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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Dennis L. Rader arrested as Wichita BTK Serial Killer

Dennis L. Rader, mugshot Dennis L. Rader, Park City, Kansas, Compliance Supervisor Dennis L. Rader in undated driver's license photo Dennis L. Rader from Park City web site photo
Dennis L. Rader

Authorities in Wichita, Kansas, announced at a press conference this morning, Feb. 26, 2005, that Dennis L. Rader was arrested for the BTK serial killings between 1974 and 1991. BTK stands for "Bind, Torture and Kill," a style of killing he used. The serial killer used the initials in letters he sent to local media. The murders of ten people: 7 women, 1 man, and 2 children are now attributed to Rader.

Dennis Rader's 1963 Wichita Heights High School year-book photo junior class yearbook photo of Dennis L. Rader was published in the 1962 Talon, the yearbook for Wichita Heights High School.

Dennis L. Rader in high school

Photos of Dennis Rader, Air Force serviceDennis Rader - Air Force Service era photos
Dennis Rader 1973 photoDennis Rader 1973 photo
Dennis Rader at his arraignmentDennis Rader at his 2005 arraignment
Facts about Dennis L. Rader:
  • Dennis L. Rader was born March 9, 1945. He was baptized at the Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsburg, Kansas.

  • The Sedgwick County Jail booking sheet lists Rader's height as 5-foot-11 and his weight as 195 pounds.

  • He was born to William E. Rader (Bill) and Dorothea M. Rader. William Rader was a former Marine. He held various positions with Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KG&E) from 1948 to 1963.

  • He has three younger brothers: Paul (born 1947) , Bill (born 1949), and Jeff (born 1955). All four boys were Boy Scouts.

  • He grew up in Wichita and spent his entire life, except for his service in the Air Force, in the Wichita area.

  • Rader went to Riverview School, Pleasant Valley Middle School, Wichita North High School and then Wichita Heights High School. The Class of 1963 transferred to Wichita Heights for its junior year and became the second class to graduate there.

  • He graduated from Wichita Heights High School in 1963. All of his brothers also graduated from Wichita Heights High School.

  • Rader served as an active duty airman in the Air Force from Aug. 17, 1966 to Aug. 11, 1970. His reserve service ran to June 20, 1972. Rader went through basic training in Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and later attended technical school at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was stationed at Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, Alabama in February 1967. He served overseas in Turkey, Greece, Okinawa (Kadena Air Base, Jan. 1968 to June 1968), and Japan (Tachikawa Air Base near Tokyo, July 1968 to August 1970). He reached the rank of sergeant and was awarded the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.

  • He was married on May 22, 1971 to Paula Dietz. She was born May 5, 1948 and is the daughter of Palmer and Eileen Dietz of Park City. Paula Dietz is a 1966 graduate of Wichita Heights H.S. who had been working as a secretary at the VA Hospital.
Paula E. Rader

Paula E. Rader - Charter Member Christ Lutheran Church
  • Paula E. Rader was granted an emergency divorce from Dennis Rader on Tuesday, July 26, 2005.

  • He lived in Park City, Kansas since 1971. He is a registered Republican and his home address since 1975 was 6220 N. Independence St.

    Dennis Rader house, Park City, Kansas6220 N. Independence St
    Dennis and Paula Rader lived here for 25 years

  • Rader's house was sold at auction on Monday, July 11, 2004, for $90,000 -- $33,000 more than the appraised value ($56,700). The winning bidder was a Derby, Kansas, exotic-dance-club owner, Michelle Borin, a woman familiar to Wichitans from her late-night Michelle's Beach House commercials. Boren said she only hoped that all the proceeds would go to Rader's wife and two grown children.

    update: Rader’s house was torn down in March of 2007. Park City bought the house from Rader’s ex-wife for $56,000.

photos of Dennis Rader house, Park City, KansasRader house, Park City, Kansas
  • Rader attended Butler County Community College in El Dorado and Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, KS.

  • He worked in the meat department for Leeker's IGA in Park City in 1971. His mother worked as a bookkeeper.

  • He worked as an assembler at what was then the heating and air division of The Coleman Company from June 19, 1972, to July 6, 1973.

