A Killer Among Us. The Story of Ted Bundy – America’s Most Infamous Serial Killer

It was late afternoon on 8th of November, 1974, when the gorgeous 18-year-old Carol DaRonch met the “Officer Roseland” of the Murray Police Department. The “officer” told her that someone had attempted to break into her car asked her to accompany him to the police station to complain.

That could be the last day of DaRonch’s life had she failed to struggle to escape the beast under the hood of Officer Roseland, named Ted Bundy.

Who Was Ted Bundy?

When it comes to the most barbaric serial killers with the terrifying crime history, very few can compare to Ted Bundy. Describing himself as “the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet,” Ted Bundy was the most insurmountable serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile.

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Theodore Bundy walks forward and waves to TV camera as his indictment for the January murders of FSU coeds Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman is read at the Leon County Jail.

Life of Ted Bundy as a Child

Ted Bundy was born to a single mother, named Eleanor Louise Cowell, and an unknown father. Ted’s real name was Theodore Robert Cowell. To avoid a scandal, Ted’s grandparents adopted and raised him, telling young Ted that his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his sister.

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Photo by Bettmann/Corbis/Getty Images)

Annoyed by the regular beating by the abusive grandfather, Ted and his mother ran away to live in Tacoma, Washington when Ted was five years old. There, Eleanor married hospital cook Johnnie Bundy, who formally adopted Ted and gave him his last name. As a child, Ted led an ordinary life with dark fantasies flowing underneath it.

The First Attack

After passing high school in 1965, he went to the University of Puget Sound.

Then, he attended the University of Washington (UW) for higher studies. During his visit to the east coast, he first came to know that the women he believed to be his sister was, in reality, his mother.

Ted’s first known attack on January 1974 was an assault on 18-year-old Keren Sparks, a student at UW. It was a brutal assault, including the use of a metal rod, which caused Sparks to slip in a 10-day coma and permanent disabilities.

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Ms. Nita Jane Neary goes over a diagram of the Chi Omega sorority house during her testimony in the Theodore Bundy murder trial, where she said she is positive that Bundy was the man she saw sneaking out of the house at Florida State University the morning two of her sorority sisters were slain. Photo by Bettman / Getty Images

Spine-Chilling Murders Committed by Ted

Ted’s first confirmed murder was Lynda Ann Healy, another student at UW. One month after attacking Sparks, Bundy kidnapped, assaulted and murdered Healy. After that, Bundy continued raping and killing female students at UW. He would pretend to be weak or needing to gain women’s sympathy and ask them to help put something in his car. He would then knock them down unconscious, before raping, killing and burying them in remote areas in the woods. Within the next five months, he brutally murdered five female students: Donna Gail Manson, Roberta Kathleen Parks, Susan Elaine, Breda Carol Ball, and Georgann Hawkins.

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Theodore Bundy during the third day of jury selection at his trial for the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach.

The Long Awaited Arrest

Responding to the disappearances, police called different government agencies to handle found the missing girls. One of these agencies was the Washington State Department of Emergency Services, where Bundy worked throughout these murders. There, Bundy met Carole Ann Boone, dated her and finally killed her too.

As the cases of abduction and murder grew, more and more witnesses pointing to Ted Bundy arose. At the same time, Bundy moved to Salt Lake City to attend law school in Utah. There he continued to rape and murder young women, including four teenage girls: Nancy Wilcox, Melissa Smith, Laura Aime, and Debbie Kent.

Bundy’s ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, called the police to reaffirm her suspicion that Bundy was behind the murders. Investigators compiled data on the Northwestern killings and Bundy was named in the list of prime suspects. Bundy kept killing and journeying from Utah to Colorado, killing more young women.

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Ted Bundy In Police Station. Photo by Bettmann / Getty images

Finally, in August 1975, police discovered Bundy with his masks, handcuffs, and blunt objects in his car, and put him under surveillance to collect enough evidence for his arrest. The officers then found his Beetle where they discovered hair matching to three of his victims. After getting him identified by a woman whom he had attempted to kidnap, police arrested Bundy.

Escaping from Custody

As Ted was serving as his own attorney during his trial, he was excused by the judge from wearing cuffs and shackles in the courtroom in Aspen, Colo. During recess, he got permission to visit the courthouse law library to research his case, where he jumped from the second story of the courthouse. He then hiked southward onto Aspen Mountain and soon became lost in the forest and wandered. After six days of being a fugitive, police officers arrested Ted Bundy while he was driving a car.

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Ted Bundy Conferring with His Defense Attorneys. Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images

He made a second attempt on 23rd December 1977 from a one square foot wide hole in his cell’s ceiling. He piled files and books under his blanket to replicate his body. Two weeks after his escape, Bundy broke into the Chi Omega sorority house in the Florida State University campus. There, he sexually assaulted and killed 21-year-old Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy.

Still, on the run, he abducted 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach and murdered her. A week later, finally, police caught him on 15th February 1978 with evidence linking Ted to the FSU crimes.

Final Sentence

Ted Bundy was convicted and placed on death row at Florida’s Raiford Prison. During imprisonment, he suffered abuse from other prisoners, including gang rape by four men. Bundy also conceived a girl child by Carole Ann Boone, whom he’d married during his trial. After Bundy’s conviction, Boone fled with her daughter from Florida to an undisclosed location and changed their legal names.

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Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images

Bundy was finally executed on January 24, 1989, by the electric chair and hundreds of victims celebrated his death gathered outside the courthouse. Shortly before his death, he confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The actual number of victims is still unknown and possibly higher.

Popular Culture References

Twenty-nine years have passed since Ted died in the electric chair. But, pop culture seems to indicate the new level of fascination with the sociopath. For instance, Oxygen’s recent series, In Defense Of, features lawyer of Ted, John Henry Browne in the finale. The haunting short film released in 2017, Fry Day, based on Bundy’s 1989 execution.

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Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GettyImages