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ISBN (hardback) 978-1-4222-4718-1 ISBN (series) 978-1-4222-4713-6 ISBN (ebook) 978-1-4222-7104-9

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Developed and Produced by National Highlights, Inc. Editor: Regency House Publishing Limited Interior and cover design: Tara Raymo • CreativelyTara

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CONTENTS Introduction ............................................................. 7 Chapter 1: The Perfect Guy ...................................... 15 Chapter 2: The Prolific Serial Killer .......................... 25 Chapter 3: Escape Number One ................................ 37 Chapter 4: Escape Number Two ............................... 45 Chapter 5: Evading Police ........................................ 51 Chapter 6: The Most Notorious Serial Killer Dies ........ 57 Further Reading/Educational Videos ........................ 60 Bibliography/Citations ............................................ 61 Index ..................................................................... 62 Author’s Biography/Photo Credits ............................ 64

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Ted Bundy


I n 1974, a woman went missing. Annually, about 661,000 people go missing in the U.S. Most of these cases law enforcement solves quickly. Within a year, police resolve about 659,000 missing persons cases. So, when the young woman went missing, no one suspected that she would become the first known victim of one of the world’s most notorious serial killers. The term “serial killer” did not exist yet. A journalist coined the term in a 1981 article in the New York Times . On February 1, 1974, Lynda Ann Healy became the first woman Ted Bundy kidnapped and killed. Eventually, in 1989, just before he died in the electric chair, Bundy confessed to 36 specific murders. Authorities believe that he may have murdered at least 100 women. He explained to authorities, once he decided to confess, that the confession would require more than the two days he had left before his execution. Law enforcement declined to request a stay of execution though. For the 36 women he did have the opportunity to discuss, he provided details of their kidnappings, murders, rapes, and mutilations, and where he’d disposed of their bodies. Healy became the first woman he admitted to killing, but law enforcement also suspects him of having killed an eight-year-old girl in his childhood neighborhood when he was 14 years old. On August

Ted Bundy in custody in July 1978, ten years before his state execution in 1989.



31, 1961, Ann Marie Burr disappeared from the suburban Tacoma, Washington, bedroom she shared with her three-year old sister, Julie. Law enforcement never discovered her remains. Her case remains unsolved. When a police officer once inquired whether he’d killed all of the women the police suspected he had killed, he quipped that they should add a digit, indicating that he had murdered at least 100. A quick glance at the Doe website, an online database of all missing and unidentified individuals by state, shows that many women who went missing

Ted Bundy as a senior in high school.

in the early 1970s remain missing. Although we know that Bundy kidnapped and killed women as early as 1974, other women in the database who disappeared the year before that match his type. So do women here and there in prior years. They look like Ted’s type, but authorities have no way of determining whether he killed them, because they found no remains. Georgeann Hawkins’s name appears on the Doe website, because police never found her remains. Ted Bundy confessed to killing her though, describing the time and manner, and explaining where he’d disposed of her body. Born on November 24, 1946, university student Ted Bundy just didn’t make a realistic candidate for serial killer in 1974. The 28-


Ted Bundy

year-old Republican campaign worker appeared affable, intellectual, and fun. Tall, athletic, and well-built, with a handsome face that featured high cheek bones and big blue eyes, Bundy looked all the part of a Hollywood actor. Later, Mark Harmon and Zac Efron would play him in films. Neither needed makeup to look like him. The charming, educated Bundy used his wiles and looks to lure women to accompany him or help him. He developed intricate ruses to trick them. Ted also devoted himself to education, entering law school after obtaining his undergraduate degree in psychology. Whether at a university mixer, law class, political fundraiser, or disco, Ted Bundy blended in because he had taught himself how to alter his personality to suit his audience. It wasn’t always like that. Ted’s first escape was his childhood home, a macabre place where he’d been reared to believe that his grandparents, Samuel Cowell and Eleanor Longstreet Cowell, were his parents, and his mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, was his sister. Shades of a V.C. Andrews novel aside, when Bundy found his birth certificate as a youth, he learned part of the truth. The birth certificate listed his mother as Cowell, who went by her middle name, and a father named Lloyd Marshall, a salesman and Air Force veteran. Journalists have never located the recorded father. Louise gave birth in Burlington, Vermont, at the Elizabeth Lund Maternity Home for Unwed Mothers. Because of family confessions, law enforcement now believes that his father was his grandfather, Samuel, and that he was conceived when his mother’s father molested her. The unmarried Cowell, 22, left her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Vermont to hide her pregnancy. Originally, her parents told her she must give up the child for adoption. Louise could not do it. She begged them to help her keep her baby, so her parents