  • Rader entered Wichita State University in the fall of 1973 and graduated in the spring of 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in administration of justice.

  • He has a son, Brian Howard Rader, born on July 27, 1975 and a daughter, Kerri Lynn Rader, born on June 13, 1978. Kerri Rader graduated from Wichita Heights in 1996. She qualified for the state golf tournament her senior year. She attended Kansas State University. Married to Darian Rawson. She moved to Farmington, Michigan in August, 2003. Rader's son is unmarried and in the Navy. Twenty-nine-year-old Brian Rader, who is a Seaman Apprentice, joined the Navy in 2004. He was in school at the Navy submarine base in Groton, CT, at the time of his father's arrest.

  • Rader worked for the security company ADT (from November 1974 to July 1989) - when four of the BTK victims were killed. Rader worked as a construction and installation supervisor. A former ADT supervisor, Michael Fitch, said Rader was eventually fired from ADT.

  • Worked for the U.S. Census Bureau in 1989 as a census field operations supervisor.

  • He was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader. Rader first worked with Cub Scout Pack 491 and then with Boy Scout Troop 491 - as his son progressed through scouting. His son became an Eagle Scout

  • His father, William E. Rader, died on Dec. 27, 1996.

  • He had served on the Sedgwick County Board of Zoning Appeals and the Animal Control Advisory Board (April 1996 - June 1998).

  • Rader’s most recent job was as a Compliance Supervisor for Park City, Kansas. That means he tickets people for public nuisances-things like appliances left in yard and loose dogs. Rader worked there since May 10, 1991. He was earning $16.62 an hour. The Oct. 4, 2001 issue of The Ark Valley News reported that Rader received a 10 year service award presented by Mayor Bergquist.

  • His wife, Paula Rader, worked as a bookkeeper at Snacks, the Diamond Shamrock convenience store at 61st Street North and Broadway since 1985.

  • He is a 30-year member of the Park City Christ Lutheran Church and was President of the Congregation Council at the time of his arrest. His wife and her family were original members of the church. Paula Rader and her mother sing in the church choir.

  • His mother, Dorothea, is a member of the church at 53rd Street North and Hillside. She was quite active in the church when she was younger. Rader's father was also active in the church when he was alive.
BTK murder victims:
  • Jan. 15, 1974 -- Julie and Joseph Otero along with their children Joseph, Jr., and Josephine were tied up and strangled to death in their home.
  • April 4, 1974 -- Kathryn Bright, 21, stabbed to death in her home.
  • March 17, 1977 -- Shirley Vian, 24, tied up and strangled in her home.
  • Dec. 8, 1977 -- Nancy Fox, 25, tied up and strangled in her home.
  • April 27, 1985 -- Marine Hedge, 53, abducted from her home.
  • Sept. 16, 1986 -- Vicki Wegerle, 28, tied up and strangled in her home.
  • Jan. 19, 1991 -- Delores "Dee" Davis, 62, abducted from her home.
Initial reports differed as to how exactly Rader was identified as a suspect. Some reports said his daughter turned him in. Another says it was through a Home Depot surveillance video tape of him dropping off a BTK package. A third report says that a computer disk in the BTK package #11 sent to KSAS-TV on Feb. 16, 2005, was traced back to a computer he had access to at Christ Lutheran Church.

photos of BTK package #11 with computer diskphotos of BTK package #11 with computer disk - traced to a computer at his church

It turns out the the daughter, Kerri Rader, living in Farmington, Michigan, did not give the FBI a DNA sample until about 45 minutes after her father was arrested. However, police had obtained DNA before Rader's arrest through a tissue sample linked to his daughter's medical records. The Rev. Michael Clark, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, said Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2005, that police searched the church and found that a 3.5-inch diskette containing what is alleged to be communication from BTK had once been used in the computer in the church office.

In the book "Nightmare in Wichita: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler," Wichita attorney and author Robert Beattie said security tapes at the east-side Home Depot were reviewed, frame by frame, after a postcard that arrived at KAKE-TV, Jan. 25, 2005, mentioned there would be a package at the store. Beattie said he was told by his sources that cameras caught a vehicle (dark-colored Jeep Cherokee, belonged to Rader's son, who was away on military duty) driven by Rader driving repeatedly through the parking lot.

