Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The BTK Story

Otero Murders' Evidence

By Rachael Bell

On August 17, 2005, families of the victims murdered by Dennis Rader listened with heavy hearts to testimony concerning the Otero family murders, which occurred more than three decades earlier. According to of the Wichita Eagle, KBI assistant director Larry Thomas testified that Josephine Otero, 11, screamed for her mother as she struggled from the noose from which she hung in the basement of her home. The court heard that Rader derived sexual gratification while watching Josephine's death struggle as he tortured her. She was the last of four family members murdered that day, including her brother and parents. Heart-wrenching crime scene photographs of the family were also shown to the court depicting the events of that fateful day.

Other evidence presented in court revealed that Josephine was Rader's primary target and her mother his secondary target. He stalked the little girl and her mother for around two months after seeing them one day as he drove down the street where they lived. According to testimony heard in court, Rader told investigators that her was 'turned on' by Mrs. Otero and Josephine, stating that he was "attracted to Hispanic-looking women,' Buselt reported. The article further quoted Rader who told investigators that he 'always had a sexual desire for younger women."

During the court proceedings, evidence revealed that Rader lied to the Oteros after breaking into their house with a gun. He claimed that he wouldn't harm them and that he was on the run from the law and only wanted some food and money to see him through to his next destination. Edie Magnus reported in an NBC Dateline special on the Secret Confessions of BTK that the Otero family "bought his lie about being on the run from the law and not wanting to hurt them," so they allowed Rader to tie them up without any struggle. It was only when Rader began to strangle Mr. Otero that the children and Mrs. Otero realized that they were likely going to die.

Other evidence presented included photographs of Rader wearing pantyhose and a bra practicing bondage on himself, as well as a knife and mouth gag used on Mrs. Otero at the time of the murders, Buselt reported. The prosecution is expected to show the court other evidence taken from Rader's home, including dolls he allegedly practiced bondage with, which were bound with rope and handcuffed. It was clear that they wanted to impress on the judge that Rader was a sadistic and evil man with no limits or regard for human life.


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