WICHITA, Kan. – The serial killer who terrorized Wichita for 31 years, naming himself BTK for “bind, torture, kill” and taunting investigators, wasn’t done when authorities finally tracked him down, police say.
“He’ll tell you he never, ever stopped looking,” police detective Tim Relph said Friday as authorities described how the city’s most notorious killer operated and how his own arrogance caught up with him.
It wasn’t long after his Feb. 25 arrest that Dennis Rader told investigators “I’m BTK,” police Lt. Ken Landwehr said. In fact, he said, Rader kept giving details of the killings until defense attorneys intervened.
When he pleaded guilty June 27, Rader gave a chilling narrative of how he tortured, strangled, stabbed and shot his 10 victims from 1974 to 1991.
“He’s proud of what he did,” Landwehr said. “He can think he’s a Christian all he wants … He is nothing but a perverted serial killer.”
Rader told the court that he had selected an 11th victim. And he has said he had numerous “projects,” or women he planned to kill, Landwehr said.
Investigators don’t know how close he was to killing again, but Landwehr said they have talked to the potential victims.
Rader wasn’t an obvious suspect – a married father of two, a one-time church council leader and a Park City compliance officer who handled suburban code violations and stray dogs. But he had secret sexual fantasies, he told the court, and a “dark side” he couldn’t control.
Rader sought out places where single women would be, Landwehr said. Once one caught his eye, he would become obsessed with stalking them.
Prosecutors say there’s much more to the crimes, and at his Aug. 17 sentencing they plan to present more evidence about the killings and Rader’s sexual motivations, details that could ensure the 60-year-old never leaves prison.
It was the series of messages from the killer that eventually implicated Rader, authorities said.
Police got their biggest break when they received a diskette in a package BTK had provided in order to communicate with them. On it, they found the name “Dennis,” and they were able to trace it to Christ Lutheran Church. A Google search showed Dennis Rader was president of the congregation.
When they searched Rader’s office, they discovered in a locked file cabinet a stack of original BTK communications, copies of which had been sent to police and the media.
In his interview with a Wichita television station last week, Rader said he reappeared after hearing an attorney was writing a book about the killings.
Rader also said he plans to apologize to his victims’ families at his sentencing.