did him in.
Killer got 'kind of bored'
After The Eagle's longtime cop reporter, Hurst Laviana, wrote in January 2004 about the 30th anniversary of BTK's first murder, BTK sent the Eagle his first confirmed communiqué since 1979 - photographs of an unsolved 1986 murder and the victim's driver's license. The Eagle published a picture of the license along with the dreaded news: BTK was back.
Rader, in an interview with a psychologist after his arrest, said he re-emerged because he wanted to control the telling of his story and because he was "kind of bored." Rader also said he enjoyed reading of his exploits in the paper and watching the police - Keystone Kops, he called them - scramble. Over the next year, Rader sent about a dozen notes and packages to local media and police, most of which were reported on but with few details disclosed.
That proved his undoing. "Every time he communicated, he had to drop the communication someplace, so slowly but surely the noose was tightening," said Geberth.
One day, BTK delivered a computer disk that police traced to a computer at Rader's church. He was arrested Feb. 25, 2005.
Since then, the public has learned a lot about BTK, including that he wrote a letter in 1988 that police never made public; that he did detailed sketches of some of his crime scenes; and that he was a terrible speller.
That information has angered some Wichitans, including one woman who is convinced Rader stalked her in 1991, the year of his last known murder. The woman, who did not want to be identified, said a mysterious man harassed her at her home in the area of at least two other BTK-related incidents, but police dismissed it as a peeping-tom case.
Because police had convinced the public BTK was dead or otherwise inactive, she said, she did not make the connection for years.
"I keep saying, 'Maybe if they would have ... followed me for a few weeks, they would have been able to nab the guy,'" she said.
The case has also led to second-guessing among journalists who covered the case.
"It was clear from that first  letter that the police intended to squash more information than ... make public," said Cathy Henkel, now of Seattle, who wrote in a competing Wichita newspaper about the letter several months after the Wichita Eagle columnist learned of it. "That ... seems to have hindered a quicker solution."
Dennis Rader lived in Iowa and he was NEVER a suspect on any list. He stalked his victims and gained intelligence from stalking and being a peeping tom and would enter houses when guests were away. No link among the victims were ever discovered, and BTK admits he selected them at random.
Dennis Rader was most proud of the murder he dubbed "Project Fox Hunt."
Nancy Jo Fox, 25, was smart, hard working, and had a good sense of humor. She worked days full-time as a secretary for a construction business, and nights at a jewelry store.
When Rader noticed her going into her home he marked her as his next potential victim. He stalked her for a long period of time. He obtained her name from her mailbox, he found out where she worked, and showed up there.
As always once he knew enough about a person to feel comfortable, he would select a date and time to carry out his attack.
On December 8, 1977, he parked two or three blocks away from her home. He knocked at the door, when nobody answered he cut the phone lines before breaking in to wait for her in the kitchen.
" ... what I call a perfect -- a perfect hit. Although she gave me a lot of verbal static, she cooperated, she didn’t fight me."
"I had complete control of her, that’s why it was one of the more -- more enjoyable kills, as I call them."
Rader told her he had to tie her up for sex due to a sexual problem. She called his fantasies "ridiculous." She tried to hurt him by clawing at his testicles, but in his high it aroused him more.
They talked and smoked a cigarette as he searched her purse. She said she wanted to get it over and asked to use the bathroom. He told her to be undressed when she came out; when she did he slapped his handcuffs on her.
He laid her on the bed to tie up her feet. On top of her he used his belt to strangle her. When she was almost dead, he let up so she could gasp for another breath.
"I had her come back and I whispered in her ear a little bit. I told her I was BTK, I was a bad guy. And then she really squirmed and then -- I pulled -- put the pressure down on it."
He did not have sexual relations with her. As she died, he masturbated.
Rader took a few personal items and cleaned house.
When he called the Emergency Communications Department to take credit for the death of Nancy Jo, who he referred to as his "seventh victim," his voice was recorded on the automatic taping system. The call was tracked to a phone booth but the caller only spoke for seconds.
"Yes. You will find a homicide at 843 South Pershing. Nancy Fox."
Attempts to get him repeat his statement were interrupted by a telephone operator, still on the line, repeating the address.
The caller said, "That is correct," before disconnecting.
He spoke 15 words during a three-second span of a seven second recording. The audio quality of the call, taped at a slow speed, so was poor it was not released to the public until August 1979. The tape was sent to the Washington DC, FBI laboratory but it was too brief and distorted by background noise to make a comparison voiceprint.
Nancy Fox, was found dead on Dec. 9, 1977.
