A charismatic man with good looks and a well-educated fella and your next-door neighbor would make a great man but this is the reason why Ted Bundy was able to gain the trust of people that he brutally murdered.
He described himself as “The most cold-hearted son of a bitch you will ever meet”, and when he confessed he proved himself and adding irony to the case is that Ted Bundy worked on a suicide hotline.
Who was Ted Bundy?
Theodore Robert Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell) was an American serial killer who kidnapped, raped and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier than that, before his execution by the electric chair he confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in 7 states in the span of 4 years from 1974 to 1978.
Ted Bundy idolized his grandfather, a cruel and racist man who physically abused his wife and daughter. He disliked his stepfather despite his efforts to make Ted feel included. Ted expressed lifelong resentment towards his mother for never telling him of his biological father. As a teenager, his darker side started to emerge, he liked to peer in other people’s windows.
Ted had a different recollection of his childhood where he told reporters that he used to roam around looking for pictures of naked women in the trash.
Being good looking and charming have never worked for him when he was in school or college as he found it difficult to make friends and once said that “I didn’t know what made people want to be friends, I didn’t know what underlay social interactions.” Bundy was arrested at least twice on suspicion of burglary and auto theft, however, the incidents were eliminated from his record, which is customary in Washington.
Ted Bundy’s Early Life
After finishing high school in 1965, Ted Bundy spent a year at The University of Puget Sound (UPS) before he transferred to the University of Washington (UW) to study Chinese form which he would drop out in 1968. During his stay in UW, he was involved in a romantic relationship with “Stephanie Brooks”.
After dropping out of the college he worked at a series of minimum-wage jobs. He also volunteered for Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaign and became the driver and bodyguard of Arthur Fletcher’s. After certain work here and there Bundy’s girlfriend decided to break up with him, stating immaturity and lack of ambition. This turned out to be a turning point for Ted Bundy and he became the evilest serial killer there is and will ever be.
Ted Bundy came back in Washington and was now focused and goal-oriented and re-enrolled at the University of Washington but as a psychology major. Soon he became an honored student and was well regarded by his professors.
In 1970, he met Elizabeth Klopfer and dated multiple women without her knowledge and this continued on for a while till 1974 when the first known killing happened. Many still believe that the killings started long ago when he was a teenager but Bundy always denied the claims of anything like this happening.
The Beginning of Ted Bundy as a serial killer
Ted Bundy broke up with Elizabeth in early 1974 and dropped out of law college months later and after that girls in college started disappearing. Ted Bundy’s first attempted murder was of an 18-year-old Joni Lenza, student of the University of Washington.
He broke into her basement apartment around midnight and after bludgeoning the sleeping woman senseless with a metal rod from her bed frame, he sexually assaulted her with the same rod causing permanent injuries, Joni remained unconscious for 10 days but survived with permanent physical and mental disabilities.
About a month later on February 1, Bundy once again broke into a basement room, this time of Lynda Ann Healy and University of Washington undergraduate who broadcasted morning radio weather. He then beat her unconscious and carried her away.
In the first half of 1974, the female college students disappeared at the rate of one per month. On March 12 19-year-old student Donna Gail Manson a rebellious girl is known to take off without notice disappeared on her way to a jazz concert on the Evergreen State College Campus.
April 16, 19-year-old Susan Elaine Ramcpirt disappeared while on her way to her dorm room after a meeting at Central Washington State College. On May 6th Roberta Kathleen Parks left her dormitory at Oregon State University to have coffee with friends but never arrived. On June 1, Brenda Caroll Ball aged 22, disappeared after leaving the Flame Tavern in Burien. She was last seen in the parking lot, talking to a brown-haired man with his arm in a sling.
All six women’s remains were found near Issaquah Washington over a year later. All the females had little in common, apart from being young, attractive, beautiful and middle-parted hair.
Ted Bundy — A stranger asking for help
The next time Ted Bundy got innovative and appeared as an old man who had trouble walking and asked Georgann Hwkings to help him walk to his car, a light brown Volkswagen Beetle as the witnesses reported.
Later that month. The final two victims of the northeast area and 18-year-old Denise Naslund both of whom disappeared separately from Lake Sammamish State Park on July 14, the two missing women were found three months later.
County police got a detailed description of Ted Bundy from the witness and after the detailed information the sketch was completed, co-workers from the department of emergency services worked and contacted the police, including one of his ex-girlfriends recognized and reported him to the police.
