Ted Bundy: A Biography of a Serial Killer Essay

University educated serial sex killer whose good looks and charm enabled him to lure at least 30 young women to their deaths. Handsome, intelligent, socially recognized, Ted Bundy had been a law student, Boy Scout, a college degree with a major in psychology, involved in a Washington State party politics, and even served as a counselor at the Seattle Crisis Center. The public personality of Ted Bundy suggested nothing of the serial killer he truly was. After spending the last remaining months of her pregnancy at a home for unwed mothers, 22 year old Eleanor Louise Cowell gave birth to her son, Theodore Robert Cowell on November 24, 1946.

Teds natural father, Lloyd Marshall, who was an air force veteran, was unknown to him for the rest of his life. Shortly after the birth, he and his mother moved to Philadelphia to live with Eleanors parents, who he would later refer to as mother and father. This plan allowed Eleanor to escape any harsh criticism and prejudice for being an unwed mother. Theodore grew up referring to his own mother as his older sister. At the age of four, Ted moved to Tacoma, Washington, with his natural mother to live with relatives. They legally changed their names to Theodore Robert Nelson and Louise Cowell.

One year later, Louise married a cook by the name of Johnnie Culpepper Bundy, whose last name Ted would assume for the rest of his life. Louise and Johnnie had four other siblings who Ted spent much of his time babysitting. Ted and his new father never took to each other, despite Johnnies attempts at camping and other father-son activities. The only man he would ever look up to was his grandfather who lived in Pennsylvania, and yet he was forced to leave him to move to a strange place. Throughout school, Ted was terribly shy and was often teased by bullies.

However, he was able to maintain a high grade point average that would continue through high school and college. He didnt date much, but occupied his time elsewhere with interests in skiing and politics. In 1965, Ted graduated and won a scholarship to the University of Puget Sound and in 1966 he transferred to the University of Washington to study Chinese. He was often thought unreliable; floating through one low-level job after another. He still continued to maintain a high grade point average. In 1967, Ted met a beautiful woman by the name of Stephanie Brooks. He was everything he had ever dreamed in a woman.

She was raised in a high class Californian family, and was highly sophisticated and wealthy. Although they had many differences, they both loved to ski and it was during their many ski trips that they began to fall in love. Stephanie was the first woman Ted was ever involved with sexually. However, Stephanie was not as infatuated with Ted as he was with her. She liked him, but believed that he had no real direction or future goals. She wanted someone who would fit in her lifestyle. Ted tried too hard to impress her, even if that meant lying, something which she disagreed with.

In 1968, after graduating from the University of Washington, Stephanie broke up her relationship with Ted. Ted never recovered from the break up. His life started to fall apart as he dropped out of school and stopped participating in the things he enjoyed. But Ted was obsessed with her and he couldnt get her out of his mind. It was an obsession that would span his lifetime and lead to a series of events that would shock the world. Shortly after his breakup, he found out his true parentage. During this time of life, he changed from a shy character to a more focused and domineering one.

He suddenly became driven to prove himself and possibly Stephanie, that he could do what ever he wanted to. He re-enrolled at the University of Washington and studied psychology. Bundy became an honors student and was well liked by his professors. During this time, Ted met Meg Anders, a woman whom he would be involved with for nearly five years. She was a single mother, whom soon Ted would act as a father to her daughter. Meg wanted to marry, but Ted felt that there was too much for him to accomplish. Meg knew that he didnt feel as strongly about her as she did him.

She was unaware of Teds previous relationship with Stephanie and that they still continued to keep in contact and visit each other. Teds life in 1969-1972 seemed to be looking up. Ted began applying to several law schools while becoming active in politics. Ted performed volunteer work at a crisis center and was even commended for saving a three year old boy, who was drowning in a lake. He was pleased with the path of life he was taking at this time. In 1973, during a business trip to California, Ted met up with Stephanie for a night out.

