Theodore Robert Bundy
Bundy was actually born Theodore Robert Cowell on November 24, 1946. His mom gave birth at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Vermont. When released, Ted and his mom moved back to his grandparent’s home in Philadelphia. Growing up, Ted was told his grandparents were his parents and his mother, Louise, was his sister. An unwed mom would have faced very harsh criticism back then. She and her parents felt this was the only option to save her name and reputation.
At age 4, he and his mom moved to Tacoma, Washington. A year later, May of 1951, his mother married Johnnie Bundy. Four more children were added to the family over the years. Johnnie tried to bond with Ted, but Ted stayed away from him as much as possible. Ted spent most of his time alone when he wasn’t babysitting his younger siblings.
In junior high Ted was a major target for bullies. He was picked on relentlessly. He looked and acted like the other kids, but he was an abyss on the inside. He always felt detached from others. Yet, through it all, he maintained excellent grades with a high grade point average. High school was different though. He was very well dressed and used good manners. He became quite a popular teenager/young adult. Instead of dating, like all the other guys, he focused on politics in his spare time.
During college he bounced from job to job. He kept his focus on school work though. In the spring of 1967 Bundy began a different life focus. She was his dream come true. He felt overwhelmed with luck due to the fact that she was “upper class” and came from a very wealthy family. Bundy tried so hard to impress her, even winning a scholarship to attend Stanford. He thought this would make her more interested in him…didn’t work. In 1968, she broke up with him. She felt he was too immature and lacked a career-oriented future. Depressed over the break-up, his life fell apart. He dropped out of school and tried desperately to keep in touch with her. His depression hit an all time low in 1969. It was at this time he learned the truth about his mother and grandparents. Grasping the fact that his “sister” was actually his mother devastated him. He began shoplifting and burglarizing homes.
No longer shy, Bundy became very dominant and confident. That confidence was later changed to conceit. He began studying psychology at the University of Washington. At this point, he began a relationship with ‘Elizabeth Kendall’ that lasted five years. She was a divorced woman with a daughter and fell madly in love with Ted. She pushed for marriage but Bundy told her he wasn’t ready.
Bundy kept his focus on politics. He worked on a campaign to re-elect a Washington governor and made strong connections within the Republican party. He also volunteered at a crisis clinic. The Seattle police even recognized him for saving a 3-year-old toddler from drowning in a lake.
On a trip to California in 1973, for the Washington Republican Party, he met up with his ex-girlfriend. She was amazed at the change in his life. He continued to see her, behind Elizabeth’s back. Marriage was discussed but Bundy, after a few short months, completely lost interest in her. He ended all contact with her in February of 1974. His plan of revenge was now complete.
The terror began on January 31, 1974. Lynda Ann Healy went out drinking with a few friends. Not long after, Lynda went home to watch tv and call her boyfriend. She went to bed and all seemed normal. Her roommate heard no noises come from her room until the alarm went off the next morning. Going in to wake Lynda, she saw no sign of her. The radio station where Lynda worked called to ask where she was. The roommate assumed she must have been on the way to her job. However, Lynda’s parents were calling that afternoon to ask why she didn’t come to dinner. Everyone began to worry. Her parents called the police and her room was checked. Something wasn’t right. The bed was made, yet she rarely made her bed. Her pillowcase and top sheet were missing. A small bloodstain was on the pillow and on the fitted sheet. Blood was also on her nightgown that was hanging neatly in the closet. An outfit was missing and one of the doors to the house was unlocked. Police did not take it seriously at first. So, no fingerprints, hair, or fibers were collected.
During that spring and summer more women students disappeared. The women shared common physical traits…white, thin, single, wearing slacks at the time of their disappearance. Police began interviewing college students and found out that a suspicious man had been seen around campus wearing a cast on either his arm or leg. He would appear to be struggling with books or having car problems. This led police to keep an eye out for the now famous VW Bug and any man with a cast. In August of 1974 the remains of some of the missing girls were found at Washington’s Lake Sammamish State Park. Two were later identified. All that was left of Denise Naslund and Janice Ott and others were strands of hair, some thigh bones, a couple of skulls, and a jaw bone.
A couple saw Ott the day she went missing, July 14. During a picnic, they saw a young man approach her and introduced himself as Ted. Ted told Ott he was having trouble loading his boat onto his car because of his arm cast. She agreed to help.
Denise Naslund’s last day was spent with her boyfriend and friends at the park. She left the group to go to the restroom. A man who wore a cast approached a couple of women to ask for help with his boat. Help was refused until Denise came along. She agreed to help and was never seen again. Melissa Smith disappeared on October 18, 1974. She was the daughter of Police Chief Louise Smith, of Midvale, Utah. She was found nine days later strangled, sodomized, and raped. 17-year-old Laura Aime went missing on Halloween, just thirteen days later. She was found on Thanksgiving day in the Wasatch Mountains by the river. She had been beaten on the head and face with a crowbar, raped and sodomized.
