Who did Ted Bundy kill and why

(20) Other possible victims of Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy confessed to a total of 31 murders, but the actual number of victims remains a mystery. Bundy himself had made several hints that the investigators were only aware of a fraction of his crimes. In 1980, for example, he said in an interview that for every murder attributed to him there would be an additional fatality. When FBI agents talked to him about the total number of victims and put the number 36 in the room, Bundy said, "Add a zero to the end and you'll have the correct number." Polly Nelson, his lawyer , in turn, told Bundy that the number 35 was correct. Robert Keppel, who had led the investigation in Washington, was convinced after the numerous interrogations of Bundy that the sum of the murder victims was far higher.

The night before Bundy's execution, FBI agent William Hagmeier made one last attempt to clear the matter up. He went through state after state with Bundy. Ted Bundy confessed the following 31 victims:

  • Washington: Eleven victims, eight of whom are known by name (including Kathleen Parks, who kidnapped Bundy in Oregon but killed in Washington); three women who could not be identified
  • Utah: eight victims (five known, three unidentified)
  • Colorado: four victims (all known)
  • Florida: three victims (all known)
  • Oregon: two victims (both unidentified)
  • Idaho: two victims (one known, one unidentified)
  • California: a victim (unidentified)

However, in 1987 Ted Bundy told Robert Keppel that he had committed some murders that he would never talk about because they either happened too close to his home, too close to his family, or the victims were too young to be he wanted to talk about it.

Ann Marie Burr

Eight-year-old Ann Marie Burr could belong to this latter group. She disappeared from her parents' home in Tacoma, Washington on August 31, 1961. At that time Ted Bundy was 14 years old and was working as a newspaper delivery person. The Burr house was on its daily route. Ann Marie Burr's father was sure he saw Bundy at a construction site the day his daughter went missing. The construction site was on the neighboring campus of the University of Puget Sound. Ann Marie Burr's father claimed that Ted Bundy was hiding in an excavation pit there.

There was probably other evidence to suggest Bundy's guilt. But the detectives investigating the case to date rule out that Bundy had anything to do with the crime. Bundy himself repeatedly denied having been Ann Marie Burr's murderer. He even wrote a letter to the Burr family affirming that he did not commit the crime. In 2011 another attempt was made to clarify the case. Trace material from the crime scene was compared with Ted Bundy's DNA. However, the evidence did not survive the long storage period of 50 years unscathed. The DNA comparison could therefore not be carried out.

Lisa E. Wick and Lonnie Trumbull

On June 23, 1966, an unknown perpetrator broke into the basement apartment of the two flight attendants Lisa E. Wick and Lonnie Trumbull (both 20). The apartment was in Queen Anne Hill, a neighborhood in Seattle, near a supermarket where Bundy was working at the time of the robbery. Lisa Wick and Lonnie Trumbull were regular customers there. The perpetrator surprised the two women in their sleep and hit them with a wooden club. Lonnie Trumbull died as a result of the attack and Lisa E. Wick suffered permanent memory loss after being hit on the head. Ted Bundy denied the crime and no concrete evidence against him emerged.

Susan Davis and Elizabeth Perry

19-year-old college students Susan Davis and Elizabeth Perry vacationed together in New Jersey. On May 30, 1969, her car was found next to the Garden State Parkway near the town of Somers Point. The corpses of the women were discovered three days later in a nearby forest. In an interview with forensic psychologist Art Norman, Ted Bundy mentioned that he murdered two women near Atlantic City in 1969. Between January and May 1969, Bundy studied at Temple University in Philadelphia. The city was about 100 kilometers north of the crime scene.

It is possible that Ted Bundy had already resorted to his false cast trick for this double homicide. His aunt Julia Cowell remembered wearing a cast on his leg the weekend of the crime. He told her that he broke his leg in a car accident. But the investigation showed that there was no record of such an accident in which Bundy could have been involved. The crime is considered unsolved, but the responsible investigators still consider Bundy to be the main suspect.

Rita Curran

Rita Curran, 24, was found dead on July 19, 1971 in her basement apartment in Burlington, Vermont. The perpetrator raped, killed and strangled the 24-year-old elementary school teacher, who also worked as a maid in a motel. The motel where Rita Curran worked was right next to the single mothers home where Ted Bundy was born. The location of the evidence at the crime scene bore many similarities to other Bundy crimes.

There was no clear evidence that Bundy was in Burlington at the time of the crime. However, there was a memo in the Burlington City Council archives that said a person named "Bundy" had been bitten by a dog in the days surrounding the murder. The police did not know exactly where Ted Bundy was hanging around in the summer of 1971. But the fact that he had visited the house where he was born didn't sound implausible. Officially, the Rita Curran case is considered unresolved.

Joyce LePage

Joyce LePage, 21, was last seen on July 22, 1971 on the Washington State University campus in Seattle. Nine months later, her body was found in a ravine near Pullman, Washington. The skeletonized body was tied up in a military blanket and carpet. There were several suspects in this case, including Ted Bundy. Nothing has changed in this state of affairs to this day.

