BTK killer's daughter on growing up related to a serial murderer. BTK serial killer's daughter shares letters he wrote her from behind bars: 'The dark side took me away' “I had to learn how to grieve a man that was not dead," his daughter told 20/20. Kerri Rawson: Yeah. However, Rawson said that her father also occasionally showed his more sinister side: In hindsight, now, we can see where he had flashes of anger, he was controlling, he could be verbally abusive at times and there were two incidents of physical violence against my brother when he was older. Kerri Rawson, the daughter of infamous serial killer Dennis Rader aka BTK Killer, has broken her silence in her first television interview. The last time I talked to him was October 2017. After her father’s arrest, Rawson said she heard the agent’s words playing in an unstoppable loop in her head, according to Detroit News: “Her chest frequently grew tight. He denied it. People keep saying, “Well, wouldn’t you want to meet with the family members?” To me, it would be really unimaginable and difficult. You can manage your newsletter subscriptions at any time. For the families, I’m glad he got caught so they got answers and justice. It’s one thing to be unwittingly married to a serial killer, but quite another thing to be his offspring. It’s not like you’re going to sit there and make dinner for the guy after finding out he’s murdered 10 people. ... Facebook Twitter Instagram RSS Feed Every weekday, Slate's copy editors round up the stories you should read. When you say you talked to him, you mean through letters? My dad should have been in prison since ’74. I’ve never been comfortable enough to talk to him on the phone or see him at the prison. I don’t know. I would come up to these things and not want to write them, and I would have to force myself to do it. I mean, right after sentencing, in a September ’05 letter, he says he’s so sorry for the victims and he asks God to be between him and them. When you internalize all that anger and hate, you basically hate yourself because you’ve tucked it inside deep yourself and you’re hurting your internal self. After she let him in, she was standing in the kitchen staring at a chocolate bundt cake when the agent told her that her father — a stamp collecting Cub Scout leader — had been arrested in Kansas and was accused of being the serial killer, BTK. She married her college sweetheart, Darian, that same year. You’ve mentioned sick people who idolize your father. I had two parents raising me. You also talk about how he had this temper and occasionally became violent. I actually have a photo of him on that campout. By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. My Family’s COVID Year Trapped on a Superyacht off New Zealand, If You Hate New Year’s, You’re Doing It Wrong, New Jersey’s Weed Market Is About to Explode—and Face a Crucial Test, A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming. But then he would have my phone number, and I haven’t ever wanted him to have it. My understanding is that you haven’t been in touch with your father while writing the book. The BTK Killer, whose real name is Dennis Rader, seemed like your everyday father of two. Kerri Rawson is the daughter of the infamous Bind-Torture-Kill serial killer, Dennis Rader, and an advocate for abuse, trauma and crime victims. Rawson also started remembering things, like the fact that her one of her father’s victims was a woman who lived down the street that Rawson would wave to. Right now they know he’s done bad stuff. Kerri Rawson and her father, Dennis Rader, at Rawson’s wedding in 2003. Rawson said her faith came from youth. [We] didn’t know we were living with a psychopath. Do you believe your dad always knew he would be caught eventually? “I knew right away it was my dad,” she says. Rader, a former security services personnel turned compliance officer in Park City, did not fit the description of a ruthless serial killer Kerri Rawson. Late one February evening in 2005, Kerri Rawson went online and listened to a recording of the BTK killer from 1977. Woman discovers her father is notorious BTK serial killer [NIGHTLINE]"Everything upended on us," Kerri Rawson said of learning her father Dennis Rader was the BTK serial killer, who murdered 10 people, including two children, and haunted Wichita for decades.2019-02-02T11:23:18Z. When he came to the door and announced that he was an FBI agent, a suspicious Rawson asked to see his ID, CBC Radio reported. Filed Under: BTK, BTK's daughter, Dennis Rader, Dr Oz, Kelsey Berreth, serial killer, True Crime Dennis Rader was a soft-spoken family man and church leader who … He turned my bedroom into a nursery for plants when I was 3, and I’d sleep with my brother in the bunk bed. That’s one of those things that just hangs there—could there still be more? Still, some have criticized the book, saying it would bring Rader the attention he craved. … But you also don’t want them to become teenagers and Google Mom and find this all out on their own. In 2016, when Katherine Ramsland’s book [about him] came out, the Wichita Eagle did a piece [saying] my dad was going to murder an 11th woman, supposedly in October of ’04. And said: “Happy Father’s Day.” Weekly I get asked, “How could you have not known?” I also get, “You’re not a victim. Everybody assumed the BTK Killer was a sadistic genius. You don’t have the right to share your story.”