I Survived BTK is a crime documentary that first aired July 2010 at the Fantasia International Film Festival.
When the film opens, we are introduced to Charlie Otero, who was a victim of the BTK killer. On January 15, 1974, fifteen year old Charlie returned home from school to find his mother (Julie), father (Joseph), brother (Joseph, Jr.), and sister (Josephine), all dead in their home at 803 North Edgemoor Street, Wichita, Kansas. Charlie and his sister, Carmen, and brother, Danny, were not at home at the time of the murders.
Charlie had been released from prison, after a four year sentence for aggravated assault on his wife, Ursula. He admitted to being mentally traumatized from what he saw that day, thirty years ago. His father was tied up and suffocated by a plastic bag, while his mother was tied up strangled with a rope. His brother was also tied up and suffocated by a tee shirt and a plastic bag. His sister was found in the basement hanging from a pole, strangled to death by a rope.
During the interview, Charlie admits to having guilt for not being there for his parents and siblings because he somehow thinks that he could have intervened on the killing act and stopped it from happening.
When it first happened Charlie thought spies had killed his family because his father was involved in the military and with some high powered men from Panama. He said his father probably refused to give them some confidential information so they killed him and the rest of the family.
In 1974, a letter was discovered, by the Wichita Library, which gave full details of the Otero family murders. This would be the first of a many number of letters that would lead to the apprehension and arrest of the BTK killer, Dennis Rader on February 25, 2005. He would be charged with ten counts of murder, which occurred from 1974 thru 1991.
Charlie was on supervised parole, when he was first released from prison. He later met Linda, who would become his long term girlfriend. Charlie was able to attend the BTK killer’s arraignment, where he first pleaded not guilty, but later recanted and admitted his guilt. He also attended his sentencing, where he got to give a short, victim impact statement in court.
Steve Relford was also interviewed, during the film because the BTK killer murdered his mother, when he was five years old. He is now an alcoholic, drug addict with twenty-seven personalities. Steve admits to inflicting pain on himself because it makes him feel comfort and helps relieve the pain that his mother must have felt, when she was being murdered. Charlie said that he watched “In Cold Blood” the night before his parent’s death. He admits that he is angry with Rader and wanted to get revenge for his family’s deaths. There are a few more surprises, but you’ll need to check out the film for yourself to uncover them all!
I Survived BTK is a touching movie, about the victims of Dennis Rader. Although, I felt that Charlie tried too hard, during the filming, to make himself appear angry and hurt over his family’s death and his son’s accident, he was truly traumatized by the heinous murders. He appears to be trying to find himself, after being released from prison and maintaining some type of long distance relationship with his son. It appears that he had not seen his son for two years, which does not show him putting too much effort in a father/son relationship, which is very sad, indeed.
The pacing is a little slow with some scenes drawn out too long. The editing of the film could have also used some work, because the film would be in the middle of showing us an interview and it would suddenly be cut short. The concept of film is a good one, but it could have been done in a more professional way, but all in all it is worth watching and deserves a 7 out of 10.