Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles A young woman walks down an alleyway on her way home from college, illuminated only in small puddles of light by the lamps above her. Little does she know that a man will be waiting for her as she emerges into the carpark. “Poor soul,” she thinks, after seeing that the well-dressed man is struggling to carry books to his Volkswagen Beetle - especially as one of his arms is in a sling. She walks over to him and offers assistance, to which the polite and softly spoken man gives her his utmost thanks. As she takes some of the books and leans down to place them in the passenger seat, he hits her over the head with a tire iron. He gets in the driver's seat and leaves the scene. He will strangle her like he did many others. He will do unspeakable things to her. He's a quintessential maniac. His name is Ted Bundy. The scene we have just described to you was the modus operandi of this particular serial killer, well, when he had planned his murders. Bundy's thing was to use his good looks, his speaking skills and his educated demeanor to lure people into his trap. At times he'd put his arm in a sling, or even walk on crutches, to give his victims a false sense of security. How harmful could a man on crutches be, one dressed in a suit driving a cute car? This is why he was so hard to catch, he just didn't fit the profile of a serial killer, one who did absolutely disgusting things to people, at the moment they died and after they died. He probably should have been caught much earlier than he was. After all, when young women went out and never came back, on a few occasions witnesses came forward and said they had seen a man lurking around, a man with one arm in a sling, a man that drove a VW Bug. 22-year old Brenda Carol Ball was last seen talking to a guy in a carpark who had brown hair and an arm in a sling. Soon after, Susan Elaine Rancourt went missing, never to return. Two people came forward after that and said they'd been approached by a man who wore a sling. He'd asked them for help putting some books into his car, a VW Beetle. Then on June 11, 1974, University of Washington student Georgann Hawkins went missing. Her body would never be found. We know that she'd been with her boyfriend and she'd left him after midnight. On her walk home to her sorority house, she was spotted by a male friend who was driving a car. He shouted out of the window, “Hey George! What's happening?” She chatted with him for a minute or two and expressed that she was a bit nervous about her upcoming Spanish exam. Later, witnesses told the cops that they'd seen some guy skulking around in an alleyway close to Hawkins', a guy whose arm was in a sling. One woman said he'd asked her to help him load a briefcase into a light brown Volkswagen Beetle. Little did she know at the time how close she was to being murdered. Hawkins wasn't so lucky. She fell for the trick, as any helpful person might. We know what happened to her because Bundy later talked about it. When she was close enough to his car, he hit her over the head with a crowbar, which knocked her clean out. When she came around, she was obviously confused, although to Bundy's surprise she seemed to think that he'd turned up to help her with Spanish. She was evidently in shock. This is what Bundy said about that, “It's odd the kinds of things people will say under those circumstances.” He strangled her and dumped her body, a body he would return to on at least three occasions. You can only imagine how demented he was, returning to a body that was decomposing. He had his reasons, but we'll get to that. Bundy was brazen, there's no doubt about it. He didn't ever think he'd be caught. He thought he was too intelligent for the police. After all, he'd worked in politics. He worked as an Assistant Director of the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission where he wrote a paper on rape prevention. He did a stint at the Department of Emergency Services where he talked about missing women and how to find them. That's likely why Bundy didn't have any qualms about returning to the alleyway from where he'd picked up Hawkins. The day after the abduction he was there at the same time as the police, hiding in plain sight as he picked up one of the girl's shoes and her necklace. If he wasn't picking up girls in a car park or close by one, he was sneaking into basements while they slept and then bludgeoning the victim with some kind of iron bar. Bundy was like the boogeyman, a serial killer that crawled through windows and viciously attacked people while they were at their most vulnerable. But he was also a con artist; he played confidence tricks and he was very good at it. Investigators knew that when girls went missing at times a man was seen with an arm in a sling; a man that owned a VW Beetle. Surely Bundy was easy prey after that? How many VW Beetles were there in those areas where the abductions happened, areas dotted around the Pacific Midwest? The reality was Bundy's reign of terror was only in the early stages. The public and police were worried, that's for sure. Young folks stopped hitching rides, and many became fearful of talking to strangers or leaving their windows open at night. Those with most to fear were young, white women. Bundy's victims were almost always in their late teens or early twenties. They were Caucasian and most of them were attractive. They studied at university and were said to be intelligent and gifted students. Another thing was the fact each girl disappeared at a college where construction work was going on. Could the disappearances be linked, wondered investigators? They just didn't know. They had very little forensic evidence to work with and there were no bodies. That didn't mean the cops thought the girls had just taken off some place. Nothing about their personalities and state of mind suggested that. Only weeks after Hawkins went missing, two women were abducted in broad daylight at Lake Sammamish State Park not far from the city of Seattle. Bundy had first approached five women in the park, and in what they later described as a Canadian or British accent, the man introduced himself as Ted. Ted, dressed in a pressed white tennis outfit, with one arm in a sling, politely asked them if they could help him unload a sailboat from his bronze-colored Volkswagen Beetle. Four of them said no, but one followed him to his car. Thankfully, she ran away when she became aware that there was no sailboat. That day, Bundy managed to enlist one woman for help and he later abducted another close to a restroom. Both would die. Did he kill one in front of the other? He once said that was true, but close to his execution date he recanted that terribly bleak detail. This is not a story about his crimes, though. What we want to know is how the hell did police not get closer to Bundy seeing as he was using the same car and the same sling trick and so the same modus operandi. He even told the girls that escaped that he was named Ted. What more did the cops need? A written confession? They