Theodore Robert Cowell was born in Burlington,Vermont on November 24, 1946. He would later be known as Ted Bundy.

posed as Ted’s parents. The complex household became more chaotic once she moved in with her infant. Bundy later explained to psychiatrist Dorothy Otnow Lewis that one of his aunts had molested him while they both lived in the same home. It was before he knew the truth of his birth, so at the time, he thought she was his sister. His early deviant behavior jibes with a reaction to sexual abuse. Even as a child, Ted could turn on the charm. His Aunt Julia (nicknamed Julie) recalled to Dr. Lewis how adorable he had appeared when playing with his little red wagon. In the same interview, she recalled when she had found that he had placed knives throughout her bed. The latter incident occurred when he was three years old. His mother, Louise, recognized the problems in her parents’ household. After the knives incident, she moved with Ted from her family’s home in Philadelphia to her cousin’s home in Tacoma,


Ted Bundy

Washington. The year was 1950, and Louise marked the event by legally changing her name to Louise Nelson. Surrounded by her cousins in a healthier environment, Louise eventually began dating. She met Johnny Culpepper Bundy, a cook who worked at an area hospital, at a church social in 1951. Bundy provided the type of man she’d never known—caring and sweet. The smitten Louise and he married after just a year of dating. Bundy adopted young Ted, providing him with love, support, and the Bundy last name. Johnny Bundy attempted to create a normal household environment for both Louise and Ted. He and his new wife showed their love for one another by having four children together during the first few years of their marriage. Ted found himself the big brother. Like many posthumous accounts of an individual’s life, the facts of Ted and his stepfather’s relationship varies, depending on the interviewee. Some say that Ted found his stepdad poor and unintelligent. Others provide photos of Johnny and Ted coming home from a fishing trip or posing for other father-and-son photos. Most people agree, though,

that from his youth, Ted Bundy experienced periods of extreme moodiness. Teddy, as his mother lovingly called him, could swing from sweet to seething quickly. He sometimes distanced himself from the rest of the family. Always a study in contrasts while growing up, he earned

In 1950, Ted and his mother moved to Tacoma, Washington.



good grades and participated in school activities. Although his mother and stepfather attended First United Methodist Church regularly and devoted themselves to Bible study, Ted preferred to simply accompany them to church once per week. From birth, Ted Bundy had known his grandfather as his father figure, and Samuel remained the guiding example in his life. The alcoholic Samuel provided his role model. Neighbors would recall to reporters and police that Samuel Cowell regularly beat his wife and the family pets, frequently verbally abused people, and exhibited both racist and sexist tendencies. Ted’s grandmother, Eleanor, diagnosed with severe depression, underwent electroconvulsive therapy, commonly called “shock therapy,” as a treatment. Some of Bundy’s early neighbors describe a creepy boy who scared them. Others describe a squeaky-clean kid with a paper route, similar to the fictional character Wally Cleaver. In truth, Ted Bundy could swing from a Wally-like sweetness

to a dangerous version of the Wally character’s best friend, Eddie Haskell. Leave It To Beaver was a show that Bundy likely watched growing up, as most of America did during its six-season run from 1957 to 1963. When watching video of his trial, journalists and law enforcement officers would comment that Bundy would act. He would do an imitation of a normal person, as one official put it. But Bundy had to act, since he had never known normal behavior during his formative

As a child, Bundy was known by neighbors as a creepy boy who scared them.


Ted Bundy

Bundy in a Miami courtroom in 1979. During his trial, observers commented that Bundy’s personality appeared normal.

years. According to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, healthy development from birth to three years is most important as the foundation for:

• Responsible citizenship, • Educational achievement,

• Economic productivity, • Long-term health, and • Future success as a parent. It took years of study, but Ted Bundy did develop a normal personality. He also developed a deviant personality. With practice, for many years, he managed to keep only the normal Ted showing. Deviant Ted he hid, sating himself with violent illustrated detective stories and pornography.




Ted Bundy

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