"Fox went the way I wanted it." It was reported that Rader was "sexually charged" by the court testimony about the murder. Rader wrote two poems about Nancy.
One of the clues he sent out was a dark haired doll with makeup, its arms were bound behind by pantyhose and the head was covered with a plastic bag. Next to it was a copy of Nancy's driver’s license.
At the sentencing, Nancy's sister Beverly Plapp said, " ... On the day he dies, Nancy and all of his victims will be waiting with God and watching him as he burns in hell."
Rader believed Nancy would be his primary mistress in the afterlife.
He would case houses
On April 28, 1979, Dennis Rader finally gave up and left the empty home he was waiting inside of before the resident, Anna Williams, 63, returned. Afterwards he sent the media a package with personal items he took from her home, and a poem of death.
"Oh Anna Why Didn't You Appear?"
He said he was disappointed because he planned to kill her.
Rader told a psychologist that Anna wasn’t his only miss.
"There’s a lot of lucky people out there ... didn’t make it to the house ... or for some reason I didn’t go. There’s a lot of lucky people out there, yes."After the failed attempt, BTK disappeared for awhile.
Anna died several years ago.
On Jan. 15, 1974, Joseph Otero Jr., 38, his wife Julie, 34, and two children were found murdered in their home. Three other family members -- Charles, 15; Danny, 15; and Carmen, 13; were not home during the killing spree.
Born in Puerto Rico, Joseph Otero immigrated to the United States as a boy. He grew up in New York City's Spanish Harlem, and become a champion boxer. He fell in love with Julie, a popular, vivacious Puerto Rican immigrant from his neighborhood. As a child, she came to the US on a banana boat. After dating two years, they had a large wedding. Their first child, Charlie, was born nine months later.
As soon as he was old enough, Joseph joined the Air Force and served for 20 years. After he retired as a master sergeant, the aviation enthusiast with a commercial pilot's license moved to Wichita, “the Air Capital.” In the fall of 1973, he worked as a mechanic and a flight instructor. Fun and outgoing he was a talented bongo player with a fascination for cars. He was a gourmet chef who collected recipes when traveling to exotic areas during his military career.
Joseph was a strict but proud father with high ideals for his children, especially in school. The children were expected to receive straight A’s on their report cards.
Julie, a devout Catholic, was a petite, kind spirited, Air Force wife. She didn't drink and never got angry. Passionate about her culture, she encouraged her children to speak Spanish. Her life was devoted to her family. Her oldest child, Charlie, described her as an “angel.” She had a brown belt took in judo. She took lessons with her children on base.
The youngest of the family “Joey” Joseph Otero II, 9, was popular in his fourth-grade. He was athletic, a fast runner, and excelled in Judo. He loved his dog, "Lucky," that he received on his fifth birthday.
At eleven years of age, “Josie” Josephine, a shy, sensitive, 6th grader with an easy temperament and a yellow belt in judo wrote poetry, loved art, and played with Barbie dolls. She was the best student in the family and very close to older sister, Carmen.
Dennis Rader depressed after being laid off who was “trolling” on January 15th, 1974, when he spotted Julie leaving to take her children to school. He liked the dark hair, skin and eyes of Latinas. Struck by Julie’s beauty and taken with young Josie, he followed them to school. The mother and daughter were his perfect victims.
Nearly two months later, fueled by thoughts of bondage, Rader lived out his sexual fantasies through the Otero family. Prepared to attack the young girl, and her mother, he filled the pockets of his Air Force parka with bindings and weapons. He hadn't planned on Joseph or Joey being home. As Rader nervously waited for them to come, he cut the phone lines. He was ready to leave when Joey opened the back door for the dog. As he entered the family was making sandwiches in the kitchen.
He told the Oteros he was a "wanted" man in California in need of food, water, money, and transportation.
"That was my ruse to kind of calm him down."Joseph thought it was a joke and asked if his brother sent him.
Rader ordered the family to lie on the living room floor at gunpoint as he explained that he wouldn't harm them if they cooperated. He took the family into a bedroom; while intermittently holding them at gunpoint, he tied them with a rope he brought. Julie was with Josie on the bed; Joseph and Joey were on the floor.
He loosened the bonds when they complained.
"I’m not a bad guy, I care for people... I’m trying to comfort them as much as I could... I have concerns for people. And I hadn’t really crossed that path yet where I was going kill the people yet, so I was still in concern mode."He tried to make Joseph comfortable after realizing that he was suffering from a cracked rib as a result of a car accident.
“as comfortable as I could ... I had him put a pillow down for his head.” Since he wasn’t wearing a mask he could be identified.
