Kerri Rawson speaks out about what it is like being the daughter of the infamous serial murder, Dennis Rader, known as the BTK Killer. Bob Bianchi of Law& Crime Network discusses Rawson’s journey from despair to love and forgiveness is inspirational. “Love never fails!” A must watch!
#KerriRawson #BTK #BTKKiller #DennisRader
#KerriRawson Daughter of #BTK Killer interviewed by Bob Bianchi
February 8th, 2019
Robert Bianchi: Welcome back to Law and Crime Network. Guys you know that all afternoon long, I’ve been really, really, excited about this interview that I’m going to do. And you guys know, I’m excited about all interviews but I’m super, super, excited about this one. So, as I’ve been trying to tell you already, A Serial Killer’s Daughter by Kerri Rawson, about the BTK killer. I have Kerri the daughter with me right now. Kerri, thank you so much for being here.
Kerri Rawson: Thank you for having me.
Robert Bianchi: Listen, I know that you are not a professional media person, and this is certainly not something you thought your life’s work would be about but we’re just briefly going to go through the BTK killings. This was the one that went on in Wichita Kansas, it was for decades long, multiple key people brutally killed. And it turns out, ultimately, and I want to go someplace different than most places do. It turns out ultimately, that it’s your dad. And what I found shocking when I first read this book, and I’ll tell you I was fascinated from cover to cover. Excellent writing skills may I add, is that, your dad was just this normal guy, he was the president of the church, he was in the boy scouts, you guys talk about all your camping trips, and all that. And how capable he was. And when these killings were kind of going on, you and your own family were freaking out and dad was telling you how to protect yourself and how to take care of yourself. And all along he was the one committing these. So, that must have been very confusing for you to say the least. I know that from your book, to see this person. Just tell us very briefly because I don’t want to stay on this too long. It was shocking to you, this wasn’t dad to you?
Kerri Rawson: No, I mean I only knew the man we’re talking about the one I fished and camped with. And then he was like my best friend, that I walk the dog with, that I was very close to him. And so, when the FBI showed up at my door, you know, February of 2005. Like I told them they had the wrong guy, I tried to alibi him, and I just fell into physical shock, my whole world just fell out under me.
Robert Bianchi: Yeah, I remember the passage in the book where the FBI comes up and he was agent who wasn’t really a field agent, so they kind of threw him out there. They met your family all at one time.
Kerri Rawson: They did, they were pretty sure it was my dad a week before they arrested him, then they got my DNA and confirmed that, and then the next day they had it all coordinated so they could pick my dad up, picked up my mom for questioning, notified me and notified my brother in Connecticut at the naval school at the same time.
Robert Bianchi: Right so, I mean, I think the FBI said something like, your dad is B T K.
Kerri Rawson: Yeah, they just dropped it on me, he was like have you heard of B T K. And so, I thought maybe something that happened to my grandma because she lived alone and then he just drops it because he realizes I’m not kidding and he’s like your dad is BTK. He wasn’t like, he’s being investigated, he’s being questioned, it was flat out your dad is BTK.
Robert Bianchi: Okay, move it a little quickly through the system, your father actually went there and was confessing it. For the audience, so you understand, the BTK model was he was toying with the police and the FBI. He was sending them notes and things of that nature. It turns out, if I understand, a single floppy disks that he created because he wasn’t, quote unquote, getting the notoriety. He was writing to them; how come you’re not paying attention to me as opposed to these other mass killers. Well, there was that meta data on that disk and that disk wound up going back to the church, and then ultimately, they were able to solve the case that way. He goes into the jail you guys are in complete shock. This isn’t the person you know, the community is outraged and obviously you’re torn between two places now, dad that you’ve known over dad that the community talks about. And those emotions became very conflicting for you. Now, that’s the short version of it but talk to me about your path a little bit with god. A lot of this book you talk about your wrestle with the concepts of god when your cousin had died, and where is god but you started to come to a faith-based formation prior to your dad being arrested. Is that about, right?
