|Real World Bio|
|Alias|| Theodore Robert Cowell (birth name)|
|Birth Date||November 24, 1946|
|Place of Birth||Burlington, Vermont|
|Date of Death||January 24th, 1989|
|Place of Death||Florida|
|Job|| Grocery clerk|
Rockefeller campaign manager
|Pathology|| Serial Killer|
|Modus Operandi||Varied, preceded by rape|
|No. of Victims||26-35+|
"So what's one less? What's one less person on the face of the planet?"
Bundy was born in Burlington, Vermont to Eleanor Louise Cowell. His father's identity remains unknown. For most of his life, Bundy was raised to believe that his grandparents, Samuel and Eleanor, were his actual parents, and that Louise was his older sister. He didn't find out that "Louise" was his mother until his college years. This was done to avoid any social stigma placed on Louise for being an unwed mother. He lived with Louise in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There, Louise had Bundy's surname changed from Cowell (at that time) to Nelson. Later, when the two moved to Tacoma, Washington, Louise met a man named Johnny Culpepper Bundy at a local church function. They were soon married, and Johnny adopted him, thus changing his surname to "Bundy". Johnny treated Bundy well, including him in the camping trips and other outdoor activities he often took with his and Louise's own children. Despite this, Bundy remained distant from his stepfather. During high school, Bundy was often isolated from other kids his age. He couldn't seem to understand teenage social behavior but was skilled in "faking it", indicating a propensity towards psychopathy. He stated once that, "I didn't know what made things tick. I didn't know what made people want to be friends. I didn't know what made people attractive to one another. I didn't know what underlay social interactions."
It was during this time that Bundy developed a compulsion for thievery and shoplifting. He typically stole skiing equipment and forged ski lift tickets to support his interest in the sport. In college, Bundy studied Psychology and Asian studies. He worked at various jobs (never longer than a few months at a time), such as bagging groceries, stocking shelves, and working at a suicide hotline. During this time, he met writer Ann Rule, with whom he became friends. Ann would later write a defensive biography of Bundy entitled, "The Stranger Beside Me" and also wrote more true crime books, one of which was about the Green River Killer case. After a breakup with a fellow student, who cited immaturity and lack of ambition as her reasons, Bundy became depressed and dropped out of school. He returned to Burlington and, doing a search of public records, discovered his true parentage. After this, he became more focused and dominant. Returning to Washington, Bundy became Campaign Manager for Nelson Rockefeller's campaign for Presidency. He enrolled in the University of Washington as a psychology major and became an honor student who was well-liked by professors and students alike. Bundy's personality underwent a major paradigm shift; from shy and introverted, to confident and social.
Killings, Conviction and ExecutionEdit
Shortly after midnight on January 4, 1974, Bundy first attempted murder. He broke into the basement bedroom of a female student at the University of Washington, bludgeoned her in her sleep and sexually assaulted her. She survived, but suffered permanent brain damage. Over the following four months, he killed three students; another from the University of Washington on January 31, one from Evergreen State College on March 12 and one from Central Washington State College on April 17. After more abductions and murders, the authorities became aware that the same man, who a number of witnesses had said called himself "Ted", was responsible for the disappearances. Among the people who reported Bundy as a potential suspect were his ex-girlfriend, one of his psychology professors, and Ann Rule. Because of his reputation as a clean-shaven and well-mannered student, the police paid no attention to their tips. During this time, he also killed women in Oregon. Bundy then moved on to Salt Lake City, Utah where he attended the University of Utah College of Law and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, though he never really attended any gatherings. During the first semester, he killed four more women, one of which was the daughter of a police chief. The next semester, 1975, he killed four more women, three of which were taken in Colorado. The fourth was 13-year old Lynette Culver, who was abducted from a school playground in Pocatello, Idaho, taken to a hotel room, and raped and drowned in a bathtub. As with a number of Bundy's victims, her body was never found. He killed another girl, 15-year old Susan Curtis, during his summer break. On August 16, he was pulled over when he wouldn't stop for a police officer. Inside his car, the officer found balaclavas, gloves, a crowbar, handcuffs, and other items he suspected to be burglary tools. On March 1, 1976, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch, whom he had tried to abduct in Utah in 1974 by pretending to be a police officer.In 1977, investigators had found enough evidence to charge Bundy with the January 1975 murder of Caryn Campbell, who had disappeared while on a ski trip, and managed to extradite him to Aspen. At the Pitkin County courthouse, Bundy was allowed to visit the courthouse library. From there, he escaped through a window but was pulled over in a stolen car for having dimmed headlights and arrested again. He was placed in a jail in Glenwood Springs, from which he escaped on December 30, 1977, by somehow getting his hands on a hacksaw and $500 and getting out through a crawlspace. By the time the jail staff realized that he was missing, he had already made his way to Chicago. After then spending some time at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and in Atlanta, he settled at Tallahassee, Florida on January 8, where he supported himself through shoplifting and purse snatching. On January 15, 1978, Bundy committed his first murders in almost two-and-a-half years. He broke into the Chi Omega sorority at the Florida State University, raped, strangled, and bludgeoned students Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman. Two other students were also attacked but survived. The same night, he attacked another woman eight blocks away; she also survived.
