Posts tagged ‘People magazine’

December 26, 2012

The Enigma of Ted Bundy: Did He Kill 18 Women? Or Has He Been Framed?

The Enigma of Ted Bundy: Did He Kill 18 Women? Or Has He Been Framed?
By Cheryl McCall
PEOPLE Magazine
January 07, 1980

He was a son any mother would be proud to call her own, a handsome six-footer who became the first in his family to graduate from college, then began studying for a career in the law. Women found him charming, his nieces and nephews adored him. At a Seattle crisis clinic, he was a sympathetic counselor; as an assistant director of the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission, he wrote a rape-prevention pamphlet for women. When he chased and caught a purse snatcher in a shopping mall, the governor of Washington wrote him a letter of gratitude. “Everything I saw about him would recommend him,” says his ex-boss Ross Davis, former state Republican chairman. “If you can’t trust someone like Ted Bundy, you can’t trust anyone—your parents, your wife, anyone.”

Beyond the serenity of Bundy’s early years, however, lurked a grisly turn of events. Today, at 33, Ted Bundy has been convicted of two brutal murders in Florida and is scheduled to go on trial next week for a third. In addition, his name has been linked by police and prosecutors with the deaths of 15 other women in three states. The young law student of inestimable promise, authorities suggest, is one of the bloodiest mass murderers in U.S. history. Yet even as Bundy stands convicted and sentenced to die, few of his friends have lost faith in his innocence. They believe he has been caught in a flimsy web of circumstantial evidence and that law enforcement officials have made him the fall guy for a series of killings that could not be solved.

Bundy’s bizarre odyssey began in Burlington, Vt., where he was born to 19-year-old Louise Cowell in a home for unwed mothers. Four years later he and his mother moved to Tacoma, Wash., where Louise married Johnnie C. Bundy, a cook at Madigan Army Hospital for the past 28 years. Bundy adopted Ted, and the couple had four more children of their own. “We are a family that has always tried to raise our kids in the right way,” says Louise, 53. “We weren’t the kind that sent their kids off to Sunday school and then went back to sleep.”

Apparently stamped in the all-American mold, Ted was a Boy Scout who had his own paper route, started a small lawn-mowing business with a friend and won a place on the high school track team. “I admired him tremendously,” says his sister, Linda Bussey, 26. “I always wished I had some of his brains and his knowledge.” Graduating in 1965, Bundy entered the University of Puget Sound near his home and later transferred to the University of Washington. Dropping out in 1967, he took an unpaid position as Seattle chairman of the New Majority for Rockefeller and attended the 1968 GOP Convention in Miami. Re-enrolling at the University, Bundy graduated in 1972 with a degree in psychology.

Although he worked briefly as a counselor in a psychiatric hospital, Bundy’s natural vocation was politics. Joining Republican Gov. Dan Evans’ reelection campaign in 1972, he infiltrated the camp of Evans’ Democratic opponent and later became an aide to Ross Davis. “He was everything you looked for in an assistant,” says Davis. “He had a good analytical mind, and he worked well with people. He would have had to be a complete Jekyll and Hyde if what they say is true.”

During the summer of 1974 Bundy left his home state and moved to Salt Lake City, where he entered the University of Utah Law School and worked nights as a janitor. In 1975 he was baptized a Mormon, but his troubles had already begun. While he was living in Seattle, eight young women had been murdered. Witnesses told police that on July 14, 1974, the day two of the victims disappeared, the women had been approached, separately, by a man with his arm in a sling. He said his name was Ted and asked for help in hoisting a sailboat onto the roof of his Volkswagen. A police computer check revealed that of 2,877 owners of light-colored Volkswagens in Seattle, one was Ted Bundy.

Nearly five months later, in an apparently unrelated incident, Carol DaRonch, 18, was abducted in Murray, Utah by a man identifying himself as a police officer. When DaRonch began to struggle, the man slapped a handcuff on one of her wrists and threatened her with a pistol. She managed to jump out of the car, but he pursued her with a crowbar until she ran into the street and desperately waved down a passing motorist. Her assailant vanished into the darkness.

