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BTK - Bind Torture Kill Serial Killer

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Why the Return?

Authorities are not really sure why BTK decided to strike up a conversation again.  Most had thought he was either dead or in prison.  It has been widely believed that serial killers are incapable of stopping their rampage and that only death or imprisonment will deter them.

Evidence Clue

Police have done DNA typing on the semen found at several of the crime scenes.  Police determined that the semen is a rare type found in less than 6% of males.

Dennis L. Rader

Rader was born on March 9, 1945, one of four brothers.  He grew up in Wichita and graduated from Riverview School.  He attended Wichita State University where he eventually graduated with a degree in Administration of Justice.  He served a 4-year stint in the Air Force where he worked as either a mechanic or a telephone and antenna maintenance specialist (see reader note below).

Dennis Rader had lived in the Park City community for over 30 years.  Neighbors and friends described him as caring and considerate.  Rader, a Cub Scout leader at the Lutheran Church, was known to help elderly people with their yard work and always played active roles in his church (including President).

Others however, described Rader as "strange".  One ex-member of his Cub Scout pack described how their mother had pulled them out of the pack specifically because of Rader.  "It was his demeanor.  He was so strange."

Neighbors of Rader, who studied Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, also recounted stories of how Rader had harassed neighbors about city code violations, even going so far as to measure a neighbor's grass with a tape measure to determine if it had been allowed to grow too high.

Other neighbors told how Rader had "unnerved" them.  He had been caught secretly filming one neighbors home when the wife was alone while the husband was out of town.

BTK Victims

January 1974
Julie Otero
Joseph Otero
Joseph Jr. Otero
Josephine Otero

April 1974
Kathryn Bright

March 1977
Shirley Vian

December 1977
Nancy Fox

September 1986
Vicki Wegerle

April 1985
Marine Hedge

January 1991
Delores Davis

A Computer Disk?

The capture of Rader may have been due to a single sloppy mistake.  One of the communications from the BTK Killer came in the form of a package sent to the Fox affiliate - KSAS TV in Wichita.  This package contained a computer diskette that had been erased and reloaded by the BTK killer with clues and taunts for the police.

Many people are unaware that erasing content on any electronic media will still leave behind traces of the original content.  Only by utilizing mechanical electronic purging devices or specially designed software, can the contents be entirely removed.  In this case, police were able to peel back layers of the diskette to discover original content that was traced back to Rader's Lutheran church.

It is presumed that once the diskette was traced to the church, police began obtaining DNA evidence of the church members and/or family members (either voluntarily or using discrete means), and comparing that DNA to the DNA collected from the crime scenes and recent communications.

Dennis Rader's Military Stint

The following was sent to us from Jerry Tremmel, who served in the Air Force with Dennis Rader:

Dennis was not a mechanic in the Air Force. I was stationed in the Air Force with Dennis Rader. We went to Tech school at Sheppard AFB, TX from October 1966 to February 1967. Dennis and I were both transferred to the 2863RD GEEIA SQ, Brookley AFB, Alabama. We went on a four month temporary assignment together in 1967 to Greece and Turkey. I believe Dennis went to Kadena AFB, Okinawa for an 18 month tour in 1968. We were both trained as Telephone Outside Plant and Antenna Maintenance specialists.

I may also have known his first victim - Joseph Otero, Joseph and I were both apparently stationed at Albrook AFB, Panama during the same period - 1968 - 1972. He was a pilot and I was also a member of the Aero Club at Albrook AFB.

 

 

 

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