Ted Bundy can be easily described as one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century. He was also a kidnapper, burglar, and rapist who attacked many young women in the 1970s. Ted Bundy is also known to have engineered two sophisticated escapes from prison and earned himself three death sentences in two separate trials. His case has inspired several popular novels and films which tell the story of his serial murders.
As a result of his handsome appearance, charismatic charm and intelligence, some even contend that the media had transformed Bundy into a romantic figure.
Who Is Ted Bundy?
Theodore ‘Ted’ Robert Bundy, (initially known as Theodore Robert Cowell) was born on the 24th of November, 1946, to Eleanor Louise Cowell and a father that had absconded when he discovered that Eleanor Louise was pregnant. He was born at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont.
Eleanor Louise changed her last name to Nelson in 1950 and moved to Tacoma, Washington to live with her cousins. There, she met Johnny Culpepper Bundy and the two later got married. The couple had four children of their own and Johnny formally adopted Ted as his son.
In high school at Tacoma, Ted Bundy was arrested at least twice for suspicion of burglary and auto theft but when he reached 18, these details were expunged from his records as is customary in Washington. He then graduated from high school in 1965 and spent a year at the University of Puget Sound before transferring to the University of Washington to study Chinese. By mid-1970, he got accepted into the University of Utah Law School and moved to Salt Lake City.
While at law school, Ted Bundy then started skipping classes in school, and gradually stopped attending them altogether. This was also when the murders began. Ironically, in 1974, the year the murders begun, he was the assistant director of the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission and even wrote a pamphlet on rape prevention. The first murder was reportedly on the 31st of January, 1974.
Over the following months and years, more murders and disappearances followed. His modus operandi was to approach the victim feigning an injury and ask for their help, then lead them to a secluded area where he would knock them out with a crowbar and then strangle them while they are unconscious and then proceed to have sexual intercourse with their dead bodies; then he would leave the naked bodies in a wooded area.
At one point, Ted Bundy was questioned by the police but he was released because he did not seem to fit the mold of a serial killer. In November 1974, he was identified from a police lineup by a woman who had narrowly escaped him. Then In 1977, he was extradited to Colorado to be tried for murder but he escaped from jail by jumping out of the window. Though he was caught eight days later, he escaped again by sawing a hole in the ceiling of his cell. He then traveled to Tallahassee, Florida and lived under different pseudonyms.
Ted Bundy was arrested again by Pensacola Police for driving a stolen car. This time, he was tried and found guilty, and ultimately sentenced to death by electrocution. He confessed to a total of 36 murders, but it is believed that the number could be more.
Ted Bundy’s mother, Eleanor Louise, initially told him that her parents were his parents; and his grandparents raised him for the first three years of his life as their son, in order to avoid the social stigma that comes with having a child out of wedlock. Everyone, including young Ted, was made to believe his grandparents were actually his parents and it was not until 1969 that he found out the truth when he came across a copy of his birth certificate. He became resentful towards his mother for not telling him about his true parentage.
Eleanor Louise died in 2012 in her hometown of Tacoma, after a long illness. Her death was confirmed by Rev. Melvin Woodworth, pastor of Tacoma’s First Methodist Church, a church she attended until her health prevented her. She was 88 at the time of her death.
Girlfriend, Wife & Daughter
Ted Bundy was involved with a number of women. But the most prominent was Elizabeth Kloepfer, the woman who turned him in. They met in a bar and it did not take long for them to fall in love. She had been unaware of his crimes but contacted the police as soon as she became suspicious. In 1981, she published her book The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy under the pseudonym Liz Kendall. Since then, she has stayed out of the spotlight.
Ted Bundy met Carole Anne Boone when he was working for the Department of Emergency Services in Olympia, Washington. Bundy proposed to her in court, when she took the stand in his defense. An old Florida law provided that declaration of marriage in front of a judge is a binding agreement. When she accepted his proposal, Ted Bundy declared to the court that they were married.
While in prison, though they were not allowed conjugal visits, the inmates occasionally pooled their money together to bribe the guards to permit them alone time with their female visitors. Through this, Ted and Carole Anne conceived a daughter while he was a death row inmate. Very little is known about his daughter who has chosen to keep a low profile.
Three years to his execution, Carole Anne divorced him, changed her name, and left Florida for good. She has not been heard from ever since.
Is He Dead or Alive?
On the 24th of January, 1989, Ted Bundy died at 7:16 am in the electric chair at the Florida State Prison. He was 42 years old at the time of his death. His death was celebrated by spectators with champagne. His body was cremated in Gainesville. His ashes were scattered at an undisclosed location in accordance with his will.