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Killer Countdown Day 3: Dennis Rader -- Also Knowm As The BTK Killer

OCTOBER 20, 2015  —  By Mike Cahill  
Mike Cahill

Mike Cahill

Mike is ViralNova's resident Editor of the Weird. If it makes you say "OMG! That's terrible!!!" then Mike probably wrote it. Despite the subject of his articles Mike is surprisingly well adjusted. When he's not writing, he's making music, performing, and producing podcasts.

By all accounts, Dennis Rader was a normal suburban dad. He had a job, he had a family, and he went to church every Sunday -- until he was arrested in 2005 and charged with the murder of 10 people, that is.

To those who knew him, Dennis Rader was a model American.

To those who knew him, Dennis Rader was a model American.

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Born and raised in Kansas, he always had a steady job, he was president of his church council, and he was a dedicated family man. But below the surface was a bubbling mixture of mental illness and murderous inclinations. Rader began a killing spree in 1974 that would eventually claim 10 victims.

Rader's first murder -- and the one that earned him the nickname of the "BTK Killer" -- was that of the Otero family.

Rader entered the family's home and killed all four members, including Joseph Otero, 38, Julie Otero, 33, Joseph Otero Jr., 9, and Josephine Otero, 11. One by one, Rader tortured all of them. After this spree, he sent handwritten letters to the police and media. In one letter, he insisted that they refer to him as the BTK KIller, since his preferred method was to bind, torture, and kill his victims. The name stuck.

As Rader evolved as a murderer, his rituals became more bizarre.

Photographs recovered after Rader was arrested show him dressed in the clothing of some of his victims. He had a penchant for staging sadomasochistic scenarios.

Throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s, these gruesome killings plagued the city of Wichita, Kansas.

Because of mounting hysteria, local home security companies became overworked and overwhelmed. That's when Rader decided to get a job installing alarms. He used his inside knowledge of security systems to break into people's homes.

The last BTK murder took place in 1991.

The last BTK murder took place in 1991.

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By 2004, the investigation had officially gone cold. That's when Rader, presumably out of boredom, took to mocking the police yet again. Starting in early 2004, Rader sent a series of 11 letters and packages to local newspapers and TV stations. His downfall came when he asked police if they could trace letters sent to them via floppy disk. In a newspaper ad the next day, the police responded and said that they could not.

Several weeks later, Rader sent a purple floppy disk to a local TV station. That's when police stepped in.

When police examined the floppy disk, they uncovered hidden metadata from a deleted Word document that Rader did not know was on there. The metadata led police to the Christ Lutheran Church, where Rader was serving as council president. It also said that the document was edited by "Dennis." Police finally had the BTK Killer in their grasp.

Rader was charged with 10 counts of murder, and he was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences.

Rader was charged with 10 counts of murder, and he was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences.

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(via Murderpedia)

Rader currently spends about 23 hours a day in solitary confinement at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas. That seems like a pretty fair punishment for such a heinous monster.