. He wanted to be involved in your book? And we didn’t really ever address it or talk about it. . That’s the narcissistic part of him that wants attention. “Seeing years of hard, tooth and nail scraping work finally in my hands brought me to tears,” she wrote. BTK's Daughter Speaks Out - Monday at 7pm Preview: 01/29/2019 | 30s You can cancel anytime. I sort of equate it to, like, hell. Seems like he sort of stumbled into getting caught. I’ve said it’s like pulling out shards of glass. . Rader killed ten people in Wichita, Kansas, including two small children, between 1974-1991. . That’s one of the things I’ve had to wrestle with: If things were the way they should have been, I wouldn’t be alive. No. When Rader complained about the lack of visits from his family and told a pastor that he had been a good man “who just did bad things,” according to The Star, Rawson grew disgusted and wrote him an angry letter: You have had these secrets, this ‘double life’ for 30 years; we have only had knowledge of it for three months. It’s hard, because I know he’s 73 and he’s having some health issues. Police in Wichita, Kan., could not ask Dennis Rader, shown here in 2005, for a DNA sample in order to confirm he was a murderer known as BTK. Mr Rader was arrested after his daughter, Kerri, 26, reported her fears that her father might be the killer. You’re trying to protect them. I wouldn’t work with him at all. There’s that “Black Friday” poem where he talks about being caught. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. But now you realize, that kept him out of trouble. How did he react when he learned you were writing a book about this? Harper Collins Do you think he is incapable of feeling sorry for what he did to them? If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. “We camped, we fished, we hiked, I walked the dog with him,” she said in her CTV News interview. Dennis Rader is escorted into the El Dorado Correctional Facility on Aug. 19, 2005, in El Dorado, Kansas. “We’re not the same and we’ll never be the same.”. ... Share this video on Twitter. In his secret life as “BTK”—short for “bind, torture, kill,” the sick nickname summarizing his methods—Rader had murdered 10 people in the Wichita area between 1974 and 1991. A court-ordered DNA test on his daughter’s pap smear confirmed forensic evidence linking Rader to the scenes of the BTK killer’s crimes. He lived in Wichita, Kansas, with his wife and two children and worked as a Park City compliance officer. BTK killer's daughter on growing up related to a serial murdererKerri Rawson discusses what it's like to grow up as the daughter of a convicted serial killer. BTK's daughter tells her story of living with a serial killer father. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan. For those families, he needed to be caught. She would burst out crying in restaurants and churches,” the paper reported. I think he felt like we were safe from whatever he was doing. He hadn’t communicated [with the police] between ’79 and ’04, except around ’87, when he sent a letter to Mrs. Fager. But I think it’s important for people to understand: I did lose my father. I get trolled. BTK: A Killer Among Us, a new ID documentary series, dives deeper than ever before into the methods and madness of Dennis Rader by way of interviews with those most directly intertwined with the case: law enforcement agents, victim’s family members, investigative journalists, and, yes, BTK’s own daughter, Kerri Rawson. “She was proud of me, and only wished she had known how much I was suffering,” she said of her mother. Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, better known to the world as the serial killer BTK. He was also a family man, the president of the local Christ Lutheran Church and a boy scout troop leader. She couldn’t work, couldn’t sleep. I haven’t talked to him in a year. It would be a private life, right? I didn’t even realize the first two years I had PTSD. BTK responds to daughter’s book. However, Rawson has also said that writing the book was cathartic for her; talking about it has helped heal me in a way that nothing else could, Rawson said in a video trailer about the book. Later, it was stamps … We had hundreds of stamps in tubs. I argue that he can. In 2015, when the article [this Wichita Eagle piece about Rawson] came out, he said seeing the impact he had when he was arrested on my family, he was actually upset and almost cried reading it. I do know detectives think it was true and talked to the person my dad had targeted and stalked. They found it was a 90% match with BTK. I don’t know what makes a person able to do that. In interviews, Rawson has said that her childhood was fairly normal. However, Rawson said that the book not only helped her, but also her family, according to ABC News. Feb 15, 2019 BTK's Daughter Kerri Rawson: 'We're All Trauma Victims'. This included four members of the Otero family—Julie Otero (the matriarch), Joseph Otero (the patriarch), 11-year-old Josephine Otero, and nine-year-old Joseph Otero Jr. He has a [big] fan club—people that write him and even talk to him on the phone. For years, she hid from the intense media interest in her family. They were sort of pushing me, asking, “Well, what did he do?” I kind of blew up and I said, “He’s in jail for hurting people.” I left it at that. The daughter of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Dennis Rader, who was known as the BTK killer is now speaking out. So I tried to explain it: “It’s a really long timeout.” She was like, “When will he get out?” “Well, he won’t ever get out.” Now that they’re older, they’ve known for years what I’ve been writing about my life. Rawson’s book, “A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story Of Faith, Love, And Overcoming,” was published in January 2019, representing what she said was the culmination of years of therapy and recovery. 20/20 full episode recap, 2019-02-01: After "BTK" serial killer Dennis Rader's shocking confession, his daughter had to find ways to cope with her new, shattered reality. I’m not ever trying to defend anything my father has done, because it’s not defensible. Rader waited months and sometimes years in between murders, which confounded authorities and after 1991, led them to think he was no longer active until he began sending taunting letters to police in 2004. That’s the closest I’ve ever seen him to saying he’s sorry. So he heard the book was coming out at the end of January, and he even asked, “Did it have something to do with the anniversary of the Otero murders?” And I was like, “No. Do you think you will reach a point where you’ll want to see him? Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. I have only ever written him. As far as I understand, she has PTSD from the events around his arrest. “I grew up in a small Lutheran church and it was very important that my dad took us to church,” she said in her Law & Crime Network interview. It’s a combination of being hit on and somebody saying they would like to kill you. She has said on her website that she wrote the book to help “all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger” forgive “the unforgivable.”. . Do you ever wonder what your life would be like now if your dad had never been caught? He said he wanted to “retire” as BTK. I’ve been told, “Every day of your life is a lie because you never lived with the man you thought you did.” The fact that he murdered seven people before you were born and three after—that automatically makes him not a good dad. Dennis Rader, in full Dennis Lynn Rader, byname BTK or BTK Killer, (born March 9, 1945, Pittsburg, Kansas, U.S.), American serial killer who murdered 10 people over a span of three decades before his arrest and confession in 2005. Sometimes I’m still bracing for that phone call from the media or a detective. In the book, you show how emotional he was when the family dog had to be put to sleep. You lied to us, deceived us. As books piled up in her living room, Rawson wrote in a Facebook post that she became overwhelmed after opening one of the boxes. After that, he sort of came back to his narcissistic self, focused on himself. Rawson, a substitute teacher, graduated from Kansas State University in 2003, as shown by a photo of her standing with her father in an ABC News article. Some people think he started communicating because he wanted to get caught. By the time Rawson was born in 1978, her father had already committed seven murders, including a family of four. That’s the most emotion I’ve seen out of him in letters. I didn’t find out until ’16 he was going to murder somebody on that day. Dennis Rader now spends most of his life in cell. Just Google “BTK’s 11th victim,” you’ll find it. And my dad belongs in prison. Her attempt comes with a new book, “A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming” (Nelson