WICHITA, Kan. — Kerri Rawson, the daughter of BTK serial killer Dennis Rader, broke the family’s nine-year silence this week and talked about her father’s 10 murders.

An interview by writer Stephen King about the upcoming movie “A Good Marriage” prompted her to break the self-imposed silence, she said Thursday.

The movie, adapted from one of King’s short stories, is about a wife who suddenly discovers her husband is a serial killer.

Rawson, 36, learned Wednesday that the movie was inspired by her father and her family.

“He’s exploiting my father’s 10 victims and their families,” she said.

She said she, her brother and her mother didn’t know that her father was the BTK killer who terrorized the Wichita area until the FBI told her in February 2005, shortly after Rader’s arrest.

She said her father is where he belongs, in prison. She has never visited him there. “I haven’t been brave enough for that yet,” she said.

“He has said he is sorry, but that means nothing,” she said of her father. “He is not worth all the books and the news stories and all the attention.”

And she criticized King, who gave interviews in recent days saying the novella and movie were inspired by the BTK murders, and how the killer lived for years with a family who had no idea what he was doing. “A Good Marriage” is a story in the collection “Full Dark, No Stars,” which was published in 2010.

King until this week was one of her favorite writers, she said.

“He’s just going to give my father a big head, and he absolutely does not need that,” she said.

She said King will make money, as she said he always does, only this time from the grief of all the victim families. “How many millions does he already have?” she said.

“Any money King makes off this story should go either to abused children, battered wives or police,” Rawson said.


She said she’s read at least a dozen King novels and loved them all but won’t read another. She said her father was also a huge King fan — she worries that King’s books might have influenced some of the bad things her father did in some of his later murders.

“We feel exploited,” she said of her family. “We consider ourselves the 11th victim family. Stephen King has the right to tell a story, but why bring us into it? Why couldn’t he just find inspiration for another good story, but leave out where it all came from?”

Rawson lives in Michigan; she married her husband, Darian, 11 years ago, with Dennis Rader giving her away at the wedding.

She is a stay-at-home mother and a former elementary school teacher; she has two young children, a boy and girl. Dennis Rader knows he has grandchildren, she said, but she has never sent him pictures.

She and her family were hounded by the media after her father’s arrest. They hid, and talked through doors, asking people to go away.

“Oprah called. Diane Sawyer called. I saw my father’s picture on CNN. It was insane,” Rawson said.

She said it hurt to hear that Ken Landwehr died of kidney cancer earlier this year. Landwehr was the Wichita police homicide unit commander who devised the strategy to capture her father after the serial killer resurfaced with taunting messages sent to police and the media in 2004.

Landwehr “and Kelly Otis (a police detective on the BTK task force) were very kind to me and my family,” Rawson said. “They helped us get through it, talked to us with a lot of kindness.”

She’s grateful to Landwehr for two other reasons.

He and his task force removed a serial killer from freedom. And they publicly defended the rest of the family, saying in interviews that they were sure the other Raders, including her mother, Paula, did not know what Dennis was doing in the 31 years that he stalked women, killed 10 people and remained free.


In the nine years since her father’s capture in February 2005, a statement she and her mother Paula have heard repeatedly was that Paula knew all along.

“No way could she have known,” Rawson said. “She wouldn’t have raised us with him.”

Otis said she’s right.

“It’s absolutely true; they never knew about it,” Otis said.

Otis, now chief of investigations for the Sedgwick County district attorney, said he thinks it is unfortunate that King is basing the short story on the BTK story.

“Dennis Rader got sexually aroused every time he relived what he did to those victims,” Otis said. “I can absolutely guarantee that that’s what he will do now that he’ll know that King is basing this story on him.”

Katherine Monoghan, a publicist for King, who is scheduled to speak in Wichita on Nov. 14, said King was traveling by air Thursday and wasn’t available to respond to Rawson’s comments.

But on King’s website he wrote this about the inspiration for his short story, “A Good Marriage”:

“This story came to my mind after reading an article about Dennis Rader, the infamous BTK (bind, torture, and kill) murderer who took the lives of ten people – mostly women, but two of his victims were children – over a period of roughly sixteen years.

“In many cases, he mailed pieces of his victims’ identification to the police. Paula Rader was married to this monster for thirty-four years, and many in the Wichita area, where Rader claimed his victims, refuse to believe that she could live with him and not know what he was doing.

“I did believe – I do believe – and I wrote this story to explore what might happen in such a case if the wife suddenly found out about her husband’s awful hobby.

“I also wrote it to explore the idea that it’s impossible to fully know anyone, even those we love the most.”

A synopsis of King’s story on the website says: “Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage.”

Dennis Rader remains in “special management” at El Dorado Correctional Facility, prison records show.

He has been held there since Aug. 19, 2005, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records. His “earliest possible release date” is listed as Feb. 26, 2180, long beyond a human lifetime.

He has received only one disciplinary report in those nine years, for a mail-related violation.

His latest prison mug shot, taken in early 2013, shows a man who looks noticeably older, with a deeply creased forehead and disheveled hair on both sides of the bald top of his head.


Her father is now 69, Rawson said. Her mother is 66, and retired.

Rawson said the FBI came to her door in Michigan in February 2005.

“At first I tried to argue,” she said. “I get a knock on my door at noon (in Michigan). The FBI is telling me my dad is this other person. I didn’t believe it and tried to alibi my dad: ‘What dates are you talking about?’ ‘What time periods are we talking about here?’ I tried, but then quickly found out … there was no other way around it, it was true.

The media hounded her mother, her grandmother, the rest of her family in Wichita. They hounded her in Michigan, she said. They offered friends and relatives money to talk.

“It was awful,” she said. “I think my mother and I both suffer from some PTSD from what happened.”