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The daughter of the infamous BTK Killer has been harassed by her serial killer father from behind bars to the point that she got a no-contact order against him, she says.
“He’s been cyberstalking me,” Kerri Rawson told the audience at CrimeCon 2021, presented by Oxygen, in Austin on Sunday. “He has letters and he has phone access so he has his fan club that [...] like to print off screenshots of my social media and photos of me and what I'm doing.”
Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, known as the BTK killer (short for bind, torture, kill), who killed 10 people in Kansas between 1974 and 1991 while maintaining the guise of a family man and respected member of the community. He became notorious by taunting the media about his crimes, and that tendency to want credit for those crimes ultimately led to his capture. In 2004, he mailed a floppy disk to police that authorities that contained encrypted metadata. That pointed investigators to Rader and it was then through his daughter's DNA that they were able to confirm his identity.
Rawson wrote about the struggles she endured coming to terms with who her father is in the 2019 book “A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story Of Faith, Love and Overcoming.” She spoke candidly about that journey during a Sunday CrimeCon panel, noting her anguish after her dad referred to his family as “pawns in his game” during his rambling sentencing statement in 2005.
While her book details how she and her father kept in touch for a while following his conviction, she noted that's over now. Even though she told her father that she loved and forgave him, Rawson explained that he is a “narcissist” who she has legally ceased contact with.
She detailed to the horrified CrimeCon crowd some of the more disturbing alleged interactions between her and her father in recent years.
“He likes to send me drawings of animals with gaping mouths with teeth,” she said.
A 2016 Washington Post article noted that Rader’s art is included in murder memorabilia that has become popular among some collectors. Rawson expressed disgust that amongst the trafficked items, she allegedly discovered that her dad signed his name on crime scene photos of his victims. Furthermore, he even signed over his daughter’s signature in her own book.
“Someone had sent him a page from my book where I had signed it and he did his BTK signature on it,” she said at the panel, prompting horrified gasps within the CrimeCon crowd. “It never ends.”
Rader further insulted his daughter by, at some point, writing a letter to the Wichita Eagle newspaper to tell them “she reminds me of me” and “she uses the media.”
Furthermore, she said her father’s “fans” not only screenshot what she’s up to online but often message her to tell her that her dad’s a “great guy.”
“Dealing with that [the cyberstalking] the last few years, this murder memorabilia market, and finding out that he was signing crime scene photos I said that’s it, I’m done,” she explained. “So I signed up for victim services through the Kansas Department of Corrections and [...] I signed a legal cease contact order and it was delivered to him the day before his birthday this year.”
That statement prompted applause from the audience.
While Rawson expressed that while she was younger she feared she would grow up to have some of the same negative attributes of her father, she declared that, unlike her father, she is the kind of person that thrives on helping others.
She said that a criminologist once told her, “If you’ve helped one person, you’ve won.”
One audience member’s comment drove home the fact that she has indeed won. During the Q&A section of Sunday’s panel, a woman stood up to tell Rawson that her own father was also a serial killer and that Rawson has inspired her and given her hope.
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