|May 5, 1948
|American Bookkeeper, Former Wife of Dennis Radar (Serial Killer)
Paula Dietz knew her husband is a caring father, church council president, and Cub Scout leader. Yet, after more than 30 years of marriage, she learned he was a serial killer. How did Paula react when she found out she has been married to the BTK killer?
Let’s find out.
Who Is Her Husband?
Paula’s husband is Dennis Lynn Rader. Born in March 1945, he is an American serial killer known for his abbreviation BTK, which stands for bind, torture, kill. He is also known as the BTK strangler and BTK killer.
Between 1974 and 1991, Dennis Rader killed ten people in Wichita and Park City, Kansas, and sent taunting letters to media outlets describing the details of his crimes. He resumed sending letters in 2004, which was how he got arrested in 2005.
Born in March 1945 to Dorothea Mae Rader and William Elvin Rader, Dennis was one of four sons. His birthplace is either Columbus Kansas or Pittsburg Kansas. We do know he grew up in Wichita. His parents worked long hours and paid little attention to their children. Later in his life, Dennis described feeling ignored by his mother and resenting her for it.
From a young age, he harbored sadistic sexual fantasies about torturing trapped and helpless women. He acted out sexual fetishes for voyeurism, and cross-dressing, spying on female neighbors while dressed in women’s clothing. The young boy also masturbated with ropes or other bindings around his arms and neck.
Years later, between murders, he would take pictures of himself wearing women’s clothes and a female mask while bound. The serial killer admitted that he was pretending to be his own victims as part of a sexual fantasy. Yet, he kept his sexual proclivities well hidden. In the community, he was viewed as normal, polite, and well-mannered.
He initially worked as an assembler for the Coleman Company, but then worked for ADT Security Services from 1974 to 1988. He installed security alarms as part of his job.
He was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita and had been elected president of the church council.
In July 2005, he was arrested, after which his wife Paula Dietz was granted an emergency divorce.
The first recorded murder was in January 1974, when four members of the Otero family were murdered in Wichita. The family members were Joseph Otero, Julie Otero, and their children Joseph Otero Jr. and Josephine Otero.
Rader wrote a letter, stashed it inside an engineering book in October 1974, and put it in the Wichita Public Library. In that letter, he described in detail the killing of the family.
Between 1974 and 1977, he killed three more women, Kathryn Bright, Shirley Vian Relford, and Nancy Fox. Then, in early 1978, he sent another letter to television station KAKE in Wichita, claiming responsibility for the murders.
Anna Williams, in 1978, escaped death by returning home much later than expected. He was obsessed with Williams and was absolutely livid when she evaded him. He spent hours waiting at her home but left when she did not return home from visiting friends.
Rader would then kill Marine Hedge in May 1985 and took her dead body to his church. In the church, he photographed her body in various bondage positions.
In 1988, following the murders of three members of the Fager family, a letter appeared, claiming to be the BTK killer. It was not proven until 2005 that this letter was written by Rader. Police don’t believe he committed that crime.
His final victim was found in February 1991 in Park City, Kansas. Rader admitted he killed her in January. Dennis now serves his sentence in the El Dorado Correctional Facility.
Now let’s talk about Rader’s former wife, Paula Dietz. She knew Dennis Rader was a caring father, church council president, and Cub Scout leader. Yet, when he was arrested in 2005, after 34 years of marriage, she learned he was much more than that.
For many years, Paula was a bookkeeper, wife, and mother. She has been married for 34 years to Dennis Rader. But things changed when she discovered he was one of the most sadistic serial killers in American history.
Everything shattered to pieces when her husband was arrested in February 2005. He was exposed by authorities as the BTK murderer.
Paula and Dennis fell in love in 1970, when he was a United States Air Force veteran. They got married within months and moved into Park City, Kansas. She was the one taking care of their two children while he worked as an electrical technician.
But Paula had no idea her husband used his electricity skills to break into homes at night and commit murders.
Paula was born in May 1948, in Park City, Kansas. Not much was known about her before her husband’s arrest. She lived a rather quiet life with her family.
Raised in a religious household by devout parents, her father was an engineer. Paula graduated from a local school in 1966 and then attended the National American University of Wichita. She got a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1970.
She met Dennis in 1970 at church. The two quickly fell in love. She looked at him as a kind US Air Force veteran who, by then had grown up killing small animals and fantasizing about torturing helpless women.
They got married in May 1971 and lived a life as a normal couple before 2005 when Dennis was arrested and exposed as the BTK killer.
When he was arrested, she filed for an emergency divorce the same day. She was granted a divorce. She moved out of Kansas and completely blocked herself from Rader. Paula never visited him or wrote to him.
They had two children, one of whom is Kerri Rawson. Kerri also never visited her father in prison but wrote to him after he got arrested. Kerri has spoken publicly about him and wrote a book, “A serial killer’s daughter: My Story of Faith, Love and, Overcoming”.
Dennis and Paula also have a son, Brian, born in November 1973. That was just months before Rader broke into the home of Joseph Otero and his wife and strangled them in front of their children. The BTK murderer dragged the 11-year-old Josephine and nine-year-old Joseph into the basement, where he suffocated the boy and then hanged Josephine. He masturbated as she died.
All the time, Paula didn’t know a thing about her husband’s secret double life. Dennis was caught in 2005, 15 years after his last murder. He sent letters to local media enclosing photos and details of his previous crimes.
Is She On Social Media?
Paula is not active on social media. She completely disappeared from the media after her husband was arrested.
Their daughter, Kerri Rawson is present on social media. Kerri has close to 6,000 followers on Instagram.
Her Daughter Helping Victims
Speaking of their daughter, Kerri, she is a writer. She was the one to open the doors to FBI agents that informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering 10 people.
As the news spread, her nightmare began. She fell into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The man she knew as a loving father and public servant, had been using the family as a cover for his crimes.
After several years, she wrote a book, called A Serial Killer’s Daughter. In the book, she tries to tell her side of the story. It offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness.
Nowadays, she is also an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma. Over the years, Kerri has shared her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. Kerri is married and lives with her husband and two children in Michigan.