On 31 January 1974, a student at the University of Washington, in Seattle, Lynda Ann Healy, vanished from her room; the bedsheets were bloodstained, suggesting that she had been badly struck on the head. During the following March, April and May, three more girl students vanished with two more in June. In July, two girls vanished on the same day. It happened at Lake Sammanish. A number of people saw a good-looking young man, with his arm in a sling, accost a girl named Janice Ott and ask her to help him lift a boat on to the roof of his car, she walked away with him and did not return. Later, a girl named Denise Naslund was accosted by the same young man, she also vanished. He had been heard to introduce himself as 'Ted'.
In October 1974 the killings shifted to Salt Lake City; three girls disappeared in one month. In November, the police had their first break in the case: a girl named Carol DaRonch was accosted by a young man who said he was a detective, he lead her back to his car and he snapped a handcuff on her wrist and pointed a gun at her head; she fought and screamed, and managed to jump from his car. That evening, a girl student vanished on her way to meet her brother. A handcuff key was found near the place from which she had been taken.
Meanwhile, the Seattle police had fixed on a young man named Ted Bundy as a main suspect. For the past six years, he had been involved in a close relationship with a divorcee named Meg Anders, but she had called the relationship off. After the Lake Sammanish disappearances, she had seen a photofit drawing of the wanted 'Ted' in the Seattle Times and thought it looked like Bundy. She telephoned the police. They told her that they had already checked on Bundy; but at the suggestion of the Seattle Police, Carol DaRonch was shown Bundys photograph. She tentatively identified it as resembling the man who had tried to abduct her, but was obviously far from sure, as Bundy had been in disguise at the attempted kidnapping.
In January, March, April, July and August 1975, more girls vanished in Colorado. (Their bodies-or skeletons-were found later in remote spots.) On 16 August 1975, Bundy was arrested for the first time. As a police car was driving along a dark street in Salt Lake City, a parked Volkswagen launched into motion; the policeman followed, and it accelerated. He caught up with the car at a service station, and found in the car a pantyhose mask, a crow-bar, an icepick and various other tools; there was also a pair of handcuffs.
Bundy, 29 years old, seemed an unlikely burglar. He was a graduate of the University of Washington, and was in Utah to study law; he had worked as a political campaigner, and for the Crime Commission in Seattle. In his room there was nothing suspicious - except maps of Colorado, from which five girls had vanished that year. Also strands of hair were found in his car that came from some of the missing girls. Carol DaRonch had meanwhile identified Bundy from a police line-up, and bloodspots on her clothes - where she had scratched her assailant - were of Bundys group. Credit card receipts showed that Bundy had been close to various places from which girls had vanished in Colorado.
The evidence was, admittedly, circumstantial, but taken all together, it formed a powerful case. The central objection to it became apparent as soon as Bundy walked into court. He looked so decent and clean-cut that most people felt there must be some mistake.
The case seemed to be balanced on a knife-edge - until the judge pronounced a sentence of guilty of kidnapping. Bundy sobbed and pleaded not to be sent to prison; but the judge sentenced him to a period between one and fifteen years.
The Colorado authorities now charged him with the murder of a girl called Caryn Campbell, who had been abducted from a ski resort where Bundy had been seen by a witness. After a morning courtroom session in Aspen, Bundy succeeded in wandering into the library during the lunch recess, and jumping out of the window. He was recaptured eight days later, tired and hungry, and driving a stolen car.
Legal arguments dragged on for another six months - what evidence was admissable and what was not. And on 30 December 1977, Bundy escaped again, using a hacksaw blade to cut through an imperfectly welded steel plate above the light fixture in his cell. He made his way to Chicago, then south to Florida; there, near the Florida State University in Tallahassee, he took a room. A few days later, a man broke into a nearby sorority house and attacked four girls with a club, knocking them unconscious; one was strangled with her pantyhose and raped; another died on her way to the hospital. One of the strangled girls nipples had almost been bitten off, and she had a bite mark on her left buttock. Bundy then fled after a neighbour got suspicious.
Three weeks later, on 6 February 1978, Bundy - who was calling himself Chris Hagen - stole a white Dodge van and left Tallahassee; he stayed in the Holiday Inn, using a stolen credit card. The following day a 12-year-old girl named Kimberly Leach walked out of her classroom in Lake City, Florida, and vanished.
At 4 a.m. on 15 February, a police patrolman noticed an orange Volkswagen driving suspiciously slowly, and radioed for a check on its number; it proved to be stolen from Tallahassee. After a struggle and a chase, during which he tried to kill the policeman, Bundy was captured yet again. When the police learned his real name, and that he had just left a town in which five girls had been attacked, they suddenly understood the importance of his capture.
On 7 April, a party of searchers along the Suwanee river found the body of Kimberly Leach in an abandoned hut; she had been strangled and sexually violated. Three weeks later, surrounded by hefty guards, Bundy allowed impressions of his teeth to be taken, for comparison with the marks on the buttocks of the dead student, Lisa Levy.
Bundys trial began on 25 June 1979, and the evidence against him was damning; a witness who had seen him leaving the sorority house after the attacks; a pantyhose mask found in a room of the sorority house, which resembled the one found in Bundys car; but above all, the fact that Bundys teeth matched the marks on Lisa Levys buttocks. The jury took only six hours to find him guilty on all counts. Judge Ed Cowart pronounced sentence of death by electrocution.
Bundy was taken to Raiford prison, Florida, where he was placed on Death Row. On 2 July 1986, when he was due to die a few hours before serial killer Gerald Stano, both were granted a stay of execution.
Time finally ran out for Bundy in January 1989. Long before this, he had recognised that his fatal mistake was to decline to enter into plea bargaining at his trial; the result was a death sentence instead of life imprisonment. Bundy then made a last-minute attempt to save his life by offering to bargain murder confessions for a reprieve but failed.
On 24 January, 7 a.m., Bundy was executed at the electric chair at Starke State prison, Florida.
It is quite unclear how many people Ted Bundy killed, figures showed he killed at least 23 women although some say it was between twenty and forty. Bundy himself told the police that in ran into double figures.