On February 9, 1978, Bundy committed his last known murder. He abducted 12-year-old Kimberly Leach outside her school, raped and killed her and tried to hide the body in an abandoned hog shed. On the morning of February 15, he was arrested for driving a stolen vehicle and was quickly linked to the sorority murders. In the end, Bundy received two death sentences; one for the sorority murders and one for the murder of Kimberly Leach. Two pieces of evidence proved crucial: a set of bite marks on Lisa Levy's buttocks and the testimony of a Chi Omega resident who hadn't been present at the killings and saw Bundy leave the building. Bundy spent the better part of the 1980s fighting his sentence. During this time, he was interviewed by FBI profiler Robert Ressler, who found him uncooperative, and married Carole Ann Boone, a former co-worker, and had a daughter, Tina, with her in October 1982. When Bundy talked about the murders, he always did so in third-person and speaking hypothetically. As the execution date came closer, Bundy confessed to more murders for which he hadn't previously been conclusively linked to. In October 1984, Bundy contacted the Green River Task Force and offered personal insights on the case, which hadn't been solved at the time. At 7:06 a.m. on January 24, 1989, Bundy was executed by electric chair. His last words were "I'd like you to give my love to my family and friends." In May of 2012, John Henry Browne, who defended Bundy during his final trial, claimed in a memoir describing his conversations with Bundy that he claimed to have killed over 100 people and that his first victim had been a man.
Bundy's method of obtaining victims varied; sometimes he would burglarize their homes and bludgeon them in their sleep, sometimes he would use an elaborate ruse, and sometimes he merely relied on his looks alone. The latter method was successful for Bundy because of the fact that women considered him to be good-looking and charming. In fact, this characteristic even allowed him to successfully abduct women in broad daylight, even if they were aware that a serial killer was present in the area. His facial features were also "unremarkable"; that is, though attractive, not especially memorable. This allowed him to completely change his appearance with only minor adjustments; a mustache, different hair style, a hat, etc. Sometimes, Bundy would use a fake cast to play on a potential victim's sympathy. He would ask them for assistance of some kind, such as helping him put something in his car or asking for directions. Whatever the method, his initial attacks were typically blunt force trauma to the head with a crowbar. He would later kill his victims by strangulation and would sometimes decapitate them. In one case, he cremated the severed head in a fireplace.
Bundy would often visit his victims, whom he dumped at a site in Taylor Mountain. He admitted to applying makeup to the corpses, having sex with them, and would lie with them for hours afterward. Bundy also kept a collection of photos of his victims.
"You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You're looking into their eyes. A person in that situation is God!"
Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a psychologist who interviewed Bundy for seven hours, diagnosed him as a manic-depressive. She concluded that his murders took place during his depressive episodes. His pathology may have been due to his relationship with his grandfather, Samuel Cowell, a church deacon, who was described as a "tyrannical bully". Samuel was a known bigot, who hated African-Americans, Hispanics, Italians, Catholics, and Jews. Bundy stated that Samuel also tortured small animals, including neighborhood dogs and cats, and kept an extensive collection of "odd" pornography in his greenhouse. It would later be revealed that the pornography was of a violent nature; rape, torture, and mock-snuff.
Bundy's grandmother, also named Eleanor, suffered from depression as well. She was described as a very timid and obedient wife who regularly received shock treatments for her depression.
The locations denote where the victims were abducted or attacked.