“I made a decision to go ahead and put 'em down, I guess, or strangle them.” Joseph and Julie's hands and feet were bound. Rader placed a plastic bag over Joseph's head and tightened the cords.
Then he strangled Julie.
“I had never strangled anyone before, so I really didn't know how much pressure you have to put on a person or how long it would take ... I strangled Mrs. Otero... she went out, passed out and I thought she was dead. I strangled Josephine and she passed out... I thought she was dead and then I went over and put a bag on JR’s head …” After Joseph chewed a hole in the bag, another bag was tightened over his head to strangle him.
Rader placed a plastic bag, with two t-shirts, and another bag over it Joey so couldn’t chew through.
”… Mrs. Otero woke back up... she was pretty upset with what's going on ... she asked me to save her son so I actually had taken the bag off… She screamed, 'You killed my boy! You killed my boy!'" He strangled her to death with a rope.
"... and she actually said, “God have mercy on your soul,” is what she said. And I put her down permanently."
“I strangled her... the death strangle at that time … it finally killed her at that time.” The children screamed as they watched their parent's murder.
"It was just something that I had to do. Once I started with Mr. Otero, I knew I had to do all four of ‘em. It’s like an execution— you know, once you start it, if there’s witnesses, you had to do it all the way around." With both parents dead, Rader brought in a chair to sit back and watch Joey thrash about while he slowly suffocated to death. This was the "coup de grace," a term he mispronounced, meaning a "blow of mercy," to end the suffering of the mortally wounded.
As Josie screamed, "What did you do to my momma? Momma! Momma! Momma!" He asked her for a camera to take a picture. She she told him she didn’t have a camera.
She asked, “What is going to happen to me?”
Leading her down the basement steps, he said:
"Well, honey, you're going to be in heaven tonight with the rest of your family."He would later tell police that the basement was “symbolic, like a dungeon.”
Hanging was a central element of his fantasies.
“… So my encore was to just take her down there and hang her, if she had been dead, I would have still hung her, just to hang her." In the basement, a rope was already prepared to hang Josie. To watch her struggle for her life she was hung so her toes barely brushed the ground as she as the noose suspended from a sewer pipe tightened. For "a sexual release" he pulled down her panties. Police found his semen traces near her body.
Thirty years later this DNA evidence forced Rader into a guilty plea.
“I went through the house, kinda cleaned it up: It's called the right-hand rule, you go from room to room clean things up.” When asked why he stole Joseph’s watch and radio he replied:
“I have no idea.”He left through the front door, drove their car to a closer location to his own car.
"I was really on a, not a sexual high, I was just scared high. I was really nervous, sweating; I had sweat running off me all over the place. And I just, you know, I had gloves on. I had rubber gloves, and they were just full of water, sweat. It was just really... my clothes were just soaked with sweat. Very nervous. Not like a master criminal at all. This is my first time that I’d ever crossed that barrier."Charlie, 15, and Carmen 13, entered through the back door when they returned home from school. Charlie called out for his family when he saw items strewn across the kitchen floor. Carmen cried out when she stumbled on the crime scene in the bedroom with their parents bodies.
Charlie described the gruesome crime scene.
"My father was tied up, his eyes were bulging. His tongue was about bit off. My mother was on the bed. She didn’t even look like my mother. And I looked at my dad. I could smell the death and the fear in the room."While Charlie and Carmen were at the police station they begged police to protect Joey and Josie from returning home, "You don’t have to worry about that. They were killed also.” Rader believed his victims would serve him in his afterlife. Joseph would be his bodyguard. Julie would bathe him. Joey would become a young sex valet. And Josie would be his "star young maiden."
He fantasized and he strangled with rope.
BY TINA SUSMAN. STAFF CORRESPONDENT
WICHITA - The courtroom was silent as one minute ticked by. Everyone was waiting for Delores Davis to die.
After the 60-second mark, Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston broke the long silence and reminded the room that it had actually taken Davis three times that long to die, as Dennis Rader strangled her with a pair of her own panty hose in January 1991.
Rader, Wichita's self-proclaimed BTK - Bind, Torture, and Kill - murderer, was sentenced yesterday to 175 years in prison for the 10 slayings he committed from 1974 to 1991. The sentencing came after prosecutors and victims' relatives were allowed to argue that his crimes were so heinous as to warrant the maximum possible time.
Judge Greg Waller, who couldn't sentence Rader to death because the crimes occurred when Kansas did not have capital punishment, agreed, guaranteeing that the 60-year-old former church leader will die behind bars.
