Inside Ted Bundy's 'Shockingly Evil and Vile' Reign of Terror as New Biopic Premieres
AN UNASSUMING PREDATOR WHO BLENDED IN
Dressed in a preppy turtleneck behind the wheel of his trademark VW Beetle, Bundy fit right in when he was stalking his prey, gaining trust by wearing a fake sling on his arm, using crutches or pretending to be a member of law enforcement to get his victims into the car. There, he would hit them with a crowbar to subdue them before handcuffing, raping, strangling them and more.
FIRST KNOWN VICTIM: U. WASHINGTON STUDENT LYNDA ANN HEALY
Young women began vanishing in Washington state around the time Bundy was attending law school at the University of Puget Sound. His first confirmed victim was Lynda Ann Healy, 21, a University of Washington student he abducted and strangled after breaking into her apartment on February 1, 1974.
Healy’s skull was found on March 3, 1976, in a location that became known as “Bundy’s graveyard” where he dumped many of his victims’ bodies.
1975: ARRESTED FOR FIRST TIME
After killing more than a dozen women, Bundy was arrested for the first time in August 1975 after being chased by a Utah officer who found a ski mask, handcuffs and a crowbar inside his car. He was released the next day on bail.
Two months later, Carol DaRonch, 18, identified him as the man who tried to abduct her in 1974 at a shopping mall. Found guilty of aggravated kidnapping on March 1, 1976, he was sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in a Utah state prison. But he didn’t stay there for long.
1977: BUNDY ESCAPES POLICE CUSTODY
Moved from the Utah prison to an Aspen, Colorado, jail to face charges for the 1975 murder of Caryn Campbell, a 23-year-old nurse he kidnapped and killed while she was visiting a ski resort, Bundy pleaded not guilty in May 1977 and was ordered to stand trial.
While researching his defense in the courthouse law library in June 1977, he made a daring escape by jumping from a second-story window. Caught five days later, he was sent to yet another Colorado jail.
BUNDY ESCAPES AGAIN, IN DRAMATIC FASHION
On December 30, 1977, while being held in the Glenwood Springs, Colorado, jail, a near-skeletal Bundy was able to escape his tiny cell by squeezing his body through a light fixture opening in the ceiling. He fled to Florida, where, in the early morning hours of Jan. 15, 1978, he crept into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University, brandishing a club and preying on its unsuspecting occupants.
His murderous rampage left co-eds Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy dead and three more women seriously injured. Hairs he unknowingly left behind at the scene helped convict him.
BUNDY'S LAST VICTIM: GIRL, 12, HE GRABBED OUT OF SCHOOL
On Feb. 9, 1978, Kimberly Leach, 12, was kidnapped by Bundy from her junior high school in the middle of a school day.
After raping and strangling Leach to death, he left her body in a pigpen. This would be his last murder. In Feb. 1980, he was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering Leach and was sentenced to death. He was executed on Jan. 24, 1989.
BUNDY SURVIVORS SPEAK OUT
Carol DaRonch reluctantly got into Bundy’s car in Utah in 1974 when he flashed a badge and told the 18-year-old she needed to come down to the police station. When he pulled over and cuffed her wrist, she fought him off and went on to testify against him, leading to his first conviction for attempted kidnapping.
PTSD kept survivor Rhonda Stapley from speaking about being raped by Bundy for 37 years. That changed when she published a 2016 book about how she healed from the ordeal: I Survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape & PTSD That Changed My Life.
NETFLIX FILM PUTS KILLER BACK IN SPOTLIGHT
On Friday, Netflix will air its long-awaited, controversial biopic on Bundy. Starring Zac Efron as the twisted killer, the story is told from the perspective of Bundy’s long-suffering girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins), as she struggles to accept the reality of who her boyfriend really is.
ELIZABETH KLOEPFER: BUNDY'S LONGTIME GIRLFRIEND
Bundy met Elizabeth Kloepfer in 1969 in Washington when she worked as a secretary at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Kloepfer was divorced and had a small daughter from her previous relationship when she met Bundy in a bar.
She was in denial about his crimes for a time — but she reported him to police several times when she recognized him from a sketch shown on television.
Using a pseudonym, Kloepfer wrote a book about her time with Bundy. The book is called The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy and is still available online.
END OF BUNDY'S REIGN OF TERROR
After sitting on death row for 10 years, Bundy was executed for his crimes on January 24, 1989. His last words, addressed to his lawyer and a Methodist minister, were: "Jim and Fred, I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends."
Though Bundy's reign of terror ended with his death, the memories persist for the families of his dozens of victims, some of whom are pictured here.