BTK package #7 was left at the Home Depot drop site on Jan. 8, 2005. The computer disk (BTK package #11) was received by KAKE-TV on Feb. 16, 2005.

updated timeline of events:

  • August 19, 2005, Rader arrived at the El Dorado state prison to spend the rest of his life isolated from the world he terrorized for 31 years. Neither Rader's wife nor his children appeared at any of Rader's court appearances or visited him in jail.

  • August 18, 2005, Dennis L. Rader, the 60-year-old confessed BTK serial killer was sentenced by Judge Greg Waller to a total of 175 years, to be served consecutively. Specifically, Judge Waller sentenced Rader to nine life terms, each without the possibility for parole for 15 years, and gave him one hard 40 life sentence — 40 years in prison with no chance of parole for the Dee Davis murder.

  • July 2005, Rader told radio station KSNW that his wife had written him. Rader's pastor, Rev. Michael Clark, confirmed that Paula had sent Dennis a letter.

  • June 27, 2005, Dennis Rader waived his right to a jury trial, and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder. He described in cool and dispassionate detail how he killed 10 people to satisfy his sexual fantasies.

    Rader described in cool and dispassionate detail how he killed 10 peopleAt his trial Rader described in cool and dispassionate detail how he killed 10 people

  • March 5, 2005, The Wichita Eagle reported that he confessed to all ten BTK murders he was charged with, shortly following his arrest.

  • May 3, 2005, Judge Waller entered a not guilty plea on Rader's behalf, and set a trial date of June 27th.

  • Rader was charged with 10 counts of first-degree premeditated murder on Tuesday, March 1, 2005.

  • Dennis Rader was arrested on Feb. 25, 2005, and held at the Sedgwick county Jail on suspicion of killing ten people. Bail was set at $10 million.
Dennis Rader/BTK [wikipedia.org]
BTK Arrest: ADT [KAKE-TV, Feb. 28, 2005]
Who is Dennis Rader? (video of Rader from 2001) [KSN-TV, Feb. 26, 2005] copy
Who is Dennis Rader? [Crime Library]
BTK Strangler Suspect Dennis Rader [The Crime Library]
Sentencing [CrimeLibrary
Suspect in BTK killings lived quiet life as city worker [MSNBC, Feb. 26, 2005]
The accused [The Ark Valley News, Mar. 3, 2005]
Friends & enemies [The Ark Valley News, Mar. 4, 2005]
More complete portrait of BTK suspect emerges [Washington Post, Mar. 6, 2005]
Rader details how he killed 10 people [CNN, Jun. 28, 2005]
Married to a Monster [msnbc, July 12, 2005]
BTK (Bind, Torture, & Kill) Strangler Info (known before capture) [TJN]

Wichita Eagle articles [now off-line, see Kansas.com archives]
Transcript of the [BTK] news conference - Feb. 26, 2005
Police: BTK is arrested; Dennis Rader named as suspect in killings - Feb. 26, 2005
Liked by many, loathed by some -Feb. 27, 2005
Dennis Rader makes first court appearance - Mar. 2, 2005
Transcript of Court Proceding - Mar. 2, 2005
If BTK likes series, he isn't the first - Mar. 2, 2005
Pastor: Disk gave police key clue - Mar. 2, 2005
BTK survivor ponders the what-ifs - Mar. 2, 2005
The lawyers in the case - Mar. 2, 2005
Source: Daughter's records were subpoenaed - Mar. 3, 2005
'Erasing' data often does no such thing - Mar. 3, 2005
Two timelines - Mar. 4, 2005
A glimpse of BTK's 10 victims - Mar. 6, 2005
The puzzle of Dennis Rader - Mar. 6, 2005
Rader trial expected to cost millions - Mar. 7, 2005
Lawyer: Rader is 'easy to deal with' - Mar. 7, 2005
Police shoo sightseers at Rader home - Mar. 7, 2005
Rader's letter for a class reunion (.pdf)
Rader arrives at El Dorado prison in chains - Aug. 19, 2005

other source, now off-line
Facts about BTK suspect Dennis L. Rader [KWCH-TV, Feb. 26, 2005]

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