Nine months later Ted Bundy was arrested for the first time. Alone in his Volkswagen at 2:30 a.m., he panicked and sped away when a patrol car beamed its lights on him in suburban Granger, Utah. The policeman chased him down and, searching Bundy’s car, found a crowbar, a pair of handcuffs, an ice pick and a mask fashioned from pantyhose. Coincidentally, the arresting officer was Bob Hayward, brother of Capt. Pete Hayward, who was investigating the DaRonch kidnapping—and the murders of three other women—for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department. When Bob mentioned his encounter with Bundy, the name rang a muffled bell with his brother. In November 1974 a former fiancée of Bundy’s, Liz Kloepfer, had called Pete Hayward twice from Seattle, urging him to consider Bundy a suspect in the Utah crimes. Hayward made a routine check, but saw no reason to go any further. Now he began to wonder.

“I keep telling myself—though I don’t want to—that Ted is involved,” Kloepfer told Det. Jerry Thompson, who investigated the case for Hayward. “Too many things point to him.” She said that Ted resembled a composite drawing of the suspect; that he hadn’t been with her on the days the Seattle women had disappeared; that he had a fake arm cast in his apartment; that his sex drive dwindled in 1974 after the crimes began; and that once, inspired by a copy of The Joy of Sex she had given him, he had tied her up and nearly throttled her.

Seattle police had taken a similar statement from Kloepfer, but discounted it as a jilted girlfriend’s suspicions. She later recanted most of her allegations, and no prosecutor has ever’ put her on the witness stand. Thompson, however, was convinced he had found his kidnapper. He showed Bundy’s picture to DaRonch three times, but each time she failed to identify him. Then, remarkably, on Oct. 2, 1975 she picked Bundy out of an eight-man line-up. Later, on the witness stand, DaRonch said her assailant had dark, slicked-back hair and a mustache, held his gun and brandished the crowbar in his right hand, drove a light blue VW and wore patent leather shoes. Defense witnesses testified that Bundy, who has light brown hair, never wore a mustache in Salt Lake City and never dressed in patent leather shoes. His VW was sand-colored, and he is left-handed. Taking the stand in his own behalf, Bundy said he had panicked on the night of his arrest in Granger because he had been smoking marijuana and feared a police record would jeopardize his legal career. He pointed out that the handcuffs in his car were rusted and useless and said he had found them while cleaning an apartment. Nevertheless Judge Stewart Hanson found him guilty as charged—Bundy had waived his right to a jury trial—and sentenced him to one to 15 years in prison. “There is no question but that Carol DaRonch could not identify Ted Bundy and that the police worked on her until she could,” says Bundy’s Utah attorney, John O’Connell. “I have never seen a conviction in a serious case on less evidence.”

There was even less evidence in the next case brought against Bundy. Searching his room during the DaRonch investigation, Detective Thompson found a ski brochure and a map of Colorado. The names of two ski lodges were underlined in the brochure; one was the Wildwood Inn near Aspen, where a vacationing nurse named Caryn Campbell had disappeared Jan. 12, 1975. Her battered corpse was found in a snowbank five weeks later. Credit card receipts showed that Bundy had been in the area on the day Campbell vanished. A prosecutor claims that two hairs taken from Bundy’s car were indistinguishable from Campbell’s, but concedes that “a hair is not like a fingerprint.” Perhaps the strongest testimony linking Bundy to Campbell came from a woman who said she had seen him in the Wild-wood Inn the night Campbell disappeared. But during a pretrial hearing, the witness was unable to identify him.

The Campbell case, however, never got to court. Awaiting trial, Bundy escaped by wriggling out of his jail cell through a ventilation duct. He eventually wound up in Tallahassee, Fla., where he moved into a rooming house called the Oak. “He was an eerie person,” recalls fellow roomer Russell Gage. “He wanted us to tell him everything, and he would tell us only what he wanted us to know.” What Bundy had become, according to police, was an adept car thief who sustained himself by stealing cash and credit cards. Outwardly he seemed one of the more respectable tenants at the rooming house. When two women students at Florida State University were savagely murdered four blocks away, several male residents of the Oak became suspects. Bundy was not one of them.