"This man needs to be thrown in a deep, dark hole and left to rot," said Beverly Plapp, whose sister, Nancy Fox, was slain in 1977.
"This world would have been much better off had your mother aborted your demon soul," said Davis' son, Jeffrey.
Davis, 63, was Rader's last victim, and as Foulston hammered away at her brutal murder, photographs of the striking woman with salt-and-pepper hair and a bright smile flashed across a screen.
Rader has told police that, as with his other victims, he stalked Davis for weeks, then struck as she slept in her home in suburban Park City, about a mile and a half from the house where he lived with his wife.
"Too late, she realized his dreaded intention," Rader wrote later in a secret diary he kept of his murders, which reads like the screenplay of a horror film. "The end came in about two to three minutes, as the garrotte tightened and tightened."
In some of the most macabre details to emerge in the two-day sentencing hearing, police showed Polaroid pictures that Rader took of himself lying in a grave he dug for Davis, wearing a mask that he had also placed on her corpse and that he had embellished with red lips and fake eyelashes.
They were among thousands of pictures, obscene sketches, and writings Rader compiled and kept in stashes in his home, his office, and his camper, detailing his bondage fantasies and murders, and plotting future kills.
Rader has expressed pride in his stalking techniques and in his ability to elude capture for so long, but the hearing revealed him to be almost comically inept.
Once, while practicing a bondage fantasy on himself, he wrapped himself so tightly in plastic he feared he would have to call someone to untie him.
His plans to attack Davis one night were derailed when he was frightened off by her cat, who swatted the window with its paw after sensing something outside. He returned a few nights later.
Rader's last killing was in 1991, but he re-emerged in March 2004 with a series of letters and packages he sent to police and the press warning them he was on the prowl again. He was arrested in February after a computer disk he sent was traced to his church.
Rader appeared to shed some tears as relative after relative stood up to berate him. He then stood and delivered a rambling, 20-minute statement as illogical as his crimes.
He compared himself to an 18-wheeler, "able to switch gears back and forth," then did just that.
He recited positive qualities he said he shared with some of his victims.
He blew his nose and said he was sorry for his crimes.
He brightened up and, like an actor accepting an Oscar, thanked police, his court-appointed lawyers, his pastor, and virtually anyone it seemed he had encountered since his arrest.
He even lectured the police a bit on minor inaccuracies he said he had noted in their statements.
"That was vintage Dennis Rader," his public defender, Steven Osburn, said of Rader's final bow. Asked what he had told Rader, Osburn said: "I told him good luck. I tell that to all my clients."
Copyright 2005 Newsday, Inc.
Newsday (New York)
Dennis Rader stalked for weeks.
August 17, 2005 Wednesday
Reliving the pain once more:
Three-day sentencing for BTK to reveal even more details
BY TINA SUSMAN. STAFF CORRESPONDENT
WICHITA, Kan. - Wichitans know that for 30 years, Dennis L. Rader prowled their streets as the BTK killer, stalking victims he called "projects," hiding in their closets, then binding, torturing and slowly killing them when they arrived home. They know he got his sexual kicks watching people die, including an 11-year-old girl he dangled from a pipe in her basement after murdering her parents and brother.
They know this because Rader admitted it on June 26, when he pleaded guilty to 10 murders that had haunted the city since January 1974, when the girl, Josephine Otero, was found hanged in her house.
Nevertheless, prosecutors plan to present even more gruesome evidence today at an elaborate sentencing hearing that, depending on one's view, will be a catharsis for the city and the victims' families, or an ego-fest for the district attorney and for Rader, 60, who admits to loving the limelight.
Georgia Cole, spokeswoman for the Sedgwick County district attorney's office, said people should hear more than Rader's "extremely sanitized" version of events, and that families deserve the chance to confront him. In addition, since the death penalty was not in place during Rader's 1974 to 1991 murders, prosecutors want to ensure the worst details come out so Rader gets the harshest sentence: life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.
"When Dennis Rader stood up and gave his recitation of the facts, no one was allowed to question anything he said. None of the statements he made were contested," Cole said. For instance, Rader, in a prideful, matter-of-fact tone, said he tried to make some victims comfortable by placing pillows under their heads before strangling them, or by giving toys to two children before murdering their mother.
"This is a man who has admitted murdering 10 people. Why does everyone assume he would not lie?" Cole said.
Three days have been set aside for the sentencing. It will start with prosecutors' presentations and family members' statements. Rader's court-appointed attorneys and possibly Rader himself will speak. Two seats are reserved for Rader's relatives, but there is no indication any will attend.
