The daughter of the BTK serial killer says she is “glad” that the house where four University of Idaho students were murdered will be demolished.
The home in Moscow where Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were fatally stabbed in November 2022 was offered to the university by its owner, University President Scott Green said last week.
The university accepted the offer and is planning to demolish the house, Green said. It would be “a healing step” and also remove efforts “to further sensationalize the crime scene,” he said, amid a rise in “true-crime tourists” visiting the area.
Kerri Rawson said when her father Dennis Rader—who called himself BTK for “bind, torture and kill”—was arrested in February 2005, numerous people descended on her family home in Park City, a suburb of Wichita, Kansas.
“I was shocked by the masses of people who showed up to watch the crime scene technicians and investigators come in and out of my parents’ home,” she told Newsweek.
“Beyond what could only be described early on a three-ring circus, some folks helped themselves to my parents’ mailbox, bricks from the front walkway, and even sold items on eBay and on the murder memorabilia black market that they stole from my father’s shed, such as rope.”
Rawson said her mother never slept in the house again and tried to sell it that summer to pay off the mortgage.
Two years later, an anonymous benefactor bought it and donated it to Park City. “Shortly after, my parents’ home—my childhood home—was bulldozed, turned into an empty lot,” she said.
“If it had not been demolished, it would have eventually been picked apart piece by piece and sold on eBay. There was also the fear of low budget slasher films being filmed there if it had remained standing,” she said.
Almost two decades later, the empty lot is still “visited by the curious, who sometimes litter, and make donut marks with their cars.”
She believes it is appropriate for the King Road house to be demolished and turned into a memorial for the slain students.
“I’m glad that the Moscow, Idaho, home is being demolished and hopefully turned into a peaceful space for family, friends, and students to remember the four lost,” she said.
“I think it’s important to remember that real people lived in these homes, real lives profoundly effected by violent crime and trauma. That in some cases, people lost their lives in a horrific manner in these locations. These places should be approached with solemnity and respect.”
The suspect in the killings—28-year-old Bryan Kohberger—is facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary. At the time the killings occurred, he was a Ph.D. student in criminology at Washington State University in nearby Pullman.
He has not yet entered a plea to the charges, but a lawyer who previously represented him in Pennsylvania, where he was arrested on December 30, said he was “eager to be exonerated.” A preliminary hearing for Kohberger is scheduled to begin on June 26.
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