MM 5-25-20

Before we get into the case I want to let you all know we will only be having one MM a month now so that we have the time we need for our new Photo Stories. They will now be on the fourth Friday of every month.

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.

Hi, everyone I am doing this special MM post because of me trying to give you all the parts of our HAK box Episode 1 of Curtain Call. So if you haven’t yet go to our Facebook page for this part of our blog and join. The items that Facebook will not let me upload I will e uploading here In MM posts. With that being said here if the next document.

Ciphers and Codes


Mom toon


MM 5-22-20

Before we get into the case I want to let you all know we will only be having one MM a month now so that we have the time we need for our new Photo Stories. They will now be on the fourth Friday of every month.

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.


Hi guys and gals this month we are going to start our hunt a killer box 1 and I decided to let you all join in and help us do it. I have box 2 on the way and I have had box one for a week now so lets get you caught up on box 1. I will be referring to Hunt A Killer from now on as HAK. I hope to get people talking to me on here about this I would love to hear from more of you and with that being said lets get into the Information you need to know to join us for the first box.

Before you do start I will give you an idea of how the HAK boxes work. First of all we did pay for the subscription ourselves and are not sponsored by them. HAK is a subscription box for people that like solving mysteries. It is kind of like you went into the board game clue and are living it out. The clues, documents and pictures are realistic, they even create websites for you to explore and everything. There is an online community, a blog and many more features. Each case is 6 boxes long (if you don’t wait for the month date) or 6 months (if you stick to the subscription dates). I have not stuck to the schedule so far LOL. There is an objective for each box and the 6 boxes go together to solve the case. You will need to take notes and build a timeline using all 6 boxes. Ok now I am done rambling LOL.

I have a contact I work with and I will be your contact so you will go to the Facebook page in the document below to start. For us to work on the HAK boxes together I have made a group just for that so that I am not breaking rules of the game. That group is called Moms Mysteries Incorporated or MMI it is going to be our fictional Private Investigation team. I hope you all will join us. The document below give you the information to get you started in the case with us.



List of Items Needed

Let me know if you like me doing this kind of posts or if you like the other posts I usually do here.

Mom toon


MM 3-22-19

Before we get into the case I want to let you all know we will only be having one MM a month now so that we have the time we need for our new Photo Stories. They will now be on the fourth Friday of every month.

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.


This week we are looking into the case of Lillelid Family Murders.


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The Lillelid familly murders refers to a criminal case in Greene County, Tennessee, United States, where three members of the Lillelid family were murdered on April 6, 1997. Vidar Lillelid (aged 34), Delfina Lillelid (aged 28), and their daughter Tabitha (aged 6) and son Peter (aged 2) were shot on a deserted rural road near Greeneville during a carjacking committed by a group of youths. Vidar and Delfina were found dead at the scene, while Tabitha died after being transported to the hospital. Peter survived, but as a result of the shooting was left with disabilities. Six young people from Kentucky, including two minors, were convicted of felony murder for the deaths of Vidar, Delphina and Tabitha Lillelid, with all receiving three life sentences, and an additional 25-years each for the attempted murder of Peter Lillelid.


Vidar Lillelid grew up in Bergen, Norway, and in 1985 moved to United States. In 1989, Lillelid married Delfina Zelaya, a first-generation Honduran-American from New York City, who had met through their common involvement in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. By 1997, the Lillelids had two children: 6-year-old daughter Tabitha and 2-year-old son Peter.


On April 6, 1997, six people aged between 14 and 20 from Pikeville, Kentucky: Jason Bryant, Natasha Cornett, Dean Mullins, Joseph Risner, Crystal Sturgill, and Karen Howell, were travelling to New Orleans, Louisiana. Shortly after leaving Pikeville, they realized that Risner’s car would not likely sustain the length of the trip to New Orleans, and they discussed the possibility of stealing a car from a parking lot or a dealership. The group were armed with two guns: a 9mm and a .25 caliber pistol. Eyewitnesses observed six youths at a rest stop picnic spot along Interstate 81 outside Baileyton, in rural Greene County, Tennessee, in conversation with the Lillelid family, who were returning from a religious convention.

