Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods


The Usual Suspects — Bundy

Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy

It was 1974 in the Pacific Northwest when a number of attractive young women came up missing. When two bodies were found on a mountainside in Washington State, the police started looking for a suspect named Ted. Yet by that time, Ted was already in Utah and girls were disappearing there. Then there were four in Colorado, but a fifth woman, Carol DaRonch, managed to escape from a man who had tried to kill her. She fingered Theodore Robert Bundy, a law student from Washington, and while he was in prison, an intense investigation was launched to determine if there were links to the missing girls in the other states. Colorado got him for the murder of Caryn Campbell, but he escaped. He was caught but escaped again and went to Tallahassee, Florida.

On January 15, 1978, Lisa Levy and Martha Bowman were attacked in their sorority house at Florida State University. A man fatally clubbed and raped them, clubbed another woman in the head, and managed to viciously attack a girl in another sorority house. Then less than a month later a 12-year-old girl, Kimberly Leach, was abducted from her school, raped, strangled, and left in the woods. Bundy was responsible for them all, and he'd made the mistake of leaving his own bite mark on the left buttock of Lisa Levy.

That was key evidence in the trial, and by the time it was all over, he had received three death sentences. Then he began to talk. He eventually confessed to 30 murders in six separate states, dating back to May 1973, although experts believe there might have been far more.

Stephen Michaud, author of The Only Living Witness, talks about Bundy being hollow and empty, with some indication from Bundy's own words that his compulsion to kill was a way to fill up the emptiness, at least temporarily. He admitted to having raped his victims after they were dead and to revisiting the corpses to relive the erotic experience of killing them. He himself said that he didn't think of his victims as women in the normal way but as objects against which he took out his inner turmoil.

He was executed in 1989.

Not all necrophiles are violent. Not all go from one body to another. In the next case, we find out about a man who fixated on a dying woman and just wouldn't let her go. In a way, it's difficult to say whether Ed Gein or Carl von Cosel is the ultimate ghoul. Decide for yourself.  

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