Books). It was not a mistake. I think he feels sorry he got caught. In court, he didn’t even get some of their names right. However, on a night in December 2012, she said she felt overcome with a sense of forgiveness and wrote her father in the first time in five years. And then—say I’m in page edits—it comes back to me: “Oh, Dad’s BTK.” That breaks into your head and it still stings. If he’s out there being BTK, he’s BTK. How would that work? I don’t have my good food and my house shoes. Rawson told The Star that she now sees how he had tried to control his impulses by keeping busy: He liked to do hobbies because it kept him out of trouble. Please try again. Subscribe to CTV News to watch more videos: https://www.youtube.com/ctvnews Connect with CTV News: For the latest news visit: http://www.ctvnews.ca/ For a full video offering visit the CTV News Network: http://www.ctvnews.ca/video CTV News on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CTVNews CTV News on…2019-02-04T22:49:31Z. It felt like I was pulling something out inside of me. (The Otero family, with two young children, became his first victims in 1974.) My Father BTK – 20/20 PT 1 WATCH THE FULL EPISODE OF 20/20: https://bit.ly/2G7o4yl Woman recalls moment she found out her father was the BTK … I did that probably a thousand times. It was his habit of taunting the police that led to his capture in 2005, 14 years after his last murder. BTK had started his crimes in 1974, before Kerri was born. And they’ve seen pictures of him. It’s not like I would ever get to hug him or anything. Kerri Rawson, her mother (blurred out), and her father, Dennis Rader, in 1978. Her emotional way of dealing with it was, like, “He’s gone, he died.” Early on she did write him. He was the BTK Strangler—a serial killer who murdered at least 10 people with incomprehensible sadism: Binding, Torturing, and Killing his victims inside their homes. All contents © 2021 The Slate Group LLC. The daughter of Wichita’s notorious serial killer breaks her silence in an exclusive local interview with Susan Peters. My publisher set the date; it has nothing to do with your murders 45 years ago.” I’m trying to show you an example of what it’s like to communicate with him, and why I don’t that often. (He is now serving 10 life sentences in prison.). She was eventually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental health condition prompted by a traumatic event and characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and invasive thoughts. I don’t think I could possibly answer that knowing for the last 14 years what he is and what he’s done. You’ve got to realize, you’re dealing with a very twisted, insane person. In a recent Skype conversation, Rawson talked about grappling with her father’s crimes. There was a special [about BTK] on the news. The book’s portrait of your father is complicated. But my dad’s full of BS. Kerri Rawson and her father, Dennis Rader. Personally, I was falling apart last fall with PTSD, and then my son got ill. It’s not like our rational minds can rationalize what my father is thinking or doing. It’s difficult to reconcile the fact that he was a murderer, and yet he cried like a normal person would cry when his dog died. Rawson told Detroit News that she struggled to write the book and especially think about who her father was, as both the man she knew and the killer terrorizing Wichita. He wrote [letters] in March of ’05. He could potentially talk to me on the phone. When he was in court for sentencing, he never expressed remorse as far as I know. Who Is BTK’s Daughter, Kerri Rawson? If you ask me to try to reconcile it, my brain will explode. I had a father raising me. She went into therapy around the same time I did. I don’t know. [Rader sometimes writes poems from his prison cell.] Have you had contact with those families [of Rader’s victims]? She said her faith wasn’t strong until she was with her father on a dangerous hike in the Grand Canyon and that’s when, “He gave me something to hold onto,” she said. In an interview on the Law & Crime Network, Rawson described receiving death threats. The two have a daughter, Emilie, in 2008 and a son, Ian, in 2011. I actually asked some detectives about it in Wichita. I was like, “No, that’s not possible.”. I’ve never seen him express remorse. For Rawson, there is life before Feb. 25, 2005, and life after. They put somebody on trial, but the guy got off. They’re really good at hiding… I mean, my mom lived with him for 34 years, and 90, 95 percent of the time, he was a good, loving father and husband. “I’m trying to keep being courageous and saying what I need to say.”