Ted Bundy's Victims - Part One
Ted Bundy was born Theodore Robert Cowell to Eleanor “Louise” Cowell at the Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vt., on November 24, 1946. His father’s identity was never determined with any degree of certainty. However, some of Bundy’s relatives suspected he might have been fathered by Louise’s abusive father Samuel Cowell.
The early life of Ted Bundy
For the first few years of Bundy's life, he lived in the home of his maternal grandparents Samuel and Eleanor Cowell, who raised him as their own to avoid the social stigmas of their daughter having a child out of wedlock. The Cowell’s told him his mother Louise was his old sister.
According to author Anne Rule, who wrote “The Stranger Beside Me,” Bundy found out about his true parentage around 1969 and harbored a lifelong resentment for his mother for never mentioning his biological father.
Ted Bundy once called himself the only man with a Ph. D. in serial murder. He was proud of the fact that he abducted, raped and murdered approximately 30 women between 1974 and 1978. The true number of victims will never be known. Experts suspect the number could be upward to 100 victims.
Anne Rule had become a good friend to Bundy and believes he began murdering in his teenage years. A topic he avoided; Bundy refused to tell authorities when he started his rampage.
When recollecting his childhood in Tacoma, Wash., Bundy told biographers Michaud and Aynesworth that he would rummage through neighborhood garbage bins searching for pictures of naked women. During high school, Bundy was arrested twice on suspicion of burglary and auto theft. In addition, circumstantial evidence dating back to Bundy’s childhood connects him to the disappearance of his neighbor 8-year old Anne Marie Burr in Tacoma on August 31, 1961.
Bundy displayed sexual deviancy throughout his childhood and adolescence. During his college years, Bundy would consume large amounts of alcohol and “canvas the community” late at night looking through open curtains to watch women undress.
Bundy also showed a promising career in politics. After graduating from University of Washington (UW) in 1972, Bundy joined Washington Governor Daniel J. Evans re-election campaign. After Evans was re-elected, Bundy was hired as an assistant to Ross Davis, Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. Davis thought highly of Bundy, describing him as “smart, aggressive, and a believer in the system.”
Many of Bundy’s victims regarded him as charismatic and handsome, traits he exploited to win the trust of many of his young victims. He typically feigned a disability or injury to gain the young women's trust before overpowering them and abducting them to secluded locations.
With an almost mythical status, Bundy has long held the attention of the public.
During his televised court proceedings, people were captivated by the horrific nature of his crimes, while fascinated by a man who also had a strange fascination with his own psychology. During the trial, Bundy was like a cult leader with women in attendance, seeking a glance at the Jekyll and Hyde who became known as the “Gentleman Killer.”
Bundy was not a gentleman and can't even be described as human. A sexual pervert, Bundy would engage in mutilation and necrophilia with the corpses of his victims. Some victims he would visit for days after he killed them. Sometimes he cut off their heads with a hacksaw so he could admire their faces in his apartment. He then threw their heads into the forest once he tired of them. Bundy told detectives he even disposed of and burned one victim’s head in his girlfriend’s apartment fireplace when she was not at home.
Some of his victim’s bodies were badly decomposed when found by authorities and cause of death was hard to determine. However, on others, forensic evidence reflected he would keep his victims alive for days before he killed them. Some bodies were found with newly painted fingernails, hair washed, and fresh makeup.
No, Bundy was not a “Gentleman Killer” but a monster of the most sadistic and evilest proportions.
Many books, documentaries, and movies about Bundy tell his side of the story, neglecting to highlight the truly horrific nature of his crimes. Many fail altogether to tell the stories of his victims. Who were they? What kind of people were they? Who might they have become had Bundy not become intertwined with their fate?
To keep a loved one’s memory alive after they have died, one must continue to say their name.” Throughout this article, I will be referring to these young women by their first names.
Lynda Ann Healy
Lynda Ann Healy was born in 1952 and so beautiful she could have been a model with long auburn hair, sparkly big blue eyes, and a ready smile. Lynda was 21-years old and a popular student at the University of Washington (UW), majoring in psychology. She often worked with children with disabilities and loved the opportunity to help others.
According to the book “The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy", Lynda had grown up in an upper-class comfortable neighborhood in the suburbs with her parents and two siblings. Described as a talented musician, Lynda was described as “full of life” and self-assurance.
A dedicated student, who lived in an off-campus home in Seattle, Lynda was known for her morning weather and ski reports on a local radio station. She certainly had her future before her.
The day before Lynda vanished was like any other day. Lynda got up at 5:30 a.m. and went to her job at Northwest Ski Reports to make her weather report. After work, she headed off to classes, and later that day had planned to attend the afternoon chorus practice on the UW campus.
Lynda had made plans the following day to make dinner for her parents and brother who were scheduled to come over to Lynda’s at 6:00 p.m. She had wanted to make a special meal. When she returned home, she borrowed a roommates’ car to go to the grocery store and returned to the house with her groceries at approximately 8:30 p.m. From there Lynda and several of her roommates decided to walk to Dante’s, a nearby tavern, to have a couple of beers.