Vidar Lillelid, with his son Peter, had approached Cornett and Howell to discuss his religious views, before Risner and Bryant joined the conversation. At some point, Risner displayed one of the guns and said, “I hate to do you this way, but we are going to have to take you with us for your van.” As he then directed the Lillelid family into their van, Vidar pleaded with the group, offering his keys and wallet in exchange for permission to remain at the rest stop, but Risner refused. Vidar Lillelid drove the van while Risner, still armed, sat in the passenger seat. Risner, Bryant, Howell, and Cornett were in the van with the Lillelids, while Mullins and Sturgill followed in Risner’s car. In an attempt to calm the children, Delphina Lillelid began to sing, for which Bryant purportedly ordered her to stop. Risner directed Lillelid first to the interstate and then to a secluded road at the next exit, Payne Hollow Lane, near Greeneville. The Lillelid family were then lined up against a ditch along the road, where they were shot, and Bryant stated “They’re still fucking alive” and shot them again.


The group left the family for dead to continue their journey towards New Orleans in the Lillelid’s van, abandoning Risner’s car at scene with its registration plates removed. They stopped at a Waffle House while traveling through Georgia, but left the restaurant when a group of police officers arrived, and decided to abandon their plans to travel to New Orleans and instead drove toward Mexico. When they reached the border, they were initially denied admittance because they did not have the proper forms of identification, but eventually found a way into the country. While in Mexico, Bryant was shot in the hand and leg, and were stopped by the Mexican police. When they claimed they were lost, the officers ordered the group out of the van and conducted a search, where they found a knife and a photo album belonging to the Lillelid family. They ordered the group to the border to re-enter the United States, where American police searched them at the border patrol and took them to an Arizona jail. At the time of their arrest, two days after the murders, several of them had personal items belonging to the Lillelids in their possession.






Dr. Cleland Blake, a forensic pathologist, testified that Vidar Lillelid received a total of six gunshot wounds, one to the right side of his head and five to his chest. The first shot entered his right eye, traveled through his temple, and exited in front of his right ear. While he could not be certain, it was Dr. Blake’s opinion that this shot was fired by a 9mm handgun and would have caused a loss of consciousness. The victim then fell to the ground and was shot three times in the upper right side of his chest, described as shots consistent with a 9mm, and that the three gunshot wounds to the chest were deliberately fired in order to form the shape of an equilateral triangle, and that the victim was lying on his back at the time. A gunshot wound just below Mr. Lillelid’s nipple was consistent with a .25 caliber weapon, and a final 9mm gunshot wound was located just beneath it. There was a “graze laceration” on the victim’s right forearm where a bullet skimmed across the surface. There were postmortem superficial abrasions to the back of the victim’s legs. Vidar Lillelid most likely died within a few minutes of the initial gunshot to his right eye.

Delfina Lillelid was shot eight times, and all eight bullets were recovered six were from a 9mm and two were from a .25 caliber. The first of these shots fired by a 9mm shattered the bone in her left arm, and the second shot, also from a 9mm, shattered the thigh of her left leg. Dr. Blake testified that these shots would not have produced her death, but would have caused severe pain and the victim would not have been able to stand. Mrs. Lillelid was shot six additional times while on her back, with the first three shots striking the left side of her abdomen. It was Dr. Blake’s opinion that these shots were fired to form a triangular pattern, similar to the injuries inflicted on Mr. Lillelid. The three shots pierced her stomach, leaving a four to five inch tear, and traveled through her pancreas, spleen, left kidney, and left adrenal. A final 9mm entry wound was located at the mid-section of Mrs. Lillelid’s abdomen just above her navel and was recovered from her spine. There was a .25 caliber gunshot wound under her left armpit, where the bullet lodged in the skin on the back of her left shoulder. Another shot caused a wound to Mrs. Lillelid’s left side, and the bullet was recovered from the center of her liver. She also suffered abrasions on her right calf. Mrs. Lillelid’s wounds were not immediately fatal, and that she could have been conscious for as long as 25 minutes, including when her body was driven over by the van.

