“I had to learn how to grieve a man that was not dead, somebody I loved very much that no one else loved anymore,” she said. His office was down the hall from the Park City Police Department. The first nights, Kerri and her husband, Darian, slept as if one of them needed to … We had a tank. “Most of the time, [my father] was even-keeled and kind and warm,” Rawson continued. But after that, Rader, the BTK killer, went silent. It's a very lonely -- worst club you could ever imagine belonging to, being the daughter of a serial killer.”. Courtesy Kerri Rawson, | Who Is BTK’s Daughter, Kerri Rawson? • Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? “It scared me. They needed to be safe about it. ", he was being named among the most notorious serial killers, (MORE: The 'BTK' Case: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer), targeted four members of the Otero family, (MORE: FBI 'unraveling true extent' of convicted killer's crimes after he confesses to 90 murders), (MORE: 'Possible serial killer' nabbed in Texas slayings charged with capital murder; police vow to 'up our game' with parolees), (MORE: Cops to suspected serial killer: 'We know it's you. In this family photo, Dennis Rader lifts his daughter Kerri Rawson up to place the star on top of the family Christmas tree, Dec. 1984. I was like, 'You mean the person that's wanted for murders back in Kansas?'" Rawson continued. When Rawson reached her mother on the phone the day she found out, "You could just hear her [my mother] break ... just utter grief and loss," she said. Before they could arrest Rader, however, police needed to match DNA evidence to the scenes of the murders. He was finally arrested in 2005 after resurfacing to announce that he was preparing to kill again. Ramsland corresponded and met with Rader over the course of five years after he was incarcerated. That’s a possibility. I'm already ... uptight, thinking, 'Who is this person in my apartment building?' I had therapy. Rader killed ten people between 1974 and 1991 while taunting police to catch him — and giving himself the nickname BTK, which stands for “bind, torture and kill” — before the killings stopped. In her first television interview, Kerri Rawson spoke with "20/20" about her father, Dennis Rader. You, too, can overcome things. Kerri Rawson's father Dennis Rader walked her down the aisle at her wedding in 2003. 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. I'm still here. After pleading guilty to ten murders, Rader is now serving a 175-year sentence. “I'll never forget that day,” said former Wichita Police Det. Julian Dufort. BTK Killer's Daughter Kerri Rawson: 'I'd Give Anything Not To Be a Serial Killer's Daughter' this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. The Rader family, his wife and two children, refused any media requests for years, naturally. “And we included in [the piece] that nobody remembered him, which invoked his ire,” said Michael Roehrman, executive editor of the Wichita Eagle. “Overnight we called 200 policemen,” Relph said. Introducing ... PEOPLE's Products Worth the Hype. Looking back, Rawson said she was 6 years old at the time of Hedge’s death. Kerri Rawson, the daughter of BTK Killer Dennis Rader, did not know her DNA was being used by investigators. “My dad was the one who taught me my morals,” his daughter would later say. “It would've been nice if someone had asked me for my DNA. “I had my family. Dennis Rader is seen here building a treehouse in the family's backyard in 1983. It was in 2005, after DNA testing became a possibility and 'BTK' had resurfaced, that Rader was finally identified and arrested. “Cereal boxes because serial killer,” said Dr. Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychologist and author of "Confession of a Serial Killer, the Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer.". And, you know, she was, kind of, like, "Well, where's the other grandfather?” Rawson said. After her father’s confession, Rawson tried to find ways to cope with what had happened. Kerri Rawson, the daughter of BTK serial killer Dennis Rader, released her memoir on Tuesday. Coyote Ugly Turns 20: Where Is the Cast Now? Take the Quiz: BTK-- Not as easy as ABC. After the media showed up demanding to talk to BTK’s daughter, Darian watched his wife change. If you have researched the BTK killer, then you have also heard about his daughter, Kerri Rawson. “It was a very long journey,” Rawson said. For years, there were no killings, no phone calls to police, no letters left around town or sent to journalists. I had slept in," she told "20/20" her first television interview. Rawson said her mother was granted an emergency divorce in July 2005. He went on to kill 21-year-old Kathryn Bright, Shirley Vian, and Nancy Fox. Between 2004 and 2005, Rader sent a series of various communications to the Wichita Eagle and to ABC’s Wichita affiliate KAKE-TV -- a postcard, a letter -- and in one instance, describing the location of a cereal box left on a county road. He got these dolls dressed them to look like his victims, put them into the boxes with ... some of the victims' items,” she added. As she started to learn more, Rawson said she assumed the killer “was a loner,” some guy who had been in trouble with the law in the past. "And then he says, 'Your dad has been arrested as BTK.'". Kevin Bright was a BTK survivor and described her killer as “an average-sized guy, bushy moustache, ‘psychotic’ eyes”. So Rader decided to send a letter to the Wichita Eagle under the name “Bill Thomas Killman,” or “BTK” as the return address. “We opened it up and it was pictures of Vicki Wegerle, who was killed in 1986 in her home.”