The BTK Killer Asks the Cops for Advice in Eluding Them
Dennis Rader was one of those special kinds of asshole who believe they're smarter than everyone else. He was also the kind of asshole who enjoyed torturing and murdering innocent victims, terrorizing the residents of Wichita, Kansas, with a string of unsolved murders from 1974 to 1991. Not content to simply get away with murder, he followed up his crimes with an endless stream of taunting letters sent to local law enforcement and television stations. In short, he was a total dick.
And probably had this really obnoxious monogram sewed onto all his towels.
After his first murder in January 1974, Rader left a letter in an engineering book at the Wichita public library. In it, he described in graphic detail the killings of his first victims, the Otero family. Unhappy with the lack of attention that resulted from his brazen act, he followed it up by sending another letter in 1978, this time taking responsibility for additional murders and demanding media attention. He also picked out a shiny new name for himself ... BTK. The letters stood for "bind, torture, kill," which was Rader's preferred means of killing.
"Bill Thomas Killman" is kinda undercut by that happy little train stamp.
Ordinarily, a chatty criminal is one who will get himself caught, unwittingly giving away details the police can use to track him down. But for a while at least, Rader proved to be every bit as smart as he thought he was, avoiding capture by making several photocopies of his letters before finally mailing them, and otherwise making sure to leave no evidence in his correspondence that could be traced back to him. He would fall into bouts of silence for years at a time before reinitiating contact with police, until finally, in 1991, the killings and the letters just stopped. If it had ended there, Rader might have remained free for the rest of his life.
But then, in 2004, he started right back up again, leaving untraceable letters and packages around the Wichita area. Rader had apparently grown tired of all the tedious photocopying that went into sending an untraceable letter to the police, and decided to look into this newfangled "computer" stuff that seemed to be all the rage. In the trademark fashion of a person who has little to no idea how computers or the Internet work, he literally sent police the following message: