How Bundy (Almost) Got Away With It

Ted Bundy at Trial  |  courtesy of People
Linda Anne Healy at her youth | Courtesy of NY Daily News

Linda Anne Healy, a stunningly flawless young woman, was a senior at Washington State University approaching her graduation with a degree in Psychology.1 The selfless and youthful Linda spent time working with mentally-handicapped children in her spare time. On January 31, 1974, in Seattle Washington, Linda awoke at 5:30 to begin her day. Her lively and bustling day was filled with classes and activities, just as one would expect for a 21 year old scholar. She wrote a letter to a friend outlining her intentions to cook dinner for her family that very evening. But Linda Anne Healy never made it to the dinner. Reported missing, the investigation would come to find her covers drenched in blood and her bloodstained nightgown shoved into her closet.2

Later, on a cold night in Salt Lake City, on November 18, 1974, Carol DaRonch was leaving a shopping mall when she was approached by a young slender man. He proceeded to introduce himself as officer Roslyn and explained that there had been an attempt to break into DaRonch’s car.3 As he asked her to get into the car to file a police report, she immediately realized “he wasn’t who he said he was and that something really bad was going to happen,” as she later described it. He then handcuffed her and attempted to confine her. Luckily, DaRonch was able to escape this man as she saw a car approaching theirs. She was a survivor who was able to give a profile of the kidnapper.4

With DaRonch’s help, the police had solid information, but no leads came of it. Years would pass, and more murders of young women occurred in Utah.5 As the investigators in Utah frantically searched for the suspect, they started to come across some chilling observations. They discovered that there were strange similarities with the Washington state murders and their murders; the missing women had similar profiles. Also, the disappearances all took place at night. The sightings of the suspect all described a man wearing a cast or sling and driving a brownish tan Volkswagen.6 To top it off, five witnesses described the suspect as an attractive young man. With the help of the witnesses, a composite sketch of the suspect was made.

Ted Bundy at his youth  | Courtesy of Wikipedia

Then, a young man was stopped on a driving violation. The only reason that the violation aroused greater suspicion for the police was that he attempted to flee by running stop signs and turning his car lights off. His suspicious tools blatantly dispersed all throughout his car was the cause for suspicion of his connection to the murders.7 Some of these items consisted of a crow bar, pantyhose, and handcuffs. With the passenger seat missing, he was arrested for suspicion of attempted burglary. The handcuffs were compared to the ones DaRonch had described. As it turned out, they were the same pair. When the man was picked out of a lineup by DaRonch, it was confirmed that he was the suspect who had attempted the kidnapping of DaRonch. The police also felt that this man, Ted Bundy, might be responsible for the connected murders in Utah and Washington, and also others in Colorado.8

Bundy was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. During this time, police were investigating his connection to the missing women in Colorado. He had made credit card transactions near the locations where the women had gone missing. It was not too long before Bundy was extradited to Colorado for the murder of Caryn Campbell, a 23 year old nurse who had gone missing one night as she was looking to get a magazine from her room at the Wildwood Inn at Snowmass, Colorado.9 Somewhere between the hallway and elevator she had disappeared. Her body was found beaten on the side of the road in Snowmass. Awaiting his trial for that murder, Ted Bundy managed to escape prison by climbing into the ceiling light fixture. He then made his way to Tallahassee, Florida, where he rented an apartment near Florida State University under the name of Chris Hagen.10

Florida State’s Chi Omega Sorority House | Courtesy of Chi Omega House

On Saturday, January 14, 1978, Bundy broke into Florida State ‘s Chi Omega sorority house.11 He strangled two women to death, raping and ruthlessly beating their bodies. Two other women were also beaten and hit over the head with a log. These girls managed to survive to tell their story, thanks to their roommate Nita Neary, who managed to arrive just before Bundy could murder the two beaten victims. The only evidence found to prosecute Bundy was in fact a mask that was found at the site of another woman attacked that very same night. This mask was identical to one found in Bundy’s car.12 He didn’t know that he had left behind unique bite marks on his victims at the sorority house, and that these bite marks were particular to his teeth and his teeth only. Yet again, none of this would bring Ted Bundy to trial.

