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Free Background Check Resources: Kansas News

A Civil Servant

59-year-old Dennis L. Rader was a married father of two and a compliance officer for Park City, Kansas. He was in charge of enforcing municipal regulations, such as animal control, housing problems, zoning, permit enforcement and other nuisance cases. Rader was also a Cub Scout troop leader and president of his church. Neighbors thought he was somewhat helpful, though he bristled easily. One of his pet peeves was the neighbors' insufficient - in his opinion - attention to their lawns. In other words, he sounds like a typical ordinary, overworked but conscientious city employee, community leader and family man.

2005 was a momentous year for Dennis. That's when the State of Kansas and the whole country finally realized that he, Dennis L. Rader and serial killer BTK were one and the same.

In 1974 Rader wrote to the Wichita newspaper, taking responsibility for the recent murders, but claiming he couldn't help himself, that a monster took over. He offered proof of his identity by citing ghastly details known only to the police. He announced: "The code words for me will be ... Bind them, Torture them, Kill them." Thus, the BTK moniker was coined. He also promised to kill again when the urge struck.

The BTK killer brutally murdered a total of five people in 1974 - a family of four, and a woman, and two more women in 1977. Throughout 1974, 77, and 78, following each incident, BTK continued to alert the media and police with more clues, confessions and descriptions. In 1978, he wrote to the local TV station: "How many people do I have to kill before I get a name in the paper or some national attention? It's hard for me to control myself. When this monster entered my brain, I will never know. Maybe you can stop him. I can't. He has already chosen his next victim."

In 1979, Rader attempted another murder, but his intended prey avoided her dreadful lot due to a sheer stroke of luck. He later sent letters to her and the TV station informing that she was supposed to be the 8th, and even dedicated to her a macabre love poem. The last known murder occurred in 1986. For the next 25 years, no one heard from the BTK killer.

Then, in 2004, 30 years after the 1st murder, and through early 2005, the media and police began to receive regular communications. There were a total of eight, sent on murder anniversaries from cryptic invented addresses hinting at the murders. Police had long since assumed that the killer had died or disappeared, and now BTK was brazenly mocking them. He boasted about his efficiency, giving the impression of someone smart and in control. He described methodically tying impeccable knots around the throats of his victims and sent carefully catalogued photos of the murder scenes. He provided clues to his identity - year born, family members, places he lived and worked, hobbies. It was almost as if he was trying to turn himself in. Not surprisingly, those messages led to his undoing.

Wichita Police investigators conducted DNA testing and announced that in addition to the eight known cases, they now attributed two additional murders, previously classified as unsolved, to BTK. On February 25, 2005, a large task force consisting of Wichita Police, FBI, and KBI agents pulled Dennis Rader over, supposedly for a vehicle violation, and arrested him without resistance. The searches of Rader's home, office and the church where he was president produced ample evidence.

The BTK Killer confessed to all 10 counts of first-degree murder and dispassionately provided detailed accounts of each. Although there is no statute of limitation for homicide, he couldn't receive the death penalty: all the murders occurred prior to 1994, when Kansas first adopted the death penalty. Dennis L. Rader got the maximum prison term of ten consecutive life sentences. The 60-year-old faces 175 years behind bars without a possibility of parole. Under the circumstances, BTK's wife was granted an emergency divorce.