- January 4, Seattle, Washington: Karen Sparks (bludgeoned in her bed and sexually assaulted with a speculum; survived)
- February 1, Seattle, Washington: Lynda Ann Healy, 21 (bludgeoned while asleep and abducted from her house; her skull and mandible were found)
- March 12, Olympia, Washington: Donna Gail Manson, 19 (abducted and killed; body was never found)
- April 17, Ellensburg, Washington: Susan Elaine Rancourt, 18 (abducted and killed; her skull and mandible were found)
- May 6, Corvallis, Oregon: Roberta Kathleen "Kathy" Parks, 22 (abducted and killed; her skull and mandible were found)
- June 1, Burien, Washington: Brenda Carol Ball, 22 (abducted and killed; her skull and mandible were found)
- June 11, Seattle, Washington: Georgeann Hawkins, 18 (abducted and killed; her skeletal remains were found)
- July 14, Issaquah, Washington (both abducted and killed four hours apart in the same location; their skeletal remains were found):
- Janice Ann Ott, 23
- Denise Marie Naslund, 19
- September 2, unspecified location in Idaho: An unidentified teenage hitchhiker (confessed to killing; her body was never found)
- October 2, Holladay, Utah: Nancy Wilcox, 16 (assaulted and strangled; her body was never found)
- October 18, Midvale, Utah: Melissa Anne Smith, 17 (abducted and strangled; her body was found)
- October 31, Lehi, Utah: Laura Ann Aime, 17 (abducted and bludgeoned with a crowbar; her body was found by hikers)
- November 8:
- Murray, Utah: Carol DaRonch (abducted and intended to kill; she escaped by jumping out of his car)
- Bountiful, Utah: Debra "Debby" Kent, 17 (abducted and killed; minimal skeletal remains not positively identified to hers were found)
- January 12, Snowmass, Colorado: Caryn Campbell, 23 (abducted, raped and bludgeoned; her body was found)
- March 15, Vail, Colorado: Julie Cunningham, 26 (abducted and killed; her body was never found)
- April 6, Grand Junction, Colorado: Denise Oliverson, 25 (body was never found)
- May 6, Pocatello, Idaho: Lynette Culver, 13 (abducted, raped and drowned in a bathtub; her body was never found)
- June 28, Provo, Utah: Susan Curtis, 15 (abducted and killed; her body was never found)
- January 15, Tallahassee, Florida:
- Two killed and two injured in the Chi Omega killings (all of the following were bludgeoned with a log as they slept):
- Margaret Bowman, 21 (also strangled with a pair of pantyhose)
- Lisa Levy, 20 (also raped, bitten and strangled)
- Karen Chandler, 21 (survived)
- Kathy Kleiner, 21 (survived)
- Cheryl Thomas, 21 (bludgeoned in her bed just a few blocks away from the above killings; survived)
- Two killed and two injured in the Chi Omega killings (all of the following were bludgeoned with a log as they slept):
- February 9, Lake City, Florida: Kimberly Leach, 12 (abducted, raped and killed; her skeletal remains were found)
- January 15, Tallahassee, Florida:
- August 31, 1961, Tacoma, Washington: Ann Marie Burr, 8 (disappeared; was never found)
- June 23, 1966, Seattle, Washington (both were bludgeoned with a log as they slept):
- Lisa E. Wick, 20 (survived)
- Lonnie Trumbull, 20 (killed)
- May 30, 1969, near Somers Point, New Jersey (both were stabbed to death; their bodies were found in the nearby woods three days later):
- Susan Davis, 19
- Elizabeth Perry, 19
- July 19, 1971, Burlington, Vermont: Rita Curran, 24 (raped, strangled and bludgeoned)
- June 29, West Linn, Oregon: Rita Lorraine Jolly, 17 (disappeared; was never found)
- August 20, Eugene, Oregon: Vicki Lynn Hollar, 24 (disappeared; was never found)
- November 24, near Olympia, Washington: Katherine Merry Devine, 14 (disappeared; her body was found; the murder was later attributed to one William E. Cosden in 2002)
- May 27, near Puyallup, Washington: Brenda Joy Baker, 14 (disappeared; her body was found a month later)
- July 1, Salt Lake City, Utah: Sandra Jean Weaver, 19 (disappeared; her body was found near Grand Junction, Colorado)
- August 2, near Vancouver, Washington: Carol L. Valenzuela, 20 (disappeared; her body was found two months later along with that of another victim)
- April 15, Nederland, Colorado: Melanie Suzanne "Suzy" Cooley, 18 (abducted, bludgeoned and strangled; her body was found)
- July 1, Golden, Colorado: Shelly/Shelley Kay Robertson, 24 (disappeared; her body was found a month later)
- July 4, Farmington, Utah: Nancy Perry Baird, 23 (disappeared; was never found)
- February 1976, Salt Lake City, Utah: Debbie Smith, 17 (disappeared; her body was found two months later)
- Unspecified date and location: An unidentified victim (her body was found alongside that of Carol L. Valenzuela)
- Minutes before his execution, Bundy was questioned about unsolved murders in New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, and Miami, Florida. Though he denied involvement in any of the cases, Bundy previously stated that he didn't want to talk about certain murders he committed, leaving the cases still open.