It wasn’t until February 9, 1978, that Bundy would have his last kill.13 Twelve year old Kimberly Leach had just been elected a runner up for valentine queen at her junior high in Lake City, Florida. Just before heading to her PE class, she remembered she had left her purse in her homeroom class. Upon being excused to run off to retrieve it, her friend was shocked to see little Kimberly running off with an angry man. Lieutenant Andy Anderson, an EMT with Lake City Fire Department, was on duty and heading home to shower and change clothes.14 Heading toward home, as he passed the Junior High, his eye caught the attention of something unusual. A white van had been stopped in the middle of the lane blocking traffic. A man was then leading a young girl from campus toward the van. In the eyes of those unaware of what was happening, she seemed to be taking off with what appeared to be an angry father. When the school called her home to ask why Kimberly had not gone to her other classes that day, her parents knew something was wrong. After not returning home, the authorities were contacted. Eight weeks later, after endless searches, her body was found in a pigpen. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled. Yet again, another similar act that tied all the murders together and pointed toward Ted Bundy.

The murder of Kim Leach and the Chi Omega investigation became linked on February 17.15 The captivating evidence was that Bundy had stayed in the Lake City Motel the very night prior to Kim’s disappearance. During this time, on February 21, an article came out with the attempted abduction of Leslie Parmenter. Fourteen years old at the time, Parmenter caught the eye of a man in a white dodge van on February 8, 1978. He struck up a conversation with her, just as Parmenter’s older brother was approaching. Angrily approaching the van, the suspect fled. The composite was an exact match to Ted Bundy. Suddenly all evidence pointed to Ted Bundy.

He wasn’t caught in one fell swoop. Rather, it took time for investigators to link the individual murders with similar characteristics in the crime scenes, as well as the sightings of him and composite sketches. This all finally led to the capturing of Ted Bundy. On June 25, 1979, Bundy went on trial in Florida for the murders of the sorority women.16 The key witness to bring him to justice was Nita Neary, who had seen him fleeing the house after the murders. In addition, the bite marks on the victims’ bodies were compared and found to be an exact match to his teeth. Bundy also had rented a room at The Oak Apartments near the Florida State University campus. All this evidence convicted Bundy, and he was sentenced to two life sentences. In January 1980, he went to trial again for the killing of Kimberly Leach. The fibers in Ted’s van were an exact match to those of Kimberly’s clothes. This was the crucial evidence that led to Bundy’s second conviction. But witnesses Lieutenant Andy Anderson and a fellow schoolmate also played a role. Found guilty, he received his third death sentence. On January 17 1989, Ted Bundy was put to death. His death could only bring so much closure to the families of the countless victims in Florida, Utah, and Colorado.17 But his death ensured that he could never have another victim for his own malice pleasures.

  1. Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia, January 2017, s.v. “Ted Bundy,” by James Jenephyr.
  2. Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia, January 2017, s.v. “Ted Bundy,” by James Jenephyr.
  3. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 45.
  4. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 47.
  5. J. Anthony Paredes and Elizabeth D. Purdum, “Bye-bye Ted…Community response in Florida to the execution of Theodore Bundy,” Anthropology Today 6, no. 2 (April 1990): 10.
  6. J. Anthony Paredes and Elizabeth D. Purdum, “Bye-bye Ted…Community response in Florida to the execution of Theodore Bundy,” Anthropology Today 6, no. 2 (April 1990): 11.
  7. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 45.
  8. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 45.
  9. Mark Seltzer, “Serial Killers (II): The Pathological Public Sphere,” Critical Inquiry 22, no. 1 (1995): 136.
  10. Mark Seltzer, “Serial Killers (II): The Pathological Public Sphere,” Critical Inquiry 22, no. 1 (1995): 132.
  11. J. Anthony Paredes and Elizabeth D. Purdum, “Bye-bye Ted…Community response in Florida to the execution of Theodore Bundy,” Anthropology Today 6, no. 2 (April 1990): 11.
  12. J. Anthony Paredes and Elizabeth D. Purdum, “Bye-bye Ted…Community response in Florida to the execution of Theodore Bundy,” Anthropology Today 6, no. 2 (April 1990): 11.
  13. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 46.
  14. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 46.
  15. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 46.
  16. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 47.
  17. George Dekle, The Last Murder: The investigation, prosecution, and execution of Ted Bundy (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011), 46.