were closer, but still a long way from getting him. They at least now had a good description of this Ted guy and it did look quite like him. In no time at all, this sketch appeared in many newspapers and was shown on TV. Remember that we said Bundy worked at the Department of Emergency Services. Well, one of his co-workers there saw that sketch and heard about the VW Beetle and she knew she was looking at her colleague. Mr. Bundy. She made a call to the cops as did another person that knew Ted Bundy. The cops at the time were receiving something like 200 of these calls in one day, and they quickly assumed that a clean-cut law student with no criminal record couldn't be behind the abductions. Serial killers didn't look like that, or so they thought. The heat was on, though, and Bundy knew it. A couple of months after his last murder, bones were being found. Those bones were the remains of his victims, scattered in various places where the cops hadn't thought to look. It was fortunate for Bundy then that he was accepted to study at the University of Utah Law School. He packed his bags and headed south in August of '74. He was only in Utah a month when he started killing again. September 2, a hitchhiker. October 2, a 16-year old girl. October 18, a 17-year old girl from a pizza parlor. It turned out that she was the daughter of a police chief. After her decomposing body was found on a hiking trail the postmortem exam revealed that Bundy had kept her alive for perhaps seven days. Each had been subjected to the most brutal depravity, although Bundy admitted years later that after he killed them, he shampooed their hair and applied makeup to their faces, keeping them in a state that he liked. He wanted the physical possession of the remains, and he wanted to do what he wanted to them. He sometimes chopped them, sometimes kept heads in his apartment; and he dressed them the way he wanted them to look. Then he took a photograph. “When you work hard to do something right,” he once said, “You don't want to forget it.” More abductions happened, more murders, as well as attempted abductions. The disappearances were reported in the media, and after reading about them a woman named Elizabeth Kloepfer who'd dated Bundy back when he was in Washington put two and two together. She not only called the King County cops and told them she thought she had been dating the killer, but she also called the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and said the same there. She was still talking to Bundy at this point on the telephone, but she didn't say anything about her calls. For her, the sketch looked like Bundy; the car was Bundy's, and so the murders following him around was just too much of a coincidence. Bundy then started killing in Colorado. Things didn't change much. Death by blunt force trauma, sometimes strangulation; bodies dumped, mutilated, sometimes wearing clothes that weren't theirs. 1975 drew to an end and there were more victims, some whose bodies have never been found. 1976 turned out to be another bloody year, so how come the Washington cops weren't at the very least looking at Bundy? They only did that after they discovered a new toy, a computer and a database. They found they could input data about the murders and the computer would compare that data to data already in the system. Thousands of names were in that database, but only 26 names matched the crimes. Bundy's was one of them. The problem was connecting the Utah and Colorado murders to the Pacific Midwest murders. At the time there was no large database connecting all the states' police departments. The fact of the matter was, while the cops should have known better after the tip offs, because Bundy moved around, he managed to evade capture. But then he was pulled over by a cop in a Salt Lake City suburb after he'd been driving around looking suspicious. On searching Bundy's car, the cop found quite the collection of suspicious items: a ski mask, trash bags, handcuffs, a crowbar, lengths of rope, and an ice pick. All that was pretty much the consummate serial killer stash. It didn't take long for the cops to understand that they might have a maniac on their hands. They had the phone call from Bundy's lover in their records and they had his car description from one of the abductions. Still, after searching his house the police didn't have enough on him to keep him. One thing they didn't find that day was a bunch of photographs of his dead victims. Things would have been very different had they discovered those awful snaps. Bundy was on the loose again, but he was being monitored all day long. Some of the cops flew to Seattle to speak to Bundy's lover. She told them that some things just didn't add up. Such as, why did he keep crutches in the house. And what about that plaster of Paris, not to mention the surgical gloves, big knives, a meat cleaver, and a bag full of women's clothes. Bundy was certainly in a fix now, but he was by no means done. He sold his beloved Beetle, but that was soon sequestered by investigators who gave the interior a good going over. What they found were strands of hair from females, and those females were very likely victims of murder. Police brought Bundy in and put him in a line up, but they only had enough evidence to possibly put him on trial for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault. His parents paid his $15,000 bail and off he went once again, a free man, but under heavy round-the-clock surveillance. He actually lived with his lover again while he was on bail, which should have been a very strange time for her. At this point the lead investigators from Utah, Washington, and Colorado, all finally got together and shared their stories and what evidence they had. They were pretty darn sure that they had a serial killer on their hands, and an utterly depraved one at that. Before they could get him for murder, though, he faced trial for kidnapping and assault. He was found guilty and sentenced to one-to-15 years in the Utah State Prison. While in there, he was charged with just one of the murders. Bundy was a desperate man around this time, likely knowing that his crimes, or most of them, would catch up with him and he'd be looking at the death penalty. He chose to defend himself, and because of that he didn't have to wear handcuffs or leg shackles in court. On one of those court appearances he managed to convince the court he needed the library and he leapt from a window. He actually survived for six days around the wilderness of Aspen mountain but was eventually picked up by the cops. The case against him for that one murder was actually quite weak, but it seemed that Bundy believed they would get him. If he was done for that case, more cases might follow. Over a period of six months, he got his hands on a floor plan of the jail. He saved money after getting it smuggled in by visitors and he also got himself a hacksaw. On December 30, 1977, Bundy filled his bed with books so it might look like he was sleeping. He then got through the ceiling and into an apartment.