His wife of 34 years, Paula, divorced Rader after his February arrest. She and their two adult children say they had no idea of Rader's activities, which he carried out while living a seemingly law-abiding life as a church leader, Boy Scout leader, and code-compliance officer for a Wichita suburb.
Rader, who over the years taunted police with messages signed with his chosen moniker - BTK for Bind, Torture, Kill - was caught when one of those messages led to a computer at his church. In a prison interview that aired Friday on NBC's "Dateline," he admitted he enjoyed reading about himself in the paper and felt "like a star" because of the attention since his arrest.
It is that pride in his crimes, and the agony they caused Wichita, that has left some people, including police who worked the case, uncomfortable about giving Rader the spotlight again.
"He's going to jail forever. I question whether it's necessary to put the community through this," said Richard LaMunyon, Wichita's police chief from 1976 to 1989. "Let's just close the door and end it."
Retired Bronx homicide commander Vernon Geberth, who helped Wichita investigators in the 1980s, called the hearing "despicable," saying it would give Rader the publicity he craves while forcing families to relive the painful past. "Every time these people try to get some peace, bang, it'll pop up as a movie of the week," he said.
Cole, though, said that family members have expressed eagerness to attend and that representatives of each of Rader's 10 victims plans to speak.
The differences show the hold Rader's crimes have on a city that for years thought BTK had gone away, only to have him resurface last year with a series of taunting messages.
"It would be very difficult to articulate the amount of fear and trauma this guy caused," said Paul Morrison, the district attorney of Johnson County in suburban Kansas City, who is of two minds about the hearing. In his experience, he said, some victims' relatives want to know everything, while others find the details too painful.
"It's hard to make a call on this case," Morrison said.
Not so for one woman who suspects she was stalked by Rader in 1991 when she says a man using BTK's methods harassed her. The hearing might ensure other killers get caught more quickly, she said.
"There is some value to the public to realize that this is what a serial killer looks like, and acts like," said the woman, who said she still fears for her safety. "It could be somebody you know. It could be somebody you're married to."
He would hide in closets and stalk for weeks and explore houses of his prospective victims when they were away.
By 2004, the investigation of the BTK Killer had gone cold. Then, Rader sent a letter to the police, claiming responsibility for a killing that had previously not been attributed to him. DNA collected from under the fingernails of that victim provided police with previously unknown evidence. They then began DNA testing hundreds of men in an effort to find the serial killer. Altogether, some 1100 DNA samples were taken.
They used fingernail DNA. Fingernail DNA was found in JB. They tested 1100 and found no match.
This is how they got a DNA match
The police corresponded with the BTK Killer (Rader) in an effort to gain his confidence. Then, in one of his communications with police, Rader asked them if it was possible to trace information from floppy disks. The police department replied that there was no way of knowing what computer such a disk had been used on, when in fact such ways existed. Rader then sent his message and floppy to the police department, which quickly checked the metadata of the Microsoft Word document. In the metadata, they found that the document had been made by a man who called himself Dennis. They also found a link to the Lutheran Church. When the police searched on the Internet for 'Lutheran Church Wichita Dennis', they found his family name, and were able to identify a suspect: Dennis Rader, a Lutheran Deacon. The police also knew BTK owned a black Jeep Cherokee. When investigators drove by Rader's house they noticed a black Jeep Cherokee parked outside.
The police now had strong circumstantial evidence against Rader, but they needed more direct evidence in order to detain him. They obtained a warrant to test the DNA of a Pap smear Rader's daughter had taken at Kansas State University medical clinic while she was a student there. The DNA of the Pap smear was a near match to the DNA of the sample taken from the victim's fingernails indicating that the killer was closely related to Rader's daughter. This was the evidence the police needed to make an arrest
The DNA match was found when his daughter had a pap smear and they had to DNA test that pap smear, which match fingernail DNA.
Rader was particularly known for sending taunting letters to police and newspapers. There were several communications from BTK from 1974 to 1979. The first was a letter that had been stashed in an engineering book in the Wichita Public Library in October 1974 that described in detail the killing of the Otero family in January of that year. In early 1978, he sent another letter to television station KAKE in Wichita, claiming responsibility for the murders of the Oteros, Shirley Vian, Nancy Fox and another unidentified victim assumed to be Kathryn Bright (not identified because her brother survived and could have identified him). He suggested a number of possible names for himself, including the one that stuck: BTK. He demanded media attention in this second letter, and it was finally announced that Wichita did indeed have a serial killer at large. A poem was enclosed titled "Oh! Death to Nancy," a botched version of the lyrics of the American folk song "Oh Death." In 1979 he sent two identical packages, one to an intended victim who was not at home when he broke into her house and the other to KAKE. These featured another poem, "Oh Anna Why Didn't You Appear", a drawing of what he had intended to do to his victim, as well as some small items he had pilfered from Williams' home. Apparently, Rader had waited for several hours inside the home of Anna Williams, but left when she still had not returned hours later.
In 1988, after the murders of three members of the Fager family in Wichita, a letter was received from someone claiming to be the BTK killer in which he denied being the perpetrator of this crime. He did credit the killer with having done "admirable work." It was not proven until 2005 that this letter was in fact written by the genuine BTK killer (Rader), and he is not considered by police to have committed this crime.
In March 2004, a series of 11 communications from BTK (Rader) to the local media led directly to his arrest in February 2005. The Wichita Eagle received a letter from someone using the return address Bill Thomas Killman. The author of the letter claimed that he had murdered Vicki Wegerle on September 16, 1986, and enclosed photographs of the crime scene and a photocopy of her driver's license, which had been stolen at the time of the crime. Prior to this, it had not been definitively established that Wegerle was killed by BTK (Rader). In May 2004, a word puzzle was received by KAKE. On June 9, 2004, a package was found taped to a stop sign at the corner of First and Kansas in Wichita, containing graphic descriptions of the Otero murders and a sketch labeled, "The Sexual Thrill Is My Bill." Also enclosed was a chapter list for a proposed book titled "The BTK Story," which mimicked a story written in 1999 by Court TV (now truTV) crime writer David Lohr. Chapter One was titled, "A Serial Killer Is Born." In July, a package was dropped into the return slot at the downtown public library containing more bizarre material, including the claim that he was responsible for the death of 19-year-old Jake Allen in Argonia, Kansas earlier that same month. This claim was found to be false and the death has been ruled a suicide. In October 2004, a manila envelope was dropped into a UPS box in Wichita containing a series of cards with images of terror and bondage of children pasted on them. Also included was a poem threatening the life of lead investigator Lt. Ken Landwehr and a false autobiography containing many details about Rader's life. These details were later released to the public.
Dennis Rader, in addition to stalking, casing houses (entering house when victims were away) strangulation, also wrote taunting letters
The following is purportedly the text of a 1978 letter, including spelling and grammatical errors:
|“ ||I find the newspaper not wirting about the poem on Vain unamusing. A little paragraph would have enough. Iknow it not the media fault. The Police Cheif he keep things quiet, and doesn't let the public know there a psycho running around lose strangling mostly women, there 7 in the ground; who will be next? How many do I have to Kill before I get a name in the paper or some national attention. Do the cop think that all those deaths are not related? Golly -gee, yes the M.O. is different in each, but look a pattern is developing. The victims are tie up-most have been women-phone cut- bring some bondage mater sadist tendencies-no struggle, outside the death spot-no wintness except the Vain's Kids. They were very lucky; a phone call save them. I was go-ng to tape the boys and put plastics bag over there head like I did Joseph, and Shirley. And then hang the girl. God-oh God what a beautiful sexual relief that would been. Josephine,when I hung her really turn me on; her pleading for mercy then the rope took whole, she helpless; staring at me with wide terror fill eyes the rope getting tighter-tighter. You don't understand these things because your not underthe influence of factor x). The same thing that made Son of Sam, Jack the Ripper, Havery Glatman, Boston Strangler, Dr. H. H. Holmes Panty Hose Strangler OF Florida, Hillside Strangler, Ted of the West Coast and many more infamous character kill. Which seem s senseless, but we cannot help it. There is no help, no cure, except death or being caught and put away. It a terrible nightmarebut, you see I don't lose any sleep over it. After a thing like Fox I ccome home and go about life like anyone else. And I will be like that until the urge hit me again. It not continuous and I don;t have a lot of time. It take time to set a kill, one mistake and it all over. Since I about blew it on the phone-handwriting is out-letter guide is to long and typewriter can be traced too,.My short poem of death and maybe a drawing;later on real picture and maybe a tape of the sound will come your way. How will you know me. Before a murder or murders you will receive a copy of the initials B.T.K. , you keep that copy the original will show up some day on guess who? May you not be the unluck one!|
How about some name for me, its time: 7 down and many more to go. I like the following How about you? 'THE B.T.K. STRANGLER', WICHITA STRANGLER', 'POETIC STRANGLER', 'THE BOND AGE STRANGLER' OR PSYCHO' THE WICHITA HANGMAN THE WICHITA EXECUTIONER, 'THE GAROTE PHATHOM', 'THE ASPHIXIATER'.
What to expect from JB's killer?
