Risky AttacksIt was on November 8th, 1974, when police investigators were to get the break in the case for which they had been waiting. That Friday evening, a strange but handsome man in a book store at a Utah mall approached eighteen-year-old Carol DaRonch. The stranger told her that he had seen someone trying to break into her car and asked her to go along with him to the parking lot to see if anything had been stolen.
Carol thought that the man must have been a mall security guard because he seemed so in control of the situation. When they arrived at the car, she checked it and informed the man everything was there. The man, who identified himself as Officer Roseland, was not satisfied and wanted to escort her to police headquarters. He wanted her to ID the supposed criminal and file a complaint. When he led her to a VW bug, she became suspicious and asked for identification. He quickly showed her a gold badge and then escorted her into the car.
He drove off quickly in the opposite direction of the police station and, after a short while, he suddenly stopped the car. Fear had set into Carol DaRonch. The "police officer" suddenly grabbed her and tried to put handcuffs on her. DaRonch screamed for her life. When she screamed, the man pulled out a handgun and threatened to kill her if she didn't stop. DaRonch found herself falling out of the car and then suddenly pushed up against the side of it by the madman. He had a crowbar in his hand and was ready to hit her head. Terror-struck, she kicked his genitals and managed to break free. DaRonch ran towards the road and caught the attention of a couple driving by. They stopped and DaRonch frantically jumped into their car. She was crying hysterically and told them a man had tried to kill her. They immediately took her to the police.
Sobbing, with the handcuffs still dangling from her wrists, she told the police what one of their men had done. But there was no man with the name of Roseland that worked there. Immediately police were dispatched to the place where DaRonch had struggled for her life just an hour earlier but the madman was long gone. However, the police were able to get a description of the man and his car and a few days later, from off the girl's coat, a blood type. The blood was type O, the same as Ted Bundy's, as police were later to learn.
That same evening, the director of a play at Viewmont High School was approached by a handsome man who asked for her assistance in identifying a car. Yet, she was far too busy and refused him. Again, he later approached her and asked for her assistance, and again she refused him. Something seemed odd, almost scary about the man, but she ignored it and kept on with the work at hand. It disturbed her to see the man again in the back of the auditorium and she wondered what it was he really wanted.
Debby Kent, who was watching the evening performance along with her parents, left early to pick up her brother at the bowling alley. She told her parents that she'd be back to pick them up shortly, but she never did. In fact, she never made it to the car, which stood empty in the school parking lot. Debby Kent was nowhere to be found. What police did find in the parking lot was a small handcuff key. Later, when police tried to fit the key that they found into the handcuffs worn by DaRonch earlier that night, it was a perfect match. Almost a month later, a man would call police to tell them that he had seen a tan VW bug speed away from the high school parking lot the night of Kent's disappearance.
On January 12, 1975, Caryn Campbell; her fiancé, Dr. Raymond Gadowski; and his two children took a trip to Colorado. Caryn hoped she could enjoy the break away from work and spend more time with the children, while her fiancé attended a seminar. While relaxing in the lounge of her hotel with Gadowski and his son and daughter one night, she realized she had forgotten a magazine and returned to her room to retrieve it. Her fiancé and the children waited for her return in vain. He knew she was a bit ill that night and went back to the room to see if she needed help. Caryn was nowhere in sight. In fact, she had never made it to the room. By mid-morning, confused and worried, Gadowski informed the police of her disappearance. They searched every room in the hotel but they found no trace of Caryn.
Almost a month later and a few miles from where she had disappeared, a recreational worker found Caryn’s nude body lying a short distance from the road. Animals had ravaged her body, which made it difficult to determine the precise cause of death. However, it was evident that she received crushing fractures that could have been fatal.
Like many of the victims found in Utah and Washington, she had suffered from repeated blows to the head possibly made by a sharp instrument. According to Richard Larsen’s book Bundy: The Deliberate Stranger, the blows were so violent that one of her teeth was actually separated from the gum line in her mouth. There was also evidence that she had been raped. It was believed that she was murdered just hours after she disappeared. Apart from Caryn’s brutalized remains, there was little evidence to be found at the scene.
A few months after Caryn Campbell's body was discovered, the remains of another person were found ten miles from where the bodies of Naslund and Ott were located. It was Brenda Ball, one of the seven women who had disappeared earlier that summer. The cause of her death was blows to the head with a blunt object.
Police searched the Taylor Mountains where the bodies were found. It would be only a couple days later when another body would be discovered. The body was that of Susan Rancourt, who had also disappeared earlier that summer. The Taylor Mountains had become the burial sight for the madman known as "Ted." Two more bodies were found that month; one of them was Lynda Ann Healy. All of the victims suffered from severe head contusions from a blunt instrument, possibly a crowbar.