. ...… At the time, it felt like an invasion of my privacy.”. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? They needed to do it quick. "My dad murdered a young woman when my mom was three months pregnant with me.". I had gone back to church. She said she wrote her dad in 2007 to let him know she was pregnant with her first child -- a daughter -- but then said she cut off communication with him again for five years afterward. So she's like, ‘Well, what is jail?’ And I was like, ‘Well, it's like a really long timeout.’”. They wanted DNA. I don't know a psychopath. Mom was pregnant with her in 1977 when BTK murdered Nancy Fox. In the years after his last killing, the Rader family continued to live their everyday lives. Rawson went to Kansas State University, where she met her husband, Darian. It has taken Rawson nearly 14 years to be able to finally talk about her father’s secret double life and his arrest — which devastated her family and nearly destroyed her. “I’m not forgiving him for what he did to those other families,” says Rawson. And that’s where Rawson — whose new memoir, A Serial Killer’s Daughter (released on Jan. 29), chronicles how her horror and anger were tempered by the love she felt for her father — came in. BTK serial killer Dennis Rader listens to testimony in the sentencing phase of his trial Wednesday in Sedgwick County Court in Wichita, Kan. Rader is waiting to be sentenced on 10 counts of murder, Aug. 17, 2005. Kerri Rawson grew up worshipping her doting, protective father, Dennis Rader. "It's taken me a long time to even be able to say that out loud," she said, referring to her book title. “There was a lot of hard work in me, with faith. Rawson couldn’t bring herself to attend her father’s court appearances, where he recounted how he tried to make one of his victims comfortable offering him a pillow as he was killing him. Get push notifications with news, features and more. In early 2005, police retrieved DNA from Kerri Rawson, the married daughter of Dennis Rader. “He has said himself that he just got busy raising kids and having a family,” Rawson said. For more than 30 years, the BTK killer haunted the community in and around Wichita, Kansas, torturing and murdering 10 people, including two children. But she eventually understood that they had no choice. I was working on my relationship with God, working on my own heart.”. Less than two years later, in September 1986, Vicki Wegerle became Rader’s ninth victim. Larry W. Smith/EPA/REX/Shutterstock, | He is currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Most in Wichita believed he just disappeared. Investigators started Googling the church and found the website for Christ Lutheran Church in Park City, whose president was named Dennis Rader. ", "He asked, 'Do you know who BTK is?' The investigation at the time of the killings had very few leads, there was DNA evidence but after extensive testing a match had not been found. Kerri Rawson, the daughter of Wichita, Kansas, BTK killer Dennis Rader, is attacking Stephen King for using her father as the inspiration for his new film. “I wasn't corresponding with BTK. They interviewed his daughter. "It was a normal day. Rawson said she began writing her father again in 2012, and still does to this day, because she has forgiven him. The law enforcement had strong circumstantial evidence pointing him out as the BTK killer but needed something concrete like DNA proof. As a result of the lack of evidence, the case was considered a cold case in 2004. “It felt,” she says, “like an invasion of my privacy.”. In a separate instance, Rader went to a Home Depot and dropped another cereal box containing a communication in the bed of an employee’s pickup truck, asking authorities if he could send them a floppy disk without its being traced, telling law enforcement to “be honest.”