WARNING: This story includes talk of sexual assault, brutal attacks and murder. Reader discretion is advised.
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Ted Bundy, one of the most infamous serial killers in the United States, was arrested in 1978 in Pensacola, Fla. At the time, WKRG News 5 covered the arrest, and the video above is the original reporting on the story.
WKRG News 5 is looking back at the crimes that shocked the Gulf Coast. Ted Bundy’s story is the sixth in the series.
Theodore Roosevelt Bundy was born on Nov. 24, 1946, and lived with his maternal grandparents growing up. According to Insider, Bundy was brought up believing his mother was his sister. A forensic psychologist told Insider that Bundy would watch violent pornography. Some members of law enforcement believe that Bundy’s first kill was when he was a teenager. They suspect he killed a neighborhood girl.
Bundy’s first known attack was in January of 1974 when he attacked Karen Sparks, 18, who went to school at the University of Washington. Bundy allegedly broke into her apartment, sexually assaulted her and beat her. Sparks did survive, however she was left with severe brain damage and does not remember the attack.
Bundy committed his first murder just a month later when he killed University of Washington student, Lynda Ann Healy, after breaking into her apartment and kidnapping her on Feb. 1, 1974. Between January and July of that same year, it is believed Bundy killed eight women in Seattle, including:
- Lynda Healy
- Donna Mason
- Susan Rancourt
- Brenda Ball
- Georgeann Hawkins
- Denise Naslund
Two of the women have not been named. During this time, it is also believed Bundy killed Roberta Parks in Oregon.
Bundy moved to Salt Lake City in the middle of 1974 to attend law school. He allegedly murdered Nancy Wilcox, Melissa Smith, Laura Aime and Debi Kent between October and November 1974.
On Nov. 8, 1974, Bundy attempted to kidnap Carol DaRonch while shopping. According to DaRonch’s testimony, Bundy stopped her while shopping posed as a police officer. He allegedly told DaRonch that there was an attempted theft of her car and asked her to come outside and file a police report.
Bundy told DaRonch that police were holding a suspect at the station and he needed her to come with him to the station. On the way, he pulled over, handcuffed her and attempted to hit her with a crowbar. She was, however, able to escape. She reported the incident to the police, which led to his arrest in August 1975 when he was pulled over by an officer. The officer found handcuffs, a rope and an icepick.
Before being arrested for DaRonches attempted kidnapping, Bundy killed even more women between January and August 1975:
- Caryn Eileen Campbell
- Julie Ann Cunningham
- Denise Lynn Oliverson
- Lynette Dawn Culver
- Susan Curtis
It was around this time that Bundy’s long-time girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, called the police to tell them about her suspicions about Bundy. Kloepfer had seen all of the news about the kidnappings and murders and she gave Bundy’s name to the police. After the phone call, officers asked if Kloepfer would come in for an interview, and she did.
He mentioned an incident about following a sorority girl. When he was out late at night he would follow people like that. But he tried not to but he just did anyway.Elizabeth Kloepfer during an interview with detectives
In March 1976, Bundy was convicted of aggravated kidnapping for the DaRonch crime. He was sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of 15 years, but since he was a suspect in Campell’s murder, he was sent to Utah to stand trial for the case.
While he was in a pre-trial hearing for Campbell’s murder in 1977, Bundy jumped out of a window on the second floor of the courtroom and ran. Six days later Bundy was located by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and went straight to trial.
After his escape, Bundy was charged with five new crimes. These charges included two counts of felonious escape, one count of burglary and one count of auto theft. He also was charged with one misdemeanor charge of theft.
On Dec. 30, 1977, Bundy was able to escape jail. Bundy had removed the light fixture from his cell, slid through the hole, crawled through the ceiling, dropped down in a different location and walked out of jail, according to the sheriff’s department.
It was at this time that Bundy made his way to Tallahassee, Fla. and the Florida State University campus. Bundy adopted a new identity, Chris Hagen, and was living in an apartment near the school. On Jan. 15, 1978, Bundy broke into the Chi Omega sorority house killing two women and severely injuring another two. Bundy beat and strangled Margaret Brown and Lisa Levy to death. He beat Karen Chandler and Kathy Kleiner, but they survived the attack.
After leaving the Chi Omega house that morning, Bundy broke into a home a few blocks away and attacked Cheryl Ann Thomas. He broke her jaw and severed a nerve ending near her ear, according to Insider.
Bundy then murdered his youngest victim on Feb. 9, 1978. Kimberly Leach, just 12 years old at the time, was near her Tallahassee middle school when Bundy kidnapped her. Her body was later found in April of that year; Kimberly had been strangled.
On Feb. 15, 1978, Bundy was driving right outside of Pensacola when Pensacola Police Officer David Lee pulled him over on West Cervantes Street. Officer Lee noticed the car Bundy was driving had been reported stolen, which is why he pulled Bundy over. Bundy resisted arrest, leading Officer Lee to fire two warning shots.
Bundy decided to represent himself during his trial in June 1979 for the murders of the two Chi Omega sisters who had been murdered. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by an electric chair. Bundy then went on trial in Orlando for the murder of Kimberly Leach in 1980. For this, he was also found guilty and sentenced to death.
During the Kimberly Leach trial, Bundy married Carol Ann Boone. Bundy proposed to Boone while she was testifying on the stand during the trial. In 1981, Boone gave birth to their daughter, Rose. The marriage of the two did not last long, however, and they divorced in 1986.
Bundy was executed by an electric chair on Jan. 24, 1989, at Florida State Prison. Bundy’s last words were allegedly, “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.” Bundy confessed to killing 36 women, but some believe he killed upwards of 100.