Stephanie was amazed at the transformation in Ted and they, once again, became romantically involved. They talked about marriage during their fling, during that fall and winter. Suddenly, their relationship had suddenly changed. It seemed as if Ted had lost all interest in her over the period of just a few weeks. Stephanie was confused and in February 1974, with no explanation, Ted ended all contact with Stephanie. His plan of revenge worked; he rejected Stephanie as she had once rejected him. They would never see each other again.

On December 6, 1973, a young couple stumbled across the remains of a fifteen-year-old girl in McKenny Park, Washington. Kathy Devine was last seen by friends on November 25, hitchhiking to Oregon to run away from home. She had been strangled, sodomized and her throat was cut. Investigation proved nothing, but Kathy Devine was not the last one to die under such circumstances that year. During that spring and summer, eight more woman students suddenly vanished within the states of Utah, Oregon and Washington. There were striking similarities among many of the cases.

All girls were white, thin, single, wearing pants at the time of disappearance and had long hair parted down the middle. During interviews, police found that a strange man, who was seen wearing a cast on either his arm or leg, was wandering around the area. Supposedly, he would struggle with books and ask young women for assistance. Also, witnesses sat that they seen a man with a cast ask women for assistance with his car, a VW bug that he had trouble starting. Finally, in August 1974, remains of some of the missing girls were found in Lake Sammamish Park, Washington.

The two women were identified and eyewitnesses helped track down the suspect to be a man wearing a cast, driving a VW bug. These women, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund, were not the last women to disappear and be found dead. Midvale, Utahs Police Chief, Louis Smith had a seventeen-year-old daughter who he constantly warned about the dangers of the world. He had worried for her safety; yet his worst fears came true when in October 1974, his daughter Melissa disappeared. Nine days later, she had been found strangled and raped. Thirteen days later, 17 year old Laura Aime disappeared.

She was found on Thanksgiving lying dead by a river. She had been beaten by a crowbar, raped and sodomized. It was suspected that she was killed somewhere other than were she was found due to the lack of blood at the crime scene. The similarities between the Washington and Oregon murders caught the attention of local police in Utah, who were frantically searching for the man responsible for these awful crimes. Evidence was slowly mounting with each murder. Investigators from all three states consulted with each other and almost all agreed that it was highly likely that the same man was committing these murders.

Eyewitnesses were able to put together a composite of the could-be-killer who called himself Ted.. A close friend of Meg Anders, Lynn Banks, saw the murder of Melissa Smith in the paper and recognized the composite to be Ted Bundy. Meg had to agree that the composite did resemble Ted. Somewhat hesitant, she contacted the police in the fall of 1974, on the advice of her friend. Meg was one of five people to have turned in Ted Bundys name to police. Her report, along with others, was filed away and forgotten until a few years later, since police were obligated to investigate other likely suspects.

On November 8, 1974, investigators got the break they needed to break the case. That evening a strange man in a Utah bookstore approached eighteen year old Carol DaRonch. He said his name was Officer Roseland and that he seen someone trying to break into her car. When they arrived at the car, she informed him that everything was there. He was not satisfied and wanted to escort her to the VW bug. She became suspicious and asked for identification. He showed her the gold badge and escorted her to the car. He drove off quickly in the opposite direction of police headquarters.

She started screaming and he pulled a gun and told her to be quiet or hed kill her. He pressed her against the side of the car and had a crowbar in his hand ready to hit her in the head. Full of terror, she kicked him in the genitals and broke free. DarRonch ran towards the road and caught the attention of a couple driving by. They immediately took her to the police station. She gave a description of the madman and investigators felt that they had their lead. That night, two other young women disappeared and within the next month, eyewitnesses were able to give evidence of the disappearance.

They would call about a handsome man with a VW bug. On January 12, 1975, Caryn Campbell disappeared from her hotel while relaxing in the hotel lounge. Her family waited in vain for her return, and by mid-morning they informed the police of her disappearance. Almost a month later, her body was found in the Taylor Mountains by recreational workers. Within the next few months, three more bodies were discovered. They were identified as Brenda Ball, Susan Rancourt and Lynda Healy; all who disappeared earlier that summer.