The killings occurred shortly after 3 a.m. on Jan. 15, 1978 when a man entered the Chi Omega sorority house, beat and strangled Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy, both 20, and bludgeoned two other women with an oak limb. The two survivors remembered nothing of their attacker, but as he ran down the back stairs the intruder met Nita Neary, who was returning from a date. She told the police he was dark, about 5’8″, wearing a blue ski cap and carrying a club. Within an hour another woman, Cheryl Thomas, who lived six blocks away, was bludgeoned and raped in her bed. She survived but remembers nothing.

After the murders Bundy remained at the Oak for nearly a month. Then, on February 9, Kimberly Leach, 12, disappeared from a Lake City, Fla. junior high. Her decomposed body was located eight weeks later. Credit card receipts indicate that Bundy spent the night before the murder at the Holiday Inn in Lake City, about 100 miles east of Tallahassee. At the time, prosecutors charge, he was driving a white van that fit the description of one later found in Tallahassee, near a spot where an orange VW was stolen shortly after the Leach murder. On February 15 a Pensacola policeman noticed the car and gave chase. After a struggle he subdued the driver and found 21 stolen credit cards in his possession. Not until 36 hours later did the police discover that their prisoner, who had given a false name, was a recent addition to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list—Ted Bundy.

Indicted five months later, Bundy went on trial last June for the Chi Omega murders. The key evidence against him, jurors say, was bite marks on Levy’s breast and buttocks, which the prosecution claimed could only have been made by Bundy. “You’re not talking about actual dental impressions,” objects Lynn Thompson, one of the defense lawyers. “You’re talking about a bruise, it’s not a science—it’s an art, if anything.” A hair indistinguishable from Bundy’s was found in a pantyhose face mask left at the Thomas apartment, but defense experts testified that the hair was equally indistinguishable from that of four policemen and medical technicians who arrived at the scene soon after the attack. In Bundy’s behalf, his defense offered a powerful but esoteric piece of evidence. Analysis of a semen stain on Thomas’ sheet and chewing gum in Levy’s hair indicated that the women’s assailant was a “nonsecretor”—part of the 20 percent of the population whose bodily secretions do not reveal blood type. Bundy, on the other hand, is a proven secretor. Curiously, members of the jury either disregarded that testimony or misunderstood it. “To me, the evidence said he was a nonsecretor, and it fit right in,” juror Dave Alexander Brown told PEOPLE. Commented another juror, Mary Russo: “Evidently the defense was trying to prove that the blood or whatever they could prove out of the semen was not his. I really didn’t pay too much attention to that.” Many jurors, apparently unaware that Bundy had been a fugitive, felt his suspicious behavior the night of his arrest was proof of his guilt. “You don’t normally just run from a policeman,” said juror Vernon Swindle. “That kind of made me think he did what they said.”

After only six hours of deliberation, the jury found Bundy guilty of the attack on Thomas and of murdering Bowman and Levy. Judge Edward Co-wart sentenced him to die in the electric chair. Many courtroom observers, however, believed that the defendant had been unfairly convicted. Among them was Ruth Walsh, a television anchorwoman for Seattle’s ABC affiliate, KOMO. “I still don’t know if he’s guilty,” she says, “but I don’t think it was proved. The prosecution admitted they had a weak case. I just want to see a fact, a fingerprint, something that can’t be disputed.”

Previously, while researching a five-part series on Bundy, Walsh discovered that seven other men could be linked circumstantially with some or all of Bundy’s alleged crimes. “There are five possible ‘Teds’ in the Seattle area alone,” she says. The list includes a convicted sex offender who was living in Seattle at the time of the murders there. He then moved to Aspen, where he took a job at Snowmass, the resort where victim Caryn Campbell was staying. His co-workers remember him as violent, especially toward women. He didn’t show up for work on the day Campbell was murdered; the next day he picked up his paycheck and left town. (Subsequently he was given a lie detector test and passed.)

Walsh also learned that another suspect in the Seattle slayings was living in Salt Lake City at the time of the DaRonch kidnapping. Later convicted of shooting a woman to death, the suspect owned a gun and handcuffs and matched DaRonch’s description of her abductor—dark, slicked-down hair and a mustache. “The thing that makes me want solid proof against Bundy is that we have uncovered these other people,” says Walsh. “They fit the pattern of evidence and description in an almost uncanny way.”

