Are These the BTK Killer’s Most Haunting Words?

On the afternoon of January 15, 1974, 15-year-old Charlie Otero and two of his siblings arrived back to their Wichita, Kansas home from school to find a horrifying scene.

Their parents, 38-year-old Joseph and 33-year-old Julie, and their two youngest siblings, 9-year-old Joseph Jr. and 11-year-old Josephine, had been brutally murdered.

Four years later, out of the blue, a letter was sent to Wichita’s KAKE news station, in which the writer claimed responsibility not only for the Otero family murders but also for the 1974 murder of Kathryn Bright, the 1977 murder of Shirley Vian, and the 1977 murder of Nancy Fox.

In the letter, the murderer also suggested a nickname for himself: “BTK,” standing for “bind, torture, kill.”

The BTK killer went on to murder Mariane Hedge in 1985, Vicki Wegerle in 1986, and Dolores Davis in 1991. During this murderous spree, he maintained correspondence with the media and the police, taunting them.

Suddenly, the BTK murders appeared to cease. All the related murder cases remained cold.

It wasn’t until March 2004 that BTK began communicating with the media and police again. BTK’s letter to The Wichita Eagle claimed he had murdered a woman named Vicki Wegerle back in 1986. He proved it by providing photos of the crime scene and a copy of her driver’s license as proof.

Police continued to be taunted with BTK providing horrifying photos, crime scenes evidence, and bizarre letters. In one particular letter, the killer wrote some of the most haunting words ever from any human being:

“I never knew when this monster entered my brain. But what I do know is that it is here to stay…Society can be thankful that there are ways in which people like me can relieve myself, whether in dreams or with imagining that some victim is tortured and mine It is a big complicated game that my friend the monster plays to write down the number of victims, follow them, watch them waiting in the dark, waiting, waiting… Maybe you can stop it. I, I can’t because he has already chosen his next victim.”

On February 16, 2005, the BTK killer sent police a purple floppy disk filled with instructions for further communications.

Within the metadata of that disk, police were able to find two key clues: the words “Christ Lutheran Church” and the name “Dennis.”

A quick internet search led them to Dennis from the church. A search warrant allowed them to compare DNA from the suspect’s daughter’s recent pap smear to the DNA they had on file. It was a match.

By early afternoon on February 25, 2005, the BTK killer was identified as Dennis Rader. He was arrested.

On June 27, 2005, the day that his trial was scheduled to begin, Rader pleaded guilty to all 10 charges of murder filed against him. During his confession, with minimal emotion, he described each of the murders in detail,. There was no remorse or apologies.

The following month, his wife, Paula. was granted an “emergency divorce” from him.

Years later, Rader revealed his list of what “projects,” 55 individuals he had targeted and wanted to kill. He didn’t get to kill all of them, but likened himself to “a fisherman who goes out, and sometimes you catch and sometimes you don’t.”

As of this writing Dennis Rader, now 78, remains in solitary confinement at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Butler County, Kansas.

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