Kerri Rawson: It is, I mean I grew up in a small Lutheran church and it was very important that my dad took us to church. I mean seems really ironic now, but it was very important that we went to church every Sunday and he served as like an usher at communion. So, I grew up with that and then I walked from faith and we were in the Grand Canyon when I was nineteen. And it was one of dad’s crazy ideas to go hide down there for a week, and we got into a lot of trouble, we could have all lost our lives because you know my dad’s leading us into this dangerous situation. But down there’s where I found god, I prayed, and he answered my prayers. So, then I established actually a strong foundation of faith you know between ’97 and’05. So, then when my dad was arrested there wasn’t anything left. I didn’t know how I was going to survive you know the first night, and my faith was there you know. Just crying out to god and, you know, he gave me some twenty-three that first night, about walking through the valley of the shadow of death and after that every time I prayed out to god. You know, he just gave me something to hold on to. To get me through.
Robert Bianchi: Now, interestingly before your dad is arrested, you get married to your husband, obviously, and in in your wedding ring Inscriptions you have “love never fails” now yours was misspelled a little bit.
Kerri Rawson: It was. In Wichita, the engraver put, love never fails, but he left the R off. So, it was Love N E V E, and we were moving in two days, so I never got it, because is still says love never fails without the R.
Robert Bianchi: The reason I bring that up is because we only have a short period of time, and I could speak with you for hours is that I am writing a book and I lecture around the country on the resiliency that people have. How they get them through navigating the difficult times, like you did. It seems like you went through a whole epiphany of things that’s happening in reading so many sections of your book. Part of it says for those who suffer from unhealed wounds or with the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, anger, your story offers hope and claiming sanity in the midst of the madness. Talk to me about when you love, because that’s where that comes from Corinthians, love never fails, love is perfect right. Talk to us about, you came to the final conclusion in your soul that you still love your dad even though he is done these horrible things. Talk us through that.
Kerri Rawson: Right. Love never fails our verse and when we got married and it was on the wall on the day of my dad’s arrest, it was behind me when I was falling apart. Well love never fails, and it was on my ring. And I grabbed my ring, I still love my father because the only man I know was mainly a good and decent man. 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.
Robert Bianchi: What I find, when you’re talking about to me, I would use the word courage and I’ll tell you why. Because it’s faith in action to me it’s one thing to say you love and it’s one thing to say about forgiveness but it’s another thing to be able to practice it. And god knows you people could have felt very betrayed and very hurt because-
Kerri Rawson: Oh, we did.
Robert Bianchi: This changed the whole trajectory of your family. Your last chapter is about forgiveness talk to us about the power of forgiveness and the message that you are really a really inspiring example of that, for those who think that you should be hating your father, you’re really not getting the message are you?
Kerri Rawson: I mean I definitely went through the betrayal, and all the feelings, anger, hate, you know, I cut him off for a while. Eventually what happened was I took all of that pain and I internalized it even though I’ve been in trauma therapy. When you internalize all that anger and hate you basically hate yourself because you’ve tucked it inside deep in yourself. And you’re hurting your internal self. I was killing myself, internalizing this, and not talking about it. Finally, in 2012, god said, we got to deal with this, you know. 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 away. After five years and not talking to my dad I said I’ve forgiven you and if you ask god for forgiveness you can be in heaven.
Robert Bianchi: Kerry, you use the term that I love, it’s you said that the enemy, referring to the evil one. He’s the one who makes you feel guilty and depressed and unforgiven, that forgiveness is actually the thing that sets you free.
Kerri Rawson: Right, the enemy as in Satin walking on the Earth until Christ comes back from a Christian standpoint. He’s the one that’s going to try to keep you down, keep you mad, or keep you rotted. He wants you to die so you can’t, so you have to fight him and not let him win. And so, love wins.
Robert Bianchi: Love never fails.
Kerri Rawson: Love never fails.
Robert Bianchi: And Kerri, you don’t have to be a Christian or Muslim or Jew or any religion. It’s helpful faith certainly helps it helps me certainly. But this can be for even those who are atheist, when you talk about the power of forgiveness.
Kerri Rawson: Right, the power of forgiveness, courage never give up. I mean I’ve been through hell, and I’m still here so my message is hold on, hopes just around the corner, and don’t ever give up.
Robert Bianchi: You know, Kerri, I got to be honest with you, you inspire me to complete that book that I’m writing, to continue to do that lecturing. I find that you are incredibly courageous person for writing this, for getting out there. Because god knows the community has said some things about you and your family that aren’t necessarily positive.
Kerri Rawson: Yes, it’s ongoing right now. I’m getting hit very bad by trolls, somebody said they want to put my family in a wood chipper. So, I’m just trying to keep being courageous and you know, you’re just keep saying what I need to say.
Robert Bianchi: There’s the book folks, Kerri, thank you so much for the interview. Love never fails.