Dennis Rader, the BTK killer, is one of the United States’ most infamous serial murderers. Despite that, Rader’s daughter says she was able to forgive him, and credits her religious faith for giving her that strength.
“I still love my father, because the only man I know was a mainly good and decent man,” Kerri Rawson said during a Wednesday interview with Law&Crime Network host Bob Bianchi. “So when people are shocked that I still love my father, I’m telling you I love Dennis Rader. I love my dad. I don’t know BTK. If I knew BTK, I probably wouldn’t be alive.”
Rawson said Rader was her best friend, with whom she fished, camped, and went dog-walking.
“So when the FBI showed up at my door February of 2005, I told them they had the wrong guy,” she said. “I tried to alibi him.”
Rawson, author of a new book A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming, said she already had a foundation for her religious faith and, ironically enough, it was her father who was responsible for that. He made sure the family went to their small Lutheran church every Sunday.
Rader, known as BTK (“Bind, Torture, Kill”), terrorized Kansas in a string of 10 murders between 1974 and 1991. The killings went unsolved for years, but the suspect fell into the practice of mocking and demanding attention from law enforcement and news outlets through letters. This created a trail and investigators found him in 2005.
Rader didn’t necessarily jump out as an individual who would turn out to be a serial killer. He had a reputation as a family man and he was a leader at his church. Rawson still remembers her shock.
“I just fell into physical shock,” Rawson said Wednesday. “My whole world just fell out from under me.”
Eventually, Rawson said, she realized what she was called to do.
“Finally in 2012, God said, ‘We got to deal with this,'” she said. “‘I asked you to forgive. You need to work on that.’ And so one night in December 2012, it washed over me, and I knew I had forgiven my dad, and I went home and I wrote him and told him–right after five years of not talking to my dad–I said, ‘I have forgiven you, and if you ask God for forgiveness, you can be in Heaven.'”
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]