Catching a Killer- 7 Tremendous Advances in Forensic Science
Catching a Killer- 7 Tremendous Advances in Forensic Science

Catching a Killer- 7 Tremendous Advances in Forensic Science

Michelle Powell-Smith - October 9, 2016

Catching a Killer- 7 Tremendous Advances in Forensic Science

Forensic Computer Analysis, 1974-1991/2004

Between 1974 and 1991, ten people in the Wichita, Kansas area were found killed. All of the victims had been bound, tortured and killed. In January 1975, four members of a family were killed. Six additional female victims were killed over the next 15 years.

The killer, then unidentified, began to communicate with the police through a series of notes. In the first of these, he named himself BTK for bind, torture, kill. He continued to send notes, frequently including puzzles, poems and pictures, to the authorities, either directly or through the media for a number of years. The communication stopped in 1994.

In 2004, after a decade of silence, communication between the police and BTK resumed. BTK sent police a floppy disk, with a document created in Microsoft Office. This was, at long last, BTK’s error. Through forensic analysis, they found that the document was created by someone named Dennis at Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita. They found that Dennis Rader was a congressional leader at Christ Lutheran Church. DNA evidence further linked him to the case.

Dennis Rader, BTK, made his first great error as a serial killer when he opted to go high-tech. While police had been unable to catch him using physical evidence at crime scenes, or the many notes and communications with the police, he was caught quickly after forensic analysis of a single floppy disk.

Rader initially pled not guilty to the murders. He eventually confessed and is in prison for his crimes. He will die in prison, with no potential for parole during his lifetime.

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