Rawson told Esquire that Rader wanted the book to be a joint project, which she firmly rejected. Dennis Rader is escorted into the El Dorado Correctional Facility on Aug. 19, 2005, in El Dorado, Kansas. The daughter of Wichita’s notorious serial killer breaks her silence in an exclusive local interview with Susan Peters. Or that I had witnessed physical abuse in my house. By the time Rawson was born in 1978, her father had already committed seven murders, including a family of four. I’m not ever trying to defend anything my father has done, because it’s not defensible. Kerri Rawson, her mother (blurred out), and her father, Dennis Rader, in 1978. 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 … 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 had a father raising me. But it also would be so difficult that I haven’t been able to do it. You hear that my dad’s a psychopath and he can’t have feelings. By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. The daughter of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Dennis Rader, who was known as the BTK killer is now speaking out. 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 don’t know. 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. Honestly, he should have turned himself in before the Otero murders, to a psychiatric hospital. 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. Kerri Rawson, daughter of Dennis Rader, recalls the moment she learned her father was a serial killer in a new ID doc. You don’t have the right to share your story.”. Do you ever wonder what your life would be like now if your dad had never been caught? I got that time when the FBI agent was there stuck in my head, and it was looping. Rawson Said She Suffered PTSD. I think he feels sorry he got caught. All of that becomes trauma when you find out about it. Do these people harass you on social media? 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. The daughter of the serial killer known as "BTK" says she has forgiven him — and has sent him letters in prison. Seems like he sort of stumbled into getting caught. 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. 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. The book’s portrait of your father is complicated. Are your children old enough to understand who your father is? “I knew right away it was my dad,” she says. After her father’s arrest, Rawson said she heard the agent’s words … BTK's daughter opens up about her father in revealing new documentary. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. “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. Zach Schonfeld: Has writing this memoir helped you heal from the trauma of learning who your father was? In her new book, "A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming," Rawson describes struggling to reconcile the loving father she knew with psychopathic murderer known as BTK. I sort of equate it to, like, hell. Personally, I was falling apart last fall with PTSD, and then my son got ill. I remember how much that hurt me to even say it out loud and realize my dad could have been that murderer. 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. 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? It was a 911 call, a chilling dispatch in which the caller casually reported a homicide he had just committed to the police. 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. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not real. Late one February evening in 2005, Kerri Rawson went online and listened to a recording of the BTK killer from 1977. I was so annoyed with my dad. Harper Collins In an interview on the Law & Crime Network, Rawson described receiving death threats. And my dad belongs in prison. You lied to us, deceived us. He was trying to stop. They put somebody on trial, but the guy got off. He wrote [letters] in March of ’05. He was quiet, and then the 30th anniversary of the Otero murders was in 2004. I actually asked some detectives about it in Wichita. He has a [big] fan club—people that write him and even talk to him on the phone. Her attempt comes with a new book, “A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming” (Nelson Books). Why aren’t you calling or visiting me?” You don’t really see remorse for what he did to the victims and their families. My dad should have been in prison since ’74. Later, it was stamps … We had hundreds of stamps in tubs. “We camped, we fished, we hiked, I walked the dog with him,” she said in her CTV News interview. That wasn’t until last year. 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. 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. For years, she hid from the intense media interest in her family. Kerri Rawson is the daughter of the infamous Bind-Torture-Kill serial killer, Dennis Rader, and an advocate for abuse, trauma and crime victims. I didn’t find out until ’16 he was going to murder somebody on that day. “I’m trying to keep being courageous and saying what I need to say.”. I get trolled. Like going to Mordor, if you’ve seen Lord of the Rings. No. Kerri Rawson discusses what it's like to grow up as the daughter of a convicted serial killer. 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. Seized by fear and disgust, Rawson realized she recognized the voice. Well, no. You’ve mentioned sick people who idolize your father. I’ve never been comfortable enough to talk to him on the phone or see him at the prison. As books piled up in her living room, Rawson wrote in a Facebook post that she became overwhelmed after opening one of the boxes. Reading the book, I found myself wondering about your mom’s story. We know that my dad watched that special and would have read the paper. provider-logo browse 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. I was like, “No, that’s not possible.”