The hunt for BTK | Sunday Observer

The hunt for BTK

For thousands of Americans the acronym BTK would unleash memories of fear. Dennis Rader was a vicious killer who taunted Sedgwick County, Kansas. He used the cruel method of ‘Bind, Torture and Kill’ earning him the title of BTK. He was a man fascinated with other serial killers and aspired to get the same media attention. He wrote to the police describing his bloody achievements, until his arrest. One of his setbacks was his inflated ego, which finally led to his capture.

Dennis was born in March 1945. Even as a child he developed a bizarre habit for cutting up small animals. As a teenager he manifested another deviant habit: a desire for feminine underwear. These kinds of hidden fantasies often turn to real life desires and enslave persons, propelling them to a path of violent crime.

Dennis manages to enlist in the US Air Force from 1966 for a duration of 4 years. In 1971 he married Paula and had 2 children. It is strange how the spouse of a serial killer never seems to see his behavior as suspicious or radical.

Dennis was a below average student at his school yet he managed to earn a degree in electronics. From 1974 to 1988 Dennis worked for the alarm company ADT, installing alarms. Here he learnt two skills which he translated into his murder spree - he got expert knowledge on disarming home alarms and also got used to the neighborhoods and knew to a great extent as to who lived where, and who would be his easy targets.

He later got a job as a compliance officer for Park City. He enhanced his social status by being a scout leader and pious member of the Lutheran Church, which reminds me of an old proverb - where the light is the brightest the shadow, is the darkest”. No one had a clue that Dennis Rader had a capacity to kill 10 people.

He stalked and observed his victims. His first target in 1974 was a woman of Puerto Rican origin, named Julie Otero. He fantasized this female and monitored her house. She had a son and daughter. When Dennis entered the house he was surprised to find Julies husband at home. He managed to subdue the four of them, and killed them. Seeking attention he wrote a letter to the police and placed it inside a book at the public library. He sent a letter to a local TV station.

As his crimes escalated Dennis developed a fetish of taking photos of the crime scenes, at times posing with the victims’ bodies. He made a famous note saying “The sexual thrill is my bill” and had a weird collection of photos. In addition he stole the underwear of his female victims. Police later found photos of BTK posing in forms of bondage. In trying to ID the killer police had to test the DNA of 1300 men, what a daunting task! Dennis kept on taunting the police. In 2004 he sent them a doll bound; with a plastic bag on its head-in the same way the body of his victim Nancy Fox was found (Nancy Fox was handcuffed and strangled on her own bed). Thinking he was able to outsmart the cops he printed a document using a church computer. He had saved the document on a floppy disk. When police searched the metadata they traced the computer to the church. Whilst driving on 25 February 2005 Dennis was arrested by Wichita Police and the FBI. He was charged with ten counts of first degree murder. He confessed to police that the reason for his crimes was a demon named Factor- X.

When the trial took place in August he was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences. Accepting his fate the killer made a 30 minute speech in court apologizing to the families of the victims. He is currently in El Dorado Corrections Facility in solitary confinement (as a high risk prisoner) and has 1 hour of exercise daily. In 2006 the Belgian band Suicide Commando released a song titled “Bind, torture and kill”.