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Investigation Discovery


Criminal Profile: Dennis Lynn Rader



BTK murder suspect Dennis Rader stands for a mug shot. Photo courtesy of Sedgwick County, Kansas Sheriff's Office.

By Gary C. King
Edited by Kevin P. Allen

He callously murdered at least 10 victims in cold blood inside their homes, terrorizing the city of Wichita, Kan., for more than 30 years, despite being president of his church and a Cub Scout leader in his son's troop. He dubbed himself the BTK killer, which stands for "bind, torture and kill" and describes his method of operation. Residents wondered how he had remained under police radar for so long.

Before He Was BTK

Born Dennis Lynn Rader on March 9, 1945, in Pittsburg, Kan., the man who would become the BTK killer grew up in Wichita with three younger siblings. He attended Kansas Wesleyan University in 1965-1966, and completed a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Air Force from 1966-1970. He married Paula Dietz in 1971, and fathered two children with her. In 1973, he earned an associate's degree in electronics, and graduated from Wichita State University in 1979 with an administration of justice bachelor's degree. He held jobs as an assembler for a camping gear company, an alarm systems installer and as a supervisor for the Park City, Kansas Compliance Department, according to court and police records.

The Killer Inside

As a child he tortured animals, and developed a fetish for women's underwear, according to his own later confessions. He admitted after his arrest to stealing his victims' panties, which he was fond of wearing. In addition, Rader would later tell authorities that he began fantasizing about torture and bondage in elementary school.

Between Jan. 15, 1974, and Jan. 19, 1991, Rader killed 10 people, four of whom were from the same family, by suffocation, strangulation and stabbing. His known victims ranged in age from 9 to 62. He stalked some of his victims, two of whom had worked with Rader.

Next: Taunting Police >





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