. 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. It’s a combination of being hit on and somebody saying they would like to kill you. “I feel like my father imploded my family,” she told the Detroit News. He said he wanted to “retire” as BTK. How has her recovery been similar to yours or different? Kerri Rawson and her father, Dennis Rader, at Rawson’s wedding in 2003. He should have been arrested right after the Otero murders [in 1974]. The book will feed his elephantine ego by bringing attention to him, Jeff Davis, the son of one of Rader’s victims, told Detroit News. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. But now you realize, that kept him out of trouble. In fact, after his arrest, Rawson waffled between hating and loving him, defending him and believing he was BTK. Her emotional way of dealing with it was, like, “He’s gone, he died.” Early on she did write him. At the start of each episode in season 2, Dennis Rader (Sonny Valicenti) walks around Wichita, KS in the aftermath of his quadruple homicide. I argue that he can. I do know detectives think it was true and talked to the person my dad had targeted and stalked. Just Google “BTK’s 11th victim,” you’ll find it. None of my family felt comfortable going to the sentencing and plea. For the families, I’m glad he got caught so they got answers and justice. [Rader sometimes writes poems from his prison cell.] After she had children, Rawson stopped writing to him altogether. My dad said he was actually at her house and then he saw repairmen or something and left. 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. That’s the narcissistic part of him that wants attention. 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. When the FBI agent first told you your father was BTK, you thought it was a mistake. It’s one thing to be unwittingly married to a serial killer, but quite another thing to be his offspring. I would be really broken up, knowing it was my father who caused them so much pain and loss. During that time, he took the lives of 10 people in the area. We are trying to cope and survive . I’m a trauma victim. There’s that “Black Friday” poem where he talks about being caught. Rawson, now 40, has battled post-traumatic stress disorder and found solace in Christian faith since her father’s arrest. The two have a daughter, Emilie, in 2008 and a son, Ian, in 2011. Feb 15, 2019 BTK's Daughter Kerri Rawson: 'We're All Trauma Victims'. Kerri Rawson. Kerri Rawson, the daughter of infamous serial killer Dennis Rader aka BTK Killer, has broken her silence in her first television interview. Rawson said she learned the news about her father on February 25, 2005, from a man who had been parked outside her apartment in Farmington, Michigan for an hour, CBC Radio reported. And said: “Happy Father’s Day.” Weekly I get asked, “How could you have not known?” I also get, “You’re not a victim. Rader killed ten people in Wichita, Kansas, including two small children, between 1974-1991. I had two parents raising me. Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company. I did that probably a thousand times. People keep saying, “Well, wouldn’t you want to meet with the family members?” To me, it would be really unimaginable and difficult. Growing up, Rawson said Rader was very protective, CBC Radio reported. She married her college sweetheart, Darian, that same year. Finally, in 2012, God said, ‘we’ve got to deal with this; I asked you to forgive and we have to work on that.’. Was there a specific moment when you realized he really had done these things? (The Otero family, with two young children, became his first victims in 1974.) 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. I still deal with PTSD today. But then he would have my phone number, and I haven’t ever wanted him to have. By the time Kerri Rawson (nee Rader) was born in 1978, her father had already murdered seven people. He denied it. It’s not like I would ever get to hug him or anything. I don’t think I could possibly answer that knowing for the last 14 years what he is and what he’s done. I haven’t talked to him in a year. Kerri Rawson was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1978. Rader, a former security services personnel turned compliance officer in Park City, did not fit the description of a ruthless serial killer Kerri Rawson, the daughter of notorious serial killer Dennis Rader aka "BTK" has released a new book 'A Serial Killer's Daughter.' 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. 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. He was able to trick his community into thinking he was a friendly neighbor, loving husband and father. Do you still consider him a great and loving father? It would be a private life, right? Dennis Rader now spends most of his life in cell. 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. Instead of committing the murder, he just went on the campout. After that, he sort of came back to his narcissistic self, focused on himself. . 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. He turned my bedroom into a nursery for plants when I was 3, and I’d sleep with my brother in the bunk bed. “We’re not the same and we’ll never be the same.”. Do you think you will reach a point where you’ll want to see him? It was his habit of taunting the police that led to his capture in 2005, 14 years after his last murder. Or that I was a trauma victim. “I’m getting hit very bad by trolls: somebody said they want to put my family in a woodchipper,” she said. Trying to slowly step them into the truth without causing harm to them. 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. Please try again. 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.”. The BTK Killer was on the loose from 1974 until 2005, which obviously left Wichita in a constant state of fear and panic. 