BTK serial killer Dennis Rader 'was like a robot with a dead stare' and was ignored by girls, says former school friend01/08/2022
BTK serial killer Dennis Rader was “like a robot with a dead stare” who drew no interest from girls growing up despite his movie star good looks, a former school friend has exclusively told The Sun.
Rader, now 76, brutally murdered 10 people from 1974 to 1991 in Wichita, Kansas, while hiding himself in plain sight as a respectable family man, church president and Scout troop leader.
In his first interview since Rader was arrested in 2005, his school pal Raymond Reiss told The Sun how he was left “shocked and dumbfounded” when the killer was finally caught.
Speaking as a new A&E true crime docuseries "BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer” hits screens, Reiss, also 76, revealed two chilling moments he shared with one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
The pair attended Wichita Heights High School together from 1961 to 1963 and in a strange twist of fate ended up marrying women who had been best friends at school too.
Raymond and Rader were in the same junior and senior class at school and even worked together on physics papers before Rader went on to become known as the 'Bind Torture Kill' murderer.
Raymond told The Sun: “Dennis was quiet, reserved. He was there, but nobody really noticed him that much.
“He was probably the most handsome man in the school, he was just a good looking guy. He could have been a movie star.
“But he wasn’t a hit with the girls because he was quiet and reserved. I don’t remember seeing him around girls ever.”
A high school yearbook from their senior year shows Rader and Raymond’s pictures almost side by side on the same page.
Rader signed Raymond’s copy of the yearbook with the message: “Ray, best of luck for the many years to come.”
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Despite describing Rader as a “nondescript, non-remarkable person”, Raymond did get a glimpse into his dark side during their school days.
He said: “The one thing I remember that was odd about him was one time we were in drafting class and he said something and I didn’t know what he meant.
“He just looked up at me with this dead stare. I remember that look he gave me because it was so weird.
“It wasn’t like I thought ‘Oh, you’re a killer’ but later when he was caught I recalled that moment.”
After high school Raymond left Kansas to live in San Francisco and didn’t see Rader again for over a decade.
Meanwhile, Rader began his reign of terror over the population of Wichita with the horrendous quadruple murder in January 1974 of Joseph Otero, 39, his wife Julia, 33, their nine-year-old son Joseph Otero Jr. and 11-year-old daughter Josephine Otero.
The father-of-two struck again in April 1974 when he stabbed and strangled Kathryn Bright.
Then in March 1977 he strangled Shirley Vian using a rope before asphyxiating Nancy Fox with a belt in December that year.
Raymond came back to Kansas to be with his mom while she was dying in 1980 and the following year was elected first ever mayor of Park City, where Rader was working as the compliance officer.
During Raymond’s three-term tenure as Park City mayor the BTK killer reemerged to murder Marine Hedge in April 1985 and Vicki Wegerle in September 1986.
BTK’s final victim Dolores Davis was handcuffed, tied up and strangled with a panty hose in January 1991.
All through the string of killings, Rader would taunt police and the public via cryptic notes and letters.
Rader started working as a compliance officer for Park City in 1991 after Raymond’s terms as mayor had ended.
But one day he took his wife to city hall to show her around and Rader was in his office there working – and they caught another sight of his extremely cold nature.
Raymond said: “Dennis was at his desk and I introduced Jane as one of his wife Paula’s best friends.
“He shook her hand and just stared at her. He was just a very cold person, you couldn’t get a read on him.
“After we found out that he was the BTK killer that really unnerved me, that I introduced my wife to BTK.”
Exclusive pictures provided by Raymond show him and Rader posing with former classmates at high school reunions over the years.
Raymond witnessed how the killer – who later admitted that he murdered to fulfil his twisted sexual fantasies – continued to strictly carry out his duties as a compliance officer until very shortly before he was brought to book for his crimes.
The former mayor shared a notice of violation that the serial killer wrote up for a property Raymond owned just four months before Rader’s arrest.
Raymond said: “I was already gone from office then but he would write me up if it was necessary because people hadn't mown the yard, things like that.
“He was a stickler for the rules and would say stuff like ‘That would be correct, sir’.
“He was always out patrolling and doing his job but he just overdid it.
“I think it was a power thing, he was in control and he just was not warm.
“BTK was about sex too but I think it was more about power.
“The day before they picked him up he had been at one of my rentals and he unnerved the people living there.
“There was a lady living at another house and he had been coming by and talking with her and being there for no reason, checking this or that. She was getting kind of scared of him.
“She was pretty afraid of him because he was becoming like a stalker almost.
“He was the compliance officer but he overdid it.
“He was almost like a robot. He was always like that since I first met him, not very personable.”
Rader committed his murders before Kansas reintroduced the death penalty in 1994 so he was sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms in prison with a minimum of 175 years without the possibility of parole.
It came after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first degree murder and coldly provided the court with details of how he stalked and killed his victims, who he referred to as “projects”.
He is currently serving his sentence at the El Dorado Correctional Facility near Wichita – but Raymond says he is not inclined to ever go visit his old school friend.
He said: “The court hearing was hard to watch, this is somebody that you know. I first met him in 1961, that’s a long time to know somebody, but I watched every day.
“He was matter of fact about all these things he did, there was no emotion there.
“I felt bad for his wife Paula, she was blindsided by the whole thing. She was devastated. She didn’t deserve that.
“I don't have any desire to go see him or talk to him. If I did speak to him I would say ‘What were you thinking?’
“But I don’t think I’d ever put myself in that situation.”
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