- "We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow."
- —Ted Bundy
Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell) was an american serial killer, rapist, kidnapper and a necrophile who assaulted and murdered at least 30 young women, and possibly many more, in many North-Western states between 1974 and 1978.
|Name||Theodore Robert Bundy|
|Alias|| Kenneth Misner
|Birth Date||November 24, 1946|
|Place of Birth||Burlington, Vermont, United States|
|Date of Death||January 24, 1989|
|Place of Death||Florida State Prison Bradford County, Florida, United States|
|Cause of Death||Execution by electric chair|
|Modus Operandi||see Modus operandi and victim profiles|
|No. of Victims||30-35+|
|Span of Killings||1961–1978|
After more than a decade of rigorous denials he confessed to 30 homicides, but the true total remains unknown. He traveled alone extensively, and long stretches of his time remain unaccounted for; anecdotal evidence suggests that he began killing well before 1974.
Bundy underwent multiple psychiatric examinations and his diagnosis changed frequently. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center and an authority on violent behavior, initially made a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She later changed her impression more than once. While other psychiatrists and psychologists experienced similar difficulty in pinpointing a specific diagnosis, a preponderance of evidence pointed away from bipolar disorder or other psychoses. Rather, the classic criteria for one or more personality disorders were clearly identifiable in Bundy. Unlike psychotics, such people can distinguish right from wrong, but that ability has minimal effect on their behavior. They are devoid of feelings of guilt or remorse, a point readily admitted by Bundy himself. "Guilt doesn't solve anything, really," he said in 1981. "It hurts you...I guess I am in the enviable position of not having to deal with guilt. There's just no reason for it."
The night before he was executed, Bundy granted an interview to James Dobson, psychologist and founder of the Christian evangelical organization Focus on the Family. During the interview Bundy made new statements regarding violence in the media and the pornographic "roots" of his crimes. "It happened in stages, gradually," he said. "My experience with...pornography that deals on a violent level with sexuality, is once you become addicted to it...I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far...where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give that which is beyond just reading it or looking at it." Violence in the media, he said, "particularly sexualized violence," sent boys "down the road to being Ted Bundys." "You are going to kill me," he said, "and that will protect society from me. But out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that."
Researchers generally agree that Bundy's sudden condemnation of pornography was one last manipulative attempt to forestall his execution by catering to Dobson's agenda as a longtime anti-pornography advocate, telling him precisely what he wanted to hear. Bundy told Michaud and Aynsworth in 1980, and Hagmaier just the previous night, that pornography played a negligible role in his development as a serial killer.
As Rule and Aynesworth both noted, for Bundy, the fault always lay with someone or something else. While he eventually confessed to 30 murders, he never accepted responsibility for any of them, even when, in Miami, he could have averted the death penalty by doing so. He deflected blame onto a wide variety of scapegoats, including his abusive grandfather, the absence of his biological father, the concealment of his true parentage, alcohol, the media, the police (whom he accused of planting evidence), "society" in general, violence on television, and ultimately, pornography. On at least one occasion he even tried to blame his victims: "I have known people who...radiate vulnerability," he said, in a 1977 letter to Kloepfer. "Their facial expressions say 'I am afraid of you.' These people invite abuse...By expecting to be hurt, do they subtly encourage it?" Blame shifting and outright denial were Bundy's principal defense mechanisms. He once told Lewis, "I don't know why everyone is out to get me." "He really and truly did not have any sense of the enormity of what he had done," she said. "A long-term serial killer erects powerful barriers to his guilt," Keppel wrote, "walls of denial that can sometimes never be breached."
Modus operandi and victim profiles Edit
Bundy employed two separate and very distinct modi operandi (M.O.), although his first documented homicide (Lynda Healy's) involved a combination of both. In both scenarios his assault methods of choice were blunt force trauma and strangulation; every recovered skull, except Kimberly Leach's, showed evidence of blunt trauma, often with broken front teeth. Every cadaver on which an autopsy was possible exhibited evidence of strangulation. He purposely avoided firearms as murder weapons due to the noise they made and the ballistic evidence they left behind. Bundy was unusually skilled at minimizing physical evidence His fingerprints were never found at a crime scene, nor was any other incontrovertible evidence of his guilt, a fact he repeated often during the years in which he attempted to maintain his innocence.
His simpler M.O. consisted of forcible late-night entry followed by violent attack with a blunt weapon on a sleeping victim. Such attacks were virtually silent and usually remained undiscovered until morning. Some victims were sexually assaulted with inert objects; all were left as they lay, unconscious or dead. In the more elaborate technique, Bundy would employ various ruses designed to lure his victim to the vicinity of his vehicle where he had pre-positioned a weapon, usually a crowbar. In many cases he wore a plaster cast on one leg or a sling on one arm, and sometimes hobbled on crutches, then requested assistance in carrying something to his vehicle. At other times he identified himself as a police officer or firefighter. Once near or inside his car or van the victim would be overpowered, bludgeoned, and restrained with handcuffs. Most were sexually assaulted and strangled, either at the primary crime scene or (more commonly) after being transported to a pre-selected secondary site, often a considerable distance away.
At the secondary site the victim's clothing would be removed and later burned, or in at least one case (Julie Cunningham's) deposited in a Goodwill container. Bundy explained that the clothing removal was ritualistic, but also a practical matter, as it minimized the chance of leaving trace evidence at the crime scene that could implicate him. (A manufacturing error in fibers from his own clothing, however, provided a crucial incriminating link to Kimberly Leach.) He often revisited his secondary crime scenes to engage in acts of necrophilia. He took Polaroid photos of most of his victims. "When you work hard to do something right," he told Hagmaier, "you don't want to forget it." Consumption of large quantities of alcohol was an "essential component", he told Keppel, and later Michaud; he needed to be "extremely drunk" while on the prowl in order to "significantly diminish" his inhibitions and to "sedate" the "dominant personality" that he feared might prevent his inner "entity" from acting on his impulses.
