My true-crime-lovin’ self felt my heart pitter patter when I say the name, Ted Bundy, come in on Instagram as an entry for what I should do for #letsLEARNfriday sometime. Ted Bundy terrifies and fascinates me all at the same time, and I am so excited to do a little bit of a deep dive on him. Granted, this will certainly be a glossed-over tale about him, but regardless, I’m looking forward to this research. I’ve listened to several podcasts about him over the years and have watched a documentary or two, but I know I still have much to learn. Lets see how I do. I hope you learned something new along the way!
Also, I feel like this goes without saying, but I feel this post should have a trigger warning. We will talk about a serial rapist and murderer. BUT I will not go into any details of the rapes or murders. Can’t do that here, sorry. So if thats not your cup of tea, I GET IT. Come back next week – I promise I won’t pick something murdery.
Theodore Robert Bundy was born on November 24, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont. He was an illegitimate child to his mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell. In 1951, Eleanor married Johnnie Bundy. Its reported that Ted didn’t ever have much of a relationship with him, but did take his last name. Ted’s mother was ashamed of him (because she wasn’t married when she had him) and he ended up being raised as the adopted son of his grandparents, and for a time, was told and believed his mother was his sister. Ted was always a little macabre. Its reported that when he was three, he had a fascination of knives start to develop. Then, when he was a teen, he peered in peoples windows (ew) and frequently stole things. Later, Ted Bundy graduated from University of Washington with his degree in psychology and was then accepted to go to law school in Utah.
So here is something insane. Ted Bundy admitted to killing 36 women, but experts now think his total was closer to 100, possibly even more. Uhhhhh. That is freaky! Ultimately, his grand total will never be known, but the speculation is crazy.
Its not completely known when Bundy began his killing spree, but it sounds like the overall estimate is that he began in 1974. Women in the Seattle area and the nearby Oregon area began going missing and it was reported that they were last seen with a handsome man named, Ted.
Bundy’s first known attack was in January 1974 when he assaulted and beat Karen Sparks at the University of Washington in her apartment. She survived, thankfully, but suffered terrible brain damage and doesn’t remember anything from this attack. I mean, obviously her whole situation is so sad, but maybe in a way its a tiny silver lining to not remember what happened? I don’t know, I can’t decide how I feel about that. Any way you spin it, its just sad. On February 1, 1974, he committed his first documented murder. Between January and July, Bundy was believed to have killed at least eight women in Seattle. These victims were Lynda Healy, Donna Gail Manson, Susan Elaine Rancourt, Brenda Carol Ball, Georgeann Hawkins, Denise Naslund and Roberta Kathleen Parks (from Oregon). (at this time, it was noted that most of his victims had long, dark hair that was parted down the middle).
In the Fall of 1974, Bundy moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend Law School. Between October and November (thats just two months!!) he murdered Nancy Wilcox, Melissa Smith, Laura Aime and Debi Kent.
He had a routine to his awful acts. He often times took women’s kindness and allowed it to backfire on them. Many times he would pretend to be injured and would ask these women for help getting to his car, etc, and these wonderful ladies were kind and just wanted to help this handsome, hurt man and he took advantage of them. Its awful. He also had a pattern to his murders in that he would typically rape them first, then beat them to death. Ugh.
On November 8, 1974, Ted Bundy attempted to kidnap a woman named Carol DaRonch. DaRonch was out shopping when a man approached her, claiming to be a police officer who said someone attempted to steal her car and he wanted to take her outside to file a police report. He told her he’d take her to the police station where they were ‘holding the suspect.’ But on their way, he pulled over and handcuffed her. He attempted to beat her, but miraculously she escaped and immediately reported it to police. The real police. This act ultimately led to his first arrest in August of 1975.
In the next few months, he murdered Caryn Eileen Campbell, Julie Ann Cunningham, Denise Lynn Oliverson, Lynette Dawn Culver and Susan Curtis.
Around this time, Bundy’s longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, called police and told them to look into her boyfriend because she was growing suspicious of him (can you imagine?). In August of 1975, Bundy was pulled over while driving in Salt Lake and was found with a crowbar, ice pick, face mask, rope, handcuffs and more. He was then arrested – but I guess not because of all the creepy stuff he had in his car, but because he fit the description of Carol DaRonch’s kidnapper. (more incriminating evidence was found in his apartment after they obtained a search warrant for it during this time). On March 1, 1976, he was convicted of indeed, kidnapping DaRonch and was sentenced to 1-15 years in jail.
July 7, 1977 was the first time that Ted Bundy escaped from prison by jumping out of the windows during a hearting and was missing for 6-8 days (different sources give different numbers). Once found, he went straight to trial. Then on December 30, 1977, he escaped a second time. The stories are kind of all over the place on the internet about this, but somehow, there was a hole in the ceiling – maybe one from a light fixture? maybe one he made himself? and Bundy, having lost 30 pounds was able to shimmy through it and crawl through the ceiling and essentially walk right out of jail. Its reported that his disappearance wasn’t even noticed for at least 15 hours, which gave him plenty of time to high-tail it out of there.
Where did he end up next? Tallahassee, Florida. And on January 15, 1978, he attacked four women from the Chi Omega sorority house, killing two of them, Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy. That same night, he reportedly attacked another woman in her home.
On February 9, 1978, Bundy attacked and murdered 12-year old Kimberly Leach near her school. Kimberly broke his pattern of his usual victims because she was his only known underage victim. This one really makes me sad. Twelve years old… Thankfully, a week after her senseless murder, he was pulled over for driving with a stolen license.
In June of 1979 his trial began for the murders of Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy (the sorority girls). He acted as his own attorney (ok?) but apparently sucked at that because he was found GUILTY and sentenced to death by the electric chair. In January of 1980, he then stood trial for the murder of little Kimberly Leach where he was once again found GUILTY and sentenced to death — thats 3 death sentences now.
In Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989, Ted Bundy was executed via electric chair. His last words were reportedly, “I’d like you to give my love to family and friends.”
-While on trial for Kimberly Leach’s murder in 1980, Ted Bundy married Carole Boone. In 1981 she gave birth to their daughter. They divorced in 1986.
-The electric chair he was executed in was nicknamed, “Old Sparky.”
-Supposedly his victims resembled an ex-girlfriend of his
-He would revisit the corpses and had many photographs of his victims bodies
-There are many documentaries about Bundy
Well. There you have it. A quick look at Ted Bundy, convicted serial rapist and murderer. I am aware I could have got more into his crimes, his victims, and details like those, but in an attempt to keep this post as G-Rated as possible, I opted to go the cleaner route.
So what do you think? How’d I do? What should we learn about next?