Washington and Utah began working together. They believed the same man was responsible for the gruesome murders. Eyewitness accounts allowed law enforcement to come up with a composite of “Ted”.
Elizabeth Kendall and her friend began to realize the truth about Bundy. He resembled the composite, he had the described VW Bug, and had crutches even though he never had a leg injury. She made calls to police and supplied recent photos but nothing ever came of it. Police turned their attention towards other potential suspects.
Tables turned on November 8, 1974. Carol DaRonch, 18, was approached by a man while she was in a bookstore in a Utah mall. He told her that he had seen someone trying to break in her car and asked her to go with him to the parking lot to check and see if anything was stolen. Carol assumed he was a mall security guard. When they got to the car everything seemed fine. The man said his name was Officer Roseland and asked her to come down to the station to identify the criminal and file a complaint. He walked her to his VW Bug, which struck her as odd. She asked for ID and he quickly flashed a gold badge before putting her in his car. He drove off in the opposite direction and suddenly stopped a little ways down the road. He tried to handcuff her and when she screamed he pulled a gun on her. He threw her from the car and was about to hit her with a crowbar when she kicked him in the groin and ran down the road. She managed to get a car to stop. She immediately jumped in and told them what happened. They took her to the police. She gave her statement with a description of the car and gave them her coat with his blood on it.
Debby Kent was at a play at Viewmont High School with her parents. She left early to pick up her brother, saying she would be back soon. She never even made it to her car in the parking lot. A small handcuff key was found on the ground. It matched the set of cuffs worn by DaRonch. A witness saw a tan VW Bug speed out of the parking lot that night.
On January 12, 1975 Caryn Campbell vanished during a trip to Colorado with her fiance and his two kids. She left the lounge to get a magazine from their hotel room but never made it there. Her nude body was found a month later just a few miles away. Several fractures were visible on her head.
Police began searching the Taylor Mountains. They found Brenda Ball, Susan Rancourt, and Lynda Ann Healy. Five more women were found in Colorado under the same circumstances.
Just outside Salt Lake County, 8-16-75, Bundy’s bug was spotted. He fled from the cop…speeding, turned off his headlights, went through two stop signs and finally pulled over at a gas station. Two more officers joined the scene and asked to check the car. They found a crowbar, ski mask, rope, handcuffs, wire, and an ice pick. He was arrested on suspicion of burglary. The crowbar, handcuffs, and composite sketch all made Bundy look very guilty.
On September 16, 1975 Elizabeth Kendall was called to the King County Police Major Crime Unit building in Washington State. She couldn’t account for Bundy on the nights of the murders. She stated that he would sleep during the day and go out at night. When it came to sex, he was mainly interested in bondage. He would become very upset if she didn’t participate. She later told police he had gone water skiing to Lake Sammamish Park and that he would make casts in his room. They also found out about his other life with his girlfriend in California.
Evidence was piling up quickly. Lynda Ann Healy was linked to Bundy through a cousin of his. A friend of Bundy’s told police he kept panty hose in the glove compartment of his car. He spent time in the Taylor Mountains and gas receipts from his credit card showed he was in the towns of the missing girls. Police set up a line-up on October 2, 1975. DaRonch and three others all chose Bundy out of the seven-man line up. A full investigation began immediately.
Feb 23, 1976- Bundy was put on trial for kidnapping DaRonch. He was very confident that the evidence presented was not strong enough. DaRonch took the stand, told her ordeal, and identified him as the attacker. Bundy, of course, said he had never seen her before and couldn’t provide an alibi. The judge reviewed the case and two days later found Bundy guilty. Bundy was sentenced to 1-15 years in prison with the possibility of parole for aggravated kidnapping.
In Utah State Prison, psychologists came to the conclusion that Bundy was very dependent on women and feared being humiliated in relationships with them. Investigators began trying to connect Bundy to the murders of Campbell and Smith. Hairs were found that closely matched both women and Campbell’s skull injury matched the crowbar found in Bundy’s car. Colorado filed charges against Bundy in October for Campbell’s murder.
In April of 77 Bundy was transferred to Garfield county Jail in Colorado for trial. Bundy fired his lawyer and began to make his own defense. By doing this, Bundy was granted permission to the courthouse library in Aspen. He began planning his escape.
On June 7th Bundy jumped from an open library window at the courthouse. He injured his ankle but managed to escape. Roadblocks didn’t help because he stayed within the city limits. Land searches, dogs, and searchers tried to locate Bundy. He eluded them for days. He was spotted in a stolen vehicle soon after. Seven months later he escaped again. He crawled into the ceiling of the jail and found an opening to the jailer’s apartment. Waiting until it was empty, he jumped down and simply walked out of the front door. More than 15 hours went by before the guards realized he was gone. By mid January of 1978 Bundy had made it down to Tallahassee, Florida. He began using the name Chris Hagen and got a one room apartment close to Florida State University. He walked around campus and even attended classes unnoticed. He started stealing constantly.
