from The Wichita Eagle

‘American Gothic’ hits close to home for BTK’s daughter


“I think it’s important to remember that there are actual people who died, 10 people who lost their lives and 8 families – that’s including mine – that were destroyed and forever separated by my dad’s actions,” said Kerri Rawson, Dennis Rader’s daughter. Travis Heying File photo

“American Gothic,” a new CBS show this summer, is about a serial killer “S.B.K.” and possibly the killer’s family. It looks as though it was inspired or at least informed by a serial killer familiar to Wichitans.

Corinne Brinkerhoff, the show’s creator, (a writer on “The Good Wife), said in “Entertainment Weekly,” that “Gothic” “reminds” her of a case she grew up knowing in Kansas, about a church deacon and Boy Scout mentor who turned out to be a serial killer, unbeknownst to his own family.

That sounds much like the story of Dennis Rader of Park City, who in 2005 was arrested and identified as the serial killer BTK, who operated in Wichita from 1974 to 2005. Rader killed 10 people in and around Wichita, and for 31 years until his capture taunted police and the public by sending cryptic (and badly spelled) clues.

In the “Gothic” episode that ran Wednesday evening, it was clear that the show is about not only a serial killer but the dysfunctional and varied Hawthorne family of Boston. Two family members, snooping through the basement, find an Ikea box filled with silver bells, which look a lot like the little silver bells the killer S.B.K (Silver Bells Killer) leaves with his victims.

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