Bundy eluded positive identification for a protracted period in part because his facial features were generic and not particularly memorable. Early on, police complained of the futility of showing his photograph to witnesses; he looked different in virtually every photo ever taken of him. In person, "...his expression would so change his whole appearance that there were moments that you weren't even sure you were looking at the same person," said Stewart Hanson, Jr., the judge in the DaRonch trial. "He [was] really a changeling." Another common descriptor used was "chameleon-like", in that he was able to change his appearance significantly with only minor adjustments to his features, such as the addition or subtraction of facial hair, or a change in hairstyle. Even his Volkswagen Beetle proved difficult to pin down; its color was variously described by witnesses as metallic or non-metallic, tan or bronze, light brown or dark brown.
All of Bundy's known victims were Caucasian females, most of middle class backgrounds. Almost all were between the ages of 15 and 25 and most were college students. There is no evidence that he had met or interacted with any of them prior to attacking them. (In their last conversation before his execution, Bundy told Kloepfer he had purposely stayed away from her "when he felt the power of his sickness building in him.") Rule noted that most of the identified victims had long straight hair, parted in the middle—like Stephanie Brooks, the woman who rejected him, and to whom he later became engaged and then rejected in return. Rule speculated that Bundy's animosity toward his first girlfriend acteed as the "trigger factor" for his protracted rampage, causing him to target victims who resembled her. Bundy dismissed this hypothesis: "[T]hey...just fit the general criteria of being young and attractive," he told Hugh Aynesworth. "Too many people have bought this crap that all the girls were similar...[but] almost everything was dissimilar...physically, they were almost all different." He did concede that youth and beauty were "absolutely indispensable criteria" in his choice of victims.
Early life Edit
Bundy was born at the Elizabeth Lund Home For Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont, as Theodore Robert Cowell, to Eleanor Louise Cowell. The identity of his father has never been determined with certainty. His birth certificate lists a salesman and Air Force veteran named Lloyd Marshall, but Louise would later claim she was seduced by "a sailor" whose name may have been "Jack Worthington." Her family expressed suspicions that the father may actually have been Louise's own violent, abusive father, Samuel Cowell. Bundy's maternal grandparents, Samuel and Eleanor Cowell, raised him in their Philadelphia home as their son to avoid the social stigma attached to illegitimate birth at the time. Family, friends, and young Ted himself were told that his grandparents were his parents and his mother his older sister. Eventually he discovered the truth, but how and when is not clear: he told his girlfriend that one day a cousin called him a "bastard", and then to prove it, showed him a copy of his birth certificate that he had found. He told biographers Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth that he found the certificate himself. Biographer and true crime writer Ann Rule, who knew Bundy personally, believes he did not find unequivocal proof until he tracked down his original birth record in Vermont in 1969. Bundy expressed a lifelong resentment toward his mother for neglecting to tell him the truth and for leaving him to discover it for himself.
While Bundy spoke warmly of his grandparents in some interviews and told Ann Rule that he "identified with" Samuel Cowell, "respected him", and "clung to him", he told a court-appointed psychiatrist in 1987 that his grandfather was a tyrannical bully and a bigot who hated blacks, italians, catholics, and jews. He beat the family dog and swung neighborhood cats by their tails. One morning he threw Louise's younger sister Julia down a flight of stairs for oversleeping. He kept a large collection of pornography, which Ted and a cousin would peruse for hours. At least once he flew into a violent rage when the question of Ted's paternity was raised. Bundy described his grandmother as a timid and obedient woman who periodically underwent electroconvulsive therapy for depression and feared leaving their house toward the end of her life. Ted occasionally exhibited disturbing behavior, even at that early age. Julia later recalled awakening one day from a nap to find herself surrounded by knives from the Cowell kitchen; her three-year-old nephew was standing by the bed, smiling.
In 1950 Louise and Ted left Philadelphia to live with cousins Alan and Jane Scott in Tacoma, Washington. Louise had their surname changed from Cowell to Nelson. In 1951 Louise met Johnny Culpepper Bundy, a hospital cook, at an adult singles night at Tacoma's First Methodist Church. They married later that year and Johnny Bundy formally adopted Ted. Johnny and Louise conceived four children of their own, and Ted spent much of his pre-teen and teenage years babysitting them. Though Johnny Bundy tried to include him in camping trips and other family activities, Ted remained distant from his stepfather. He later complained to his girlfriend that Johnny wasn't his father, "wasn't very bright", and "didn't make much money."
As a boy Bundy roamed his neighborhood, picking through trash barrels in search of pictures of naked women. As an adolescent he browsed bookstores and libraries in search of detective magazines, crime novels, and true crime documentaries, favoring stories that involved sexual violence, particularly when accompanied by pictures of dead or maimed bodies. Later, he would consume large quantities of alcohol (which he identified as "a very important trigger") and "canvass the community" late at night in search of undraped windows, where he could observe women undressing, or "whatever [else] could be seen."
Bundy told Michaud and Aynsworth that as an adolescent he "chose to be alone" because he was unable to understand interpersonal relationships. Though he maintained a facade of social activity in school, he claimed he had no natural sense of how to develop friendships. "I didn't know what made people want to be friends," he said. "I didn't know what underlay social interactions." However, Bundy's friends from Woodrow Wilson High School told Ann Rule that he was "well known and well liked", "a medium-sized fish in a large pond." His only significant athletic avocation was snow skiing, which he pursued enthusiastically, using stolen equipment and forged lift tickets. Before finishing high school he had been arrested at least twice on suspicion of burglary and auto theft. When he reached the age of 18 the details of the incidents were expunged from his record, as is customary in Washington and most other states.