The police doubted that the good looking, charming and well-mannered law student could have been the killer and thus he was overlooked as a suspect, his charming look helped him multiple times and made him a less suspicious criminal. This was the last time any female student disappeared from Washington.
Ted moved to Salt Lake City Utah to attend the University of Utah law school. Similar to Washington, women began to disappear once again.
On October 2nd, 16-year-old Nancy Wilcox disappeared two weeks later on October 17-year-old Melissa Ann Smith, daughter of the police chief of Midvale disappeared after leaving a pizza parlor and her remains found nine days later. Melissa was found to have remained alive for up to a week after disappearing.
On October 31, 17-year-old Laura Ann Aime disappeared after leaving a cafe at midnight, both the women had been raped, beaten, sodomized and strangled with nylon stockings. Seeing the disappearance in Utah, his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth called the police once again and told them about Ted Bundy.
By then, Bundy rose high considerably on the radar but Lake Sammamish witness considered most reliable by detectives failed to identify him from the photo lineup.
Elizabeth spent some time with Bundy in January 1975, who did not tell him that she had reported him to police on three separate occasions.
One who got away from Ted Bundy
Among the vicious killing, there was one girl who got away. This time Ted Bundy appeared as a police officer and told 18-year-old, Carol DeRonch that someone had broken into her car and she should go with him to the station. When she realized that the cop isn’t heading towards the station, Bundy attempted to handcuff her but she managed to get out and flagged down another driver.
Later that night 17-year-old, Debra Kent disappeared, witnesses reported a man lingering near the auditorium and the key used to unlock the handcuff of Carol DeRonch were found in the parking lot.
Ted Bundy’s focus shifted to Colorado in 1975 as on January 12 saw the disappearance of 23-year-old nurse Caryn Eileen Campbell disappeared in a brightly lit hallway, a month later her nude body was found near the resort.
On March 15th 26-year-old ski instructor Julie Cunningham, disappeared while walking from her apartment to a dinner date with a friend. Turned out that Bundy used to plan the victims as he later told investigators that he approached Cunningham on crutched and asked her to help carry his ski boots to his car, where he clubbed and handcuffed her. Weeks later he visited her remains.
On Aril 6, Deniese Lyn Oliverson disappeared while riding her bicycle to her parent’s house. A month later Bundy lured 12-year-old Lynette Dawn Culver and drowned her before sexually assaulting her.
His last killing according to his confession came on June 28 when Susan Curtis vanished from the campus of Brigham Young University. The bodies of Wilcox, Kent, Cunningham, Oliverson, Culver, and Curtis were never recovered.
Ted Bundy arrest and Trial
It might come to you as a surprise as the first time Ted Bundy was caught was not because of the killings, it was because of not following traffic rules. On August 16, he failed to pull over for routine traffic, when the officer saw the front seat he noticed it missing and upon searching the car found a rope, ski mask, handcuffs, and items that were thought to be used for burglary.
When police later searched his apartment they found evidence tying him to Caryn Campbell and Debrah Kent but nothing that could link him and thus he was released the first time.
Bundy tried to destroy the evidence by selling the beetles to a teenager but the police confiscated him and on the later search of his car. Bundy was later charged with aggravated kidnapping and attempted assault.
His parents paid his $15,000 bail and he went on to stand trial on February 23rd, 1976. The trial lasted 4 days and he waived his right to a jury he found guilty of the kidnapping and was sentenced to 1 to 15 years in Utah State Prison.
The charges kept coming, in June he was charged for the murder of Karen Campbell and was transferred to Aspen in January 1977 but staying in prison wasn’t something he liked.
How Ted Bundy escaped
On June 7, 1977, after being transferred to Pitikin County Courthouse for his preliminary hearing he asked to visit the courthouse library as he chooses to his own attorney and due to this he was granted permission and being his own attorney gave him relaxation from handcuffs and leg shackles.
Bundy took advantage of the scenario and escaped through a window, he hid through the forest and break into cabins to survive after 6 days on the run he was caught after stealing a car and driving, exhaustion and an ankle injury sustained from jumping out of the window.
6 months later he plotted his escape again and this time his escape from a hole in a ceiling, after losing 35 pounds and getting cash from the visitors. He made the attempt on December 30 as most of the staff was on Christmas break. He stole cars and hitchhiked and took buses to Denver before flying to Chicago and then moving to Florida.
