How Ted Bundy got away with so many murders, according to a forensic psychologist

Ted Bundy

  • Serial killer Ted Bundy was convicted of one kidnapping and three murders before being sentenced to death in Florida.
  • Prior to his death, authorities say he confessed to murdering 30 people across the United States. Some experts believe the number could be much higher.
  • Bundy was a master manipulator in part because he was able to blend in.
  • Forensic psychologist Dr. Darrel Turner believes that one of the most important takeaways from the Bundy case is that to be a successful serial killer, one must be able to blend in and earn people’s trust by appearing ordinary.

Undoubtedly one of the most infamous serial killer cases in American history, the saga of Ted Bundy in the 1970s arguably changed the way society thinks about serial killers and the horrors of sexual violence and murder.

INSIDER spoke to noted forensic psychologist and FBI and law enforcement consultant Dr. Darrel Turner about the Ted Bundy case. A specialist in psychopathy, predatory behavior, and violent crime, Dr. Turner has studied and lectured about the Bundy case for several years.

There’s a lot of deeply disturbing ground to cover, and chances are that no one will ever have all the answers. That said, here’s what we do know about the Ted Bundy case.

Editor’s note: this post contains descriptions of violence that may be disturbing for some readers.

Even as a child, Ted Bundy showed some signs of disturbance and may even have started killing much earlier than investigators first thought.

„He had classic signs of conduct disorder as a child. There is one instance where a female family member woke up and Bundy had arranged kitchen knives all around her body,“ Dr. Turner told INSIDER.  

„He also looked at violent pornography at a young age and read detective magazines voraciously. There is a large body of law enforcement that believes he killed a neighborhood girl when he was still a teenager,“ he continued.

From 1974 to 1978, Bundy later confessed to murdering 30 women. Five women are known to have survived his attacks.

Authorities say Bundy confessed to 30 murders across seven states. Bundy seemed to mostly prefer college-aged women.

He started his known attacks on January 4, 1974, with 18-year-old Karen Sparks. The convicted murderer beat her severely and sexually assaulted her in her own bed, but she survived with severe brain damage and no memory of what had happened to her, according to Inside Edition.

The victims we know about from Seattle are Lynda Ann Healy, Donna Gail Manson, Susan Elaine Rancourt, Brenda Carol Ball, Georgeann Hawkins, Brenda Baker, Janice Anne Ott, and Denise Naslund. After killing Susan Rancourt, Bundy also killed Roberta Kathleen Parks (known as Kathy to her friends) in Corvallis, Oregon.

These murders spanned from January to July 1974, according to Crime and Investigation, but their remains would not be discovered until later.

After moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, to attend law school, Bundy murdered Nancy Wilcox, Melissa Smith — the 17-year-old daughter of Midvale police chief Louis Smith, Laura Aime, and Debby Kent between October and November 1974.

He attempted to kidnap Carol DaRonch as well, but she escaped. Her kidnapping, survival, and the ensuing trial resulted in Bundy’s first conviction. Nurse Caryn Campbell in Aspen, Colorado, was not so lucky and was next to be murdered. In the months that followed, Julie Ann Cunningham, Denise Lynn Oliverson, Lynette Dawn Culver, and Susan Curtis would follow.

Meanwhile, Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer was one of four people who had suggested Bundy’s name to police as a suspect.

Kloepfer lived in Seattle but had roots in Utah, and had phoned SLC police when she first began to suspect that Bundy might have something to do with the very similar tales of missing women in the Seattle and Salt Lake City areas.

Another person who had put Bundy’s name forward as a potential suspect was a former police officer who would go on to become a world-famous true crime writer, Ann Rule.

Rule had worked with and befriended Bundy while working at the Seattle Crisis Clinic. Under contract to write a book about the missing women but not realizing at first that her friend Ted had anything to do with it, Rule would eventually go on to write „The Stranger Beside Me“ about the Bundy case.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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