University years Edit
Bundy graduated from high school in 1965. After a year at the University of Puget Sound he transferred to the University of Washington (UW) to study Chinese. In 1967 he became romantically involved with a UW classmate who is identified by several pseudonyms, most commonly Stephanie Brooks. She ended the relationship after her 1968 graduation and returned to her family home in California, frustrated by what she described as Bundy's immaturity and lack of ambition. Devastated by her rejection, Bundy dropped out of college and traveled east, where he visited relatives in Arkansas and Philadelphia and took some classes at Temple University. It was at this time, Rule believes, that Bundy visited the office of birth records in Burlington, Vermont, and confirmed his true parentage.
Back in Washington in 1968, Bundy became a more focused and goal-oriented person. He managed the Seattle office of Nelson Rockefeller's Presidential campaign and attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami, as a Rockefeller supporter. He re-enrolled at UW, this time as a Psychology major, and became an honor student, well-regarded by his professors. In 1969 he met Elizabeth Kloepfer (known in Bundy literature as Meg Anders, Beth Archer, or Liz Kendall), a divorcée from Ogden, Utah who worked as a secretary in the UW Medical School. Their stormy relationship would continue well past his initial incarceration in Utah in 1976. In 1971 he took a work-study job at Seattle's Suicide Hotline crisis center. There he met and worked alongside former Seattle police officer and future crime writer Ann Rule, who would later write one of the definitive Bundy biographies, The Stranger Beside Me. Rule saw nothing disturbing in Bundy's personality at the time, describing him as "kind, solicitous, and empathetic."
After graduating from UW in 1972 Bundy joined Governor Daniel J. Evans's reelection campaign. Posing as a college student, he shadowed Evans' opponent, former governor Albert Rosellini, and recorded his speeches for analysis by Evans' team. After the election he was hired as assistant to Ross Davis, Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. Davis thought well of Bundy, describing him as "smart, aggressive...and a believer in the system." In early 1973, despite mediocre Law School Admission Test scores, he was accepted into the law schools of both the University of Utah and the University of Puget Sound on the strength of letters of recommendation from Davis, Governor Evans, and several UW Psychology professors.
During a trip to California on Republican Party business in the summer of 1973, Bundy came back into the life of ex-girlfriend Stephanie Brooks, who marveled at his transformation into a serious, dedicated professional, influential in political circles, and about to enter law school. Bundy continued to date Kloepfer as well; neither woman was aware of the other's existence. In the fall of 1973 he enrolled at UPS Law School and continued courting Brooks, who flew to Seattle several times to stay with him. They discussed marriage; at one point he introduced her to Davis as his fiancée. In January 1974, however, he abruptly became cold and distant, ceased calling her, and refused to return her phone calls or letters. Finally reaching him by phone a month later, Brooks demanded to know why he had unilaterally ended their relationship without explanation. In a flat, calm voice, he replied, "Stephanie, I have no idea what you mean..." and hung up. She never heard from him again. Later, he explained, "I just wanted to prove to myself that I could have married her." In early 1974 Bundy began skipping classes at law school, and by April had stopped attending entirely. At about the same time, young women began to disappear in the Pacific Northwest.
First murder sprees Edit
Washington, Oregon Edit
There is no definitive agreement on when and where Bundy began killing women. Bundy told different stories to different people and refused to divulge the specifics of his earliest crimes, even as he confessed in gruesome detail to dozens of later murders in the days leading up to his execution. He told attorney Polly Nelson that he attempted his first kidnapping in 1969, but did not kill anyone until 1972. Earlier, he told a psychiatrist that he killed two women in Atlantic City in 1969 while visiting family in Philadelphia. In his penultimate interview with King County Detective Robert Keppel, he mentioned a homicide in 1972 and another in 1973 involving a hitchhiker near Tumwater, Washington, but refused to elaborate. Rule and Keppel both believe he may have started killing as a teenager. There is some evidence that he killed a young girl in Tacoma in 1961 when he was only 14 years old, although he denied it. His earliest documented homicides were committed in 1974, when he was 27. By then he had (by his own admission) mastered the skills needed—in the era before DNA profiling—to leave a minimum of incriminating evidence at a crime scene.
Shortly after midnight on January 4, 1974, Bundy entered the basement bedroom of 18-year-old Joni Lenz (a pseudonym), a dancer and student at UW. He bludgeoned her with a metal rod from her bed frame and then sexually assaulted her with a speculum, causing extensive internal injuries. She remained unconscious for 10 days but survived the attack with permanent brain damage. A month later, again late at night, Bundy broke into the room of UW coed Lynda Ann Healy, who broadcast Seattle's weather reports for skiers on the radio each morning. He beat her unconscious, dressed her in bluejeans, a white blouse, and boots, and carried her away.
Young female college students continued disappearing at the rate of about one per month. In March Donna Gail Manson, a 19-year-old student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, left her dormitory on the way to a jazz concert on campus, but never arrived. In April Susan Elaine Rancourt disappeared after an evening advisors' meeting on the campus of Central Washington State College (now Central Washington University) in Ellensburg, 110 miles (180 km) southeast of Seattle. Two Central Washington coeds later came forward to report encounters—one on the night of Rancourt's disappearance, the other three nights earlier—with a man wearing an arm sling, asking for help carrying a load of books to his brown or tan Volkswagen Beetle. On May 6 Roberta Kathleen Parks left her dormitory at Oregon State University in Corvallis, 260 miles (420 km) south of Seattle, to have coffee with friends at the Student Union Building. She never arrived.
