What does BTK mean in BTK Killer

Serial killers are in, and reports of forensic investigations into murders have been around since CSI. There are now countless documentaries about the most famous crimes and criminals.

Now the Discovery Channel is also trying to entertain the audience with a six-part series about serial killers. And in order to stand out from the flood of criminal case entertainment and infotainment programs, it must now be "crimes that shocked the world".

In the meantime, it obviously takes cases of "unimaginable cruelty" to attract viewers - and we obviously don't want it any other way. So let's save ourselves criticism here. Also because the show itself, with which the channel started the series last night, wasn't that bloodthirsty and sensational.

In the meantime, people have got used to the fact that such documentaries tell the case primarily through the interviews of investigators involved and simulated murder and arrest scenes. Nothing new awaited the viewer here, just the tried and tested.

The murderer sought contact with the police and the media

But at least the first case suggests an interesting selection. Because the documentation about the so-called BTK strangler, who had killed ten people in the American city of Wichita since the 1970s, offers some rather unusual aspects.

Of course, the fascination that this serial killer had sparked came from the catchphrases that the perpetrator used on himself: B.ind, Torture, Kill (shackles, torture, killing).

But the case of the Wichita Strangler is exceptional for reasons other than the perpetrator's approach, which is not exactly atypical for serial killers.

For 30 years, the police were completely in the dark who the BTK killer was - even though he had wiped out a family of four in his first act. Though he only ever murdered in Wichita. Although semen had been secured at the first crime scene. Although the perpetrator was believed to have been seen in the vicinity of a crime scene. Although he had repeatedly contacted the police and the media.

TV viewers spoiled by the success rates of TV investigators and serial forensic technicians are likely to rub their eyes in amazement. And if you think about it for a moment, you might ask how many serial killers were and are still going undetected.

He couldn't imagine the police lying to him

The BTK killer could have continued to kill if his own vanity and overconfidence had not been his undoing. Because he provided the decisive clue to his identity on a floppy disk that he had passed on to the police - instead of his letters, as was previously the case.

He had previously assured himself from the investigators that it was not possible to trace such data carriers back to a computer. He hadn't imagined that the cops would just lie to him, the powerful BTK killer. He was wrong.

Luck and the killer’s arrogance solved the case - and of course the perseverance of the police officers, who had tried over two generations to find out who was behind the abbreviation BTK.

In addition, there was further development in the field of forensic science. DNA analysis was still impossible in the 1970s. But in 2004, the year in which the president of the Christian Lutheran Church congregation in Wichita, Dennis Rader, was suspected of being the BTK strangler, it was different.

Now the investigators were able to compare the killer’s genetic fingerprint, obtained from old traces, with that of Rader's daughter. The result: the girl's father was the killer with almost one hundred percent certainty. Rader finally confessed to not only killing the seven people the police knew about, but also three other women.

Between the murders, he raised his children

What is also extraordinary about the BTK killer case - and this is impressively demonstrated by the documentation, among other things through his appearances in court - is that this person was not only able to escape the police for 30 years, but also to lead a completely normal life.

His wife, his two children, his work colleagues - nobody could have imagined that Dennis was a perverted killer. A killer who let several years pass between his murders - to devote himself to raising his children.

Unfortunately, and this is a typical deficiency in almost all documentaries of this kind, there is no trace of an attempt to understand how a person can become such a monster. Why does someone do that? The viewer does not get an answer to this question.

Instead, the mandatory family member of a victim has their say. "Can you punish him adequately for his actions? Inflict enough pain on him? No."

There is a lot to be said about this. But perhaps the attempt to understand a horribly cruel murderer as a deeply disturbed or sick person simply has too little entertainment value.

Crimes that shocked the worldDiscovery Channel, on PREMIERE Next Show: Fred and Rose West June 20, 2007 at 9:05 pm