. He’s my father, and I still love him. I think it’s important, from a criminology aspect, to show that he was a father and a husband and a co-worker. "I sat down and wrote a six-page letter to my dad," Kerri Rawson told Inside Edition. BTK killer on his way out, Bo Rader-The Wichita Eagle/Reuters Between 1974 and 1991 he terrorized the people of Wichita, Kansas by a series of ten murders. I was grown and out of the house; my brother was in the Navy. I don’t know if I can pinpoint the exact moment. Like going to Mordor, if you’ve seen Lord of the Rings. Her two daughters and her husband were murdered. Kerry Rawson – Daughter of BTK Killer Speaks About Father, BookKerry Rawson – Daughter of BTK Killer Speaks About Father, Book #BTKKiller2019-02-06T22:34:26Z. Subscribe to CTV News to watch more videos: Woman discovers her father is notorious BTK serial killer [NIGHTLINE]. They’ll print off my tweets or my Facebook pictures of my kids and send them to him. Do these people harass you on social media? Reading the book, I found myself wondering about your mom’s story. A conversation with the daughter of the serial killer BTK. Kerry Rawson – Daughter of BTK Killer Speaks About Father, Book, Kerry Rawson – Daughter of BTK Killer Speaks About Father, Book #BTKKiller, Investigation Discovery’s Nine at 9 Series, Investigation Discovery’s Serial Killer week, A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story Of Faith, Love, And Overcoming, said in her Law & Crime Network interview, she said she felt overcome with a sense of forgiveness, Jeffrey Dahmer, Confessed Cannibal & Necrophiliac: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know. Rawson told Esquire that the news came as a shock: My mom and I have both said, early on, if we had known, we would’ve gone screaming out the door, running to the police. He’s allowed to leave for about an hour a day to exercise or shower. Powered by. With him just living his life in secret? “We were pretty much an all-American family,” she told a CTV News reporter, describing how he was mostly a good father and as a family, they would attend church every Sunday. But not what. You can see the remorse of, like: “I’m in jail. I was pretty surprised because I hadn’t heard that until 2016. Like 90–95 percent of the time, he was a good dad. How has her recovery been similar to yours or different? “I’m getting hit very bad by trolls: somebody said they want to put my family in a woodchipper,” she said. After the agent left the home, Rawson said she took down a family photo of him that had been on their wall and stored it in her closet because she couldn’t bear to look at her father. That wasn’t until last year. When the FBI agent first told you your father was BTK, you thought it was a mistake. I’m a trauma victim. He called himself BTK because he bound, tortured, and killed his victims. Rawson was featured on the Investigation Discovery’s Nine at 9 Series and her father was featured during Investigation Discovery’s Serial Killer week. He’s been encouraging me on the book, but he also wanted to be involved. Trying to slowly step them into the truth without causing harm to them. Her harrowing new memoir, A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming, chronicles her struggle to reconcile the father she grew up with—supportive, kind, devoted to his family despite occasional frightening flashes of temper—with the man who murdered women and indulged in sadistic sexual fantasies. Growing up, Rawson said Rader was very protective, CBC Radio reported. In some parts, you describe him as being a loving father and family man before his arrest. Do you still consider him a great and loving father? Dennis Rader was not only the BTK (short for bind, torture, kill) killer, the notorious serial killer who killed 10 people and tortured Kansas for decades. Or that I had witnessed physical abuse in my house. Instead of committing the murder, he just went on the campout. If he had turned himself in, saying, “I’m capable of doing this”—or if he had been caught like he should have been—I wouldn’t be here. Kerri Rawson discusses what it's like to grow up as the daughter of a convicted serial killer. I was so annoyed with my dad. Do you wish you’d just never found out? Her book is the culmination of a growing comfort with speaking out publicly and part of her desire to help other victims of trauma. I remember how much that hurt me to even say it out loud and realize my dad could have been that murderer. They said they’re positive it wasn’t my dad, and he just has the 10 [murders]. Kerri Rawson was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1978. There’s no way to remove the last 14 years and say, “I wish we didn’t know.” Now what happens if he had died and we found something in a safety deposit box? In fact, after his arrest, Rawson waffled between hating and loving him, defending him and