DNA obtained from fingernail scrapings of Vicki Wegerle's left hand matched Rader's DNA, eliminating any doubt that he was her murderer. Rader also sent trophies to police in his letters, and others were discovered in his office. Other cold cases in Kansas were reopened to see if Rader's DNA matched crime scenes, but Rader's confession was limited to the 10 known victims and police and prosecutors do not believe there were any more victims because of the extensive records and memorabilia he kept on each of his victims
The murder of Joseph Otero
Joseph was strangled by Dennis Rader on January 15, 1974 along with his wife Julie and two of their five children. They were the family members who happened to be home when he invaded their home at gunpoint. Rader ordered everyone into a bedroom where he tied them up. The idea was to dispose of Joseph first by tying a bag over his head. Joseph fought by tearing holes in the bag, but Rader succeeded in strangling him afterwards by means of a ligature. Photo looking into the Otero bedroom, Joseph is on the floor.
The murder of Julie Otero
Julie was the second victim to die. Rader claims he had never strangled anyone before, and was surprised how much effort and time was involved. His first attempt at manual strangulation didn't work, as Julie revived after a time. The second attempt was successful. She begged him to not kill the children and told him, "May God have mercy on your soul". Photo of Julie on the bed, after being untied. Photo of the bedroom, Joseph and Julie.
The murder of Joseph Otero II
Joseph was only nine years old when "BTK" Dennis Rader strangled and suffocated him in his bedroom.
The murder of Josephine Otero
Josephine was eleven years old. Rader first attempted to strangle her, then brought her to the basement of the home after she revived. There he tied a noose around her neck and hanged her from a pipe in the basement. Partial photo. He then ejaculated over her legs and a pipe behind her. Photo of Josie's bound hands. The DNA he left behind was later matched to other BTK crime scenes and Rader himself.
The Vian bathroom
The murder of Kathryn Bright
Rader bound and stabbed Kathryn to death on April 4, 1974 after she heroically tried to fight him off. She died in the hospital some hours later. Her stab wounds. Her brother Kevin survived despite having been shot by Rader in the head. Kevin's wounds.
The murder of Shirley Vian
After invading their home on March 17, 1977 Rader put Shirley's three young children in the bathroom and then bound her up. He told her he was only going to rape her and let her go. He then proceeded to strangle her, and left semen on panties found next to her body. Photo of Shirley's bound legs.
The murder of Nancy Fox
On December 8, 1977 Rader broke into Nancy's duplex apartment by a rear window and waited for her to come home from work that evening. He told her he was only going to rape her and tied her to the bed. He then strangled her with a cord after revealing who he was. He left semen on a nightgown that was found next to her body. Photo of Nancy's feet.
The knotted pantyhose
The murder of Marine Hedge
On April 28, 1985 Dennis Rader broke into Marine's home, located on the same street where he lived with his wife and children. Afterwards the 53 year old widow came home with a male friend while Rader hid in a bedroom closet. He waited for the friend to leave and for Marine to go to sleep before strangling her manually in her bed. Rader then took the body to his church, where he posed her for photographs in the basement. He then dumped her in a roadside ditch and returned to a Boy Scout outing he was attending. Knotted pantyhose was found near her body.
The murder of Vicki Wegerle
Rader posed as a telephone repairman on September 16, 1986 and entered Vicki's home that morning. He then attacked her and managed to strangle her with a ligature after she desperately tried to fight him off. Rader then posed her dying body and took several photos. Photo 1. Photo 2. Photo of panty hose at neck area.
The murder of Dolores Davis
|The mask |
After slipping away from a scouting camp, Rader invaded Dolores' home on the night of January 18-19, 1991 by tossing a cinder block through a rear sliding glass door. He posed as a criminal vagrant seeking food, money and a car before binding and strangling the 62 year old to death. Rader dumped her body under a bridge before returning to camp that night. He returned to pose the body and photograph it, leaving one of his masks on or by her face.
This case study on BTK shows that a real serial killer with an obsession does research, stalks, strangles, writes taunting notes, has a twisted or sick sense of humor, etc.
Dennis himself explicity referenced other serial killers and considers himself proud tradition.
He did not "hate" his victims, it was an obsessive interest. They did not know him. DNA testing 1100 suspects did not produce him.
BTK Dennis research on other serial killers
In October of 1974, just nine months after the Otero family murders, the Wichita Eagle's Don Granger received an anonymous call, presumably from the Otero killer himself. The caller directed him to a mechanical engineering textbook in the Wichita Public Library. Inside the book, Granger found a letter claiming credit for the killings of the Joseph Otero family, and promising more victims. The authenticity of the letter was not in doubt since it contained details that only the police and killer knew.
