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Theodore Robert Bundy

Kills:Unknown. Confessed to 30, but once claimed 37.

Aliases:Ted, Chris Hagen

Area:Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Florida.

Active Killing Period: Early 1974 - 1978

Born: 24/11/46

Status:Deceased - Electrocution, 25/1/89, Florida.

Modus Operandi:

Bundy would often pose as an injured man, wearing a sling on his arm. Acting as a security guard or student requiring help he abducted, sexually assaulted and battered to death up to 40 women who resembled his ex-fiance. Similarities between the victims were that they were all white, thin, single, wearing trousers at the time of the attack, had long hair with a centre parting.

The attacks usually took place in the evening, and Bundy often used his light brown VW Bug in the abductions, and was driving it when finally caught. In the car police found a crowbar, ski mask, rope, handcuffs, wire, and an ice pick.


Bundy was born in 1946, the illegitimate child of 22 year old Eleanor Louise Cowell, a girl from a strict family. His father was an Air Force Veteran called Lloyd Marshall, who Ted never knew.

Bundy was led to believe that his mother was in actual fact his sister, to cover up the family's shame, and didn't find out the truth until later in his life.

When Bundy was four years old he moved with his mother to Tacoma, Washington to live with relatives, and his surname was changed from Cowell to Nelson. A year after the move to Washington, Bundy's mother married an army cook by the name of Johnnie Culpepper Bundy, from whom Ted now takes his surname.

Bundy had four younger siblings, who he was often required to babysit. Ted never really took to his new father, despite attempts on behalf of Johnnie Bundy to raise him as his own. The only man Bundy ever really respected was his grandfather from Pennsylvania, a violent man who often hit his wife, and who Bundy was angry about having been moved away from.

As a child, Bundy alleged that he was molested by a male relative, and that his mother showed him no affection. He was a shy boy and was often teased by bullies in his junior high school, who pulled many pranks on him. At a young age he began to mutilate animals and spy on young females, a result of an accidental glimpse of a young girl undressing in a bedroom window.

However, this shows only the dark side to Bundy's childhood. He had interests in skiing, and at high school his interest in politics really began to take off. He was a remarkably bright student who graduated high school in 1965, and won a scholarship to the University of Puget Sound, later transferring to Washington. He supported himself through university by working small jobs such as waitering.

He worked as a volunteer at a suicide hotline, and being a handsome man, began dating a society girl named Stephanie Brooks in 1967. Unfortunately for Bundy she called off their engagement, devestating him.

It was also at this time that Bundy found out the true nature of his parentage, and that the woman he had always believed to be his sister was, in fact, his mother. This news, along with the break up of his relationship with Stephanie caused a change in Bundy. He became much more confident, and began to dominate social interactions.

Bundy began to send out applications to law schools, at one of which, with his excellent past education record, he was soon accepted, going on to defend himself in court.

He also met Meg Anders, a relationship that lasted nearly 5 years. She reports that Bundy sometimes liked to tie her up during sex, the first signs of the sexual sadism which later led him to kill. The first instance of violent behaviour towards a stranger on Bundy's part appeared in 1972, when he inflicted serious harm on a woman asleep in her apartment. His first murder occured a few weeks later when he abducted another woman he found asleep, taking her to a remote spot where he raped and killed her.

Not all of his attempts at murder were successful. On January the 4th 1974, the roommates of Joni Lenz found her to be in a terrible condition in her bed, having serious injury to the head, and a bed rod rammed into her vagina. Joni was taken to hospital in a coma, but survived with brain damage which affected her for the rest of her life. She was one of the lucky few.

This few also included Carol DaRonch, who managed to break free from Bundy by kicking him in the genitals and scrambling into a passing couple's car. She was later able to identify Bundy as her attacker in a police line up.

Bundy continued killing until captured by the police in 1975. He was originally arrested for firing at a police officer who was chasing him for dangerous driving. The items found in his car linked him to his crimes as well as credit card receipts for petrol bought in towns where girls had been killed, and he was later identified in a line up by Carol DaRonch as being the man who had attacked her. Jean Graham and a friend of Debby Kent's also picked him out as the man they had seen wandering around campus the night that Debby Kent disappeared.

However, he escaped from prison on June 7th 1977 by jumping out of a window whilst on a trip to the library to prepare his defence case. He lasted six days before being caught driving a stolen car, and was brought back in.

A later escape attempt was more successful. He crawled into the ceiling of the prison and found a space to crawl down again in a jailer's appartment. He then simply waited until the appartment was empty and walked to freedom. He fled to Florida, where he assumed the false identity of Chris Hagen and rented a one room appartment. In Florida he killed twice more before capture, his last victim being a 12 year old girl. He was caught for driving a stolen car, which had been described by a girl he had attempted to abduct.

On death row Bundy was married to his girlfriend Carole Ann Boone. Bundy professed his innocence to the last, but after several failed appeals he was executed.

Analysis: Psychologists who studied Bundy at the time of his crimes found that he was not "psychotic, neurotic, the victim of organic brain disease, alcoholic, addicted to drugs, suffering from a character disorder or amnesia, and was not a sexual deviate." They concluded that he had "a strong dependency on women, and deduced that that dependency was suspect." They also suggested that he had a fear of being humiliated in his relationships with women.

It is likely that part of Bundy's problem arose from a need for power. In childhood he was often made to feel helpless. He was angry at having been taken away from his grandfather, who he greatly respected, but could do nothing to prevent the departure from happening. He was also bullied at school, which would have made him feel that he had no control over what happened to him.

A symptom of this need for power was that his violent acts began as actions against animals. He could completely dominate these creatures, and they became the helpless victims rather than him.

His need for dominance also manifested itself in his sexual activities. Bundy's long term girlfriend Meg Anders reported that he had little interest in sex with her during the last year of their relationship, but that when sex did occur he insisted on bondage games, with her as the subserviant party. It may be, as with many killers, that his bondage fantasies and the practice of tying down Meg Anders ceased to satisfy him, and in order to feel fulfilled he had to take it a stage further - to the kill.

The idea that Bundy had about sex being linked to control may have come from the sexual abuse he claimed to have experienced as a child. This may have led him to believe that sex was not something to be enjoyed, but something to be used as a symbol of dominance.

Lust crimes such as those commited by Ted Bundy quite often have little to do with the act of sex itself, but more to do with power over the victim. This idea is supported in Bundy's case by the use of inanimate objects to sexually assault his victims, such as the bed rod used on Joni Lenz. Bundy would not recieve sexual gratification from this act, but it showed that he controlled what happened to the girl.

Bundy's view of women was probably shaped by his early experiences. His relationship with his mother was highly unusual, since for a long time he believed her to be his sister. They did not have a loving relationship, and Bundy never really accepted his step-father. Due to this, his main attachment figure seems to have been his grandfather, a man who often abused and beat his wife. This was not a good example to set to a young child. However, this attachment was broken when his mother took him to Washington. As Harlow showed with experiments on monkeys in 1958, an infant who does not form proper attachments in childhood can grow up to be antisocial and violent.

Later on in life Bundy had another very important attachment broken when Stephanie Brooks broke off their engagement. It was at this time that Bundy changed and began to become more dominant in social situations.

Ted attempted to take control of the situation with Stephanie by later reigniting the relationship only to shun her at a later date. It is no coincidence that many of the girls Bundy attacked bore a strong resemblance to Stephanie. Bundy felt he had to prove over and over again that he was in control and that she didn't have power over him.

Quotes: "What's one less person on the face of the earth anyway?" - Ted Bundy

To see more detail of Bundy's crimes and victims, click here or on any of the names above.