And Ted Bundy started again
As the time went on his urges came back and he went on a rampage as after arriving at Tallahasse, in less than a week On January 15, 1978, Ted broke into Chi Omega Sorority house in the early morning hours.
He murdered 21-year-old Margret Bowman and the brutally beat Lisa Levy, biting and sexually assaulting her with a hairspray bottle. He then attacked Kathy and Karen breaking their Jaws and beating them unconscious.
After beating them he broke into the apartment of student Cheryl Thomas. attacked her, leaving her permanently deaf and ending her dance career. Kathy, Karen, and Cheryl survived the attack but Levy and Bowman lost their lives.
Ted’s last known victim was a 12-year-old Kimberly Leach who disappeared on her way to class and her remains were found 35 miles from her last known location seven weeks later.
Ted Bundy’s final arrest
Ted was arrested by a police officer on February 15th, for driving a stolen car, the officer, however, had no idea who he caught. He again tried to escape and assault the officer but was eventually subdued and arrested. Bundy stood in the trial for the assault and murders of the Chi Omega Sorority girl in June 1979 to National sensation.
His public defender and a member from his defense team attempted to set up a plea bargain, agreeing to that Ted would plead guilty for the murders of Lisa Levy, Margret Bowman, and Kimberly Leach in exchange for 75 years. Prosecutors agreed to the deal but Bundy back out of the deal at the last minute.
This moved proved to be fatal as the eyewitness evidence placed him at the crime scene, odontologist matched bite marks and found the marks to Lisa Levy an exact match. The jury deliberated less than seven hours before finding him guilty on two counts of murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of burglary on June 24, 1979. Ted Bundy was sentenced to death.
Kimberly leach’s murder trial took place six months later in Orlando, the evidence included clothing fibers matching Ted’s jacket in a van he had stolen and eyewitness testimony putting him out to school with her on that day of her kidnapping, the Jury found him guilty in less than eight hours.
The judge who sentenced Ted Bundy said:
“The court finds that both of these killings were indeed heinous, atrocious and cruel. And that they were extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile and the product of a design to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life. This court, independent of, but in agreement with the advisory sentence rendered by the jury does hereby impose the death penalty upon the defendant Theodore Robert Bundy. It is further ordered that on such scheduled date that you’ll be put to death by a current of electricity, sufficient to cause your immediate death, and such current of electricity shall continue to pass through your body until you are dead.
Take care of yourself, young man. I say that to you sincerely; take care of yourself. It is an utter tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity, I think, as I’ve experienced in this courtroom.”
You’re a bright young man. You’d have made a good lawyer and I would have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, partner. I don’t feel any animosity toward you. I want you to know that. Take care of yourself.— Judge Edward Cowart
The one who married Ted Bundy
During his trials he questioned his formed girlfriend, Carol Ann Boone who was testifying as a character witness, Carol Ann Boone wrote a book about her life with Ted Bundy, titled The Stranger Beside Me.
Bundy proposed to her, while she accepted due to Florida law that constitutes legal marriage when declared before a judge in court they were legally declared married, Carol gave birth to their daughter, Rose Bundy in October of 1982.
This time Ted Bundy was sentenced to death for the third time on February 10th, 1980, over the nine years he would confess to the murders of a total of 30 people detailed how he killed and mutilated their bodies admitting to acts of necrophilia grooming the body parts as trophies, similar to Jeffrey Dahmer who killed 17 people and kept his victim’s skeletons as trophies. Though Ted Bundy only confessed to 30 killings, many believe the number to be above 100.
Ted Bundy’s death
After many stays of execution in exchange for confession he was finally executed for Kimberly Leach’s murder via electric chair on January 24th, 1989 at 7:16 A.M., he denied his last meal and was 42 years old at the time of his death.
Netflix made a Ted Bundy movie titled “Conversation with a Serial Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” on his life.
Ted Bundy: Falling for a killer
Amazon Prime has released a mini-series, Ted Bundy: Falling for a killer. Which revolved around the life of Ted’s ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Kendall and her daughter Molly. From falling in love with Ted Bundy and the day of his execution and their lives to this day.
Now you have read about the gruesome killing by Ted Bundy, you might also like reading about The Gentle Giant with a height of 6″9 and IQ of 145, who turned to serial killing and stopped after killing his own mother.