The letter was addressed to the "Secret Witness Program" under which people with information about a crime could pass on that information to police through the newspaper and remain anonymous. Investigators immediately requested that the letter be withheld from the public in an attempt to prevent a string of false confessions. The Wichita Eagle complied with the police request.
However, Cathy Henkel, a reporter for a 2-month-old rival newspaper called the Wichita Sun, received a copy of the letter and printed part of it in an article she wrote on Dec 11, 1974, some 11 months after the crime had been committed.
The killer wrote that the three individuals being questioned for the Otero murders were not involved. The following excerpts with their many misspellings and grammatical errors were printed in the Sun :
"I write this letter to you for the sake of the tax payer as well as your time. Those three dude you have in custody are just talking to get publicity for the Otero murders. They know nothing at all. I did it by myself and with no ones help. There has been no talk either. Let's put this straight...." The killer provides details of the crimes and crime scene that were not published in the paper.
"I'm sorry this happen to society. They are the ones who suffer the most. It hard to control myself. You probably call me 'psychotic with sexual perversion hang-up.' When this monster enter my brain I will never know. But, it here to stay. How does one cure himself? If you ask for help, that you have killed four people they will laugh or hit the panic button and call the cops.
"I can't stop it so the monster goes on, and hurt me as well as society. Society can be thankful that there are ways for people like me to relieve myself at time by day dreams of some victims being torture and being mine. It a big complicated game my friend of the monster play putting victims number down, follow them, checking up on them, waiting in the dark, waiting, waiting.... the pressure is great and sometimes he run the game to his liking. Maybe you can stop him. I can't. He has already chosen his next victim or victims. I don't know who they are yet. The next day after I read the paper, I will know, but it to late. Good luck hunting.
"YOURS, TRULY GUILTILY"
Although the letter was unsigned, it contained this postscript:
"P.S. Since sex criminals do not change their M.O. or by nature cannot do so, I will not change mine. The code word for me will be....Bind them, toture them, kill them, B.T.K., you see he at it again. They will be on the next victim."
B.T.K., despite a few feeble attempts to appear to have a weak grip on the English language, is quite well educated and is a reasonably good speller when he is not trying to deceive his audience. He has no trouble with words like "psychotic," "complicated," and "perversion." He has also done quite a bit of reading about the criminal psychology of that era. The famous letters from California's Zodiac Killer and the Jack the Ripper letters were well known from newspapers and books. Interestingly, the Zodiac began his murder series on October 30, 1966 and wrote his first letter to the police almost one month later on November 29, 1966. Even more interesting is the fact that the Zodiac, after three years of silence, sent the first of a series of four letters to the San Francisco Chronicle on January 29, 1974. Chances are that B.T.K. had read about this in the newspaper and decided to open the lines of communication with the media and police.
The Wichita Eagle reported that on April 4, 1974, just three months after the Otero murders, Kathryn Bright, 20, and her brother Kevin, 19, went to her home at 3217 E. 13th Street at approximately 1 p.m. There was an intruder hiding in the house, waiting for her to return. The intruder told them he needed money and a car to escape from the California police. At gun point, Kevin was forced to tie his sister to a chair and was then taken to another room where he to was tied up and gagged. A few minutes later, the man tried to stangle Kevin with a rope, but Kevin resisted and was shot twice in the head. He heard sounds of distress from his sister in the next room. Kevin managed to escape and get help for his sister, but she died five hours after being taken to the hospital with three stab wounds in her abdomen.
Police also noted that the Kathryn was partially undressed and that there was obvious ligature activity around her neck. Kevin assisted the police in sketching a likeness of the intruder, but he was not identified. Police did not associate B.T.K. with this crime at that point in time.
Three years later on March 17, 1977, Wichita police were dispatched to 1311 South Hydraulic Street. Upon arrival, police entered the home and discovered 26-year-old Shirley Vian dead. She lay on her bed partially undressed, hands and feet bound, a plastic bag draped over her head. Upon removing the bag investigators noted the BTK's signature cord wrapped tightly around her neck. The armed intruder had locked Shirley's three children in the closet. The children eventually managed to free themselves and call police.
Authorities remove Vian's body from crime scene
Again, investigators believed that the crime was premeditated. The incident occurred during the daytime and there was no sign of forced entry. The killer had stopped one of the victim's sons on the street that morning, and showed him photographs of a woman and child, purportedly seeking directions to their home.
What this shows is that JB's killer had a need or a compulsion to kill JB and to write a taunting letter.