Perhaps more substantial evidence against Bundy will be introduced at his trial for the murder of Kimberly Leach, in Orlando. The case is expected to focus on the recovered white van that Bundy is said to have stolen. Last February 8 a 14-year-old girl was stopped in Jacksonville by a man driving such a van. The man identified himself as a fire department official, but fled when the girl’s older brother appeared. Suspicious, they copied down the van’s license number, and that plate was found on the floor of the orange VW that Bundy was driving when he was arrested. The girl and her brother have identified Bundy from photographs as the van’s driver, and credit card receipts show he was in Jacksonville that day. In the van police say they found bloodstains of the same type as the murdered girl’s, and leaves and soil matching those at the site where she was buried.

Whatever the outcome of his latest trial, only one man knows the truth about Ted Bundy, and he has never wavered in proclaiming his innocence. (Psychiatrists who examined him have disagreed on his capability for such violence.) Alone in his state prison cell, Bundy amuses himself by leaving food on a paper plate at night and watching the mice scamper and nibble. “So I’m going a little bit crazy,” he says. “Maybe it’s something you expect to read in some novel about someone living in the Bastille—but it’s real.” He says he often thinks about home and “a big cold pitcher of beer,” but insists he will never give in to despair. “I’ve survived this long,” he says firmly. “I’m sure I can survive indefinitely. I won’t let it get me down. I won’t let it break me. I won’t let it grind me into dust.”

August 20, 2012

A Condemned Man’s Last Bequest

Phony? A phony? The only thing that’s phony is this article from People magazine.

A Condemned Man’s Last Bequest
By Pete Axthelm, Michael Ryan
The Desperate Ploy of a Ruthless Murderer, Ted Bundy’s 11th-Hour Confessions Meant Less to His Victims’ Families Than His Execution

He was the malevolent embodiment of a peculiarly modern brand of depravity. He killed brutally and relentlessly, slaughtering more than 20 young women by his own count, perhaps 40, if law-enforcement officials are correct. He was also a brilliant manipulator, spending almost 10 years on death row by keeping executioners at bay with a variety of ploys.

Ted Bundy claimed that he had been badly represented by counsel. Ted Bundy cooperated with authors writing about his case, presumably hoping to project his undeniable personal charm to the public. In an 11th-hour attempt to save his life, Ted Bundy tried an insanity plea. A law school dropout, he loved conveying the image of an intense, intellectual Dostoyevskian hero gone amok.

Ted Bundy, who was executed last week at 42 in the electric chair in Starke, Fla., was a con man and a phony.

Right up to the fatal moment, he tried to play a game of three-card monte for his life. Convicted of three murders in northern Florida and suspected of many more, he began confessing to other unsolved cases in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Washington, the launching point of his bloody cross country travels. The strategy of Bundy’s confessions was transparent: If investigators in the Far West wanted to hear more details and close their cases, they would have to ask Florida to turn off “Old Sparky” while he talked.

Bundy’s last maneuver gave his life a fitting coda, a slow-motion dance of death that few people really wanted to share. Even some civil libertarians stayed away, not because they weakened in their opposition to the death penalty but because this particularly odious murderer was hardly a rallying point for any cause. Weeping and sniveling in the helpless posture in which he placed his victims, Bundy told of a killing spree that may have begun in adolescence and might never have stopped if he hadn’t been caught. Assistant state attorney Bob Sexton summed up his demeanor: “I think he was sincere. He was just pathetic.”

“He’s scared to death,” said investigative journalist Hugh Aynesworth, who co-authored a book on Bundy and interviewed him for about 100 hours. “He has always put on a facade. When people thought he was in control, he wasn’t.”

The facade began to crumble as Bundy’s attempted escape-by-confession failed and his final appeals were denied. On the eve of the execution, Bundy called then canceled a press conference. Instead, after eating what was to be his last meal—burrito, rice and a salad—Bundy huddled with James Dobson, who produces a syndicated counseling radio show from Pomona, Calif. After the highly publicized interview, Dobson met with reporters to describe the “great remorse” that Bundy felt after his first savage slaying. Dobson reported that after the second time, “the agony was easier to cope with…. He got to the point where he didn’t have that remorse.”