Detectives from the Crimes Against Persons Unit of the Seattle Police Department grew increasingly concerned. The paucity of physical evidence left them little to go on. The missing women had little in common, other than that they were all young attractive Caucasian college students, and all had long hair, parted in the middle. On June 1 Brenda Carol Ball, 22, disappeared after leaving the Flame Tavern in Burien, Washington, near Seattle-Tacoma Airport. She was last seen talking in the parking lot to a brown-haired man with his arm in a sling. In the early hours of June 11, UW student Georgeann Hawkins vanished while walking down the brightly lit alley between her boyfriend's dormitory residence and her sorority house. The next morning three Seattle homicide detectives and a criminalist combed the entire alleyway on their hands and knees, finding nothing. After Hawkins's disappearance was publicized, witnesses came forward to report seeing a man on crutches with a leg cast in the alley behind a nearby dormitory that night, struggling to carry a briefcase. One woman said the man asked her to help him carry the case to his car, a light-brown Volkswagen Beetle.
During this period, Bundy was working at the Washington State Department of Emergency Services (DES) in Olympia—a government agency involved in the search for the missing women. There he met and dated Carole Ann Boone, a twice-divorced mother of two who, six years later, would play an important role in the final phase of his life.
Reports of the six missing women and Lenz's brutal beating appeared prominently in newspapers and on television throughout Washington and Oregon. Fear spread among the population; hitchhiking by young women dropped sharply. Pressure mounted on law enforcement agencies but the complete lack of physical evidence hampered them severely. Reporters' demands for what little information was available could not be met for fear of compromising the investigation. Further similarities were noted: the disappearances all took place at night, usually near ongoing construction work, within a week of midterm or final exams; all of the victims were wearing slacks or blue jeans; and at most crime scenes there were sightings of a man wearing a cast or a sling and driving a brown Volkswagen Beetle.
Bundy's first killing spree culminated on July 14 with the broad-daylight abductions of two women from a crowded beach at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Washington. Five female witnesses described a handsome young man wearing a white tennis outfit with his left arm in a sling, speaking with a light accent, perhaps Canadian, perhaps British. Introducing himself as "Ted", he asked their help in unloading a sailboat from his tan- or bronze-colored Volkswagen Beetle. Four refused; one accompanied him as far as his car, saw that there was no sailboat, and fled. Three additional witnesses saw him approach Janice Anne Ott, 23, a probation case worker at the King County Juvenile Court, with the sailboat story, and watched her leave the beach in his company. About four hours later, Denise Naslund, an 18-year-old woman who was studying to become a computer programmer, left a picnic to go to the restroom and never returned. Bundy would later confess that Ott was still alive when he returned with Naslund—and that one was forced to watch as the other was murdered.
King County detectives, finally armed with a detailed description of the suspect as well his car, posted fliers throughout the Seattle area. A composite sketch was printed in regional newspapers and broadcast on local television stations. Elizabeth Kloepfer, Ann Rule, a DES employee, and a UW Psychology professor all recognized the profile, the sketch, and the car, and reported Ted Bundy as a possible suspect. However, the police, who were receiving up to 200 tips per day, initially thought it unlikely that a clean-cut law student with no adult criminal record could be the perpetrator.
On September 6 two grouse hunters stumbled across the skeletal remains of Ott and Naslund near a service road in Issaquah, 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Lake Sammamish State Park. Also found were an extra femur and several vertebrae, later identified by Bundy as Georgeann Hawkins'. Six months later, the skulls and mandibles of Healy, Rancourt, Parks, and Ball were found on Taylor Mountain (where Bundy frequently hiked), just east of Issaquah. All bore extensive damage caused by a blunt instrument.
Idaho, Utah, Colorado Edit
In August 1974 Bundy received a second acceptance from the University of Utah Law School and moved to Salt Lake City, leaving Kloepfer in Seattle. While he called Kloepfer often, he dated other women, "at least a dozen" by his own estimate. Sometime during the year he lived in Utah he was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was not an active participant in Mormon services and ignored most church restrictions.
A new string of homicides began the following month with two that would go undiscovered until Bundy confessed to them shortly before his execution. On September 2 Bundy picked up a hitchhiker in Idaho whom he raped and strangled; her identity remains unknown and no body was found. On October 2 he seized 16-year-old Nancy Wilcox in Holladay, a suburb of Salt Lake City, and dragged her into a wooded area, intending to "de-escalate" his pathologic urges, he said, by raping and releasing her. However, he strangled her by accident, he claimed—in the process of trying to silence her.
On October 18 Melissa Smith, the 17-year-old daughter of Midvale's police chief, disappeared after leaving a pizza parlor. Her nude body was found in a nearby mountainous area nine days later; she had been beaten, raped, sodomized, and strangled. Postmortem examination indicated that she may have remained alive for up to seven days following her disappearance. On October 31, 25 miles (40 km) south in Lehi, Laura Aime, also 17, disappeared after leaving a Halloween party just after midnight. Her naked body, displaying injuries similar to Smith's, was found by hikers 9 miles (14 km) to the northeast in American Fork Canyon on thanksgiving. She had also been raped, sodomized, and strangled with a nylon stocking.
