Category: Serial Killing
Location: Kansas, United States
Date: 1974 - 1991
Crime: Best known as the 'BTK Killer', which stands for Bind, Torture and Kill, Dennis Rader is convicted of killing 10 people over a span of almost two decades.
Biography: Rader is the eldest of four sons, born March 9, 1945 in Pittsburg, Kansas. It has been reported that as a child, Rader tortured animals and had a fetish about women's underwear. He graduated high school and went to college for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. Upon serving his four years, he came back to Kansas and went to work as a butcher in the meat department of a local supermarket. In the early 70's, he went back to college and ultimately earned his degree in Justice. Around this same time, he was married and fathered two children.
Rader began his killing in 1974 with the murder of the Otero family. He refined a very careful approach to victim selection and crime execution. He would wander around trying to find a victim that captured his interest. He would then stalk that person, sometimes for weeks at a time until he knew their routine and had a plan for how he would carry out his crime. Then he would typically break into their home, sever the phone cords and hide in waiting until the victim came home. His crimes were particularly brutal in that he would bind his victims and torture them to near death repeatedly. Finally, when he tired of the routine, he would strangle them and ejaculate on the corpse. After each murder, he would taunt the authorities and the newspapers by sending letters mocking them for not being able to catch him and to gloat over what he had done. This is ultimately what led to his capture as he mailed the police a 'floppy diskette' which police were able to glean identification information from the metadata within a Microsoft Word document on the disk. His last known killing was in 1991, and he had remained quiet until resurfacing in 2004 to challenge an author who had written a book about his crimes. On February 25, 2005, Rader was brought into custody for questioning and four months later confessed to his crimes.