Ted Bundy has been one of the most heinous serial killers of America. It is neither clear the “exact” number of his victims, nor the date when his criminal career started, although it is hypothesised it all began when Ted was a teenager of 14 years old.

Undoubtedly he suffered from serious mental problems: he was a sadistic psychopath, a serial liar, often it was impossible to recognise the truth from the lies he would tell in his trials. On the other side though, he was extremely intelligent, he knew how to behave, he was charming, gentle and polite.

Below: picture of Ted Bundy in 1976

The first years of his life had been spent with his mother and maternal grandparents, who raised him making him believe that they were his parents and his actual mother was his older sister. Furthermore there was the strong suspect that his grandfather was his father as well, after the rape over his own daughter. Once the mother got married, Ted was adopted by the couple and had taken the surname from the man.

At the age of 21, in 1967, he had his first relationship with a girl, of a good family, but the love story finished all of a sudden, with her breaking up. The experience marked the young guy deeply.

His biographer Ann Rule, as well as personal friend of Ted who was completely unaware of his tendencies, wrote down the book “The Stranger Beside Me”. She considered him as a reliable person even though with issues due to his familiar history, discovered by him in 1969 in Vermont, where he was born. What happened within his family had been for him cause of a great deal of pain and shock, according to the writer.

Discovering that the one whom he had always considered as his sister was instead his mother had a great impact on his mental state

In 1969 he was studying law at the University of Washington, he would actively follow politics in the Republican party where he was a young promise and had a stable relationship with a divorced woman. He even got back with his first girlfriend, mentioning even the possibility to get married for then ending the relationship out of revenge.

It is not known who the first victims were. The man claimed with his psychologist later on to have started off in 1969 with 3 girls, but there is no proof whatsoever about this statement.

Below: two Bundy’s victims

What the reports of the time tell us is that in 1974 some girls started to disappear in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Utah. These were all places frequented by Ted where he had attended different Universities.

Bundy, to lure the victims into his car was used to pretending a plastered limb or to walk with the crutches. He would approach the prey asking to be helped with a luggage or something to be loaded in the car. The girls were invited, or forced, in the car where both the seat of the passenger, the handle and the window lever were removed.

At that point they were stunned, handcuffed and taken to isolated places. There they were raped and choked. Some were raped by himself, others with metal bars. It was common for Bundy to come back to the crime scenes to have necrophiliac intercourse with the corpses; sometimes he would put makeup on their faces, others he was beheading them and take their heads home before getting rid of them for good.

A girl who luckily escaped a deadly end identified Bundy and his car. After the identikit of the man and the description of his beige Beetle, many other depositions followed. In 1975 Ted was stopped by the police of Utah and in his car they found some suspect objects among which an iron bar and ski mask, but the agents were not able to find any proof of his murders.

In a house search the police found handcuffs, fake plaster casts, crutches, brochures of several places where the disappearances of the girls had happened. All of this was not enough for the American law to incriminate Ted.

The investigators were not able to find the hundreds of polaroids that Bundy had taken to his victims that he had jealously hidden, though.

Bundy was released

In a following examination of the car, which in the meantime had been sold, many woman hairs had been discovered. Stopped by the police once again, he was recognised by the girl who escaped the kidnap and then he got arrested. In 1976 he was condemned to 15 years for attempted kidnapping, but the police did not find any proof to link him to the other disappearances.

In 1977 he managed to escape the prison but was caught again, locked and for the second time he evaded, in Florida. Here, in January 1978 during the night he assaulted 4 girls in a  student dormitory.

Two of them were killed while the other two survived the attack because believed dead

The assault lasted only 15 minutes but the consequences were dramatic. In February 1978 Ted tried to kidnap a 14 years old girl but the attempt did not succeed. Shortly after a 12 years old was found violated and lifeless.

A few days afterwards it was discovered and during the arrest he was injured. Bundy went to trial in 1979 where he was sentenced to death.

After several appeals by the defence, asking for a plea of mercy for his psychological condition, in the Death Row Bundy started confessing. He admitted 30 homicides, some of which unknown to the police, even though it is believed that the total amount was from 35 upwards. It is impossible to ever verify the exact number of victims since many remains were never found and, since the DNA tests were not possible back then, the identity of the bones could not be verified. Bundy used those confessions to push away  the day of the execution, while in the meantime they found traces of a further attempt of evasion in his cell.

As a final card, it was asked to the victims families to support a new indictment in favour of more details on the murders but they all refused. On the 24th of January 1989 he was sentenced by a current of electricity and his ashes scattered in a secret place in the state of Washington, as he requested.

Curiosities about Ted Bundy

During the detention Bundy got married and the woman had a son. Back then it was common for the guards to shut an eye during the wives visits time. She was a witness at his trial too.

-Many women started to despair at the news of his execution; the man was receiving loads of letters from his female “admirers” every day.
-The Volkswagen of Bundy is exhibited at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum of Pigeon Forge in Tennessee.
-Bundy’s DNA has been preserved for possible tests on future finds.
-After Ted Bundy’s sentence the judge pronounced these words

“The court finds that both of these killings were indeed heinous, atrocious and cruel. And that they were extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile and the product of a design to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life. This court, independent of, but in agreement with the advisory sentence rendered by the jury does hereby impose the death penalty upon the defendant Theodore Robert Bundy. It is further ordered that on such scheduled date that you’ll be put to death by a current of electricity, sufficient to cause your immediate death, and such current of electricity shall continue to pass through your body until you are dead.

Take care of yourself, young man. I say that to you sincerely; take care of yourself. It is an utter tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity, I think, as I’ve experienced in this courtroom.

You’re a bright young man. You’d have made a good lawyer and I would have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, partner. I don’t feel any animosity toward you. I want you to know that. Take care of yourself.”

Rachele Goracci


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