American serial killer Theodore Robert Bundy was born on 24 November 1946 at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont, and his grandparents tried to hide his illegitimacy by pretending that his mother was his sister.
The young Ted was known to torture animals, was obsessed with knives, and engaged in voyeurism.
Evidence suggests that Bundy began by killing a nine-year-old schoolmate, who disappeared when Bundy was 12.
Intelligent, charming and a natural leader, Bundy attended Stanford University, before moving to Washington State. There, he attacked a woman on 4 January 1974, battering her into a coma.
A month later he abducted and killed 21-year-old Lynda Ann Healy. Using fake ailments, to lure women to his aid, he went on to kill eight other women in the Northwest and was implicated in many unsolved cases.
Somehow, Ted managed to hold down a job, a girlfriend, and involvement in the Republican Party, even writing rape-prevention material for the King County Law and Justice Planning Commission and working at the Seattle Crisis Clinic, answering the telephone for a suicide prevention service.
With pressure mounting in the Northwest, he moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah, living in the college area.
He killed six girls in Utah, discarding them in the canyons. Bundy also travelled to Colorado, where three girls disappeared.
After a failed abduction in Utah, Bundy fled from a police roadblock after being stopped.
Captured and sentenced for attempted kidnapping, he was due for extradition to Colorado, before escaping via a ventilation shaft and fleeing to Florida.
In Florida, he again moved in college circles under the alias Chris Hagan, killing two female students – Lisa Levy (20) and Margaret Bowman (21) – and brutally assaulting three others – Kathy Kleiner, Karen Chandler and Cheryl Thomas. His last victim was a 12-year-old girl, Kimberly Leach.
Finally caught by a joint-state initiative, he was sentenced to death on three separate charges, although police speculate he killed 36 women in total.
After an unsuccessful attempt to avert death by offering to locate the bodies, he was executed in the electric chair at Raiford Prison in Florida on the 24th January 1989.
Hundreds of revellers sang, danced and set off fireworks in a pasture across from the prison as the execution was carried out, and then cheered as the white hearse containing Bundy’s corpse departed the prison.
Bundy remains a suspect in several unsolved homicides and was likely responsible for others that may never be identified; in 1987, he confided that there were some murders that he would never talk about because they were committed “too close to home”, “too close to family”, or involved “victims who were very young”.
In 2011, Bundy’s complete DNA profile, obtained from a vial of his blood found in an evidence vault, was added to the FBI’s DNA database for future reference in these and other unsolved murder cases.