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This Post Has 88 Comments

  1. Reading this article felt like watching a CSI episode or Criminal Minds episode! You did a great job writing this article, the emotions that arise, the pictures, the flow tides the article really well! All I can think about is how Bundy was truly mentally ill, there is no way someone in their right mind will do such actions!

  2. It is sad that it took so much time and killings to be able to find the evidence that found Bundy guilty. Bundy managed to murder many victims in different states and even escape prison. It is hard to believe that so much evidence pointed to Bundy yet it seem as if it was not enough to convict him.

  3. Christopher Hohman

    Nice article. Ted Bundy was a terrible man. He did unspeakable things. He must have been a very disturbed individual. It is hard to believe that he was able to kill and injure women in three different states. I am so glad that he was got, after that he could not harm anyone anymore. But his death can never bring back those who lost their lives. It can only do so much to bring closure to the victims families

  4. It is incredible to realize what a person can be capable of. It it almost unbelievable to realize that there can be people capable of enormous acts of kindness, while there are others capable of cold-blooded murder and rape. I wonder what it is that caused this man to have so much hatred and to be able to commit such horrible crimes. I also wonder what it is that made him change from killing women to killing a child.

  5. I have heard the story of Ted Bundy and even done a research project on him for my psychology class in high school. Ted Bundy was by far the most chilling serial killers I have ever read about and his story still continues to frighten me a bit. Although, I did not know that he managed to escape prison and so easily might I add. He was in fact very clever to have found a way to escape with no hiccups or set backs. I very much liked reading this article and all the details included in it. It was very well written and kept me intrigued on the story of Ted Bundy.

  6. I have heard the name Ted Bundy so many times but I had no idea he was a serial killer. I’m really glad I read this article and now know who he really was. I have so many questions after reading this article, like why he was described wearing a cast or a sling, why did he wear it, was he actually hurt or was it some kind of ploy? Another thing I wonder is why he chose to go after women who had similar features and looked alike, was it because of something in his past, or was there no specific reason for it? I overall really enjoyed this article, it was really interesting, and I hope I can learn more about it and about my questions.

  7. Ted Bundy is a very well known serial killer. He is very interesting and very sickening at the same time. Bundy has always been very interesting to me, as well as other serial killers, because of how the lure their victims and what the end up doing to them. Bundy could deceive many people and did that successfully. They see things differently and use that to their advantage. Bundy escaped from prison and went off to murder sorority girls which just proves how sick he was. He was ultimately caught and sentenced to death which gave everyone a sigh of relief but didn’t do much for those who had already lost their loved ones.

  8. Ted Bundy is a terrifying serial killer, especially for those of us who want to become investigators. Bundy was able to evade capture so many times and succeeded in killing so many young women, he is every cops’ worse nightmare. Not to mention, how can someone become so twisted that all teey want to do is murder beautiful young women? I would love to know what his motive was, especially considering that most of the times with cases like his, it’s a psychological imbalance that causes a sort of psychotic break.

  9. Ted Bundy is such an interesting character yet sick mentally. I can’t believe that people can commit such things without feeling any remorse. Its ironic because they think of the best plans on how to lure women into their trap. It really caught my attention how he escaped prison snuck into sorority house and killed the girls. Being in college I know a few sorority girls and I would never expect something like that to happen. The article is very well written and organized it states everything clearly and its easy to understand.

  10. Ted Bundy is one of the most well known serial killers of all time. I did not know that Ted Bundy escaped prison, He was evidently very clever and had a personality that could deceive a good amount of people into his hellish traps. The evil intentions that Ted Bundy Manifested himself in, fueled his monumental spree of murders on countless victims. I feel that John Henry Browne, Ted Bundy’s defense attorney was partly deceived by his willingness to cooperate with the judge to put Ted in the ceil from which he escaped. Great article!!

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