Theodore Robert Bundy, also known as Ted Bundy, was born on November 24th, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont. What his family did not know was that he was going to be known as one of the most popular American serial killers. Bundy kidnapped, raped, and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and earlier years. He confessed 30 victims, but the total is unconfirmed, meaning there could be numerous more that were not found or related to him. Bundy was raised by his “mother” who was his grandmother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, his father’s identity was never determined. Some say that the absence of his father figure could have contributed to what he had done. During the first few years of his life he lived with his maternal grandparents, who raised them as one of their own. Bundy was told from a young age that his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his older sister. Later on, he found his original birth certificate, finding out the truth about his family and expressing a lifelong resentment towards them. This makes me think that his home life had a huge impact on the way he acted and his mind. Apparently, he even acted out on strange behavior when he was as young as three, an example would be playing with knifes. Ted remained distant when his mother remarried, he was included, but did not have the desire to do anything with the family. While his family would go off and do things, he would roam around the neighborhood looking through trash barrels looking for naked pictures of women. He also used to watch crime stories that particularly had to do with sexual violence. During high school, he was well liked, but was also arrested twice on suspicion of burglary and auto theft. I feel that from a very young age, he displayed numerous amounts of unusual behavior such as his fasciation in sexual violence and the body of women. I think that since he was not around the family that often, it is possible that they could have missed it, but it seems like when he would act out the family would sweep it under the rug.
Bundy went to college for a while, but then proceeded to drop out and work minimum wage jobs. When he traveled back to Washington, he met Elizabeth Kloepfer, their relationship continued well past his incarceration. In the mid 1970s, he enrolled back into University of Washington, majoring in psychology where he was an honors student. On top of all the schoolwork, he took a job at Seattle’s Suicide Hotline Crisis Center. I think it is crazy that he majored in something like psychology and the job he had then went on to do all those things. This looks like to me that he wanted to learn psychology in order to help his acts that he performed against other women. He wanted to manipulate them, and this was something that helped him do so. In the fall of ’73, he got accepted into Seattle University School of Law. This was also crazy to me, it seemed that he wanted to know the ins and outs of the law and how to get around them. After attending the law school for a while, Bundy began skipping class and therefore, the school dropped him. Around this time, young women started disappearing in the Pacific Northwest.
There is no telling the amount of women Bundy truly killed, inside his mind he did not do anything wrong or even perform the murders or rapes at all, he convinced himself he never did any of those and for the longest time continued to deny, deny, deny. I watched a documentary about him, and it was fascinating how he convinced himself, the whole story is crazy or at least the information that we know. He seemed to always tell different stories and tell them to different people, it was hard to believe what he said, he did not confess until days before his execution which finally gave some answers to others. Apparently, he attempted his first kidnapping in 1969 in Ocean City, New Jersey, but did not kill anyone until the early 1970s. However, he also reported to someone else that he did kill two women in Atlantic City while visiting family. He also hinted to two other murders that involved hitchhikers in Seattle. In early January, he entered the apartment of Karen Sparks, an 18-year-old student. He sexually assaulted her He beat her with a metal rod, and sexually assaulted her, leaving serious long-term injuries. The next month, Bundy broke into a basement room, beating Lynda Ann Healy unconscious, dressed her into a different outfit, and carried her away. After this, female college students seemed to be disappearing like flies, the estimate was about one per month. On March 12, 19-year-old student, Donna Manson, left her college dorm to attend a concert that she never arrived for. In April, another student disappeared while on the way to a meeting, this was Susan Rancourt. There were numerous encounters where young female students left their dorms and never arrived to where they were supposed to be. Later on, other students reported a man wearing an arm sling asking for help loading books in his brown or tan Volkswagen Beetle. This was great that the students came forward with information, the description of the car helped, but there is a thousand of those vehicles. This seemed to be only the beginning for these investigators.
The police departments were grew increasingly concerned and seemed to be getting nowhere. I mean after all; he did not leave behind physical evidence and there were no connections between the women missing. On the first day of June, Brenda Ball disappeared after leaving a tavern. People reported her last seen in the parking lot with a brown-haired man with his arm in a sling. I feel that this also contained an important detail, which was brown hair and the sling. They could connect the sling to the earlier reports, but it seems like the details of this case were pouring in very slowly. A week or so later, another girl, Georgann Hawkins disappeared while walking down a brightly lit alley. The next morning homicide detectives went to that alley, combed through it and found absolutely nothing. After the last disappearance was brought to the public, witnesses came forward reporting that they saw a man in the alley who was on crutches with a leg cast, struggling to carry a briefcase, then proceeded to ask for help to put the case in his Volkswagen Beetle. After this, I would imagine that the departments started making all sorts of connections with the disappearances. During this period of time, Bundy was working at Olympia as the Assistant Director of the Seattle Crime
Prevention Advisory Commission, where he wrote a pamphlet for women on rape prevention. This part really blows my mind, I cannot believe he did all these things to those women and would go to his day job and write about rape prevention, it truly baffles me. He also got involved with the DES, this agency in involved in the search for the missing women. I could see how this could hide his tracks, he put himself in the efforts to find these missing women and had a creditable job. I cannot tell if he was being ahead of the game or if he truly did not believe he was doing anything wrong.
