How the Good Guys Brought a Serial Killer to Justice

Dennis Rader, known as the BTK Killer (Bind, Torture, Kill), was brought to justice after terrorizing the community of Wichita, Kansa between 1974 to 1991. The BTK killer took a hiatus from murdering innocent victims for ten years. It was not until the early 2000’s that Rader resumed sending letters in 2004 to a law enforcement officer, Lt. Ken Landwehr. Ultimately, Rader was brought to justice by his own narcissism.

Lt. Landwehr established contact with Rader, kept up a line of communication with him for years. Ultimately, Rader began to trust Landwehr. He thought that he was genuinely trying to help him. The BTK serial killer could not believe that anyone would want to harm him or bring him to justice. Lt. Landwehr requested information about some of the killings, which he agreed to provide by sending in a floppy drive he deemed untraceable. Finger prints showed up, and within days law enforcement arrived at his house to take him into custody.

At first he was reluctant to confess his crime during his thirty two hour interrogation process. He played a cat and mouse game with Landwehr and the other authorities, often refereeing to BTK in the third person. But eventually he folded, and began completely confessing to the coldblooded murder of ten victims, including two children.

BTK fit the profile of most serial killers. He was a sexual deviant, and he was narcissistic and psychopathic. Landwehr even remarked that Rader was extremely complicit throughout the whole process. He was so self-obsessed that he could not fathom how anyone would want to arrest him or in his own words “betray him.” Some believe that Rader wanted to get caught, for it is uncommon for a serial killer to stop killing abruptly. But the actual cause was that Rader trusted Lt. Landwehr, thinking no one would ever want to deceive him.