- After his capture, Bundy was suspected of committing the so-called Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders, in which at least seven female hitchhikers were all murdered in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa in 1972 and 1973. Bundy had spent some time in neighboring Marin County, but was ruled out by a Sonoma County detective. In addition, it was proven that he was Washington on the dates of some of the victims' disappearances.
On Criminal MindsEdit
- Season One:
- "Extreme Aggressor" - While giving a lecture on the Footpath Killer, Gideon claims he is obviously a disorganized killer, since there was no indication at any of the crime scenes that he made any attempt to charm or trick his victims, like Bundy did. Bundy's method of using subterfuge while luring in victims also seems to be the direct or indirect inspiration for the way Tim Vogel lured in his own victims.
- "Plain Sight" - While trying to talk down Franklin Graney, who has a woman at gunpoint, Gideon tells him that if he surrenders peacefully he will be immortalized by the media, and join the ranks of other infamous killers, like Bundy and Dahmer.
- "Unfinished Business" - Reid brings up Bundy as an example of a devolving killer, mentioning his sloppy attack on the Chi Omega Sorority House at the Florida University, and his excessively brutal murder of twelve year-old Kimberly Leach. The reference is accompanied by a flashback of Bundy (portrayed by an uncredited actor) in a van, manic and splattered in blood after having just murdered Leach.
- "Charm and Harm" - While he wasn't mentioned or referenced in the episode, Bundy seems to be similar to the episode's prominent unsub Mark Gregory, who was also a master of disguise and manipulation who killed victims in multiple states, ended his murders in Florida, and devolved, becoming sloppier towards the end of his killings.
- Season Two:
- "The Boogeyman" - While discussing how some serial killers enact revenge fantasies on their victims with Morgan, Reid brings up the theory that Bundy targeted women who reminded him of Stephanie Brooks, the girlfriend who rejected him.
- "The Last Word" - When the Mill Creek Killer's necrophilia is discovered, Bundy's penchant for it is brought up. The Mill Creek Killer also appeared to be loosely based on Bundy, the two having a similar victim type (brunette young women) and M.O. (luring with a ruse, then bludgeoning). The two would also return to their dump sites in the woods to groom and have sex with the corpses of their victims until the decomposition became too severe.
- "The Big Game" - Reid mentions how, when recounting his murders in interviews, Bundy never spoke about them in the first-person, usually just saying "the killer".
- Season Three:
- "Penelope" - While going over the details of Garcia's near-fatal shooting, Rossi brings Bundy, Edmund Kemper, and Robert Anderson up as examples of killers who appeared to gain sadistic satisfaction out of gaining the trust of their victims and out of lulling them into a false sense of security.
- "Limelight" - Rossi mentions that he interviewed Bundy and that he fed him the story about pornography contributing to his violent impulses, stating, "If you want to stop people from becoming like me, don't burn Catcher in the Rye, burn Hustler."
- Season Four:
- "Omnivore" - While holding George Foyet at gunpoint, Hotch tells him that he wouldn't want to die because he wanted to know of all of the media coverage that would result in his arrest, adding that it was "going to be like Bundy"; Foyet then proclaims that he is going to be "bigger than Bundy". Also, earlier in the episode, he had pretended to be a cop when killing two victims, which Bundy also did on at least one occasion.
- Season Five:
- "Outfoxed" - Neuroscientist James Fallon mentions Bundy was one of five violent psychopaths (the others being John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, Dennis Rader, and Charles Manson) whose brain patterns he has studied.
- "The Slave of Duty" - While theorizing the killer they are currently investigating may be targeting women who remind him of someone from his past, Reid mentions the theory that Bundy killed women who reminded him of Stephanie Brooks.
- "The Uncanny Valley - While he wasn't mentioned or referenced in the episode, the unsub's method of abducting a victim, in which she pretended to need help in lifting an object into her car and then incapacitating her immediately afterwards, bears some resemblance to Bundy's own ruse, which involved feigning a disability in order to lure in and abduct his victims.
- Season Six:
- "Remembrance of Things Past" - While trying to convince Hotch that the slew of recent murders being committed in Bristol are connected to the Butcher, Rossi mentions that just because the murders lack the Butcher's signature, that does not mean he is not involved; to prove his point, Rossi states some of Bundy and Dahmer's murders lacked the signature(s) the others had.
- Season Seven:
- Killer Profile - Former profiler Max Ryan is revealed to have written about Bundy in a book titled Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiling Why They Kill. Daniel Dryden (who used the book as a point of reference) also copycatted Bundy, luring a pair of young women who matched his victim type from a beach, strangling them and leaving several of their bones in a wooded area afterward.
- Note: Bundy is currently the single most frequently referenced killer on Criminal Minds, having a total of fourteen mentions or references related to him.