On a rainy November evening in Murray, Bundy approached 18-year-old telephone operator Carol DaRonch at a mall less than a mile from the pizza parlor where Melissa Smith was last seen. He identified himself as "Officer Roseland" of the Murray Police Department, told her someone had attempted to break into her car, and asked her to accompany him to the station to file a complaint. When DaRonch pointed out that Bundy was driving on a road that did not lead to the police station, he immediately pulled to the shoulder and attempted to handcuff her. During their struggle, Bundy inadvertently fastened both handcuffs to the same wrist, and DaRonch was able to get the car door open and escape. Later that evening, Debby Kent, a 17-year-old student at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, 19 miles (31 km) north of Murray, disappeared after leaving a theater production at the school to pick up her brother. The school's drama teacher and a student told police that "a stranger" had asked each of them to come out to the parking lot to identify a car. Another student later saw the same man pacing in the rear of the auditorium, and the drama teacher spotted him again shortly before the end of the play. Investigators later found a key outside the auditorium which unlocked the handcuffs taken off Carol DaRonch.
In November Elizabeth Kloepfer, having read that young women were now disappearing in towns surrounding Salt Lake City, called King County police a second time. She was interviewed in detail by Detective Randy Hergesheimer of the Major Crimes division. By then Bundy had risen considerably on their hierarchy of suspicion, but the Lake Sammamish witness considered most reliable by detectives failed to pick him from a photo lineup. In December Kloepfer called the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and repeated her suspicions. Bundy's name was added to their list of suspects, but at that time no credible evidence linked him to the Utah crimes. In January 1975 Bundy returned to Seattle after his final exams and spent a week with Kloepfer, who did not tell him she had reported him three separate times to police. She made plans to visit him in Salt Lake City in August.
In 1975 Bundy shifted much of his criminal activity eastward to Colorado while continuing to live and attend law school in Utah. On January 12, a 23-year-old registered nurse named Caryn Campbell decided to retrieve a magazine from her room in the Wildwood Inn (now the Wildwood Lodge) at Snowmass. Her fiancée watched her enter the elevator in the hotel's lobby and colleagues saw her emerge from it upstairs; she vanished somewhere along a well-lit hallway between the elevator and her room. Her nude body was found a month later next to a dirt road just outside the resort. She had been killed by blows to her head from a blunt instrument that left distinctive linear grooved depressions on her skull; her body also had deep cuts from a sharp weapon. A hundred miles (160 km) to the northeast on March 15, Vail ski instructor Julie Cunningham, 26, disappeared while walking from her apartment to a dinner date with a friend. Bundy later told Colorado investigators that he approached her on crutches and asked that she help carry his ski boots to his car, where he clubbed and handcuffed her, then assaulted and strangled her at a remote secondary site near Rifle, Colorado. Weeks later he made the six-hour drive from Salt Lake City to revisit her remains.
Denise Oliverson, 25, disappeared near Grand Junction on April 6 while riding her bicycle to her parents' house; her bike and sandals were found under a viaduct near a railroad bridge. On May 6 Bundy lured 12-year-old Lynette Culver from her junior high school in Pocatello, Idaho, 160 miles (260 km) north of Salt Lake City, and took her to his hotel room where he drowned and then raped her.
In mid-May three of Bundy's Washington State DES co-workers, including Carole Ann Boone, visited him in Salt Lake City and stayed for a week in his apartment. Bundy spent a week in Seattle with Kloepfer in early June and they discussed getting married the following Christmas. Again, Kloepfer made no mention of her discussions with the King County Police and Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, and Bundy disclosed neither his ongoing relationship with Boone nor a concurrent romance with a Utah law student known in various accounts as Kim Andrews or Sharon Auer.
On June 28 Susan Curtis vanished from the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, 45 miles (72 km) south of Salt Lake City. Curtis's murder became Bundy's last confession, moments before he was led down the hall to the execution chamber. The bodies of Wilcox, Kent, Cunningham, Culver, Curtis, and Oliverson have never been recovered.
In Washington state, investigators were still struggling to analyze the Pacific Northwest murder spree that had ended as abruptly as it had begun. In an effort to make sense of the overwhelming mass of data, they resorted to the then-innovative strategy of compiling a database. They used the King County payroll computer, a "huge, primitive machine" by today's standards, but the only one available for their use. After inputting the many lists they had compiled—classmates and acquaintances of each victim, Volkswagen owners named "Ted", known sex offenders, and so on—they queried the computer for coincidences. Out of thousands of names, 26 turned up on four separate lists; one of the names was Ted Bundy. They also manually compiled a list of their 100 "best" suspects, and Bundy was on that list as well. He was "literally at the top of the pile" of suspects when word came from Utah of his arrest.
Arrest and first trial Edit
In August 1975 Bundy was arrested by a Utah Highway Patrol officer in Granger, a suburb of Salt Lake City, after he failed to pull over for a routine traffic stop. A search of his car revealed a ski mask, another mask made from pantyhose, a crowbar, handcuffs, trash bags, a coil of rope, an ice pick, and other items initially assumed to be burglary tools. Bundy calmly explained that the ski mask was for skiing, he had found the handcuffs in a dumpster, and the rest were common household items. However, Detective Jerry Thompson remembered a very similar suspect and car description from the November 1974 DaRonch kidnapping, and Bundy's name from Kloepfer's December 1974 phone call. In a search of Bundy's apartment, police found a guide to Colorado ski resorts with a checkmark by the Wildwood Inn, and a brochure advertising the Viewmont High School play in Bountiful (where Debby Kent had disappeared), but nothing sufficiently incriminating to hold him. He was released on his own recognizance. (Bundy later said that searchers missed a collection of Polaroid photographs of his victims hidden in the utility room, which he destroyed after he was released.)
