Paula Dietz: The untold story of Dennis Rader's ex-wife

Paula Dietz: The untold story of Dennis Rader's ex-wife

Many people are, arguably, familiar with the BTK murderer, Dennis Rader. However, the story of his ex-wife Paula Dietz goes untold. Dennis Rader murdered ten people while living in the same house with his unsuspecting wife and children. Although the story has been the basis of several books and movies, Paula had to face the horror of living with a serial killer.

Paula Dietz
Paula's husband Dennis Rader and their daughter Kerri. Photo: @theblaiirwitch
Source: Twitter

When people get married, they hope that they have chosen the right person to spend the rest of their lives with. However, what do you do when the love of your life turns out to be a stone-cold killer with absolutely no remorse. This is a tale that can only be told by those who have lived through it. Here is the untold story of Dennis Rader’s ex-wife.

Early life, education, and family

Paula was born on 5th May 1948 in Park City, Kansas, into a religious home. Her father was an engineer, while her mother was a librarian. She matriculated from high school in 1966 and enrolled into the National American University of Wichita, where she graduated from in 1970 with a BA degree in Accounting.

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After graduating with her degree, Paula took up a job as a bookkeeper. A position which she maintained her entire working life. However, after her husband was caught and prosecuted for murder, she retired from her job and left Kansas. It was unbearable for her to work or live in her hometown.

Her ex-husband Dennis Rader

Dennis was born on 9th March 1945 to his parents William Elvin Rader and Dorothea Mae Cook Rader. Dennis and his three brothers grew up in Pittsburg, Kansas, USA. Later in his life, he confessed that he was a lonely child despite this and did not get much attention from his parents.

In 1966, Dennis was recruited into the US Air Force, where he served until 1970 and then went back home to Kansas. Rader enrolled at Wichita State University and graduated in 1979 with a BA in Administration of Justice. He then landed a job at Coleman Company Inc, where he installed alarm security systems in Wichita.

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This job provided the BTK murderer with the perfect excuse to be able to access his victims’ homes. He would go on to murder ten people, with his family noticing. His victims mostly included single women who lived alone.

His first victims were four members of the Otero family who he murdered in cold blood in 1974. His next murder was Shirleen, who he also killed in the same year. In 1977, he killed Shirley and Nancy and then went off the radar for eight years. He resurfaced in 1985 and murdered Marine, and later Vicki in 1986. His last victim was Dolores, killed in 1991.

Dennis was arrested on 25th February 2005 after letters he sent to the local media detailing his murders were traced to him. In all of his previous murders, he left the words “bind, torture, kill” that led to him being labelled the BTK murderer. He pleaded guilty to all the murders. He is now serving life imprisonment after being sentenced to 175 years.

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How did Dennis Rader and Paula Dietz meet?

Paula Dietz
Paula's husband Dennis Rader and their daughter Kerri. Photo: @investigationdiscovery
Source: Instagram

The ex-couple met when Rader moved back to Kansas. He had completed his four years in the Air Force, and worked at the meat department of a Leekers IGA supermarket. They had a whirlwind romance that saw them walking down the aisle on 22nd May 1971. This was barely a year after they had met. They got married and went on to have two beautiful children, Kerri and Brian.

What happened to Dennis Rader wife after the arrest?

Whenever people hear about the serial killer’s story, they ask whether his wife saw any signs. His daughter states that her dad was just a normal dad who took them on vacations and even taught them how to fish. It never occurred to them that their dad secretly killed people. In other words, the family lived a peaceful life and had no idea that they were living with such a dangerous man.

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What happened to Paula Dietz after Dennis was arrested? Paula immediately filed for an emergency divorce. Luckily, the judge granted her the divorce that very same day. She did not wait the mandatory sixty days due to her circumstances.

Paula did not go to any of her ex-husband’s hearings and has never written to him or even visited him in prison. She moved out of Kansas to escape the media and has not given any public statement about her husband or his crimes. None of Paula Dietz photos are available on the internet. She completely withdrew from the public eye and is living a very private life.

Paula Dietz is the ex-wife to the BTK killer, Dennis Rader. The couple got married in 1971. After over three decades of marriage, Paula found out that her husband was a serial killer who murdered over ten people.

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