The BTK Strangler Part 2

The Descent of a Monster

By the early 2000s, BTK’s bloody crime spree in Wichita was already legendary in the 1970s, and an entire generation had grown up with his crimes.

Police had never been able to pin a suspect, despite evidence including his typed letters, DNA left at crime scenes and a recording of his voice from his 1977 phone conversation.

Then, in March 2004, BTK reappeared.

BTK sent a letter to The Wichita Eagle admitting the murder of a woman named Vicki Wegerle, enclosing her driver’s license and three Polaroid photos of her dead, partially exposed body.

In September 1986, the body of 28-year-old Vicki was found in her home by her husband Bill. She was tied up and strangled with a nylon stocking. Police had never made a connection to the BTK killings and now belatedly discovered there were more victims.

Catch Me If You Can

Over the next few months, BTK 10 continued to send messages, leaving packages across the city containing items taken from previous victims, such as jewelry, photos and drawings of his crimes, including Barbie dolls tied in his signature style.

It was his last message that sealed his fate. In February 2005, BTK asked for the police messages sent by floppy disk to be traced. The police decided to set a trap and sent him a coded reply telling him it was safe to do so.

Eventually he sent a floppy disk and the police managed to find a deleted Microsoft Word document on the device. Metadata showed it was written at Christ Lutheran Church and edited by Dennis.

Police determined that “Dennis” was most likely Dennis Rader, the 59-year-old Church Council president and Boy Scout leader and husband and father of two.

They also found that Rader installed home security alarms between 1974 and 1988, which put him in contact with many of his victims.

Investigators found that Rader’s daughter recently had a Pap smear as part of her medical exam. They managed to get a swab of her DNA and tested it with samples left by BTK.

Rader’s daughter’s DNA showed a 50% familial identity. The police now had indisputable evidence that he was her killer.

Rader was arrested on February 28, 2005. During his 32-hour marathon interrogation, he revealed that he broke his silence after reading a newspaper article in which he revisited his past exploits.

He also admitted to two other murders.

In May 1985, the body of 53-year-old Marine Hedge was found half-buried in a ditch. She had been hand strangled, bound and wrapped in plastic. She was also Rader’s neighbor and lived just six doors down from his house.

Rader revealed that after killing her at her home, he drove to his church where he photographed her half-naked body in various positions before dumping her in a ditch. It was a complex and risky plan, which he dubbed “Operation Cookie.”

Rader also confessed to the January 1991 murder of 62-year-old Dolores Davis, whom he killed while on a Boy Scout trip. He had left the Boy Scouts for several hours to break into her home, tie her up and strangle her with her pantyhose. He then threw her body under a bridge.

A monster among us

The citizens of Wichita were shocked by the fact that this mild-mannered man really was the monster that had been terrorizing their city for decades. Most stunned were his church members and family, who were completely unaware of Rader’s dark side.

Police combed his home for evidence and eventually discovered diaries with drawings of women being tied up and tortured. They also uncovered additional items and clothing from the victims’ homes and photos of Rader himself, bound and bound, wearing a mask and wearing women’s clothing.

Investigators believed that Rader had staged these photos over the years as a twisted way of reliving his crimes.

reign of terror ended

In July 2005, Rader pleaded guilty to 10 counts of murder and described all of his crimes, which he described as “projects,” to the judge in factual and gruesome detail. He also explained that the long gaps between his kills were because he needed to take care of his children, otherwise he would have “killed more often.”

Rader was eventually sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences and sentenced to a minimum of 175 years in prison. He is currently in solitary confinement at El Dorado Correctional Facility.

To date, BTK remains one of the most researched and analyzed serial killers in the United States due to his decades of activity, unique methodology, and sadistic-narcissistic nature. What makes his case even more chilling is the fact that he would have remained at large to this day had he not decided to break his silence. The BTK Strangler Part 2

Tom Vazquez

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