Salt Lake City police placed Bundy on 24-hour surveillance, and Thompson flew to Seattle with two other detectives to interview Kloepfer. She told them that in the year prior to his move to Utah, she occasionally discovered objects she "couldn't understand" in her house and in Bundy's apartment: a set of crutches; a bag of plaster of Paris that he admitted he had stolen from a medical supply house; a meat cleaver, which he packed when he moved to Utah; surgical gloves; an Oriental knife in a wooden case that he kept in his glove compartment; and a sack full of women's clothing. Bundy was perpetually in debt to everyone and stole almost everything of significant value that he owned. When she confronted him once over a new TV and stereo, he warned her, "If you tell anyone, I'll break your fucking neck." She said Bundy became "very upset" whenever she considered cutting her hair (which was long and parted in the middle). She would sometimes awaken in the middle of the night to find him under the bed covers with a flashlight, examining her body. He kept a lug wrench, taped halfway up the handle, in the trunk of her car (a tan Volkswagen Beetle, which he often borrowed) "for protection." The detectives confirmed that Bundy had not been with Kloepfer on any of the nights the Pacific Northwest victims had vanished, nor on the day Ott and Naslund were abducted. Shortly thereafter, Kloepfer was interviewed by Seattle homicide detective Kathy McChesney and learned of the existence of Stephanie Brooks and her brief engagement to Bundy around Christmas 1973.
On September 2 Bundy sold his Volkswagen Beetle to a Midvale teenager. Utah police impounded it; FBI technicians dismantled and searched it. They found hairs that matched Caryn Campbell's, and the ridges of the crowbar confiscated during Bundy's initial arrest matched the blunt-instrument impressions on Campbell's skull. Later, they would also report finding hair strands "microscopically indistinguishable" from those of Melissa Smith and Carol DaRonch. FBI lab specialist William Neil concluded that hair found in one car matching three victims who had never met would be "a coincidence of mind-boggling rarity."
On October 2, 1975, detectives put Bundy in a lineup before DaRonch, who immediately identified him as "Officer Roseland." The witnesses from Bountiful picked him from the same lineup as the stranger lurking about the high school auditorium. There was insufficient evidence linking him to Debby Kent (whose body was never found), but more than enough to charge him with aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault in the DaRonch case. He was freed on $15,000 bail (paid by his parents), and he spent most of the time between indictment and trial in Seattle, living in Kloepfer's house. Seattle police had insufficient evidence to charge him in the Pacific Northwest murders, but they maintained a constant close surveillance. "When Ted and I stepped out on the porch to go somewhere," Kloepfer wrote, "so many unmarked police cars started up that it sounded like the beginning of the Indy 500."
In November the three principal Bundy investigators — Jerry Thompson from Utah, Robert Keppel from Washington, and Michael Fisher from Colorado — met with 30 detectives and prosecutors from five states in Aspen, Colorado at what came to be known as the Aspen Summit. A voluminous amount of information was exchanged, and all parties left convinced that Bundy was the murderer they sought. However, they were also forced to conclude that they had insufficient hard evidence to bring further charges.
Bundy stood trial in February 1976, forfeiting his right to a jury on the advice of his attorney John O'Connell, due to the publicity surrounding the case. After a four-day trial the judge found him guilty of kidnapping and assault. On June 30 he was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison. On October 22 Colorado authorities charged him with Caryn Campbell's murder. After a period of resistance he waived extradition and was transferred to Aspen in January 1977.
The escapes Edit
On June 7, 1977, Bundy was transported from the county jail in Glenwood Springs to Pitkin County Courthouse in Aspen for a preliminary hearing. He had elected to serve as his own attorney and therefore was not wearing handcuffs or leg shackles. During a recess he asked to visit the courthouse's law library to research his case. Concealed behind a bookcase, he opened a window and jumped from the second story, spraining his right ankle as he landed. After walking through the town he hiked southward onto Aspen Mountain, where he broke into a hunting cabin near the summit and stole food, clothing, and a rifle. The following day he left the cabin and walked south toward the town of Crested Butte, but became lost in the forest. For two days he wandered aimlessly in circles on the mountain, missing two trails that led downward to his intended destination. On June 10 Bundy broke into a camping trailer on Maroon Lake, taking food and a ski parka, and walked back north toward Aspen, eluding search parties. On June 13 he stole a car at the edge of Aspen Golf Course. Cold, sleep-deprived, and in constant pain from his sprained ankle, he drove back into Aspen, where two police officers noticed his car weaving in and out of its lane and pulled him over. He had been a fugitive for six days. In the car were maps of the mountain area around Aspen which prosecutors were using to show the location of Caryn Campbell's body (as his own attorney, Bundy had rights of discovery), indicating that the escape had been planned in advance.
Back in the Glenwood Springs jail, Bundy devised a new escape plan. He acquired a hacksaw blade from another inmate and over $500 in cash that he later said was smuggled in by visiting friends — Carole Ann Boone in particular — over a six-month period. During the evenings while other prisoners were showering, Bundy sawed a hole about one foot (.30 m) square in the corner of his cell's ceiling and, after losing 35 pounds (16 kg), was able to wriggle through the hole into the crawl space above. In the weeks that followed he made multiple practice runs, exploring the parameters of the space. An informant told officers he heard someone moving around within the ceiling in the middle of the night but the report was not investigated. On December 23, 1977, the Aspen trial judge approved a change of venue to Colorado Springs. A week later, the night before he was to be moved, Bundy packed books and files in his bunk bed under a blanket to simulate his sleeping body and slipped into the crawlspace. He broke through a small hole in the ceiling and climbed down into the linen closet of the jailer's apartment — the jailer and his wife were out for the evening — and walked out the front door to freedom.