Journalist Aynesworth replied, “His only remorse is that he’s going to die.”

Bundy’s parting advice for society, delivered through Dobson, was as fraudulent as his life: He blamed the multiple murders on his penchant for hard-core pornography. “You are going to kill me, and that will protect society from me,” he said in his typical high-blown style. “But…there are many out there addicted to pornography and…potentially violent.”

While Dobson was recounting these platitudes outside the prison, Bundy was visited by a Methodist minister, James Boone, son of Bundy’s wife by her previous marriage. (The wife, Carol Boone, 42, married Bundy during his first two years in jail but has not visited him in the last two years.) Later he met with state attorney John Tanner, his wife, Marsha, and Fred Lawrence, a Methodist minister from Gainesville. The group prayed and read the Bible until 1 A.M. Then the condemned killer was alone in his 14-by-9-foot “death watch” cell until 5 A.M., two hours before his scheduled execution. In the morning he was offered his choice for a final meal. He had no preference, so he was served steak, eggs, hash brown potatoes and coffee. He didn’t eat. Instead, he proceeded to the final ritual. His head and right leg were shaved so that the electrodes could be attached. Then he donned the prison-issue cerement: loose blue pants and a light-blue shirt.

Outside, about 1,000 people were assembling at the wire fence in lurid celebration of Bundy’s imminent death. Some bore signs reading BUNDY BBQ and COOK HIM. On one large tow truck there was a model of an electric chair. Strapped to it was an effigy of Bundy. As the truck circled, flocks of turkey vultures hovered over the prison fields.

The two guards who were shackled to Bundy to lead him into the death chamber were surprised that the arrogant, self-important young man suddenly seemed feeble. “He was weak-kneed, if not wobbly,” said a witness. “He looked old, tired and gaunt. I was expecting a yuppie. But he looked wild-eyed.”

Asked for last words, Bundy said, “Give my love to my family and friends.”

His mother had already uttered her farewell in a final phone conversation: “You’ll always be a precious son to me.”

As dawn broke and the revenge-sated crowd dispersed, a white hearse carried Ted Bundy’s body away. It was hard not to think of the people who had lost so many precious daughters.

Since Oct. 7, 1974, the Wilcox family of Salt Lake City has lived life in the subjunctive mood. If only Nancy hadn’t gone out for a pack of gum…Maybe she had actually run away…Perhaps she was happy somewhere…”I kept thinking, ‘I hope she comes home soon,’ ” Connie Wilcox, 57, says. “I’ve kept everything to myself all these years. I not only refused to believe that Bundy had taken my daughter; I refused to believe that she was dead.”

Nancy Wilcox’s mother was robbed of the bittersweet luxury of denial by Ted Bundy’s confession: He told a Salt Lake City detective where he had buried the bodies of Nancy and another Utah girl. “I was shocked when he confessed,” Connie says. “I just wasn’t ready to hear it.”

Over the years the pain of their daughter’s absence has led to the pain of self-recrimination: Couldn’t we have done something to stop what happened? A 16-year-old high school junior, Nancy had a part-time job as a waitress at a drive-in; she told her mother about the good-looking man who liked to come by and flirt. “I always made sure I was there to walk home with her at night,” Connie remembers. “Now I wonder, ‘Was it Bundy? Was he staking out my daughter?’ I can’t get it out of my mind.”

Connie and her banker husband, Herbert, reached a fragile détente with tragedy by trying to ignore it. “We have hardly talked about it in 15 years,” she says. “I learned the other day that, privately, he had thought that she was dead for more than 13 years. He didn’t want to upset the rest of the family.” The Wilcoxes display no photos of Nancy in their home—the pain is too great. But Connie cannot stop paging through Nancy’s photo album. Tears always come to her eyes. “It’s too hard to look at this book, but I can’t stay away,” she says. “Nancy was such a sensitive person, so kind. If she were alive today, she’d probably feel pity for Bundy for being such a sick person.”