Police continued unsuccessfully to look for the killer. Five more women were found dead in Colorado under similar circumstances. They were not the last to fall victim to Ted's killing spree.
On August 16, 1975, Sergeant Bob Hayward was patrolling an area just outside of Salt Lake County when he spotted a suspicious tan VW bug driving past him. He knew the neighborhood well and almost all the residents that lived there and he couldn't remember seeing the tan VW there before. When he put on his lights to get a better view of the VW's license plate, the driver of the bug turned off his lights and began speeding away.Immediately, Sergeant Hayward began to chase the vehicle. The car sped through two stop signs before it eventually pulled over into a nearby gas station. Hayward pulled up behind the reckless driver and watched as the occupant got out of his car and approached the police car. Hayward asked the young man for his registration and license, which was issued to Theodore Robert Bundy. Just then, two other troopers pulled up behind the tan VW. Hayward noticed that the passenger seat in Bundy's car was missing. With mounting suspicion and Bundy's permission, the three officers inspected the VW. The officers found a crowbar, ski mask, rope, handcuffs, wire and an ice pick. Bundy was immediately placed under arrest for suspicion of burglary.
Soon after Bundy's arrest, police began to find connections between him and the man who attacked Carol DaRonch. The handcuffs that were found in Bundy's car were the same make and brand that her attacker had used and the car he drove was similar to the one she had described. Furthermore, the crowbar found in Bundy’s car was similar to the weapon that had been used to threaten Carol earlier that November. They also suspected that Bundy was the man responsible for the kidnapping of Melissa Smith, Laura Aime and Debby Kent. There were just too many similarities among the cases for police to ignore. However, they knew they needed much more evidence to support the case against Bundy.On October 2nd, 1975, Carol DaRonch along with the director of the Viewmont High School play and a friend of Debby Kent were asked to attend a line-up of seven men, one of whom was Bundy, at a Utah police station. Investigators were not surprised when Carol picked Ted from the line-up as the man who had attacked her. The play director and friend of Debby Kent also picked Ted from the line-up as the man they had seen wandering around the auditorium the night Debby Kent had disappeared. Although Ted repeatedly professed his innocence, police were almost positive they had their man. Soon after he was picked out of the line-up, investigators launched a full-blown investigation into the man they knew as Theodore Robert Bundy.
During the fall of 1975, police investigators approached Elizabeth Kendall for whatever information she was able to give about Ted. They believed Elizabeth would most likely hold the key to Bundy's whereabouts, habits and personality. What investigators learned would later help link Ted Bundy to the murder victims.On September 16th, 1975, Elizabeth was called into the King County Police Major Crime Unit building in Washington State and interviewed by Detectives Jerry Thompson, Dennis Couch and Ira Beal. She was visibly stressed and nervous, but willing to offer the police any information necessary to help the case. When asked about Ted, she stated that on the nights of the murders, she could not account for him. Elizabeth also told police that he would often sleep during the day and go out at night, exactly where she didn't know. She said that his interest in sex had waned during the last year. When he did show interest, he pressured her into bondage. When she told Bundy that she no longer wanted to participate in his bondage fantasies, he was very upset with her.
In a later interview with Elizabeth, investigators learned that Ted had plaster of Paris to make casts in his room, which she had noticed when they first began dating. She also noticed on a later occasion that in his car, Ted had a hatchet. But there was something else important to the case that Elizabeth would remember. She 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, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund were reported missing.
After long hours of interviews with Elizabeth, investigators decided to shift their focus to Ted's former girlfriend in California. When police contacted her, she told them of how he had abruptly changed his manner towards her from loving and affectionate to cruel and insensitive. Upon further questioning, police learned that Bundy's relationship with his California girlfriend had overlapped with his relationship with Elizabeth and neither of them knew of the other woman. Ted seemed to be living a double life, filled with lies and betrayal. There was more to Ted than what investigators had initially expected.
Further investigation yielded more evidence that would later link him to other victims. Lynda Ann Healy was linked to Bundy through a cousin of his; more eyewitnesses would recognize him from Lake Sammamish Park during the time Ott and Naslund disappeared; an old friend of Bundy's came forward saying he had seen pantyhose in the glove compartment of his car; plus Ted had spent a lot of time in the Taylor Mountains where the bodies of victims had been found. Bundy's credibility was further dented when police discovered he purchased gas on credit cards in the towns where some of the victims had disappeared. Furthermore, a friend had seen him with his arm in a cast when there was no record of him ever having a broken arm. The evidence against Ted Bundy was building up, yet he still continued to profess his innocence.