Six-year-old Tabitha Lillelid was shot once in the head by a small caliber weapon, which entered on the left side, traveled downward, and exited behind her right ear, causing immediate brain death. Her organs continued to function through the use of life support until her uncle, who had been named her custodian, gave permission for the donation of several of her internal organs. Physicians harvested her heart, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, and adrenals. Tabitha Lillelid was pronounced dead one day after the shooting.

Peter Lillelid

Two-year-old Peter Lillelid was shot twice with a small caliber weapon. One shot entered behind his right ear and exited near his right eye. A second gunshot penetrated his body from the back and exited through his chest. He was transported to the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Tennessee Memorial Hospital in Knoxville by a Lifestar helicopter, and was listed in critical condition. Peter required vigorous resuscitation, and there was a contusion to his right lung and some residual bleeding in his right chest cavity. Eleven days after the shootings, doctors removed the damaged eye. He remained in the hospital for 17 days before being transferred to a rehabilitation center in Knoxville.


All six of the perpetrators were from Kentucky, were known to have had troubled backgrounds, struggled academically or substance abuse problems, and with the exception of Bryant, had attended Betsy Layne High School.

Natasha Cornett

Natasha Wallen Cornett, 18, was born in Betsy Layne, Kentucky, the result of an affair and grew up in poverty. Cornett had been a polite and good student until sixth grade then leaving school before completing ninth grade, and had no history of employment except babysitting. Cornett started to use alcohol and illegal drugs, including heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. At the age of 14 she was arrested for forgery due the theft of a box of checks, and sentenced by the juvenile court to one year of probation. Cornett was arrested a second time for assaulting her mother, Madonna Wallen, and threatening to kill her with a knife, but her mother dismissed the charges. On her 17th birthday she married Steve Cornett, but the marriage ended after only ten months.

Dean Mullins

Edward Dean Mullins, 19, was born in 1978 in Harold, Kentucky.[4] He had left school in 1996 during his twelfth grade year, but was still working on his GED. Mullins had no criminal record, and had been employed at a grocery store in Pikeville, Kentucky, in 1993 and 1994. Mullins’ family and friends stated that his behavior worsened after becoming involved with Natasha Cornett, with whom he had planned to be married.

Joseph Risner

Joseph Lance Risner, 20, was born on October 13, 1976 in Hazard, Kentucky. He never met his biological father, and adopted one of his step-father’s lastname. His family lived in Columbia, Kentucky, but moved to Georgia where he started fourth grade. Risner was described as a good student with a good work ethic until the separation of his mother and step-father, which affected him emotionally. He and his mother moved back to Kentucky, where he had history of marijuana, alcohol, and LSD usage, and he claimed he had sexual relationships with two of his babysitters at 12-years-old. Risner declined academically, failing seventh grade and eighth grade, before his grades improved in tenth grade, which he completed at Betsy Layne High School, where he met the other perpetrators, including his girlfriend Karen Howell. Risner joined the US Army in June 1995 but received an administrative discharge after testing positive for marijuana. He earned a GED on May 29, 1996, and was accepted at Mayo Regional Technology Center in September 1996. Risner was the eldest of the group.

Crystal Sturgill

Crystal Rena Sturgill, 18, was born on March 13, 1979 in Harold, Kentucky. Her mother, Teen Blackburn, refused to divulge the name of her father, and his name does not appear on her birth certificate. She was in her senior year at Betsy Layne High School and also attended Floyd County Technical School in Drift, where records indicate she had been a slightly above-average student. Sturgill’s academically declined in high school, blaming it on drugs and alcohol, but performed well on standardized tests, including a total score of 28 on her ACT, and had applied for admission to several colleges. She worked in the Betsy Layne Elementary School daycare as part of a co-op program, where her supervisors believed Sturgill was capable at child care and she received very high marks. Sturgill has no prior criminal history as either a juvenile or an adult, but had been suspended from school several times. Observers commented on the amount of emotional neglect Sturgill suffered in her home, and in December 1996, she accused her stepfather of historic sexual abuse. After the accusations Sturgill moved in with her aunt in Prestonsburg and began attending Prestonsburg High School in January 1997, but soon had to move out. She lived in approximately thirteen different places from the time she made the allegations in December until the shootings occurred in April. Sturgill was good friends with Edward Mullins, and was critical of his relationship with Natasha Cornett.