According to the book “Ted Bundy’s Murderous Mysteries: The Many Victims of America’s Most Infamous Serial Killer,” in the weeks preceding, Lynda had complained about stomach pain, but that evening her friends describe her as “lively, talkative and feeling good. Their conversation was light – from psychology to music – not focusing on any specific subject.
Once they all got home from Dantes, one of her roommates would later recall to authorities that Lynda had come into her room at approximately 11:30 p.m. to talk, before heading to her own room in the basement of the home at approximately midnight.
The following morning, on Friday, February 1, 1974, Lynda did not show up for work to do her morning weather report. As usual, her alarm went off 5:30 a.m. and her roommate Barbara Little recalls hearing the alarm continue to go off, finding the room empty when she went in to check on Lynda. She assumed Lynda had already gone to work.
None of the roommates recall hearing anything the night before and initially, there wasn’t concern she was missing. However, Lynda’s employer soon called the house to ask why she hadn’t come to work. This concerned the roommates but they decided to wait for Lynda's father and brother to show for dinner to share their worry.
They explained to Lynda's family that they were concerned Lynda had missed work and that no one had seen her on campus that day. Lynda's mother immediately called the police. Seattle Police Department responded to the home.
Lieutenant Pat Murphy investigated Lynda’s room. “The room was very neat,” said Murphy. He also noted the bed had been “made up neatly.” Lynda’s roommates immediately found this odd as Lynda would not make her bed on days she went to work, and she never tucked the blanket with the pillow underneath. She always placed the pillow on top.
While searching Lynda’s room, Murphy turned back the bedspread and found blood on the pillow and head area of the sheets of Lynda’s bed. He found her nightgown, covered in blood around the neck neatly hanging in her closet. By interviewing the roommates, police then determined items missing from her room included the clothing she wore the night before, a pink satin pillowcase, her backpack, and her house keys.
Her roommates also found the back door open and found this very alarming. Normally, Lynda would let herself in the side door, park her bike inside on the landing, making sure to lock it again. They assumed the night before she had done nothing different.
Bob Keppel, a detective with King County Police said the unique crime scene continues to stand out in his memory. It appeared someone had broken into the house, attacked Lynda, and carried her off without a trace.
A chilling incident happened about two months before Lynda went missing. Roommate Monica Sutherland told police that she recalled Lynda telling her that she was in the laundromat alone on the avenue near their home when she noticed a man in an orange pickup stop and begin to stare inside. The man then entered the laundromat without any clothing. He briefly fooled around with a machine before proceeding to check the back door of the laundromat as he was leaving. The man never talked to Lynda, but the incident frightened her.
Sutherland also told police about another incident that occurred about a month before Lynda vanished.
Sutherland had come home and was alone inside the residence. She suddenly heard the neighbor’s dog start barking and peeked outside the front door to see a man standing on the lower step of her residence. He was holding the little dog around the neck, fiercely shaking it. She recounted how she ran outside and neighbors were yelling that the man – the man replied the dog attacked him and then fled on foot.
Was Bundy stalking Lynda?
Ted Bundy had lived approximately three blocks away from Lynda and frequented the Safeway store Lynda had gone grocery shopping the night of her disappearance.
A coincidence not widely mentioned is Bundy’s cousin, Edna Cowell. She was also a student at UW and lived with two previous roommates of Lynda’s. It is not known if Bundy ever met Lynda through his cousin's affiliation with Lynda's circle of friends.
During the month of January, Ted Bundy had been attending night school at the University of Puget Sound Law School. His normal class time was on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Lynda went missing after midnight on January 31, a Thursday night when Bundy was not in class.
In addition, Bundy was living at 4143-12 NE, Seattle only 14 blocks away from Lynda at the time of her disappearance.
Yet another coincidence, during 1972, Lynda and Bundy were enrolled at UW where both were majoring in psychology. However, no investigation has concluded that Lynda and Bundy ever met.
After searching Lynda’s home, one of the detectives made an eerie connection between Lynda’s disappearance and another incident that occurred January 4. Karen Sparks, an 18-year old dancer, and student at UW was involved in another incident in the University District of Seattle a few weeks earlier.
Karen lived on 8th Northwest, just 11 blocks from Lynda. She was attacked while in her bed on January 4. Someone had entered her basement room and brutally bludgeoned her about her head with a metal rod from her bed frame. She had also been sexually assaulted with an object penetrated so deep in her vagina that she experienced severe internal damage. The attack also caused significant brain damage causing her to forget everything about the incident. She remained in the hospital unconscious for nearly ten days.
Though a connection may have been made by police due to the case similarities, police were no closer to finding Lynda.
The case would continue to baffle police until 1975 when Lynda’s skull was found along with several other bodies just 23 miles east of Seattle in the Taylor Mountain Forest.
Still, there would be countless more assaults and disappearances before police would make a potential connection between Bundy, Lynda and Karen.
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