By Charles Montaldo. Crime Expert
Charles Montaldo is a Private Detective who has worked in various areas of crime detection. Read more
Ted Bundy was attractive, smart, and had a future in politics. He was also one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history. Ted Bundy screamed his innocence until his death in the electric chair became imminent, then he tried to use his victims one more time - to keep himself alive. His plan failed and the world got a glimpse of the true evil inside him.
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Ted Bundy was born Theodore Robert Cowell to Louise Cowell on November 24, 1946, at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont. After eight weeks at the home Louise returned to her parents' house in Philadelphia to raise her new son. For the first several years of his life Ted thought his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his sister. In 1951 Louise and Ted moved to Tacoma, Washington and Louise married Johnnie Bundy, a military cook.
Bundy's Teenage Years:
Despite his parental circumstances and meager surroundings Bundy was well behaved and grew into an attractive teen who was generally liked and who performed well in school.
After high school he entered the University of Puget Sound and continued to do well academically, but felt uncomfortable around his fellow peers who were predominantly wealthy. In his sophomore year Bundy transferred to the University of Washington to escape the uncomfortable feeling of his financial inadequacy.
Throughout his years at high school Bundy suffered from acute shyness that resulted in his appearing socially awkward. This affliction followed him to college and although Bundy had friends he never blended comfortably into doing much of the social activities others were doing.
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He rarely dated and kept to himself. But in 1967 Bundy met the woman of his dreams. She was pretty, wealthy, and sophisticated. They both shared a skill and passion for skiing and spent many weekends on the ski slopes.
Bundy's First Love:
Ted fell in love with his new girlfriend and tried hard to impress her to the point of grossly exaggerating his own accomplishments. He tried to gain her approval with a summer scholarship to Stamford that he won although his time there was less than impressive. By 1968 she decided Bundy lacked any real future and was not husband material. She ended the relationship and broke Bundy's heart and his obsession toward her haunted him for years.
Depression and Whispered Rumors:
Bundy suffered extreme depression over the break up and dropped out of school. It was during this time that he learned the truth that his sister was his mother and his parents were his grandparents. Bundy was also getting a whispered reputation by those close to him for being a petty thief. It was during this phase of his life that his shyness was replaced with false bravado and he returned in college, excelled in his major, and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology.
Bundy became involved with another woman, Elizabeth Kendall (the pseudonym she used when she wrote "The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy") who was a divorcee with
a young daughter. She fell deeply in love with Bundy and despite her suspicions that Bundy was seeing other women her devotion toward him continued. Bundy was not receptive to the idea of marriage, but allowed the relationship to continue even after reuniting with his first love who was attracted to the new confident, Ted Bundy.
Bundy worked on the re-election campaign of Washington's Republican Governor Dan Evans. Evans was elected and he appointed Bundy to the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Committee. Bundy's political future seemed secure, when in 1973 he became assistant to Ross Davis, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. It was a good time in Bundy's life. He had a girlfriend, his old girlfriend was once again in love with him, and his footing in the political arena was strong.
A Man Named "Ted":
In 1974 young women began vanishing from college campuses around Washington and Oregon. Lynda Ann Healy, a 21-year-old radio announcer, was among those who were missing. In July 1974 two women were approached at a Seattle state park by an attractive man who introduced himself as Ted. He asked them to help him with his sailboat but they refused. Later that day two other women were seen going off with him and were never seen alive again.
Bundy Moves to Utah:
In the fall of 1974 Bundy enrolled in law school at the University of Utah and he moved to Salt Lake City. In November Carol DaRonch was attacked at a Utah mall by a man dressed as a police officer. but she managed to escape. She provided police with a description of the man, the VW he was driving, and a sample of his blood that got on her jacket during their struggle. Within a few hours after DaRonch was attacked, 17-year-old Debbie Kent disappeared.
A Grave Yard of Bones: Around this time hikers discovered a grave yard of bones in a Washington forest, later identified as belonging to missing women from both Washington and Utah. Investigators from both states communicated together and came up with a profile and composite sketch of the man named "Ted" who approached women for help, sometimes appearing helpless with a cast on his arm or crutches. They also had the description of his tan VW and his blood type which was type-O.
Profiles: Authorities compared the similarities of the women disappearing. They were all white, thin, and single and had long hair that was parted in the middle. They also vanished during the evening hours. The bodies of the dead women found in Utah had all been hit with a blunt object to the head, raped and sodomized. Authorities knew they were dealing with a serial killer who had the capability to travel from state to state.
Murders in Colorado: On January 12, 1975, Caryn Campbell vanished from a ski resort in Colorado while on vacation with her fiance and his two children. A month later Caryn's nude body was found lying a short distance from the road. An examination of her remains determined she had received violent blows to her skull. Over the next few months five more women were found dead in Colorado with similar contusions to their head, possibly a result of being hit with a crowbar.