After stealing a car, Bundy drove eastward out of Glenwood Springs, but the car soon broke down in the mountains on Interstate 70, stranding him in the middle of the night in a snowstorm. A passing motorist gave him a ride into the town of Vail, 60 miles (97 km) to the east. From there he caught a bus to Denver, where he boarded a morning flight to Chicago. The Glenwood Springs jail officers did not discover that Bundy was gone until noon on December 31, seventeen hours after his escape; he was already in Chicago.
Bundy traveled by train from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he rented a room at the local YMCA. On January 2, in an Ann Arbor bar, he watched his alma mater the University of Washington defeat Michigan in the 1978 Rose Bowl. Four days later, he stole a car and drove south. After the car broke down in Atlanta, Georgia, he boarded a bus and arrived in Tallahassee, Florida, on January 8. He rented a room under the alias Chris Hagen at a boarding house near the Florida State University campus. Bundy later said he initially resolved to find a job and refrain from further criminal activity, knowing he could probably remain free and undetected in Florida indefinitely as long as he did not attract the attention of police. However, when he applied for a job at a construction site the personnel officer asked for identification. He made excuses and departed. This was his only attempt at job hunting; he reverted to his old habits of shoplifting and purse snatching.
One week after his arrival in Tallahassee, at approximately 3:00 a.m. on January 15, 1978, Bundy entered Florida State's Chi Omega sorority house. He bludgeoned Margaret Bowman, 21, with a branch from an oak tree as she slept, then strangled her with a nylon stocking. He then turned on 20-year-old Lisa Levy, beating her unconscious, strangling her, tearing off one of her nipples, biting deeply into her left buttock, and sexually assaulting her with a hair mist bottle. In an adjoining bedroom he attacked Kathy Kleiner, who suffered a broken jaw and deep shoulder lacerations, and Karen Chandler, who suffered a concussion, broken jaw, loss of teeth, and a crushed finger. After leaving Chi Omega, Bundy broke into an apartment building eight blocks away and attacked FSU student Cheryl Thomas, dislocating her shoulder and fracturing her jaw and her skull in five places. She was left with permanent equilibrium damage that ended her dance career.
On February 8, Bundy drove 150 miles (240 km) east to Jacksonville in a stolen FSU van. He approached 14-year-old Leslie Parmenter, the daughter of a Jacksonville police detective, in a parking lot, identifying himself as "Richard Burton, Fire Department", but retreated when her older brother arrived. The next day he backtracked 60 miles (97 km) westward to Lake City. At Lake City Junior High School that morning, 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach was summoned by a teacher back to her homeroom to retrieve a purse she had left there, and never returned to her class. Seven weeks later her partially mummified remains were found in a pig farrowing shed near Suwannee River State Park, 30 miles (48 km) from Lake City.
On February 12, Bundy fled Tallahassee, heading west across the Florida panhandle. Three days later at around 1:00 a.m., near the Alabama state line, he was stopped by Pensacola police officer David Lee after a "wants and warrants" check showed the car he was driving was stolen. When told he was under arrest, Bundy kicked Lee's legs out from under him and took off running. Lee fired a warning shot and then a second round, and gave chase. They struggled over Lee's gun before the officer subdued and arrested Bundy. In the car were three sets of FSU student IDs, 21 stolen credit cards, and a stolen television set. As Lee transported his suspect to jail, unaware that he had just arrested one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, Bundy reportedly told him, "I wish you had killed me."
Florida trials and marriage Edit
A year later, following a change of venue to Miami, Bundy stood trial on the Tallahassee homicides, assaults, and a variety of lesser petty larceny charges. The trial, the first televised nationally, was covered by 250 reporters from five continents. Despite the presence of five court-appointed attorneys, Bundy again handled much of his own defense. According to Mike Minerva, a Tallahassee public defender and member of the defense team until Bundy dismissed him, a pre-trial plea bargain agreement was negotiated in which Bundy would plead guilty to killing Levy, Bowman, and Leach in exchange for a 75-year prison sentence; Bundy refused the deal at the last minute. "It made him realize he was going to have to stand up in front of the whole world and say he was guilty," Minerva said. "He just couldn't do it." Crucial incriminating evidence included the testimony of Chi Omega member Nita Neary, who saw Bundy leaving the sorority house, and the bite impressions Bundy left in Levy's left buttock, which a forensics expert matched to castings made of Bundy's teeth. The jury deliberated less than seven hours before convicting him on all counts in July 1979. He received a death sentence for each of the two homicides and two additional life sentences for assault and battery of the surviving Tallahassee victims.
Six months later a second trial took place in Orlando for the Kimberly Leach murder. Again he was found guilty after minimal deliberation, principally due to fibers found in the stolen van and on Leach's body that had an unusual manufacturing error; these fibers matched a jacket Bundy was wearing when arrested. An eyewitness also saw him leading Leach from the schoolyard to his van. For a third time, he was sentenced to electrocution. When Bundy heard the sentence, he reportedly stood and shouted, "Tell the jury they were wrong!" (this third death sentence would be the one actually carried out, more than nine years later).
During the penalty phase of the Orlando trial, Bundy took advantage of an obscure Florida law which held that a marriage declaration in court in the presence of a judge constituted a legal marriage. As he was questioning former Washington State DES coworker Carole Ann Boone — who had moved to Florida to be near Bundy, had testified in his defense during both trials, and was again testifying on his behalf as a character witness — he asked her to marry him. She accepted, and Bundy declared to the court that they were legally married. In October 1982 Boone gave birth to a daughter. While conjugal visits were not allowed at Raiford Prison, inmates were known to pool their money to bribe guards to allow them intimate time alone with their female visitors. Boone filed for divorce in 1986, shortly before Bundy was granted his last stay of execution. The current whereabouts of Boone and her daughter are not a matter of public record.