His last-minute confessions may have helped Bundy clear his conscience, but they did not bring peace of mind to the families whose daughters he left in cold and nameless resting places across the nation. “We had 14 years of believing that somebody had done something like this,” says Edward Culver, whose 12-year-old daughter, Lynette, disappeared from their Pocatello, Idaho, neighborhood on May 6, 1975. “Tacking a name onto it and knowing it was Bundy really doesn’t alter your emotions.”

In Edward Culver’s case, the greatest emotion may be his enduring love for the extraordinary child who still lives constantly in his mind. “She may have had the potential of being an Einstein,” he says. “He [Bundy] may have deprived the world of something exceptional. Every single person in this country may have lost something when that kid was killed.” Despite Bundy’s confession to her murder, Edward Culver embraces a sad, illusive hope: He is keeping Lynette’s things in storage and still imagining that the phone will ring one day and he will hear her voice again. “I suppose you can say that there is a 99 percent chance that it’s over,” he admits. “But I’m hesitant to write it off, period. There’s always that 1 percent chance.”

The Kent family of Bountiful, Utah, have chosen to remind themselves—and the world—of the death of their daughter Debi every hour of every day; their porch light has never been turned off since Nov. 8, 1974, when Debi vanished. “In our house,” says Debi’s mother, Belva, 52, “the last person home always turned off the light.”

Debi, 17, left a school play to pick up her brother at a skating rink; she was never seen again. Bundy told detectives before he died that he had left her body, along with that of Nancy Wilcox, in a secluded area south of Salt Lake City; they will have to wait for the snow to melt before a search begins. But long before his confession, the Kents never doubted Bundy’s guilt. “The first time I heard the name Ted Bundy, I knew without a doubt that he was responsible for what happened to Debi,” Belva says.

Like many of Bundy’s victims, Belva Kent refers to him with curious familiarity. “I’m glad Ted has finally died for what he did,” she says. “These past few weeks have been the longest ones in our lives. I haven’t slept well in 15 years, and every day I can’t help but cry. What would Debi’s wedding have been like? Would she have had lots of children like she’d hoped to? We’ll never know. If I could have talked to Ted, I would have asked him, ‘Why? Why did you do this?’ And why did he wait until the 11th hour to confess? I believe he simply wanted to save his own hide.”

Debi’s brother Bill died in a car accident four years ago. The Kents decided to put up a gravestone next to his, inscribed CARING DAUGHTER AND SISTER-DEBI WAS A TRUE FRIEND. The physical remains of Debi Kent may soon come to rest there. But if Ted Bundy was trying to extinguish her spirit, he failed. Debi’s younger sister, Trish, now 28, wore one of Debi’s dresses to her own high school graduation. “It was tough, but I’m glad I did it,” she says. “Debi was with me, in a way, that day. She’ll always be with all of us.” Her family still looks back fondly at the little girl who once dreamed of a career in ballet, and those memories shine as brightly as the porch light. “Debi will always dance in our hearts,” her mother says proudly.

A few of Bundy’s victims, like the Kents, have triumphed over him in spirit. Even fewer, like Carol DaRonch, 32, escaped his murderous attacks when he was still on the loose. Fifteen years ago, Bundy, posing as a police detective, lured DaRonch into his car outside a Midvale, Utah, shopping mall. Then he tried to handcuff her and lunged at her with a tire iron. Screaming, she broke free and ran away. “I’ll never forget that wicked smile as long as I live,” she says.

No one who entered Ted Bundy’s warped universe was left unscarred, and Carol is no exception. “I don’t trust people like I used to,” she admits. “You can’t anymore. It’s an evil world out there.” Still, she thinks she has overcome the worst of her experience. “I’ve decided to try and block it from my memory,” she says. “You can’t live in fear forever.”

Today, DaRonch is engaged to Gus Lewis, 35, who she says has provided what she has needed most: understanding. “We’re both real happy Bundy is finally gone,” she says. “He lived too long, if you as me. If they’d have asked me, I probably would have pulled that switch myself.”

