- Posted November 13, 2010 by
Paula Rader: A Wife With No Idea
With the release of Stephen King’s new novel, Full Dark, No Stars, I have found myself reminiscing about my childhood in Kansas and the headline news on the infamous “BTK” and even at the age of seven, I can remember myself talking about him frequently.
Dennis Rader, formerly known as “BTK” (for bind, torture, kill) was born in a small town a few miles away from Wichita, KS in 1945. The serial killer murdered victims from 1974 to 1991, a span of seventeen years. He would stalk his victims, mostly women, and then continue his modus operandi. Possibly the most cinematic element of his kills were the notes that he send to police stations and news channels, which would vividly describe his gruesome crimes, from the death of the entire Otero family after Christmas in 1974 to his last kill in 1991. It was easy to tell that he longed for attention from the media. An example of this can be found in a letter that he sent in 1978 stating “How many do I have to Kill before I get my name in the paper or national attention...” The notes all had various grammatical errors, probably to lead the police off track. Not only was Dennis what some would call a "psycho," but he also was a grammatical genius in which he would hide literary clues. One of his letters was signed Bill Thomas Killman (BTK) while other suggested nicknames including Poetic Strangler, the Wichita Hangman, and just Psycho. But I wish not to dwell on the details of his murders, but instead his wife Paula, who slept in the same bed with him for thirty-four years yet who claims to not have had any notion that her husband was a killer! I would like to step into her shoes for a moment and understand what it would be like to be the wife of a killer. When Dennis Rader was found to be the BTK killer, even the neighbors were in shock as he was the perfect gentleman at home. Red-flags must have possibly been seen but as a women in the community who was terrified of BTK, there is much denial involved with piecing together such a puzzle. The news slowly disappeared after Rader was put in jail, but for Paula, it is still all very real. She was granted an immediate divorce, and, through a series of interviews, tv episodes, and interrogations, Paula began a new life, fighting her betrayal and previous hurt. Possibly, she relocated and changed her name since the events. We should all support Paula for her integrity. We shall never forget who you are.