Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ted Bundy

Killing Spree

Janice Ott, victim
Janice Ott, victim

During that spring and summer, more women students suddenly and inexplicably vanished. There were striking similarities among many of the cases. For instance, all the girls were white, slender, single, wearing slacks at the time of disappearance, had hair that was long and parted in the middle and they all disappeared in the evening.

Also around the time of the disappearances, police interviewed college students who told them of a strange man who was seen wearing a cast on either his arm or leg. Supposedly, the stranger seemed to be struggling with books and asking young women nearby for assistance. Other eyewitnesses reported a strange man in the campus parking lot who had a cast and asked for assistance with his car, a VW bug that he apparently had difficulty starting. Interestingly, around the same area where two of the girls mysteriously disappeared, there was seen such a man wearing a cast on his arm or leg.

Denise Naslund, victim
Denise Naslund, victim

Finally, in August of 1974 in Washington's Lake Sammamish State Park, the remains of some of the missing girls were found and two were later identified. It was remarkable that police were able to identify two of the bodies considering what was left — strands of various colors of hair, five thigh bones, a couple of skulls and a jaw bone. The girls identified were Janice Ott and Denise Naslund, who disappeared on the same day, July 14th.

The last people to have seen Ott, a couple picnicking near by, remembered a handsome young man approaching the young woman. From what the couple could hear of the conversation between Ott and the young man, his name was Ted and he had difficulty loading his boat onto his car because his arm was in a cast. He asked Ott for assistance and she agreed to help. That was the last time 23-year-old Janice Ott was seen alive.

Mellissa Smith, victim
Melissa Smith, victim

Denise Naslund was spending the afternoon with her boyfriend and friends when she walked towards the restroom in the park, never to return again. That afternoon, around where she disappeared, a man who wore a cast and asked for help with his boat approached a couple of women. They were unable to assist the attractive young man. However, Denise Naslund was the kind of girl to help someone in need, especially someone with a broken arm — an act of kindness that cost her life. Denise Naslund was not the last woman to disappear and be found dead.

This time the killer would travel to different states.

Laura Aime, victim
Laura Aime, victim

Midvale, Utah's, Police Chief Louis Smith had a 17-year-old daughter whom he frequently warned about the dangers of the world. He had seen all too much during his career and worried for his daughter's safety. Yet, his worst fears were to come true on October 18, 1974 when his daughter Melissa disappeared. She had been found 9 days after her disappearance — strangled, sodomized and raped.

Thirteen days later on Halloween, 17-year-old Laura Aime disappeared. She was found on Thanksgiving Day in the Wasatch Mountains lying dead by a river. Aime had been beaten about the head and face with a crowbar, raped and sodomized. It was suspected that she was killed someplace other than where she was found due to the lack of blood at the crime scene. Other than her body, there was no physical evidence for the police to use.

 

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