Jason Bryant

Jason Blake Bryant, 14, was born July 18, 1982 in Hellier, Kentucky, had an IQ of 85, and the emotional and social skills of an eleven-year-old. He had a history of alcohol and drug abuse, beginning as early as 3-years-old, and was in eighth grade at Millard High School in Pike County, Kentucky. He had met Natasha Cornett at random in Pikeville, Kentucky, a month before the murders. Bryant was the youngest of the group, and was a legal minor at the time.

Karen Howell

Karen R. Howell, 17, was born on September 25, 1979 in Delaware, Ohio. Her family moved to Kentucky when she was three years-old, and her early childhood was characterized by severe violent fights between her parents until their divorce when she was 9-years-old. She was recorded as having a borderline retarded IQ of 78. Howell claimed that she had been sexually abused between the ages of five and ten by her paternal uncle and a cousin, and described herself as fearful of relationships. By the age of 13, she began the practice of self-mutilation, and until the age of 14, Howell lived with her mother and the two fought. Howell had a history of resistance to rules and regulations, inability to function in school, illegal drug usage, runaway behavior, and an interest in witchcraft, which began by her use of a Ouija Board and “automatic writing” which her mother found and provided them to ministers who attempted to “cast out demons.” Howell claimed that she had created “love spells” to get two boys to date her, and that she hears voices. She moved in with her father briefly after her first semester of high school, where her father rarely communicated with her, and dropped out of school. Howell moved back in with her father and continued to earn her GED. By her early teens she began abusing various drugs, particularly LSD, where she claimed to have had a bad trip where she tried to chew her friend’s arm off. Howell reported that she had attempted suicide four times in the past, twice by cutting her wrists and twice by overdosing on drugs. She had met Natasha Cornett and her boyfriend Joseph Risner at school. Howell was a minor at the time of the crime.


During the trial, Natasha Cornett said her first attorney coached her to say she was the “Daughter of Satan”. District Attorney Berkeley Bell considered the Satanic angle a distraction and was relieved when Cornett’s first attorney was replaced. References were made by witnesses and prosecutors at trial to rumors that the six were involved with occultism and Satanism, however no evidence was presented and this omission was cited in Mrs. Cornett’s unsuccessful 2002 appeal of her conviction.

The trial was completed in March 1998. The six were convicted of felony murder as participants in felony kidnapping and carjacking that resulted in three murders (three life sentences) and an attempted murder (25 years). The six youths were sentenced to prison for life with no chance for parole. The judge applied the same aggravating circumstances for all. However, it was not exactly decided which of them had the main blame for the killings. Court testimony by the other defendants was that the youngest, Jason Bryant, had fired shots, but the judge opined another undetermined member of the group might also have done so.


Soon after Peter Lillelid’s medical condition stabilized at the end of April 1997, a custody battle began between his maternal grandmother Lydia Selaya in Miami, Florida, and his paternal aunt Randi Heier in Sweden. Citing Randi’s pledge to raise Peter in the faith and teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as the deciding factor, local Judge Fred McDonald awarded her custody of Peter on July 1, 1997. Peter has since been raised in Sweden in the Stockholm area by his Aunt Randi Heier and her family. As of 2007 at the age of about twelve years, he still had trouble walking because of the injuries.

On August 24, 2001, Natasha Cornett and death row inmate Christa Pike allegedly attacked fellow prisoner Patricia Jones, nearly strangling Jones to death with a shoelace after Pike and Jones were placed in a holding cell with Cornett during a fire alarm. Although the Department of Corrections believed that Cornett was involved, investigators found insufficient evidence to charge her with helping Pike, who was subsequently found guilty of attempted murder.