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Fear was instilled and spread among the public, all the information was released as to what to look out for and to be cautious when being out late. Shortly after, there were two broad daylight abductions of two women off of a crowded beach. Witnesses came forward describing the look of the kidnapper, the vehicle, and also that he went by the name “Ted”. To me, I feel that this would be a huge break in the case, not enough to completely catch Ted, but it was a great start. The police provided a sketch, putting that sketch all around asking if anybody had seen a person that looked like that. Elizabeth Kloepfer, who was a DES employee and a “partner” or “lover” of Ted’s, reported Bundy to the police, recognizing the sketch. With his record, the detectives completely blew Bundy off. A new string of homicides began in September, numerous young women disappearing and being raped. Kloepfer reported Bundy again after reading that young women were disappearing in towns that surrounded Salt Lake City. She was then interviewed in detail. During this time, Bundy rose high on the suspicion list. He was put in a photo lineup and the witnesses that came forward did not identify him. Bundy then continued his criminal activity, but was aiming it eastward this time, from Utah to Colorado. He then proceeded his killings, beatings, and raping’s of younger women. On August 16th, Bundy was finally arrested by Utah Highway Patrol, Bundy was cruising then he saw the patrol and quickly tried to speed out of the area, thus getting pulled over. Based on the condition of the car’s seats, the patrol officer searched the car and found various things from a ski mask, a rope, an ice pick, etc. Sadly, for the police, they had to release Bundy because they did not have enough evidence to keep him. Looking back on this information, I cannot believe how easy it was for Bundy to get away, he was very smart in terms of covering his tracks.
Bundy went on to sell his Volkswagen Beetle to a teenager, but the Utah police went on to impound it and the FBI searched it where they found hair samples of one of his victims. Bundy was then put in another lineup; except this time, he was recognized. There was more than enough evidence to charge him for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault for one case, but his bail was set, and his parents bailed him out. In February of 1976, Bundy stood trial for what he was charged with previously and was sentences to one to fifteen years in Utah State Prison. In October, he was found hiding in the prison bushes with an “escape kit”, then was sent to solitary. The beginning of June, Bundy was transported to Garfield County Jail for a preliminary hearing. During a recess, he escaped through the library window proceeding to find a place to hide. After much desperation and giving up, he went into town and was recognized, landing himself back in jail. Late December, Bundy then broke through the ceiling, changed into street clothes and then escaping, again. The jail’s crew did not discover the escape until noon the day after, Bundy was already in Chicago. He then found his way to Tallahassee, Florida and decided to stay. A week after his arrival, he terrorized young women of FSU’s Chi Omega sorority house. Sexually assaulting and beating numerous young women. With growing paranoia, Bundy fled driving westward. A few days later, he was stopped by a Pensacola police officer after a check on the vehicle he was driving, the officer then proceeded to arrest Bundy and take him to the jail. Bundy then stood trial for the sorority homicides, they convicted him for three counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of burglary. Six months later, a second trial took place for in Orlando, for an abduction of another one of his victims. He was found guilty once again for the abduction and murder of Kimberly Leach. During this trial, Carole Ann Boone, a former coworker, testified on his behalf for both trials, and was asked to marry him in the middle of the courtroom. On February 10th, 1980 he was sentenced to death by electrocution for the third time. Days before his execution, he admitted to 30 killings, in grave detail, he confessed to detectives all the things he did to those young women. Bundy died on January 24th, 1989 by the Raiford electric chair.
I have read many books and watched a few documentaries about Ted Bundy, his case was one of the most interesting to me. I was even more interested after watching a Netflix documentary about him, the actors putting a visual on what he did was crazy. A downside for me was how long it took him to get behind bars and to stay that way, he escaped twice and got away with so much, but that is not necessarily the detectives and police departments fault. I could not imagine someone like this being on the loose right now, thinking about how well he hid himself and how he never left evidence is scary. I haven’t read much on American serial killers, but Ted Bundy was one of the smartest and craziest to me, I could go on and on about this case, there is so much detail and so much information.
- Dielenberg, Rob. “Ted Bundy: A Visual Timeline (Hi-Res) Sampler.” Academia.edu, www.academia.edu/30617453/Ted_Bundy_A_Visual_Timeline_Hi-Res_sampler.
- “FindLaw’s United States Supreme Court Case and Opinions.” Findlaw, caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/479/894.html.
- Jenkins, John Philip. “Ted Bundy.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/biography/Ted-Bundy.
- Montaldo, Charles. “Biography of Ted Bundy, Serial Killer.” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 17 Aug. 2019, www.thoughtco.com/profile-of-serial-killer-ted-bundy-973178.
- OpenLibrary.org. “Ted Bundy.” The Internet Archive’s Open Library: One Page for Every Book, openlibrary.org/subjects/person:ted_bundy.
- Piel, Jennifer. “Serial Killers: The Psychosocial Development of Humanity’s Worst Offenders.” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 1 Dec. 2015, jaapl.org/content/43/4/541.
- Rule, Ann. The Stranger Beside Me. www.murders.ru/Ann_Ru_stran_vnytre.pdf.
- “Ted Bundy.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 28 Aug. 2019, www.biography.com/crime-figure/ted-bundy.
- “Ted Bundy.” FBI, FBI, 30 Nov. 2010, vault.fbi.gov/Ted%20Bundy%20.
- “Ted Bundy: Serial Killers: Crime Library.” Crime Museum, www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/serial-killers/ted-bundy/.
- Kettler, Sara. “Inside Ted Bundy’s Troubled and Disturbing Childhood.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 30 July 2019, www.biography.com/news/ted-bundy-childhood.