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Theodore Robert Cowell, also known as Ted Bundy, was a man who attended law school and took part in Seattle’s crime prevention agency where he was socially recognized as the assistant director, however, no one suspected this seemingly normal young man of being a serial sex killer who by the end of his life was known to have killed more than 36 women and girls. He was also revealed as a necrophiliac and despite escaping prison twice was eventually put to death. The story of Ted Bundy has been told and retold many times this man committed heinous crimes, however according to the police he did not fit the profile for a serial killer. Many considered him charming and outgoing, even police chief Norman Chapman who arrested Bundy said this about him ”He was very personable, very charismatic, very unalarming, and see, that’s a dangerous thing.’ Many had no idea about the mask he put on, those who had seen Bundy’s true colors were found with their heads bashed in or their bodies dismembered. There are many questions that surround the name Ted Bundy, why did he kill, why was he so filled with hatred and did this man even have a conscious? So many questions and so little answers.
What exactly caused so much hatred and demise towards these innocent women? Psychiatrist Dr. Dorthy Otnow Lewis believes she knows, while Ted Bundy was on trial she interviewed the infamous killer and stated this about him, “‘Extraordinary bizarre behavior…’ the kind of behavior that to the best of my knowledge you only see in youngsters who themselves, been the victims of extraordinary abuse, or who have witnessed extreme violence among family members.” (Cimino 34) It was never confirmed that Bundy had ever experienced any abuse. However, Dr. Lewis believes Bundy was definitely abused, but to what extent? Who made this man one of the world’s worst serial killers and why? It was quite hard for many to believe Bundy had committed these crimes because his background was so unclear.
Bundy was welcomed to the world on November 24th, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont to mother, Louise Cowell, Bundy was an out of the wed-lock child who knew nothing about his father and as a child presumed his grandfather and grandmother were his parents and his actual mother was his sister. Psychiatrist Dr. Dorthy Otnow Lewis stated this about Ted Bundys’ grandfather, “An extremely violent and frightening individual.” despite what Dr. Lewis stated Bundy only spoke about his grandfather in high regard. However, his grandfather was later found having possession of graphic pornographic pictures in his greenhouse, the same greenhouse Bundy, as a child, had access too. He also would swing cats by their tails, abuse dogs and would beat those who didn’t agree with him. These things may have contributed to Bundy’s violent behavior. “Genetics load the gun, their personality, and psychology aim it, and their experiences pull the trigger” once said by FBI agent Jim Clemente.
Bundy as a child was not very social. He suffered from a speech impediment which made him shy towards other kids, he feared the embarrassment and teasing he might receive from the others. On top of this Bundy could not really keep up with his fellow boy scouts. He would be behind in all of the activities such as tying knots or running the courses properly. This leads to Bundy becoming self-conscious at a young age. This psychological abuse at such a young age would lead Ted to become an extrovert in junior high. Due to his early exposure to pornographic magazines, Bundy became sexually aware at a young age. When Bundy was in junior high he would masturbate in the school bathrooms he was eventually caught and of course ridiculed and looked down upon for doing so. Along with this Bundy felt as though he was never good enough, he was smart but not top of his class he was athletic but couldn’t make the basketball or baseball team and would fail to be elected for vice president for his junior high class. This variety of turmoil and crushing losses could have been crucial for molding the Ted Bundy we know today.
After graduating from junior high Bundy would attend Woodrow Wilson high school in Tacoma Washington. While in high school he would mow lawns and even have a paper route he seemed like an average teen in the sixties. While he mowed lawns he would also commit his first crimes, he became a thief, during this time of his life Bundy would commit petty theft such as taking jewelry from a house or two, however, it then escalated to forging ski tickets and stealing ski equipment, Bundy would not be caught and would only admit to his crimes while on death row. Could this have been the starting point for Bundy? Could his petty theft truly lead to such horrific crimes? How did Bundy’s crime escalate so much and so fast?
Bundy graduated highschool in 1965 and attended Puget Sound University in Tacoma, Washington after a year he transferred to the University of Washington where he studied Asian history and Chinese, this is where he met his first girlfriend Stephanie Brooks who would later dump him after his grades failed to meet her expectations. After being dumped Bundy took time off in San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, and Arkansas. He would later transfer to Temple University in 1969 and would embark on his new career in stalking this would culminate in rape and murder. In Ocean City, New Jersey Bundy would attempt his first abduction and fail, it was at this moment Bundy made a pledge he would be better prepared in the future. While attending college in Philadelphia Ted admitted to killing two women after this encounter.
