Eight years ago today on January 25, 2005, a Wichita, Kansas television station received a postcard from the BTK killer that led police to discover a Post Toasties cereal box that had been altered to contain the letters BTK. The postcard was one of a long line of communications sent by the serial killer who terrorized Wichita for over 30 years, brutally murdering 10 people and taunting law enforcement and the local media. A month later, on February 25, Dennis Lynn Radar, a husband, father of two and compliance officer for Park City, Kansas, was taken into custody and confessed to being the BTK killer.
Rader, born in 1945, committed his first murders in 1974, when he strangled four members of one family-a husband, wife and two of their children. Six more victims, all female, followed, the last one in 1991. Throughout the 1970s the BTK killer sent letters to the media in which he claimed knowledge of the crimes. Rader nicknamed himself BTK in the letters for his way of committing his crimes, Binding, Torturing and Killing his victims.
Rader was a Cub Scout leader and church council president and appeared to be an ordinary, upstanding citizen.
In 2004 the BTK killer began contacting the media again, sending notes, poems and packages that included some of his victim’s jewelry and even their driver’s licenses. In February 2005 he sent a floppy disk containing a letter to a local TV station. The Disk was traced back to Rader’s church computer and he was identified. DNA evidence helped conclusively link Rader to the crimes.
Rader was charged with 10 counts of murder. He pled guilty to the charges just before his trial was to begin. He told authorities he stalked his victims, who he referred to as “projects”, and said he committed his crimes as part of a sexual fantasy. In August 2005 Rader was sentenced to 10 life terms in prison. He was ineligible for the death penalty because it did not exist in Kansas when the crimes were committed. He is currently lodged at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in El Dorado, Kansas.