All of the victims suffered from severe head trauma from a blunt instrument, possibly a crowbar. Police continued unsuccessfully to look for the killer. Five more women were found in Colorado under similar circumstances. They were not the last of Teds killing spree. On August 16, 1975, a Utah Highway Patrolman was sitting in his patrol car when he spotted a suspicious tan VW Bug drive by him. Immediately, the officer began to chase the vehicle. After speeding through two stop signs, the driver of the VW Bug pulled over at a gas station. Two other officers joined the scene and searched the car.

They found the passenger seat missing as well as unusual objects such as a crowbar, ski mask, rope, handcuffs, wire and an ice pick. Bundy was immediately placed under arrest for burglary. Soon after his arrest, police began to find connections between him and the man who attacked Carol DaRonch. The handcuffs that were found were the same make and model as the ones found with Carol DaRonch. He was also suspected of the disappearance of Melissa Smith and the other woman who went missing the night of DaRonchs attack. On October 2, 1975, Carol DaRonch, along with other eye witnesses, were asked to view a lineup of seven men.

DaRonch identified Bundy as the man she was attacked by, and the two other woman identified him as the man they seen wandering around that night. Soon after he was picked from the lineup, investigators began a full-blown investigation of Ted Bundy. During the fall of 1975, police investigators approached Meg Anders for whatever information she was able to give about Ted. After all, she had alerted her suspicions concerning her boyfriend in connection to the notorious Ted.. They believe Meg would most likely hold the key to Bundys whereabouts, habits, and personality.

What investigators learn later help link Ted Bundy to the murder victims. In interviews with Meg, investigators learned that Ted had Plaster of Paris to make casts in his room, which she had noticed when they first began dating. On other occasions, she noticed a hatchet in his car. She also recalled that Ted had visited Lake Sammamish Park in July, where he had supposedly gone water skiing. A week after Ted had gone to Lake Sammamish Park, two young ladies, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund were reported missing. After long interviews with Meg, investigators decided to shift their focus to Stephanie Brooks.

Police learned that Stephanies relationship with Meg, and that either of them knew of each other. Ted seemed to be living a double life, filled with lies and betrayal. There was more to Ted than what investigators initially expected. More evidence would be found, that would later lead to his conviction. Lynda Ann Healy was linked to Bundy through a cousin of his; more eyewitnesses would recognize him from Lake Sammamish Park; and old friend noticed pantyhose in his glovebox; plus Ted had spent a lot of time in Taylor Mountains where several bodies were discovered.

His credit cards were tracked to gas stations where he purchased gas in towns where girls went missing. Also, a friend had seen him in a cast when there was no hospital records of him having a broken arm. On February 23, 1976, Ted Bundy was put on trial for the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch. Ted Bundy believed that there was no hard evidence to convict him, but he couldnt have been more wrong. When Carol was asked to point out the man that kidnapped her, she pointed to Bundy and began crying. Ted said that he had never seen the defendant, but he had no alibi to confirm his whereabouts the day of the attack.

Two days later, the judge would find Bundy guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of aggravated kidnapping. Ted Bundy was sentenced to one of fifteen years in prison with the possibility of parole. While Bundy remained incarcerated in Utah State Prison, investigators began a search for evidence connecting him to the murders of Caryn Campbell and Melissa Smith. Detectives discovered hairs in his car that were examined by FBI investigators and found to be characteristically alike to Campbell and Smiths hair.

Colorado police filed charges against Bundy on October 22, 1976 for the murder of Caryn Campbell. In April of 1977, Ted was transferred to Garfield County Jail in Colorado to await trial for the murder of Caryn Campbell. During preparation of his case, Bundy became increasingly unhappy with his representation and began to take up his own defense in the cast. Bundy was granted permission to leave the confines of the jail on occasion to utilize the courthouse library in Aspen to conduct research.