*exercise caution in reading*
Theodore Robert Cowell, commonly known as Ted Bundy, was born in Burlington, Vermont on November 24, 1946. His mother, Eleanor Cowell, gave birth to him in a home for unwed mothers as she was young and single at the time of his conception, and to her deeply religious parents, Eleanor and her child were nothing but an embarrassment.
Theodore was adopted by his grandparents in Pennsylvania following his birth and was raised to believe that his mother was his sibling. A few years later, the mother and child would move together to Tacoma, Washington. In 1951, Eleanor Cowell would marry Johnnie Bundy, and Theodore would take his last name. Eleanor and Johnnie gave birth to their own children.
By age three, Theodore had a fascination with knives. He was shy but bright, and as he grew, other behaviors began to emerge as well. Theodore began to peer into women’s windows and steal a variety of items.
There is speculation as to when Theodore began his string of murders. In 1961, much earlier than any of his confirmed murders, eight year old Ann Marie Burr vanished from her home in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. It was later reported that someone had been peering into the Burrs’ window just two nights before. Theodore would have been a teenager.
While attending the University of Washington, Theodore fell in love with a wealthy woman from California. She was his ideal partner. Their breakup devastated him, and it seems that many of his victims would resemble his college girlfriend whom he held such an infatuation for; young, white, with dark hair parted down the middle. He also had a specific pattern of behavior in which he would attack and beat his victims to death.
Theodore graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in psychology in 1972. He was accepted into law school in Utah. Theodore had transformed himself into a seemingly outgoing, confident individual. He became active politically, earning a letter of recommendation from the republican governor of Washington after Theodore had worked on his campaign.
It was 1974 when women in the Washington and Oregon areas began to go missing – news sources reported that they had last been seen with a handsome, dark-haired male named “Ted.” He seemed to feign injuries, luring the young girls to his car and knocking them unconscious before they could come to realize his sinister intentions.
When Ted moved to Utah to attend law school, women began to disappear there as well. The following year, he was pulled over by police – a nonchalant search of his vehicles uncovered what appeared to be burglary tools; a crowbar, face mask, rope, and handcuffs. He was arrested for the possession of these items and police began to link him to more egregious crimes.
In 1975, Ted was convicted for the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch, one of the few to escape him. He received a one to fifteen year sentence.
In 1977, he was indicted for the murder of a young Colorado woman. Having gone to law school, Ted decided to act as his own lawyer for this case. He was known for his displeasure with the work ethic of his own defense throughout his various years of trials. He used this distinguishment to procure items like books, typewriters, and special visits while he was in prison. He also sought and received extra time for physical activity. During a visit to the courthouse library, directly before trial, Ted jumped out a window. He was captured eight days later. Later that year, Ted escaped from police custody once again. He had gradually dropped over 30 pounds to fit through a hole he made in the ceiling, having blamed authorities for his more pale and malnourished appearance, citing lack of exercise and filling food. As Ted had counted on, jailers did not discover that Bundy had disappeared for 15 hours; giving him a head start. This time, he knew what to do to evade them.
Ted made his way to Tallahassee, Florida. He was able to pass as a college student despite being 31 years old. He stole credit cards, identification cards, and license plates, which he would switch out on cars that he would steal and use temporarily. He developed several new identities, even renting a living space only a handful of blocks away from where he would attack his next victims.
On January 14, 1978, Ted broke into a sorority house located at Florida State University. He attacked four girls, ending two of their lives. The same night, as paramedics attended to the gruesome scene of the Chi Omega house, Ted ran just a few buildings away and attacked another woman in her apartment. Following the attacks, Ted left Tallahassee. After a failed attempt at murder-kidnapping in Jacksonville, Ted moved on to Lake City, where he lured 12-year-old Kimberly Leach to her death.
After a short time on the run, Bundy was apprehended by Florida officers.
By 1980, he had accumulated 3 death sentences and 36 victims confirmed dead.
His charm and intellect made him popular among women and the media during his trials. Even law enforcement officers lightheartedly joked with him. Leading up to his death, Ted had married and impregnated his wife, Carole Ann Boone.
Ted appealed his death sentence for years, attempting to take his case as high as the Supreme Court. He even offered up information on unsolved cases, and aided in police efforts to catch the “Green River Killer,” Gary Ridgeway, to avoid the fate that was so looming. For the first time in his years of trials, in front of his wife and mother, Ted cried. He was sentenced to death; Florida’s electric chair, known as “Old Sparky.”
Theodore was executed on January 24, 1989. His last words were “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.”
He placed two calls to his mother prior to his execution, in which she uttered some of her famous last words to him; “You’ll always be my precious son.”
It is thought that Ted had over 100 victims; women who will never have the justice of recognition.
Jolie Suarez, Staff Writer
Junior Jolie Suarez is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. While binge-watching The Vampire Diaries, she eats salt and vinegar chips, Twizzlers, Wendy’s, Sour Patch Kids, and drinks Olive Garden limontas. You may deliver these foods at any reasonable hour to the main office for her.