The true story behind Mindhunter's BTK killer is absolutely terrifying

21 August 2019, 15:02 | Updated: 21 August 2019, 15:09

Mindhunter's finally revealed the real identity of the man in those ADT serviceman vignettes - and the real life story is horrifying.

It's been a good year for true crime lovers, particularly when it comes to content on Netflix. Abducted In Plain Sight took over our lives earlier this year, with The Ted Bundy Tapes and Zac Efron's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile following a short while after as well as countless other documentaries and dramatised retellings of some truly horrific stories.

Now, Mindhunter has finally returned for a second season on the streaming service and not only does it dive into the psyches of some of America's most prolific serial killers (Charles Manson and Son of Sam), it's brought back the terrifying story of the BTK killer.

READ MORE: 14 of the best true crime series to watch on Netflix right now

Throughout season 1, Mindhunter has shown us small day-in-the-life clips of an "ADT serviceman". In season 2, we finally find out exactly who that man is - and the real life story behind his murder spree is absolutely horrifying.

So, who is he? His real name is Dennis Rader, more commonly known as the 'BTK killer', and he is actually one of America's most notorious serial killers.

Mindhunter's BTK killer storyline is based on terrifying true events
Mindhunter's BTK killer storyline is based on terrifying true events. Picture: Getty / Netflix

Is Mindhunter based on a true story?

Yes. In case you're not familiar with the show, almost everything that happens in Mindhunter is based on true events and very very real and dangerous people.

Jonathan Groff's character Holden Ford is based on FBI agent John E. Douglas and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) is based on FBI agent Robert K. Ressler. Wendy Carr, who is played by Anna Torv, is based on forensic researcher Ann Wolbert Burgess, who collaborated with the FBI to conduct research on serial murderers and rapists.

Of course, all the serial killer characters are modelled on actual convicted criminals. Their prison scene dialogues were also mostly taken from real interviews.

So, who is the BTK killer?

Dennis Rader, also known as the 'BTK killer', murdered 10 people in Wichita Kansas between 1974 and 1991. He didn't get caught until 2005, more than 10 years after his last murder, after letters admitting to murders signed by 'BTK killer' were traced back to him.

As we saw in those Mindhunter vignettes, Rader basically lived a double life. He was a church leader, he genuinely did work for ADT Security Services and he was married with two kids - none of whom had any idea he was a murderer. He literally flew under the radar for more than 30 years.

Just like in season 2 of Mindhunter, his BTK nickname originated when he signed off on a letter to the police in 1978 admitting to the murder of four members of the Otero family and three other women: Nancy Fox, Kathryn Bright and Shirley Vian. He then went on to kill another woman named Dolores E. Davis in 1991.

Rader was caught in 2005 after he started writing letters taking credit for his crimes. His identity was able to be traced back to him when the police used information from a floppy disk that he had sent to them.

The authorities also uncovered disturbing photographs of the killer in various states of bondage, which he took of himself. In the images, Rader can be seen bound, hanging and buried.

Rader also had a fetish for women's lingerie and used props
Rader also had a fetish for women's lingerie and used props. Picture: Netflix / Getty

What does 'BTK' stand for?

In case you were wondering, BTK stands for 'Bind, Torture, Kill.' Yep... horrifying.

Where is the BTK killer now?

Well, like we said, he didn't actually get apprehended until 2005, which is terrifying to think that he was still out there up until very recently.

He is currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences (that's life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for 175 years) at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas, USA.