Rita Lorraine Jolly and Vicki Lynn Hollar

Rita Lorraine Jolly, 17, disappeared from West Linn, Oregon on June 29, 1973. Vicki Lynn Hollar, 24, from Eugene, Oregon, has been missing since August 20, 1973. Ted Bundy had confessed to two murders in Oregon shortly before his execution, but without naming names or giving concrete evidence that would have made identification possible. Murder investigators from Oregon think it is likely that the victims mentioned could be Rita Jolly and Vicki Hollar.

Katherine Merry Devine and Brenda Baker Joy

14-year-old Katherine Frohe Devine was kidnapped on November 25, 1973. Her body was discovered a month later in the Capitol State Forest near Olympia, Washington. Brenda Baker Joy, also 14, was last seen hitchhiking near Puyallup, Washington on May 27, 1974. The body was found a month later in Millersylvania State Park. The responsible investigators were convinced that Ted Bundy was the killer. In an interview with Robert Keppel, Bundy denied any involvement in the crime. In 2002, a DNA analysis in the Katherine Devine case brought clarity. The perpetrator was a man named William E. Cosden with a multiple criminal record for rape. The murder of Brenda Baker Joy remains unsolved.

Sandra Jean Weber

Sandra Jean Weber, 19, was last seen in Salt Lake City on July 1, 1974. She was originally from Wisconsin but was living in Tooele, Utah at the time of her disappearance. Her body was found naked the following day near Grand Junction, Colorado. Ted Bundy reportedly gave her name the night before his execution. However, the sources contradict each other. To date, the murder case is officially unresolved.

Carol L. Valenzuela

Carol L. Valenzuela, 20, was hitchhiking near Vancouver, Washington, on August 2, 1974. Two months later, her body was discovered south of Olympia. Next to her remains was a second corpse that has not yet been identified. The unknown corpse was a woman who, like Carol Valenzuela, wore long hair that was parted in the middle. The police were able to use the credit card statement to prove that Ted Bundy had left Seattle for Salt Lake City in early August 1974. In theory, he could have made a “stopover” in Vancouver. Otherwise there is no evidence that Bundy was the murderer of Carol Valenzuela.

Arlis Perry

19-year-old Arlis Perry died under mysterious circumstances in the campus church of California's elite Stanford University. Her body was found near the altar in the early morning hours of October 12, 1974. The unknown killer had raped, beaten, strangled, and finally stabbed Arlis Perry with an ice pick. When the police arrested Ted Bundy in Utah in 1975, they discovered an ice ax in his VW Beetle among the other murderous tools. Bundy also knew Stanford University because he had received a scholarship there in the summer of 1968. His great love Stephanie Brooks lived in San Francisco, which was only 60 kilometers from Stanford.

However, there were also some reasons against Ted Bundy's perpetration. On the one hand, he had separated from Stephanie Brooks in February 1974 and completely stopped contact. In October 1974 he was proven to be in Salt Lake City. He would have had to travel 1,200 kilometers (one way) to commit this murder. Investigators also knew that he had refueled in Salt Lake City on October 11 and had a phone call at his home on the morning of October 13 at 3:24 a.m. While it was theoretically possible that he had committed the murder between these two timed events, it was very unlikely.

UPDATE: Arlis Perry's murder is now resolved. The alleged perpetrator was a security guard on the university campus who escaped arrest by suicide.

Melanie Suzanne Cooley

Suzy Cooley, 18, disappeared on April 15, 1975 after leaving Nederland High School in Nederland, Colorado. Road workers found her body 30 kilometers away in Coal Creek Canyon two weeks later. There are sources claiming Bundy refueled at nearby Golden on the day Cooley went missing. The FBI has compiled the most complete record of Bundy's whereabouts from the credit card receipts and other documented sources. There you can read other information for the relevant days:

  • April 14, 1975: Bundy refueling in Salt Lake City
  • April 15, 1975: Bundy attends lecture at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • April 17, 1975: Bundy refueling in Salt Lake City

The responsible investigative authorities in Jefferson County, Colorado, do not consider the evidence that speaks for Bundy's guilt in this case to be conclusive. The case remains unresolved.

Shelley Kay Robertson

Shelly Robertson, 24, of Golden, Colorado, did not show up for work on July 1, 1975. Two prospective mining engineers found their naked bodies on an excursion in a mine at Berthoud Pass near Winter Park Resort. In this case, too, Bundy allegedly refueled nearby at the time of the disappearance, although the official FBI timeline does not record any of this. The case is considered unresolved.

Nancy Perry Baird

Nancy Perry Baird (23) disappeared from her job on July 4, 1975 without a trace. She worked at a gas station in Farmington, Utah, about 30 kilometers north of Salt Lake City. Bundy has explicitly denied having anything to do with her murder.

Debbie Smith

17-year-old Debbie Smith was last seen in Salt Lake City in early February 1976. That was right before the trial of Carol DaRonch's kidnapping began. Bundy was out on bail until he was sentenced. Debbie Smith's body was found on April 1, 1976 near Salt Lake City Airport. The case is still unresolved.

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