Netflix’s Mindhunter revolves around FBI special agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench — fictional characters based on real people — who travel the country interviewing convicted murderers about their crimes so they can learn more about the new trend of “serial killers” that came about in the 1970s. One of the serial killers featured in the drama is Dennis Rader, aka the “BTK Killer.”

Dennis got his nickname from his preferred method of murder — “bind, torture, kill” — and took the lives of 10 different individuals between the years 1974 and 1991. Oddly enough, Dennis — who shares two kids with ex-wife Patty Dietz — was active in his church. He was even once elected president of the council at his local Christ Lutheran Church. Despite his religious affiliation, Dennis maintained a secret life of killing innocent people.

dennis rader — getty images

He previously worked as an ADT Security installer and had access to a number of homes, making it quite easy for him to stalk his victims before murdering them. His first victims were the Otero family, whom he strangled, suffocated, and hanged in 1974. His last victim was Dolores E. David, whom he strangled with pantyhose in 1991.


For more than three decades, the Kansas native remained in hiding, but would frequently drop hints to law enforcement in an effort to taunt them. Eventually, his teasing caught up with him. One of Dennis’ communications with police led them to a floppy disk with information about his location, and he was finally arrested in 2005. After being incarcerated, Dennis (who is still alive at 72 years old) was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences at Kansas’ El Dorado Correctional Facility. He was not given the death penalty because it was illegal in Kansas when he committed his murders.

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