The day Bundy died found his victims scattered widely across the grim landscape of grieving and recovery. For some, his death may have helped to exorcise the horror: “I believe in vengeance,” says Dale Rancourt, 58, of La Conner, Wash., whose 18-year-old daughter Susan died at Bundy’s hands in 1974. “I believe in revenge. I would love to be the one who ridded the world of Ted Bundy.” Rosemary Arnaud, 58, of Seattle, stayed up after midnight the day before he died, watching television, hoping to hear definite word that the man who murdered her daughter, Brenda Carol Ball, 22, would be dead before she got up the next morning. “How do I feel?” she asked herself when she heard that he was dead. “My first reaction was, Thank God.’ But then, it doesn’t bring her back.”

The night had long passed into the cold, dark hours when families are safe in bed and lonely people often sit unsleeping. Eleanore Rose was at her kitchen table in Seattle, in the black dress she wears constantly now; on the wall beside her hung a portrait of her daughter, Denise Naslund. Eleanore was determined to sit up until 4 A.M., when, she prayed, the phone would ring. “I’ve been waiting so long for this,” she said as she watched the black wall phone nervously. “It seems like I’ve been sentenced to a lifetime of waiting.”

Denise disappeared on July 14, 1974, when the “Ted” murderer was stalking Seattle. Bundy finally confessed to her murder just before his death; he didn’t know that he left someone else for dead that day. “Denise was everything to me,” Eleanore says, barely restraining a sob. “I wanted nothing more than to be a mother. Bundy took away my heart. He as much as took away my life from me.”

All around her are the memories she can neither forget nor come to terms with: Her daughter’s ’64 Impala sits, unused and rusting, beside the house. Denise’s bedroom is untouched, with her guitar, her skates, her stuffed tiger waiting for the 19-year-old who will never come home. In the living room, a shrine of Denise’s photographs stands before a vase of pink carnations and a single red rose. Nearby is her mother’s four-foot-tall collection of scrapbooks on Bundy and his crimes. “I have three obsessions,” an inscription in the first book reads. “One, to restore capital punishment. Two, to live to see…the man who did this to you, and to me, hung or electrocuted. Three, to get your remains back.”

The years hang heavy on her: She has suffered ulcers, depression, pneumonia, digestive problems, and her gaunt frame is old beyond her 50 years. “I’ve been worried I wouldn’t outlive Bundy,” she says. “I’ve dedicated my life to memories and to Bundy.”

Just a few minutes after 4, the black phone rang.

“It’s over with,” said the official from Florida.

“Really?” Rose asked.

“Yes, it’s over.”

She sighed. She walked to the living room and stared at the picture of the pretty, smiling girl on the mantel. “I’ve done all I can,” she told her daughter. Then she crossed herself.

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven…”she began.

—Pete Axthelm and Michael Ryan, with bureau reports

More From This Article

Cases Closed
Lynette Culver, 12, vanished without a trace in Pocafello, Idaho, May 6, 1975.

Caryn Campbell, 24, was killed Jan. 12, 1975, while vacationing in Aspen, Colo.

Julie Cunningham, 26, disappeared in Vail, Colo., on Mar. 15, 1975.

Melissa Smith, 17, was found strangled in Summit Park, Utah, on Oct. 28, 1974.

Laura Aime, 17, was found bludgeoned in Utah’s Wasatch mountains, in Nov. 1974.

Nancy Wilcox, 16, vanished without a trace in Holladay, Utah, on Oct. 2, 1974.

Debi Kent, 17, disappeared in Bountiful, Utah, on Nov. 8, 1974, and was never found.

Roberta Parks, 20, was found bludgeoned to death near Seattle in Mar. 1975.

Lynda Healy, 21, was found bludgeoned to death near Seattle in Mar. 1975.

Donna Manson, 19, disappeared from Olympic, Wash., on Mar. 12, 1974.

Susan Rancourt, 18, was found Mar. 1975, near Seattle, beaten to death.

Brenda Ball, 22, was found Mar. 1975, near Seattle, bludgeoned to death.

Georgann Hawkins, 18, disappeared without trace, in Seattle on June 11, 1974.

Janice Ott, 23, was found near Seattle in Sept. 1974, bludgeoned and strangled.

Denise Naslund, 19, was found near Seattle in Sept. 1974, beaten and strangled.

SOURCE: A Condemned Man’s Last Bequest