This info came from

The following page gives you the info on what is believed to have happenedand more info about the people involved.
I also watched the documentary on YouTube and the location of this crime was not far from where we live in Bristol,TN.
Let us know if you have heard of this case before. What is your opinion of the case? Join us again next month.

Mom toon


MM 10-19-18

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the people’s eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.

This month and next month we will be talking about Serial Killers in MM. There will be 8 Serial Killers we will be talking about and I will go into as much of their cases as I can without making the posts to long. These posts will be more graphic than usual so a big Warning on the Graphic nature of these posts. For the months of December and January will be talking about Familicide. I will go into more about what Familicide is when I do the first post for December. This post is 3 of 8 in this series.

This week we are looking into the case of Ed Gein.


Before we start this case I would just like to say that Ed is not categorized as a serial killer but I think if they would not have found him when they did he would have become one. To be categorize as a serial killer they have to kill 3 or more people. Ed techniquely only killed 2 and the third they are not sure of and if he did kill him he would have been the first one which was his brother.

Ed Gein


Edward Theodore Gein (/ɡiːn/; August 27, 1906 – July 26, 1984), also known as The Butcher of Plainfield, was an American murderer and body snatcher. His crimes, committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, gathered widespread notoriety after authorities discovered that Gein had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. Gein confessed to killing two women – tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954, and a Plainfield hardware store owner, Bernice Worden in 1957. Gein was initially found unfit to stand trial and confined to a mental health facility. In 1968, Gein was found guilty but legally insane of the murder of Worden, and was remanded to a psychiatric institution. He died at Mendota Mental Health Institute of cancer-induced liver and respiratory failure at age 77 on July 26, 1984. He is buried next to his family in the Plainfield Cemetery, in a now-unmarked grave.

Early life

Ed Gein was born in La Crosse County, Wisconsin, on August 27, 1906, the second of two boys of George Philip Gein (1873–1940) and Augusta Wilhelmine (née Lehrke) Gein (1878–1945). Gein had an older brother, Henry George Gein (1901–1944). Augusta despised her husband, an alcoholic who was unable to keep a job; he had worked at various times as a carpenter, tanner, and insurance salesman. George owned a local grocery shop for a few years, but sold the business, and the family left the city to live in isolation on a 155-acre farm in the town of Plainfield in Waushara County, Wisconsin, which became the Gein family’s permanent residence.
Augusta took advantage of the farm’s isolation by turning away outsiders who could have influenced her sons. Edward left the farm only to attend school. Outside of school, he spent most of his time doing chores on the farm. Augusta was fervently religious, and nominally Lutheran. She preached to her boys about the innate immorality of the world, the evil of drinking, and her belief that all women (except herself) were naturally prostitutes and instruments of the devil. She reserved time every afternoon to read to them from the Bible, usually selecting graphic verses from the Old Testament concerning death, murder, and divine retribution.
Edward was shy, and classmates and teachers remembered him as having strange mannerisms, such as seemingly random laughter, as if he were laughing at his own personal jokes. To make matters worse, his mother punished him whenever he tried to make friends. Despite his poor social development, he did fairly well in school, particularly in reading.

