American serial killer Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK killer, was responsible for the murders of 10 people.
The notorious murderer is a subject in the second season of Netflix documentary series Catching Killers, which landed on the streaming platform on Wednesday, February 9.
Rader was active between 1974 and 1991 in Wichita and Park City in Kansas, where he was from.
Here is everything you need to know about the BTK killer and where he is now.
What does B.T.K stand for?
B.T.K was a self-imposed pseudonym for Rader which referred to the manner in which he killed his victims.
Following the death of his fourth victim, Rader began sharing letters with the press in order to publicly admit to his crimes, taunt the police, and to also gain notoriety for himself.
In one of his letters, which was shared on the Netflix True Crime series, he stated that he wanted to be known by the “code words… Bind them, torture them, and kill them.”
This was shortened to BTK, and Rader would leave a symbol resembling the letters on the photographs and letters he sent to police and media.
Who were the BTK Killer’s victims?
The BTK killer’s first victims were the Otero family —parents Joseph and Julie and their son Joseph, and daughter Josephine— who he murdered at their home in East Wichita on January 15, 1974.
On April 4, 1974 Rader killed Kathryn Bright, who he stabbed to death at her home, he had also shot her brother Kevin but he survived the incident.
Rader murdered a further two women in 1977; mother-of-three Shirley Vian Relford on March 17, and 25-year-old Nancy Fox on December 8.
On April 27, 1985, Rader kidnapped and killed Marine Hedge after taking her from her home in Wichita, and he dumped her body in a remote ditch.
Vicki Wegerle was murdered on September 16, 1986. The police were unable to solve the case at the time, but in 2004 Rader sent a letter with photos of her body and a photocopy of her driver’s licence which he had stolen. This linked Wegerle’s cold case to the BTK killer.
Dolores E. Davis was Rader’s final victim, and he killed her on January 19, 1991 and left her body by a bridge, before he then went into hiding until 2004.
Where is the BTK Killer now?
The BTK killer resurfaced in 2004 following a more than ten-year hiatus when he sent photographs of Wegerle’s body to police.
He then resumed sending letters to both the press and police, one of which was a word-search puzzle that included his surname, and another which saw him explain he had found another victim, a child, to kill.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of the police to preserve evidence from the crime scenes, including from the home of the Otero family in 1974, authorities were able to find Rader using DNA evidence.
In the Netflix show, the homicide detectives on the BTK killer case explained that they first found Rader after discovering a floppy disk as evidence, the device had the killer’s first name on it and was traced back to Christ Lutheran Church.
Searching the database of the church, the police discovered Rader was president of the council and he also owned a vehicle that was connected to one of the BTK murders.
They decided to arrest him, however they were stopped before they could take him into custody because of a lack of evidence.
Despite his link to the floppy disk the police required concrete proof of Rader’s involvements in the crime, and so they used DNA from a smear test his daughter had taken at Kansas State University to find out if he was a DNA match to their evidence.
The DNA from Rader’s daughter revealed that her father was the BTK killer and he was arrested in February 2005. Upon their interrogation of him, Rader confessed to committing all ten murders.
Rader was charged with 10-counts of First-Degree Murder on February 28, 2005 after he pled guilty to the aforementioned killings.
On August 18, 2005, he was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for 175 years, and he is currently imprisoned at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.
Catching Killers Season 2 is available to stream on Netflix now.