Do you remember the 1970s in Utah? Bell bottoms were in style, Lagoon was THE place to go for an outdoor concert or a roller coaster ride…and there was a serial killer stalking Utah woman.
Ted Bundy was born in 1946. He was executed in Florida on January 24, 1989. During his lifetime, he became notorious as one of America's most prolific serial killers.
Bundy was responsible for a string of attacks and murders in Washington in 1974. One young college student was brutally beaten in her apartment; six others went missing. After he abducted two women in broad daylight at Lake Sammamish State Park, witnesses were able to provide sketch artists with a picture of the killer, and a description of his car.
The sketch and description was aired on local television news and four people reported that Ted Bundy matched the description. However, law enforcement didn't believe he could possibly be a serial killer - he was a young, charming, handsome student.
Bundy was accepted at the University of Utah Law School in August of 1974, and he moved to Utah.
He didn't do well in his first-year law classes, and began stalking and killing women about one month after his arrival.
Ted Bundy lived in this rooming house in Salt Lake City from September, 1974 to October, 1975.
On October 2, 1974, Bundy raped and murdered 16-year-old Nancy Wilcox in Holladay. He confessed to burying her remains at Capitol Reef National Park.
On October 18th, 17-year-old Melissa Anne Smith left a pizza parlor in Midvale and was never seen alive again. Her body was found in the foothills nine days later.
On October 31st, Bundy kidnapped 17-year-old Laura Ann Aime after she left a cafe in Lehi. Her body was found in American Fork Canyon on Thanksgiving Day.
On November 8th, Bundy approached Carol DaRonch at Fashion Place Mall in Murray.
He told her that he was a detective and that he had witnessed someone trying to break into her car. Bundy coerced Carol to his car, then overpowered her and handcuffed her. Luckily, she was able to open the car door and jump out, escaping a much worse fate. Carol DaRonch is the only woman known to have survived a kidnapping attempt by Ted Bundy.
After Carol DaRonch outwitted him, Bundy drove to Viewmont High School in Bountiful, where he kidnapped 17-year-old Debra Jean Kent, a student who was leaving an evening theater production in the school's auditorium. Several witnesses later identified Bundy. Debra Jean Kent's body was never found.
Bundy shifted his attention to Colorado, leaving Salt Lake on several occasions to kidnap and kill at least four more women. Then, on June 28th, Susan Curtis disappeared from the campus of BYU in Provo.
For many years, it was unknown if Ms. Curtis was one of Bundy's victims. He confessed to her killing in his last interview, recorded just before he was executed.
In August or September, Ted Bundy was baptized into the Mormon Church. He was so charming that no one suspected that he had already raped and killed more than a dozen women.
The LDS Church excommunicated Bundy after his conviction for kidnapping in 1976.
On August 16,1975 Bundy was arrested in Granger (what is now West Valley City), after he failed to pull over for a traffic stop. The officer noticed that the passenger seat had been removed from the VW Beetle, and he found some disturbing items in the car.
The items included a ski mask, handcuffs, rope, trash bags, an ice pick and another mask made from pantyhose. A subsequent search of Bundy's apartment turned up several items that could connect him to his victims, but nothing was conclusive enough to charge him with the crimes.
In September, Bundy sold his VW Beetle to a Utah teenager. The police, who had Bundy under 24-hour surveillance, promptly impounded it and combed it for evidence.
Hair samples from three of Bundy's victims were found in the car. Carol DaRonch attended a lineup and easily identified Bundy as her kidnapper. He was charged with the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch and free on $15,000 bail while he awaited his trial.
On March 1, 1976, he was found guilty and sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison. He was later extradited to Colorado to appear in court for murder charges there.
Bundy escaped from a courthouse in Colorado, and after his apprehension, again from the jail in Glenwood Springs.
From Glenwood Springs, he traveled to Florida, where he attacked five college students (killing two), then kidnapped and killed 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach.
Just a few days later, Bundy was arrested while driving a stolen car. He was found guilty of the two Florida attacks and three murders in two separate trials, and was sentenced to death for each of the three murders.
From his last conviction in 1980 to his execution in 1989, Bundy met with detectives in a series of interviews and confessions.
He confessed to a total of 30 murders, though it's thought that he may be responsible for more than 100. Before his death, Ted Bundy confessed to murdering seven Utah women (three were never identified).
I was a child living in Salt Lake City when Ted Bundy was stalking women here. Do you remember being afraid that you’d be kidnapped by the serial killer that was haunting our city streets and suburbs?
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.