Deaths in immediate family

On April 1, 1940, Ed’s father George died of heart failure caused by his alcoholism; he was 66 years old. Henry and Ed began doing odd jobs around town to help cover living expenses. The brothers were generally considered reliable and honest by residents of the community. While both worked as handyman, Ed also frequently babysat for neighbors. He enjoyed babysitting, seeming to relate more easily to children than adults. Henry began dating a divorced, single mother of two and planned on moving in with her; Henry worried about his brother’s attachment to their mother and often spoke ill of her around Ed, who responded with shock and hurt.
On May 16, 1944, Henry and Ed were burning away marsh vegetation on the property; the fire got out of control, drawing the attention of the local fire department. By the end of the day – the fire having been extinguished and the firefighters gone – Ed reported his brother missing. With lanterns and flashlights, a search party searched for Henry, whose dead body was found lying face down. Apparently, he had been dead for some time, and it appeared that the cause of death was heart failure, since he had not been burned or injured otherwise. It was later reported, in Harold Schechter’s biography of Gein, Deviant, that Henry had bruises on his head. The police dismissed the possibility of foul play and the county coroner later officially listed asphyxiation as the cause of death. The authorities accepted the accident theory, but no official investigation was conducted and an autopsy was not performed. Some suspected that Ed Gein killed his brother. Questioning Gein about the death of Bernice Worden in 1957, state investigator Joe Wilimovsky brought up questions about Henry’s death. Dr. George W. Arndt, who studied the case, wrote that, in retrospect, it was “possible and likely” that Henry’s death was “the “Cain and Abel” aspect of this case”.
Gein and his mother were now alone. Augusta had a paralyzing stroke shortly after Henry’s death, and Gein devoted himself to taking care of her. Sometime in 1945, Gein later recounted, he and his mother visited a man named Smith, who lived nearby, to purchase straw. According to Gein, Augusta witnessed Smith beating a dog. A woman inside the Smith home came outside and yelled to stop. Smith beat the dog to death. Augusta was extremely upset by this scene. What bothered her did not appear to be the brutality toward the dog but the presence of the woman. Augusta told Ed that the woman was not married to Smith so had no business being there. “Smith’s harlot”, Augusta angrily called her. She had a second stroke soon after, and her health deteriorated rapidly. She died on December 29, 1945, at the age of 67. Ed was devastated by her death; in the words of author Harold Schechter, he had “lost his only friend and one true love. And he was absolutely alone in the world.”


Gein held on to the farm and earned money from odd jobs. He boarded up rooms used by his mother, including the upstairs, downstairs parlor, and living room, leaving them untouched; while the rest of the house became increasingly squalid, these rooms remained pristine. Gein lived thereafter in a small room next to the kitchen. Around this time, he became interested in reading death-cult magazines and adventure stories, particularly those involving cannibals or Nazi atrocities.
Gein was a handyman and received a farm subsidy from the federal government starting in 1951. He occasionally worked for the local municipal road crew and crop-threshing crews in the area. Sometime between 1946 and 1956, he also sold an 80-acre parcel of land that his brother Henry had owned.


On the morning of November 16, 1957, Plainfield hardware store owner Bernice Worden disappeared. A Plainfield resident reported that the hardware store’s truck had been driven out from the rear of the building around 9:30 am. The hardware store was closed the entire day; some area residents believed this was because of deer hunting season. Bernice Worden’s son, Deputy Sheriff Frank Worden, entered the store around 5:00 pm to find the store’s cash register open and blood stains on the floor. Frank Worden told investigators that Ed Gein had been in the store the evening before his mother’s disappearance, and that he would return the next morning for a gallon of antifreeze. A sales slip for a gallon of antifreeze was the last receipt written by Worden on the morning she disappeared. On the evening of the same day, Gein was arrested at a West Plainfield grocery store, and the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department searched the Gein farm. A Waushara County Sheriff’s deputy discovered Worden’s decapitated body in a shed on Gein’s property, hung upside down by her legs with a crossbar at her ankles and ropes at her wrists. The torso was “dressed out like a deer”. She had been shot with a .22-caliber rifle, and the mutilations were made after her death.

Searching the house, authorities found:

  • Whole human bones and fragments
  • A wastebasket made of human skin
  • Human skin covering several chair seats
  • Skulls on his bedposts
  • Female skulls, some with the tops sawn off
  • Bowls made from human skulls
  • A corset made from a female torso skinned from shoulders to waist
  • Leggings made from human leg skin
  • Masks made from the skin of female heads
  • Mary Hogan’s face mask in a paper bag
  • Mary Hogan’s skull in a box
  • Bernice Worden’s entire head in a burlap sack
  • Bernice Worden’s heart “in a plastic bag in front of Gein’s pot-bellied stove”
  • Nine vulva in a shoe box
  • A young girl’s dress and “the vulvas of two females judged to have been about fifteen years old”
  • A belt made from female human nipples
  • Four noses
  • A pair of lips on a window shade drawstring
  • A lampshade made from the skin of a human face
  • Fingernails from female fingers