Death row, confessions, and execution Edit
Shortly after resolution of the Leach trial and the beginning of the long appeals process that followed, Bundy initiated a series of interviews with criminal justice writer Stephen G. Michaud and reporter Hugh Aynesworth. Speaking mostly in third person to avoid "the stigma of confession", he began for the first time to divulge details of his crimes and thought processes.
He recounted his career as a thief, confirming Kloepfer's long-time suspicion that he had shoplifted virtually everything of substance that he owned. "The big payoff for me," he said, "was actually possessing whatever it was I had stolen. I really enjoyed having something...that I had wanted and gone out and taken." Possession proved to be an important motive for rape and murder as well. He began abducting women when consensual sex no longer satisfied him; sexual assault, he said, fulfilled his need to "totally possess" his victims. At first, he killed the women "as a matter of expediency...to eliminate the possibility of [being] caught." Later, however, murder became part of the "adventure." "The ultimate possession was, in fact, the taking of the life," he said. "And then...the physical possession of the remains."
Bundy also confided in Special Agent William Hagmaier of the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit. Hagmaier was struck by the "deep, almost mystical satisfaction" that Bundy took in murder. "He said that after a while, murder is not just a crime of lust or violence," Hagmaier related. "It becomes possession. They are part of you...[the victim] becomes a part of you, and you [two] are forever one...and the grounds where you kill them or leave them become sacred to you, and you will always be drawn back to them." Bundy told Hagmaier he considered himself an "amateur", an "impulsive" killer in his early years, before moving into what he called his "prime" or "predator" phase at about the time of Lynda Healy's murder in 1974. This implied that he began killing well before 1974 — though he never explicitly admitted that.
In July 1984 Raiford guards found two hacksaw blades hidden in Bundy's cell. A steel bar in one of its windows had been sawed completely through at the top and bottom and glued back in place with a homemade soap-based adhesive. Several months later his cell was changed again after guards found a mirror.
In October 1984 Bundy, who now considered himself an expert on the mind of the serial killer, contacted Robert Keppel and offered to share his self-proclaimed expertise in the ongoing hunt for his successor in Washington, the Green River Killer. Keppel and Green River Task Force detective Dave Reichert interviewed Bundy, and a book was later written, but Gary Leon Ridgway was captured 17 years later without Bundy's help.
Sometime in the spring of 1986 Bundy confessed to Hagmaier and Nelson what they believed was the full range of his depredations, including details of what he did to some victims after their deaths: he revisited Taylor Mountain, Issaquah, and other secondary crime scenes, often several times, to lie with his victims and have sex with their decomposing bodies until putrefaction forced him to stop. In some cases he drove several hours each way and remained the entire night. In Utah he applied makeup to Melissa Smith's lifeless face, and he repeatedly washed Laura Aime's hair. "If you've got time," he told Hagmaier, "they can be anything you want them to be." He confirmed long-held suspicions that he decapitated some of his victims with a hacksaw, and that he kept at least one group of severed heads — probably the four later found on Taylor Mountain (Rancourt, Parks, Ball, and Healy) — in his apartment for a period of time before disposing of them.
In late 1988 the Supreme Court rejected the last of his numerous appeals. With execution looming, and with no further reasons for concealing the truth, Bundy agreed to speak frankly with detectives from the various legal jurisdictions. To Keppel, he confessed to all eight of the Washington and Oregon homicides for which he had been the prime suspect. He described three additional previously unknown victims in Washington and two in Oregon, all of whom he declined to identify (if indeed he ever knew their identities). He said he left a fifth corpse — Donna Manson's — on Taylor Mountain, but incinerated her head in Kloepfer's fireplace. ("Of all the things I did to this woman," he told Keppel, "this is probably the one she is least likely to forgive me for. Poor Liz.") He described in detail his abduction of Georgeann Hawkins from the brightly lit UW alley (how he lured her to his car, clubbed and handcuffed her, drove her to Issaquah, raped and strangled her, spent the entire night with her body, and revisited her corpse on three later occasions). "He described the Issaquah crime scene (where the bones of Ott, Naslund, and Hawkins were found), and it was almost like he was just there," Keppel said. "Like he was seeing everything. He was infatuated with the idea because he spent so much time there. He is just totally consumed with murder all the time."
To detectives from Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, he confessed numerous additional murders—including several more that police had been unaware of — but withheld many details, hoping to parlay the incomplete information into a stay of execution. "There are other buried remains in Colorado," he admitted, but refused to elaborate. In cases where he did give details, nothing was found. Colorado detective Matt Lindvall interpreted this as a conflict between his desire to postpone his execution by divulging information and his need to remain in "total possession — the only person who knew his victims' true resting places." In December 1988 a legal advocate working for Bundy asked families of the mountain states victims to write to Florida Governor Robert Martinez requesting yet another stay (he had already been granted two), to give Bundy time to reveal more information. All refused, and Martinez made it clear that he would not agree to further delays in any case. "We are not going to have the system manipulated," he told reporters. "For him to be negotiating for his life over the bodies of others is despicable."
Hagmaier was present during Bundy's final interviews with investigators. On the eve of his execution, he talked of suicide. "He did not want to give the state the satisfaction of watching him die," Hagmaier said. Ted Bundy died in the Raiford electric chair at 7:16 a.m. Eastern time on January 24, 1989. His remains were cremated and the ashes scattered at an unknown location in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State.