On February 23, 1976 Ted was put on trial for the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch. Bundy sat in a relaxed manner in the courtroom, confident that he would be found innocent of the charges against him. He believed that there was no hard evidence to convict him, but he couldn't have been more wrong. When Carol DaRonch took the stand, she told of her ordeal that she suffered sixteen months earlier. When asked if she were able to recognize the person who attacked her, she began to cry as she lifted her hand and pointed a finger to the man who had called himself "Officer Roseland." The people in the courtroom turned their attention to Ted Bundy, who stared at DaRonch coldly as she pointed at him. Later in the trial, Ted had said he had never seen the defendant but he had no alibi to confirm his whereabouts the day of the attack.
The judge spent the weekend reviewing the case before he handed down a verdict. Two days later he would find Bundy guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of aggravated kidnapping. Ted Bundy was later sentenced on June 30th to one to fifteen years in prison with the possibility of parole.While in prison, Bundy was subjected to a psychological evaluation that the court had previously requested. In Anne Rule's book The Stranger Beside Me, she stated that psychologists found Bundy to be neither "psychotic, neurotic, the victim of organic brain disease, alcoholic, addicted to drugs, suffering from a character disorder or amnesia, and was not a sexual deviate." The psychologists concluded that he had a "strong dependency on women, and deduced that that dependency was suspect." Upon further evaluation, they concluded that Ted had a "fear of being humiliated in his relationships with women."
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. What Bundy did not realize was that his legal problems would soon escalate. Detectives discovered in Bundy's VW hairs that were examined by the FBI and found to be characteristically alike to Campbell's and Smith's hair. Further examination of Caryn Campbell's remains showed that her skull bore impressions made by a blunt instrument, and those impressions matched the crowbar that had been discovered in Bundy's car a year earlier. 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. He believed his lawyer to be inept and incapable and eventually he fired him. Bundy, experienced in law, believed he could do the job better and he began to take up his own defense in the case. He felt confident that he would succeed at the trial scheduled for November 14, 1977. Bundy had a lot of work ahead of him. He was granted permission to leave the confines of the jail on occasion and utilize the courthouse library in Aspen, to conduct research. What police didn't know was that he was planning an escape.
The Great Escape
On June 7th, during one of his trips to the library at the courthouse, Bundy managed to jump from an open window, injuring his ankle in the process, and escaped to freedom. He was not wearing any leg irons or handcuffs, so he did not stand out among the ordinary citizens in the town of Aspen. It was an escape that had been planned by Ted for a while. Aspen Police were quick to set up roadblocks surrounding the town, yet Ted knew to stay within the city limits for the time being and lay low. Police launched a massive land search, using scent tracking bloodhounds and 150 searchers in the hopes of catching Ted. However, Ted was able to elude them for days.While on the run, Bundy managed to live off the food he stole from local cabins and nearby campers, occasionally sleeping in ones that were abandoned. Yet, Bundy knew that what he really needed was a car, which would better enable him to pass through police barriers. He couldn't hide in Aspen forever. Ted believed that he was destined to be free. According to an interview with Michaud and Aynesworth, he felt as if he were invincible and claimed that, “nothing went wrong. If something did go wrong, the next thing that happened was so good it compensated. It was even better”. Sure enough, Bundy found his ticket out of town when he discovered a car with the keys left in it. But, his luck would not last long. While trying to flee Aspen in the stolen vehicle, he was spotted.
From then on, he was ordered to wear handcuffs and leg irons while conducting his research at the library in Aspen. However, Bundy was not the type of man who liked to be tied down.Almost seven months later, Bundy again attempted an escape, but this time he was more successful. On December 30th, he crawled up into the ceiling of the Garfield County Jail and made his way to another part of the building. He managed to find another opening in the ceiling that led down into the closet of a jailer's apartment. He sat and waited until he knew the apartment was empty, then casually walked out of the front door to his freedom. His escape would go undiscovered until the following afternoon, more than fifteen hours later.
By the time police learned of his escape, Bundy was well on his way to Chicago. Chicago was one of the few stops that Bundy would make along the route to his final destination, sunny Florida. By mid January of 1978 Ted Bundy, using his newly acquired name Chris Hagen, had settled comfortably into a one-room apartment in Tallahassee, Florida.
Ted Bundy enjoyed his new found freedom in a place that knew little if nothing about him or his past. Bundy was stimulated by intelligence and youth and felt comfortable in his new environment nearby Florida State University. He spent much of his free time walking around F.S.U.'s campus, occasionally ducking into classes unnoticed and listening in on lectures. When he was not wandering around campus, he would spend his time in his apartment watching the television he had stolen. Theft became second nature to Bundy. Almost everything in his apartment was stolen merchandise. Even the food he ate was purchased from stolen credit cards. Under the circumstances, Bundy seemed to have enough material things to make him content. What he didn't have and what he missed the most was companionship.