Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Only Living Witness: The True Story Of Ted Bundy

The Story Page 22

On Saturday, the sixth of July, the two of them went river rafting. Liz's book describes the day as peaceful and sunny. They drank a few beers and were drifting along quietly when Bundy suddenly lunged at her and shoved her into the water. She came up stunned and shouted her irritation at him. His unnerving response was not to respond at all; she was looking at a malefic stranger who didn't seem to recognize her. Finally, he said, "It was no big deal. Can't you take a joke?"

Liz chose to bury the incident. The following Saturday, the day before Denise Naslund and Janice Ott were abducted from Lake Sam­mamish State Park, Liz telephoned Ted at Johnnie and Louise's house in Tacoma. She wanted to know if Ted would be free to see her the next day.

"No, I can't," she remembers him saying. "I have other things to do."

"What other things?" she pressed.

"Just things, Liz," he answered.

As she got ready for church the next morning, Ted arrived unex­pectedly and asked Liz her plans for the day. According to her, Ted was eager to know where she was going. She named a small park where, she hoped, he might join her. He didn't.

Late Sunday afternoon about an hour after Denise Naslund disappeared Liz returned home to a phone call from Ted; he asked her to have dinner with him and was at her door within ten minutes. Ted said he was starving.

They went to a bowling alley reputed to serve the best hamburgers in Seattle. The burgers were huge. Liz barely finished hers; Ted devoured two and then wanted to go for ice cream. She noticed he had a cold that had worsened since they had talked that morning. He looked tired, too, and was unusually quiet. In response to her questions, he said he'd spent the day cleaning his car and doing chores around the house.

As Terry Storwick had noted years before and as several witnesses would attest Ted's eyes gave away much in times of stress. Now Liz saw it, too. She recounted: "As I looked at him across the table, I was struck by how close together his eyes looked. They were a little puffy from his cold, but it was odd that I had never noticed it before."

After dinner they returned to her house, where Ted, in spite of his cold and tiredness, insisted upon taking her ski rack which they had used to transport his bicycle on the rafting trip from atop his car and putting it back on Liz's VW. Then he drove home.

Ted's DES work records would later reveal that he missed the Thursday and Friday prior to Sunday the fourteenth, as well as the following Monday and Tuesday. He said he was out sick with the cold that Liz remembers.

Ted Bundy was back at work at the DES office by the time the first composite sketches of the Lake Sammamish "Ted" were published. He took a good deal of kidding from Carole Boone, Larry Diamond, and the others. "Gee, Ted," they would say, "you sure look a lot like that guy. And you do own a Volkswagen."

Mark Adams, Ted's former employer at the medical supply company, saw the composites, too, and remarked to himself how alike they were to Ted Bundy. Adams kept these impressions to himself.

Someone else thought Ted Bundy looked like the composite. He was one of Liz's office friends. As she tells the story, the man handed her the July 22 Seattle Times carrying the latest composite drawing. "Don't you think this looks like someone you know?" she recalled him asking. "Doesn't your Ted have a VW?"

Liz tried to laugh, but she went home that night and compared her several snapshots of Ted with the newspaper picture. She noted several similarities particularly in the jawline and around the eyes but an equal number of discrepancies. Moreover, published reports indicated that the Lake Sam "Ted" drove a metallic brown VW bug; Ted's was a dull light brown.

Her fears, however, would not subside a dilemma shared by thousands of women in and around Seattle. Panicked by the latest disclosures from Lake Sam, these women flooded the police with hysterical calls. Acquaintances, strangers, boyfriends, even husbands, were being turned in to the police at the rate of hundreds a day. In the overwhelming majority of cases, these women had far less substantive reason for fear than did Liz Kendall.

At last, she decided to call the special "Ted Hotline" anonymously, but nothing conclusive came of it. After the papers reported that a man using crutches had solicited help with his briefcase in the Uni­versity District, her thoughts flew to the crutches she had seen in Ted's room. She placed another anonymous call to the police, but wouldn't tell the officer her boyfriend's name. "I can't talk to you over the phone," the policeman said. "You need to come in and fill out a report." Liz hung up.

As the summer wore on, Liz was torn between dread at what Ted might be capable of and apprehension over his coming departure for Utah. There continued to be unsettling experiences, such as the time she discovered a hatchet under the seat of his car, or the afternoon that she secretly searched his room and found an eyeglass case filled with a bewildering assortment of keys. Another time, when she re­turned from a brief trip to Utah, Ted met her at the airport. "I felt as if I'd been hit in the stomach," she wrote. "All his curly hair was gone. It was the shortest haircut I'd ever seen on him, and it changed his appearance dramatically."

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