These artifacts were photographed at the state crime laboratory and then destroyed.
When questioned, Gein told investigators that between 1947 and 1952, he made as many as 40 nocturnal visits to three local graveyards to exhume recently buried bodies while he was in a “daze-like” state. On about 30 of those visits, he said he came out of the daze while in the cemetery, left the grave in good order, and returned home empty-handed. On the other occasions, he dug up the graves of recently buried middle-aged women he thought resembled his mother and took the bodies home, where he tanned their skins to make his paraphernalia.
Gein admitted to stealing from nine graves from local cemeteries and led investigators to their locations. Allan Wilimovsky of the state crime laboratory participated in opening three test graves identified by Gein. The caskets were inside wooden boxes; the top boards ran crossways (not lengthwise). The tops of the boxes were about 2 feet (60 cm) below the surface in sandy soil. Gein had robbed the graves soon after the funerals while the graves were not completed. The Test graves were exhumed because authorities were uncertain as to whether the slight Gein was capable of single-handedly digging up a grave during a single evening; they were found as Gein described: two of the exhumed graves were found empty (one had a crowbar in place of the body), thus apparently corroborating Gein’s confession.
Soon after his mother’s death, Gein began to create a “woman suit” so that “…he could become his mother—to literally crawl into her skin”. Gein denied having sex with the bodies he exhumed, explaining: “They smelled too bad.” During state crime laboratory interrogation, Gein also admitted to the shooting death of Mary Hogan, a tavern owner missing since 1954 whose head was found in his house, but he later denied memory of details of her death.
A 16-year-old youth, whose parents were friends of Gein and who attended ball games and movies with him, reported that Gein kept shrunken heads in his house, which Gein had described as relics from the Philippines, sent by a cousin who had served on the islands during World War II. Upon investigation by the police, these were determined to be human facial skins, carefully peeled from corpses and used by Gein as masks.
Gein was also considered a suspect in several other unsolved cases in Wisconsin, including the 1953 disappearance of Evelyn Hartley, a La Crosse babysitter.
During questioning, Waushara County sheriff Art Schley reportedly assaulted Gein by banging his head and face into a brick wall. As a result, Gein’s initial confession was ruled inadmissible. Schley died of heart failure at age 43 in 1968, before Gein’s trial. Many who knew Schley said he was traumatized by the horror of Gein’s crimes, and this, along with the fear of having to testify (especially about assaulting Gein), caused his death. One of his friends said: “He was a victim of Ed Gein as surely as if he had butchered him.”


On November 21, 1957, Gein was arraigned on one count of first degree murder in Waushara County Court, where he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Gein was diagnosed with schizophrenia and found mentally incompetent, thus unfit for trial. He was sent to the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane (now the Dodge Correctional Institution), a maximum-security facility in Waupun, Wisconsin, and later transferred to the Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.
In 1968, doctors determined Gein was “mentally able to confer with counsel and participate in his defense”. The trial began on November 7, 1968 and lasted one week. A psychiatrist testified that Gein had told him that he did not know whether the killing of Bernice Worden was intentional or accidental. Gein had told him that while he examined a gun in Worden’s store, the gun went off, killing Worden. Gein testified that after trying to load a bullet into the rifle, it discharged. He said he had not aimed the rifle at Worden, and did not remember anything else that happened that morning.
At the request of the defense, Gein’s trial was held without a jury, with Judge Robert H. Gollmar presiding. Gein was found guilty by Gollmar on November 14. A second trial dealt with Gein’s sanity; after testimony by doctors for the prosecution and defense, Gollmar ruled Gein “not guilty by reason of insanity” and ordered him committed to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Gein spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital. Judge Gollmar wrote, “Due to prohibitive costs, Gein was tried for only one murder—that of Mrs. Worden. He also admitted to killing Mary Hogan.”


Gein’s house and property were scheduled to be auctioned March 30, 1958, amid rumors the house was to become a tourist attraction. On March 27, the house was destroyed by fire. Arson was suspected, but the cause was never officially determined. When Gein learned of the incident while in detention, he shrugged and said, “Just as well.” Gein’s car, which he used to haul the bodies of his victims, was sold at public auction for $760 to carnival sideshow operator Bunny Gibbons. Gibbons later charged carnival goers 25¢ admission to see it.