On the 30th of September in 1969 Elizabeth Kendall attended the Sandpiper Tavern. It is here where she finds the man that would change her life forever that man, of course, being Ted Bundy. Elizabeth was a newly divorced single mother, who wanted to get back into the dating life earlier in the night Ted had asked to dance with Kendall, however, she declined. Later that night Elizabeth went over and talked with Bundy, they later left the bar together and Bundy spent the night at Elizabeth’s house. Although there was not any sexual interaction this would be the start of a six-year relationship. Elizabeth and Bundy became very close they would often talk about marriage. Bundy lived with Elizabeth in her apartment where Bundy also got close with Elizabeth’s daughter Molly Kendall, who despite many rumors and accusations considered Bundy a father figure.
This is when Bundy would start to commit his first rapes and murders. His first of many confirmed victims is 18 yr old Joni Lenz who attended the University of Washington and on the night of January 4, 1974 was awoken by Bundy beating her head with a rod he had retrieved from her bed frame. This same rod was shoved into her vagina causing extreme internal bleeding along with this Lenz obtained brain damage from the savage beating by Bundy. She, however, was one of the few victims that survived Bundy’s brutality. Unfortunately, Bundy’s next few victims couldn’t say the same. The only known survivors of Bundy are Lenz and an 18 yr old Carol DaRonch who was lured into Bundy’s trap, he had Told DaRonch that her car had been robbed and she needed to go down to the station to retrieve it. DaRonch not thinking anything of this, she went along with the rouse it was only when Bundy attempted to cuff her that she was able to flee from a possible heinous experience.
Bundy, of course, had many victims ranging from 12 years old to 26 years old the intensity never changed. One of the more notable crimes was when he used his real name at a skatepark in Washington called Lake Sammamish this mistake would ultimately lead to Bundy being put on a wanted list for his crimes. There were two women from lake Sammamish one 21-year-old Janice Anne Ott and Denis Naslund who he both tricked into helping him unload his boat, believing he had broken his arm due to the fake cast Bundy put on. Both of these victims had their heads cut off Bundy would later use their skulls for oral sex.
These young girls were the start of Bundy’s investigations. Among his other victims include Lisa levy who was strangled, had her collar bone broken, a hairspray bottle forced into her vagina, and an almost torn off nipple and a bite mark on her buttock this bite mark would later be one of the most convincing pieces of evidence in Bundy’s trial. Lisa Levy was just one of the five of Bundy’s victims on January 15, 1978. The other victims included 21-year-old Margaret Bowman, 21-year-old Karen chandler, 21 Kathy Kleiner and 21-year-old Cheryl Thomas. Margaret, Karen, and Kathy were lucky enough to survive that night. Some of Bundy’s other victims were not as old or as lucky, such as Kimberly Diane Leach who was only 12 years old when Bundy stole Kimberly from a PE lesson. Many believed Bundy to be the young girl’s father, describing him like an irate man. Kimberly was later found two months later 40 miles outside the city in a pigpen, she had been strangled and sexually assaulted. Bundy was eventually caught in Pensacola, Florida on after his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall reported him to the police once seeing the profile and police sketch. She allegedly reported him many times once in August, once in November, and once in December of 1974. The police eventually arrested Ted after one of his victims escaped. Bundy was put on trial in February of 1976 and was found guilty. This started the frenzy, many other states believed Bundy was the cause of the many women going missing across the country.
Theodore Robert Cowell also known as Ted Bundy was a man who attended law school, and took part in Seattle’s crime prevention agency where he was socially recognized as the assistant director, however, no one suspected this seemingly normal young man of being a serial sex killer who by the end of his life was known to have killed more than 36 women and girls, he was also revealed as a necrophiliac and despite escaping prison twice was eventually put to death. Bundy was eventually convicted and found guilty of Murder and was put on death row on January 24, 1989. This day will go down in history as the whole nation watched as 2000’s Volts of electricity ran through Bundy’s body. This man was known as the world’s worst serial killer, his black-hearted nature made him even more dreadful. Bundy did not feel remorse for any of his crimes and said so himself, “I don’t feel guilty for anything. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt.” His last lawyers even said this about him, “The very definition of heartless evil.” At last Bundy’s true colors came out to the public He was truly ruthless and “heartless”. Bundy’s story would continue to be shared with the world in hopes of preventing another vicious killer.
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