On July 26, 2005 Paula Rader was granted an emergency divorce from BTK killer Dennis Rader. The 60 day waiting period was waived by Sedgwick County District Judge Eric Yost and the divorce was finalized the same day it was petitioned. It was filed citing mental and physical distress under the advice of a mental health professional, and also grants Paula Rader full ownership of all property shared by the couple including the home that was recently auctioned. Paula Rader assumes responsibility for the house mortgage and her living expenses. Dennis Rader also gave up all income from two retirement accounts. Here is a link to the divorce petition and decree from kansas.com.
Dennis Rader recently admitted to being the notorious BTK Strangler serial killer that had terrorized Wichita, Kansas since 1974. He confessed to 10 murders committed in the Wichita area, the last known one being in 1991. He was arrested in February, 2005 after a 31 year hunt for the elusive killer. He had been there all along, living respectably as a husband, father, Lutheran church official and former Boy Scout troop leader. He installed alarm systems and later became the compliance officer/animal control officer for Park City KS, just a few miles north of Wichita where he had lived with his wife and family since 1971. His killings were a brutal mixture of home invasion, bondage, torture and strangulation. Not one person who knew him personally ever suspected that he could be the infamous BTK Strangler.
With Paula he fathered two children, now adults, who were conceived literally in between horrible murders. He had the ability to compartmentalize, to cut off the evil side from the apparently normal side and vice versa. He could kill and then go on like nothing had happened at all.
One of his victims was a pleasant lady who lived on the same street as the Raders, Marine Hedge. They would greet her as they strolled past her home when she was out working in her garden. BTK broke into her house one night in 1985 and hid in a bedroom. He waited until she went to bed that night then pounced on her, strangling her with his bare hands. He drove her body off in her own car and dumped it in a ditch a few miles away.
Paula herself was known to be terrified of BTK, as were many other women around Wichita. People have often asked, how could she live with BTK and not suspect anything? Some find it inconceivable that she could not have known. The answer here lies in the fact that as a psychopath BTK was unsurpassed in his ability to lead two different lives. While far from perfect in his everyday life, he just did not impress people as being a likely candidate for a serial killer. He was too ordinary, too straight, too responsible, too religious.
Paula is known by her friends and associates as an upstanding person, a lady that is universally liked and respected by those who know her. A founding member of her Lutheran church, she was even known to be envied by the way her husband doted on her in public. He appeared to be, and likely was, every bit the true family man dedicated to his wife and children.
BTK’s dark side was kept well hidden from the family and people he knew. It was revealed in 2005 that the night he killed Marine Hedge, he first drove her to the Lutheran church and photographed her dead body in various poses inside the church.
What has happened to Paula Rader represents an extreme that almost no one else on the planet will ever know. An extreme of being deceived, lied to, betrayed beyond all known measure. There is no way you and I could ever conceive what that would feel like. The same would go for the two children he so responsibly reared.
Certainly in retrospect she can see certain details now that previously had been ignored or not understood. Certain danger signs that were interpreted as being something else, that could be explained away by the power of reason or denial. She has the horrible task set before her of piecing it all together, of seeing things in the light of how they really were.
We support Paula in her quest to get beyond this terrible shock and to start life all over. It is no surprise that neither she nor the children have visited Dennis since his arrest. Now that the divorce is final, she never will have to deal with him directly ever again. She was unable to continue to live in the family home after the arrest, and had it auctioned this month. A benevolent bidder bought the home at a much higher price than it was worth out of sympathy for Paula.
I could post a link or two for those who want to see a photo of Paula, but I won’t, neither here nor at my website. Let’s respect the privacy she desperately needs and wants at this time. She has nothing to hide in terms of appearance, her picture is that of a fine lady who radiates a sort of sweetness and warmth. She is 57 years old and still considered a welcome part of the church she helped to found.
For the latest in the ongoing BTK saga, to view the confession video and find more information on the BTK Strangler, stop by my website at www.freewebs.com/thebtksite