The murders of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, and Maddie Mogen shocked the entire nation, people who’d never even met these young people. But there’s one stranger who was struck particularly personally: her name is Kerri Rawson.
Kerri is the daughter of serial killer Dennis Rader, the infamous BTK Killer. Her childhood turned her into a true crime aficionado — she’s even written two books about it: A Serial Killer’s Daughter and Breaking Free. So like many folks out there, she was following the case closely long before she knew it was tied to her in any way. Then Bryan Kohberger was arrested. And everything changed.
Related: How Bryan Kohberger Was Caught Using Genealogy Websites
As you may have heard, Kohberger is a criminology PhD student. It’s one of the only things we know about him for sure. Well, it turns out he’s studying under a pretty renowned criminologist, a woman named Dr. Katherine Ramsland. She’s also written a book about BTK — in fact, she wrote a book with BTK, 2016’s Confession of a Serial Killer, which features conversations with Rader. The fact the suspect in this case turned out to have studied under the foremost expert on her father was a gut punch for Rawson.
In an interview with NewsNation over the weekend, she recalled:
“My first reaction was my stomach churned and I literally physically got ill. I’ve been pretty invested in the Idaho case, and I was shocked to see there was a connection to Ramsland and my father.”
It’s possible, as Kerri sees it, that Kohberger went to Washington State University just because of Ramsland and BTK. After all, his family is from Pennsylvania, he went all the way across the country.
He may even “have had communication with” Rader himself! Kerri explained:
“It’s very common for criminal justice students and in general the true crime community or fans to contact my father via mail and occasionally speak on the phone. Knowing how personally connected Ramsland is to my father, I would not be surprised if at the very least Kohberger tried to write to him.”
Wow. She noted:
“If he has contacted my father there would be letters in his house and in my father’s jail cell.”
That thought hits Rawson hard. She lamented:
“It’s hard to be the kid of this guy and live with this. And then see somebody else go do this and wonder did your dad influence this? Did my dad talk to him?”
Truly disturbing. She mentioned on Twitter as well that she had “ongoing concerns, knowing how common it is for criminology students, true crime fans, and others to correspond regularly with my father, that Kohberger could have been in contact with my father” — but made clear she has no proof it happened.
Related: Did Bryan Kohberger Post True Crime TikToks About The Murders?!
However, there is one more connection — her father also studied criminology. She reminded her followers:
“My father graduated with a bachelors in Criminal Justice, from Wichita State University, making a mockery of this important field, using his college courses to study his own ongoing murders and get access to LE information in the 1970s.”
The idea that criminology was a potential way to get closer to a killer is a very real possibility as far as Kerri is concerned. She wondered aloud on NewsNation:
“Was he studying my father outside of academics? Am I ever going to get answers to that, I don’t know.”
If he did study criminology because of BTK and to help him commit his future crimes, then how long did he plan to do this?? A truly disturbing thought…
As for Dr. Ramsland, she has declined to comment, saying only about the case:
“I cannot make media statements about him at this time.”
See the full interview for yourself (below):
[Image via KWCH/ABC7NY/YouTube.]