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. And you'll never see this message again. I’ve said it’s like pulling out shards of glass. I don’t know what makes a person able to do that. 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. That side of him wasn’t an act. 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 … 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. He’s my father, and I still love him. 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. Powered by. He wanted to be involved in your book? Since her father's arrest, Kerri has been an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma, sharing her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. I have only ever written him. 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. I’m afraid my family dismissed it and just thought that was the worse we would ever have from my father. BTK's daughter tells her story of living with a serial killer father. It felt like I was pulling something out inside of me. Her engagement ring is inscribed with the words “Love never fails,” because the engraver accidentally left the “r” off — but the original passage was from a verse in Corinthians. We were writing pretty regularly after I forgave him in ’12. Give us some time . . I just shut down. 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. But then he would have my phone number, and I haven’t ever wanted him to have it. How did he react when he learned you were writing a book about this? ... Facebook Twitter Instagram RSS Feed … But you also don’t want them to become teenagers and Google Mom and find this all out on their own. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan. 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. I wouldn’t work with him at all. But I think it’s important for people to understand: I did lose my father. Rawson was featured on the Investigation Discovery’s Nine at 9 Series and her father was featured during Investigation Discovery’s Serial Killer week. I was pretty surprised because I hadn’t heard that until 2016. Do you believe your dad always knew he would be caught eventually? He wanted to, like, have me do a book of his artwork. If you go visit my father, you’re in one room, he’s in another, and he’s chained to a table. He’s been encouraging me on the book, but he also wanted to be involved. All contents © 2021 The Slate Group LLC. 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. We encountered an issue signing you up. BTK had started his crimes in 1974, before Kerri was born. Between attacks, Rader courted infamy by mailing rambling letters to local media and police. BTK responds to daughter’s book. 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. 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. 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. Rader tortured and murdered ten people in Wichita, Kansas. If I try to think about living with BTK [instead of] living with my dad, it’s not a good place to be. You can cancel anytime. It’s not like our rational minds can rationalize what my father is thinking or doing. Everybody assumed the BTK Killer was a sadistic genius. And they’ve seen pictures of him. Kerri Rawson and her father, Dennis Rader. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. I know that he cared for us and loved us. 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. Right now they know he’s done bad stuff. 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. That’s the closest I’ve ever seen him to saying he’s sorry. 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. You’ve got to realize, you’re dealing with a very twisted, insane person. Yeah. Rader is a symbol of the FBI's limits. 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. Do you wish you’d just never found out? It’s been 14 years. For the daughter of a man who counted two children among his victims, it’s been a long journey to cope with the horrific revelation. [We] didn’t know we were living with a psychopath. . It’s hard to know I might not ever see him again. I don’t know if I can pinpoint the exact moment. I think he was just bored and wanted to play games. But my therapist said, even if it was a lie, it was a lie I believed. She’s sort of dealt with my dad like he died on the day he was arrested. He wanted fame for the killings he did and to do so he would write letters which involved drawings and poems to local police and news outlets describing what he had done. In court, he didn’t even get some of their names right. No. Still, some have criticized the book, saying it would bring Rader the attention he craved. If he’s out there being BTK, he’s BTK. For those families, he needed to be caught. 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. 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. 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. 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. How do you reconcile these two sides? Has he ever shown remorse for that? Her book is the culmination of a growing comfort with speaking out publicly and part of her desire to help other victims of trauma. It’s not like you’re going to sit there and make dinner for the guy after finding out he’s murdered 10 people. Kerri Rawson, The BTK Killer’s Daughter. 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. As far as I understand, she has PTSD from the events around his arrest. And we didn’t really ever address it or talk about it. He was also a family man, the president of the local Christ Lutheran Church and a boy scout troop leader. They said they’re positive it wasn’t my dad, and he just has the 10 [murders]. He’s allowed to leave for about an hour a day to exercise or shower. 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