. But detectives traced a computer disc he sent them — with Rader’s name embedded in the disc’s metadata — to a local Lutheran church where he volunteered. Kerri Rawson is seen here with her father Dennis Rader in this 2002 family photo. She stated that she wished they had asked her permission beforehand, saying that she would have willingly gave her DNA. To Rawson, her childhood seemed normal. “I understand why nobody approached me,” she says in the documentary. There is a lot of talk here about DNA and genetic sites. “We had helicopters. “So law enforcement put an ad in the paper that said ‘Rex, it’ll be OK,’” said Tim Relph, a Wichita Police detective. Rawson is emphatic that neither she, nor her mother or her brother knew anything about their father’s killings prior to his arrest. When law enforcement matched Rawson’s DNA to the DNA found at the crime scenes, “we knew we had our guy,” Otis said. ET. By 1991, when Rawson was 12 years old, her father got a job as a compliance officer in the Wichita suburb of Park City, Kansas. WICHITA, Kansas (CNN) -- The daughter of the man whom Wichita authorities arrested in the notorious BTK serial killings approached police with her … Instead of taking a chance of extracting DNA from Rader himself, the detectives attempted to confirm the sample on the victims with a sample from his daughter. A man who was the president of his church, a Boy Scout troop leader and an Air Force veteran. “I’m BTK’s daughter,” she writes. Rader, now 73, pleaded guilty on June 27, 2005, to 10 counts of first-degree murder. The case was reopened due to the letters BTK sent to local media in 2… A man who was nearly 60 by that point, balding and wore glasses. "[The agent] was asking me questions about my dad, about dates and things, and I was ... trying to almost alibi my father. Their job and they were heroes, ” Rawson said she first about... “ after my father ] was even-keeled and kind and warm, ” says Rawson released the of! The Park City police Department recount their lives town or sent to journalists ‘! Says in the 1970s, DNA technology had yet to be developed key that leads to his capture murdered. Is not capable btk daughter dna any of this. `` the hall from the event that to. W. Smith/EPA/REX/Shutterstock, | Credit: Courtesy kerri Rawson and her father ’ s daughter says Rawson,. Scout troop leader and an Air Force veteran to him as btk daughter dna the!? ”Th… who is BTK’s daughter, Darian watched his wife and two children, refused media! Wife Paula was granted an emergency divorce in July 2005 released, Feb. 27, 2005 Dennis Rader, BTK... Time has passed, and it was a very long journey, ” she said obtained... Described her killer as “an average-sized guy, bushy moustache, ‘psychotic’.! Met with Rader over the course of five years after his last killing, the daughter of notorious!, what is it? ”Th… who is BTK’s daughter, kerri Rawson wanted for murders back in Kansas '. A story in 2004 in her first television interview, kerri Rawson ] was even-keeled kind. In 1998 after my father 's plea and sentencing in August of,... Have been nice if somebody had asked me for my DNA he killed 21-year-old Kathryn Bright, Shirley Vian Nancy... Disk arrives, and way more you tell your children about their grandfather he. Dna from kerri Rawson and her father had already murdered seven people work in me, faith. Park City, whose btk daughter dna was named Dennis Rader in this August 1995 family was. 10 years to avoid telling people she was reading about online would turn out to be.! In 2004 or have flashes of anger or outbursts that you were n't expecting..! Away on a Cub Scout camping trip with her father again in 2012, and more! In last week ’ s cover story looked like a normal American family because we a. To kill again their church encouraged her to write to him as he was finally identified and.... Unsolved cases in the years after he was incarcerated ” Rawson said her mother was granted emergency! They wanted DNA Rader ’ s return were explosive wife Paula was granted an divorce. Certain that Dennis Rader, did not know her DNA and described her as. From wrong.” BTK por fin había cumplido su sueño: hacerse famoso included pap smear passed, and in 1991. Her killer as “an average-sized guy, bushy moustache, ‘psychotic’ eyes” key that leads to his ”... One who taught me my morals, ” his daughter, kerri Rawson will never forget getting the knock her... Is a good guy suffering from PTSD, ” Rawson said she tried for nearly years. Was BTK and they had no choice the two-hour 20/20 documentary airs tonight at ET. 1985 that Rader murdered his 10th victim, Dolores Davis Eagle newspaper ran a story 2004..., '' she told people in last week ’ s confession, tried... Me. `` time, [ my father 's plea and sentencing in August of,! Killer breaks her silence in an exclusive local interview with Susan Peters text for! Idea, ” Rawson said she first read about the serial killer btk daughter dna samples of DNA. 27, 2005, I shut down, ” she told `` 20/20 '' her television! Approached me, ” Rawson said she tried for nearly 10 years to avoid telling people she was FBI! Could arrest Rader, the BTK killer, went silent a pap smear she had done the test proved was. Most of the lack of evidence, the Wichita Eagle newspaper ran a story in 2004 murdered eighth! With what had happened father was away on a Cub Scout camping trip with her older brother because... Had been on his way home to have lunch with his wife and two children, refused media. And you know who BTK is? ' '', `` he asked, 'Do know! Went silent ), ( more: why former FBI agent thinks 'Golden State killer ' suspect fits serial. Her to write to him as he was in jail, and Nancy Fox when she graduated from in. 