As part of its “Nine at 9” series, Investigation Discovery is examining Dennis Rader, aka the “BTK Killer” in a special titled 20/20 on ID Investigates: My Father BTK. The special focuses on Kerri Rawson, Rader’s daughter who has had to come to grips with rectifying the man who raised her with the “Bind, Torture, Kill” serial killer responsible for 10 murders.
Here’s what you need to know about where Rader is now and how police caught this prolific serial killer.
Rader Is Still Alive Today
In February 2005, Rader was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 10 people between January 1974 and January 1991. In June 2005 at the trial, Rader changed his not guilty plea to guilty and matter-of-factly confessed to all the murders, providing details of the deaths in court.
According to CBS News, Rader coldly described hanging an 11-year-old girl from a sewer pipe after he had killed her parents and brother. He described strangling a 62-year-old woman with pantyhose and dumping her body under a bridge. He also recalled comforting one victim before putting a bag over her head and strangling her.
Rader’s attorney, Steve Osburn, told CBS News he was shaken by the emotionless way Rader described the murders.
“I’ve never had this experience, and I hope to never have it again,” said Osburn.
“Even though you know the facts of the case, it was chilling, horrifying, really,” prosecutor Kevin O’Connor said. “To hear the murders described in such a matter of fact manner, no matter how much you know about the case, it’s still something that’s hard to accept.”
In August 2005, he was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences, which is a minimum of 175 years. Rader was not eligible for the death penalty because his final murder happened three years before Kansas reinstated capital punishment.
“I hope someday God will accept me. The dark side was there, but now I think light is beginning to shine,” he said at his sentencing, according to the Washington Post. “People will say I am not a Christian, but I believe I am. I know the victims’ families will never be able to forgive me. I hope somewhere deep down that will happen.”
Rader is still in prison at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas, in the most restrictive environment, reports CBS News. He is let out of his cell for one hour a day, five days a week, to shower and exercise.
But in a 2019 interview, his daughter did say he is starting to have health problems. She told the Detroit News that he wrote to her and said he thought he may have suffered a stroke, leaving him with short-term memory loss and possible dementia.
His Daughter Wrote a Book About Her Experiences
In 2019, Rawson wrote a book called “A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming.” In it, she aims to off “the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable,” according to the publisher’s website.
It also says that since her father’s arrest, Rawson has been “an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma, sharing her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan.”
In the Detroit News interview when the book came out, Rawson said she has struggled ever since her father’s arrest — “I feel like my father imploded my family,” she said. “We’re not the same and we’ll never be the same.”
She also said that part of her wants to help her father because she knows he’s having health problems, which is something that is hard to reconcile within herself.
“It’s hard because I know he’s 73 and he’s having some health issues,” she said. “I want to take care of him and say goodbye. The reality is he’s been gone 14 years. I can’t imagine the situation where I would go through with it.”
20/20 on ID Investigates: My Father BTK airs Saturday, May 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Investigation Discovery.