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BTK Killer’s Family: Who Are They?

May 30, 2020
4 min read

Anyone who has been interested in true crime stories knows about Dennis Rader, aka BTK. Active between 1974 and 1991, BTK terrorized the Wichita, Kansas metro area, killing ten individuals, including two children. The story and the details of the life on the infamous serial killer are what is shown on the ’20/20 On ID Investigates: My Father BTK’ ID special. After 31 years of taunting and eluding the police, family DNA is what finally brought BTK down.

Who Is BTK’s Wife?

Three years before Dennis began his killing spree, on May 22, 1971, he married Paula Dietz. The couple lived together in Park City, a suburb of Wichita, had two kids, and led extremely normal and boring lives. Dennis earned an associate’s degree as well as a bachelor’s degree while he was married to Paula and later on started working stable jobs to provide for his family.

Photo Credit: Kerri Rawson / ABC 20/20

Little did Paula know, her husband was leading a double life. Along with being a good man who served in the Air Force, who was the president of his church, and was a Boy Scout troop leader, her husband was also a serial killer who lived out his sadistic sexual fantasies by strangling his victims. It was only in 2005 after Dennis was arrested for all his wrongdoings did Paula and the whole family find out the truth.

In July of the same year, when Dennis was sentenced to spend ten life sentences in prison for first-degree murder, Paula filed for an emergency divorce, which was granted on the same day. After 34 years of marriage, the couple parted ways. In a letter that Dennis wrote to his daughter a few months after he was incarcerated, he conveyed his wishes for Paula to write to him. But alas, whether or not she ever did is not known.

According to News Week, Paula, a bookkeeper, moved to a different state all together after her husband was sentenced “for the seclusion.” She didn’t go to any of her Dennis’ hearings nor has she ever visited him in prison. And because she hasn’t ever spoken to the media since, it’s unclear what she’s up to now or even where she lives.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Who Are BTK’s Kids?

Dennis fathered two children – a son, Brian Rader, and a daughter Kerri Rawson. Like their mother, neither of his children made appearances on any of his hearings, and since Brian has never spoken publicly or has any social media presence right now, we do not have any information about him.

Kerri, on the other hand, has written a memoir called “A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming,” where she talked about her experiences and how her life was turned upside down in just a day. And since it was her DNA match that led the police to ultimately catch her father, she also talks about that. Along with this, she agreed to appear on ABC’s 20/20, and, for the first time, she opened up about her relationship with her father. “It was a very long journey. There was a lot of hard work in me, with faith,” she said. “I had gone back to church. I was working on my relationship with God, working on my own heart. I realized I was rotting within. I didn’t just forgive my father for him. I had to do it for myself.”

Photo Credit: Kerri Rawson / Harper Collins

After forgiving Dennis, she also admitted that although she has never visited him in prison, she does correspond with him via letters. Kerri said that she doesn’t talk to a serial killer or a psychopath, but instead, she talks to her father, a man who was loving and caring, a man who she knew for 26 years. Married to Darian Rawson, Kerri lives in Michigan with her husband and their two kids. (Featured Image Credit: Getty Images)

Read More: Who Were BTK’s Victims?

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