believing he was BTK. How do you reconcile these two sides? I was sitting there with the agent, at first defending my father and saying, “It’s not true, you’ve got the wrong guy.” And then I remembered that my neighbor lady had been murdered in ’85 and as far as I knew, that hadn’t been solved. Earlier that day, when an FBI agent had knocked on her door and informed her that her father had been identified as the BTK killer and arrested for murder, Rawson insisted it was all a mistake. All of that becomes trauma when you find out about it. He had even risen to become president of his church council. Rawson, who lives in Michigan with her husband, two children and two cats, according to her biography, wrote a book about her life growing up as Rader’s daughter before and after his crimes were discovered. Between attacks, Rader courted infamy by mailing rambling letters to local media and police. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. But it also would be so difficult that I haven’t been able to do it. ... and BTK denied involvement at the time.] After she had children, Rawson stopped writing to him altogether. At the start of each episode in season 2, Dennis Rader (Sonny Valicenti) walks around Wichita, KS in the aftermath of his quadruple homicide. He’s my father, and I still love. It was a 911 call, a chilling dispatch in which the caller casually reported a homicide he had just committed to the police. That side of him wasn’t an act. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not real. But occasionally I’ll reach out to a detective and they’ll have to reassure me: No, it’s just the 10. Kerri Rawson is the daughter of the infamous Bind-Torture-Kill serial killer, Dennis Rader, and she is also an advocate for abuse, trauma and crime victims. She said he taught her to make people prove who they were by showing their identification, be wary of strangers and hold her keys between her fingers while walking alone at night. BTK's Daughter Speaks Out - Tonight at 7pm. Was there a specific moment when you realized he really had done these things? in her Law & Crime Network interview, Rawson said she realized she needed to forgive: Eventually what happened was I took all that pain and I internalized it even though I’d been in trauma therapy. Detroit News reported that weeks before the second anniversary of the FBI visit, she started feeling nausea and stomach pains and went to the hospital. READ NEXT: Jeffrey Dahmer, Confessed Cannibal & Necrophiliac: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know, Kerri Rawson, the Daughter of Serial Killer BTK: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know, Copyright © 2021 Heavy, Inc. All rights reserved. Even this far out, I’ll live my normal daily life and won’t be thinking about my dad as BTK. But then he would have my phone number, and I haven’t ever wanted him to have. Rader is a symbol of the FBI's limits. Kerri Rawson, daughter of Dennis Rader, otherwise known as serial killer BTK, talks to A&E Real Crime about her struggle to reconcile the man who raised her with the one who, for years, terrorized her hometown of Wichita, Kansas. Rawson, now 40, has battled post-traumatic stress disorder and found solace in Christian faith since her father’s arrest. Send me updates about Slate special offers. Zach Schonfeld: Has writing this memoir helped you heal from the trauma of learning who your father was? It wasn’t until I saw the trauma therapist and she was like, “This is post-traumatic stress disorder and you’re a trauma victim.” I was like, “How can I be a trauma victim, because nothing happened to me.” She explained, “Everything you were notified about, everything your father was involved in, is traumatic. After her father’s arrest, Rawson said she heard the agent’s words … For years we would ask my daughter, “What’s the worst thing someone could do?” And she would say: “Be a burglar.” We knew she wasn’t prepared to handle the answer. He also sent taunting messages to the police before he was caught and confessed in 2005. None of my family felt comfortable going to the sentencing and plea. He was able to trick his community into thinking he was a friendly neighbor, loving husband and father. I just shut down. BTK's daughter opens up about her father in revealing new documentary. It’s just so out there and so crazy that I still have that “Oh, my dad’s BTK” moment now. provider-logo browse Or that I was a trauma victim. You hear that my dad’s a psychopath and he can’t have feelings. Charlie Otero, 61, tells DailyMailTV the moment he discovered his parents, Joseph, 38, and Julie, 33, and two siblings Josephine, 11, and Joey Jr, nine, murdered at their Kansas home in 1974. I was 6. 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