January 14th marked the Chi Omega House tragedy. At 3am Nita Neary was dropped off by her boyfriend after a keg party. She noticed the front door wide open. She went in and was headed up the stairs when the sound of someone running caught her attention. She immediately hid and watched a man with a blue cap pulled low over his eyes, holding a log with cloth around it, run down the stairs and out the door. She thought he was a burglar so she ran up stairs to wake her roommate, Nancy. The girls ran into another roommate, Karen, staggering down the hallway. Karen’s entire head was covered with blood. Another girl, Kathy, was found in her room barely alive. Kathy’s head was also covered with blood and huge gashes. Nancy called the police. The police found two girls dead in their beds. Lisa Levy was raped, strangled, and beaten to death in the head with a log. She also had bite marks on her bottom and on one of her nipples. She had also been sexually assaulted with a hair spray bottle. Margaret Bowman was the other girl found dead. She had similar injuries. The pair of panty hose she was strangled with were found in the room. Bundy had beat her in the head with the log so severely that her skull was split open and brain matter was exposed. The girls had been attacked in their sleep and never had a chance.
Less than a mile away from the sorority house, Bundy attacked a woman named Cheryl. Her neighbors heard banging noises and moaning. They called the police and she was found sitting on her bed with a swollen face. She was half nude and semi-conscious. There was a mask at the foot of the bed that resembled the same mask found in Bundy’s car in August of ’75. Police were unable to get a blood type, fingerprints, or sperm samples. They did get hairs found in the mask and teeth impressions from the bite mark.
On February 9, 1978 the Lake City Police got a call from 12-year-old Kimberly Leach’s parents. They were in a panic saying their daughter had disappeared. Her friend, Priscilla, saw her get into the car of a stranger at school. Kimberly’s body was found 8 weeks later in a state park in Suwannee County, Florida. Just a few days before this incident, a man in a white van tried to pose as an off duty fireman to try to pick up a 14 year old girl. The little girl knew he was a stranger and refused to get in his van. Her brother showed up to get her and became outraged. He followed the man in the van and wrote down the license plate to give his father, the Chief of Detectives for the Jacksonville PD. Detective James Parmenter checked out the plate number. It belonged to Randall Ragen. Ragen had reported his plate stolen and already received new ones. The detective took his kids to the station to show them mug shots. Both kids identified Bundy.
Bundy had already set out towards Pensacola and stolen an orange VW bug. Officer Lee was patrolling an area in West Pensacola when he saw the VW. Not recognizing the vehicle from the area, he ran a check on it. He found out it was reported stolen and flipped his lights. Bundy began to flee but stopped and pretended to surrender. He fought the officer and fled on foot. Officer Lee fired his gun and Bundy hit the ground pretending to be shot. He began to fight the cop once again, but Lee won and handcuffed Bundy. Bundy was finally caught.
The investigation began. Leach’s blood type was on the van’s carpet and Bundy’s semen and blood were on her underwear. Bundy’s shoe prints were at the scene where her body was found. Bundy was charged with the murders of Kimberly Leach and the Chi Omega girls. Bundy was now facing the death penalty.
When the Chi Omega trial began, Bundy acted as his own defense attorney. Two events during the trial sealed his fate. Nita Neary’s testimony and identification of Bundy was the first. The second was the testimony from the odontologist, Dr. Souviron. The doctor showed large photographs of the bite mark and Bundy’s teeth. He showed the uniqueness of both. There was no question that Bundy’s teeth matched the bite marks.
Seven hours into deliberation, the jury returned with a verdict. Each juror said “GUILTY” while Bundy stood showing no emotion at all. The next week the state of Florida held his sentencing trial. Bundy’s mom pleaded for his life. He stood and professed his innocence. He blamed the media for his misrepresentation. Bundy was now facing the chair!
At the Kimberly Leach trial Bundy decided not to represent himself this time. He and his attorneys decided to plea not guilty by reason of insanity. This jury was made up of seven women and five men. He couldn’t keep his composure during this trial. He even stood up and yelled at a witness that he disagreed with. By now, Bundy’s confidence was spiraling downward. 65 witnesses were presented to connect him with Leach on the day she went missing. Fibers from Leach’s clothes were found in the van and on his clothes. One month after the trial started, the jury was ready to deliberate. Less than seven hours later they came back with a guilty verdict. During the penalty phase of the trial, Bundy shocked everyone. He was interviewing defense witness Carole Ann Boone when all of a sudden the two began exchanging vows. Florida law states that the verbal promise made under oath is enough to seal the deal and they both were considered officially married. Not long after, Bundy was sentenced to die in the electric chair for the third time in less than a year. His honeymoon was spent alone on Death Row.
From 1982-1989 all his appeals were denied. He finally decided to confess to more crimes. He sat down with Dr. Bob Keppel. Bundy kept some of his victim’s heads at home. He also engaged in necrophilia. It was estimated that at least 100 women fell prey to Bundy.
January 24, 1989- 7am- execution!