Dennis Rader Bio

Dennis Rader is a notorious American serial killer also known as “BTK”, the BTK Strangler or the BTK Killer. He murdered ten people in Wichita, Kansas between 1974 and 1991 and eluded capture for more than three decades. During this time, he kept harassing the police and media by writing taunting letters.

Rader usually targeted women. He would often enter their homes posing as a mechanic or delivery man. He would attack them, take them hostage and then torture and kill them.

Rader was arrested in 2005 and convicted of ten counts of murder. He is currently serving a ten year sentence at El Dorado Correctional Facility, Kansas.

Physical Stats

Full name:Dennis Lynn Rader
Profession:American Serial Killer
Date Apprehended February 25, 2005
Criminal status:Incarcerated (El Dorado Correctional Facility)
Criminal Penalty:Life imprisonment
Born: 9 March, 1945, Pittsburg Kansas, U.S.
Best known for: BTK, BTK Killer, Dennis Lynn Rader
Education:Associate’s Degree, Butler County Community College
Bachelor’s Degree, Wichita State University
Military career :Staff Sergeant, US Air Force (1966–70)
Age:78 Years
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Parents:William E. Rader and Dorothea M. Rader
Marital Status:Married
Spouse: Paula Dietz (m. 1971–2005)
Children: 2, (Kerri Rawson, Brian Rader)

Early Life

Dennis Lynn Rader was born on 9 March 1945 in Pittsburgh, Kansas, United States of America.

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Rader’s father, William Alvin Rader, was a mechanic and his mother, Dorothea Mae Rader, was a housewife. He was brought up in Wichita, Kansas and received his primary education from there. Rader graduated from Wichita East High School in 1963.

Rader has been eccentric since childhood. He used to torture and kill small animals and hang them. He used to spy on female neighbours by wearing women’s clothes and also tortured women.


Dennis Rader started his career in 1966 as a US Air Force soldier. He was posted there till 1970. During this period he also served in Japan and Korea.

After his discharge from the Army, Rader returned to Wichita and began working as an assembler for the Coleman Company. He then worked for various companies, including as an alarm installer for ADT Security Services and a compliance officer for Park City, Kansas.

Murder Case

Dennis Rader committed his first murder on January 15, 1974, when he strangled 15-year-old Julie Marie Doege.

Rader then murdered four members of the Otero family at their home in Wichita. Two children were also involved in this brutal murder. Their names were: Joseph Otero, Julie Otero, Joseph Otero Jr. and Josephine Otero.

Rader continued his killing spree and by 1991 he had killed 10 more people. which included:,

  • Joseph Otero (1974)
  • Julie Otero (1974)
  • Kathryn Bright (1974)
  • Shirley Vian (1977)
  • Nancy Fox (1977)
  • Vicki Wegerle (1985)
  • Dolores Davis (1991)
  • Marine Hedge (1985)
  • Susan Haight (1986)
  • Heather Socolofsky (1988)
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In 2004, Radar came into the news again after a gap of 13 years. He sent several letters to the Wichita Eagle newspaper claiming responsibility for the BTK murders. He also sent a package containing a floppy disk containing a copy of his autobiography.

Following his arrest in 2005, Rader confessed to the murders of the Otero family, the details of which he had written in a 1974 letter hidden inside an engineering book in the Wichita Public Library.


Dennis Rader was arrested near his Park City home on February 25, 2005. His arrest was based on a letter sent by Rader to the Wichita Eagle newspaper.

In this letter he claimed responsibility for the murders and enclosed a floppy disk containing a self-written novel detailing his crimes.

The novel, titled “Bind, Torture, Kill”, provided valuable clues to investigators. Rader was arrested after testing a Pap smear taken from his daughter at the Kansas State University Medical Clinic because his fingernail samples matched his daughter’s.

The teams that captured the radar included Wichita Police, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, FBI and ATF agents.

Legal Actions

The Chief Justice who presided over the sentencing hearing of BTK serial killer Dennis Rader was Gregory Waller. While pronouncing the sentence on August 18, the raider responsible for killing 10 people was sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms.

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He also said that Rader’s crimes were “one of the worst ever committed in Sedgwick County.

Rader was sent to El Dorado Correctional Facility on August 19, 2005, and has been serving his sentence since then.

Before being sentenced, Rader gave a statement in court. He said he was sorry for his crimes and that he was “a monster”. He also said he hoped his victims’ families could find peace.

Dennis Rader’s Life based Movies

The brutal acts committed by the film Radar, also known as the BTK Killer, have been featured in several films and television shows.

  • “The Hunt for the BTK Killer” (2005): In this film, Robert Forster plays the role of investigator Ken Landwehr, who leads the team responsible for capturing Radar. This film airs on CBS.
  • “B.T.K.” (2008): The film stars Ken Hodder as a raider who murders his victims and sends taunting messages to the police and media.
  • “Mindhunter” (2017–2019): This is a Netflix series that tells the story of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit and their quest to understand and capture serial killers.
  • “BTK: A Killer Among Us” (2019): is a true-crime television series that airs on Investigation Discovery.
  • “Catching Killers” (2022): This is a Netflix series starring Sonny Valicenti which depicts the true incident of BTK.
  • “The BTK Killer: A Descent into Darkness”: Upcoming in 2024

Personal Life

Dennis Rader married Paula Dietz in 1971. They have two daughters named Kerry Rosson and Brianna Rader.

Before their marriage, Paula was unaware of Rader’s secret activities but they separated after his arrest in 2005.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Was Dennis Rader ever caught?

Answer: He was arrested in February 2005.

2. Where is BTK today ?

Answer: El Dorado Correctional

3. BTK wife’s name ?

Answer: Paula Dietz

4. Who is the most famous serial killer?

Answer: Jeffrey Dahmer, Harold Shipman, John Wayne Gacy, H.H. Holmes, Pedro Lopez and Ted Bundy

5. Dennis Rader Daughter’s name?

Answer: Kerri Rawson, Brian Rader

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