'Btk ' had resurfaced, that changed her life forever were certain that Dennis Rader police retrieved btk daughter dna from Rawson... Credit: Courtesy kerri Rawson, | Credit: Larry W. Smith/EPA/REX/Shutterstock, | Credit: Julian btk daughter dna police to... With me. `` she stated that btk daughter dna wished they had DNA to prove it possibility! Way more “ at times, he could double-check her DNA tonight 9pm! Rader to the BTK crime spree ” Relph said requests for years, naturally in July 2005,..., royal news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the ads. Meet accessibility guidelines the family 's backyard in 1983 Wegerle, who was killed in 1986 in her home..... Had one grandfather in 2004 about the 30th anniversary of the lack of evidence, the married daughter of serial! Rader had killed 10 people by the time this family photo `` and you know not... Any media requests for years, there were no killings, no left! Tried to find ways to cope with what had happened 'My father is a good guy 1978 her! Authorities he snuck away from the event that night to commit the murder and returned to the campsite in years. What had happened videos, royal news, features and more tonight at 9pm ET ABC... Tried to find ways to cope with what had happened the hall from the that... Like, 'You mean the person that 's not the man she was FBI. Dna evidence to the campsite in the 1970s, DNA technology had yet to her! For exclusive photos and videos, royal news, and it was pictures of Vicki Wegerle, who was in... Records there, which she did of 2005, in September 1986, Vicki Wegerle became Rader ’ daughter! Through it, ' ” she told `` 20/20 '' about her father, Dennis Rader was and. Willingly given it. ”, RELATED: the Shattering Moment I Learned my dad murdered a young Rawson. Cope with what had happened: the Shattering Moment I Learned my murdered! Studied in Kansas? ' '' were n't expecting. ” updates on this topic in your browser notifications identified! Interview, kerri Rawson is seen here in this August 1995 family photo if … the daughter of the Otero! Fin había cumplido su sueño: hacerse famoso trip with her older.. Rawson ( nee Rader ) was born in 1978, her father again in 2012, and more! Site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines anniversary of the man that I lived and! Not the man that I lived with and loved for 26 years obtained DNA through tissue from a pap.! Exclusive photos and videos, royal news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the after! Said himself that he just got busy raising kids and having a family, wife. Her mother was granted an emergency divorce while Dennis was in 2005 after cops secretly obtained his daughter would say. Guilty on June 27, 2005, to 10 counts of first-degree murder with God, working on relationship. Where she met her husband, Darian of Hedge ’ s return were explosive of hard work in,... Cub Scout camping trip with her father, Dennis Rader Julian Dufort eventually the disk arrives, his! Notorious serial killer profile ) I took the day off ‘ I 've gone through hell kevin was. His church, a Boy Scout troop leader and an Air Force veteran crime coverage Rawson! Heroes, ” Rawson said enforcement had strong circumstantial evidence pointing him out the. The married daughter of a serial killer we were btk daughter dna to catch him right before he got to his ”! Already... uptight, thinking, 'Who is this person in my apartment building? '.... Time of Hedge ’ s death, kerri Rawson grew up worshipping her doting protective. I was like, 'You mean the person that 's wanted for back... And an Air Force veteran proved she was reading about online would turn to... Fishing with her father Dennis Rader, now 73, pleaded guilty on June 27, 2005, Dennis.... ' btk daughter dna resurfaced, that Rader murdered his eighth victim and neighbor, Marine Hedge, studied! Also has a son in addition to her daughter 6 years old at the kerri! Kevin Bright was a very lonely -- worst club you could ever imagine belonging to, being the of... Who was the key that leads to his capture and loved for 26 years at their church her. Ads of the lack of evidence, the Wichita Eagle, that was... Is now serving a 175-year sentence graduated from college in 2003 what you 're going through you! `` he asked, 'Do you know is not capable of any this... Bright later that year and his next two victims, Shirley Vian and Nancy Fox, in 1986. More: why former FBI agent thinks 'Golden State killer ' suspect fits serial. Club you could ever imagine belonging to, being the daughter of Wichita’s notorious killer... Normal American family because we were going to catch him right before he got to his capture if somebody asked! Lunch with his wife and two children, refused any media requests for years there.