Ed Gein’s vandalized grave marker as it appeared in 1999 before thieves stole it

Gein died at the Mendota Mental Health Institute due to respiratory failure secondary to lung cancer on July 26, 1984, at the age of 77. Over the years, souvenir seekers chipped pieces from his gravestone at the Plainfield Cemetery, until the stone itself was stolen in 2000. It was recovered in June 2001, near Seattle, and was placed in storage at the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department. The gravesite itself is now unmarked, but not unknown; Gein is interred between his parents and brother in the cemetery.


The story of Ed Gein was featured on season one, episode one of the R-rated documentary series, Behind the Screams, first shown on September 26, 2015, called “A Real Psycho”.

In popular culture

The story of Ed Gein has had a lasting effect on American popular culture as evidenced by its numerous appearances in film, music, and literature. The tale first came to widespread public attention in the fictionalized version presented by Robert Bloch in his 1959 suspense novel Psycho. In addition to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film of Bloch’s novel, Psycho, Gein’s story was loosely adapted into a number of films, including Deranged (1974), In the Light of the Moon (2000) (released in the United States and Australia as Ed Gein (2001)), Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield (2007), Hitchcock (2012), and the Rob Zombie films House of 1000 Corpses and its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. Gein served as a model for several book and film characters, most notably such fictional serial killers as Norman Bates (Psycho), Leatherface (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs) and the character Dr. Oliver Thredson from the TV series American Horror Story: Asylum.
American filmmaker Errol Morris and German filmmaker Werner Herzog attempted unsuccessfully to collaborate on a film project about Gein from 1975 to 1976. Morris interviewed Gein several times and ended up spending almost a year in Plainfield interviewing dozens of locals. The pair planned secretly to exhume Gein’s mother from her grave to test a theory but never followed through on the scheme and eventually ended their collaboration. The aborted project was described in a 1989 New Yorker profile of Morris.
At the time, the news reports of Gein’s crimes spawned a subgenre of “black humor”. Since the 1950s, Gein has frequently been exploited by transgressive art or “shock rock”, often without association with his life or crimes beyond the shock value of his name. Examples of this include the song titled “Dead Skin Mask” (1990) from the Slayer album Seasons in the Abyss, “Nothing to Gein” (2001) from Mudvayne’s album L.D. 50, and “Ed Gein” (1992) from The Ziggens’ album Rusty Never Sleeps. There was the band Ed Gein called after the murderer. Ed Gein’s atrocities were also satirized in Blind Melon’s “Skinned” from the 1995 album Soup.

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MM 10-16-18

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.

This month and next month we will be talking about Serial Killers in MM. There will be 8 Serial Killers we will be talking about and I will go into as much of there cases as I can without making the posts to long. These posts will be more graphic then usual so a big Warning on the Graphic nature of these posts. For the months of December and January will be talking about Familicide. I will go into more about what Familicide is when I do the first post for December. This post is 2 of 8 in this series.

This week we are looking into the case of H.H. Holmes.

H. H. Holmes




Herman Webster Mudgett (May 16, 1861 – May 7, 1896), better known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or more commonly known as H. H. Holmes, was an American serial killer.

While he confessed to 27 murders, only nine could be plausibly confirmed and several of the people whom he claimed to have murdered were still alive. He is commonly said to have killed as many as 200, though this figure is only traceable to 1940s pulp magazines. Many victims were said to have been killed in a mixed-use building which he owned, located about 3 miles (5 km) west of the 1893 World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, supposedly called the World’s Fair Hotel (informally called “The Murder Hotel”), though evidence suggests that the hotel portion was never truly open for business.

Besides being a serial killer, Holmes was also a con artist and a bigamist, the subject of more than 50 lawsuits in Chicago alone. Many now-common stories of his crimes sprang from fictional accounts that later authors took for fact; however, in a 2017 biography, Adam Selzer wrote that Holmes’ story is “effectively a new American tall tale – and, like all the best tall tales, it sprang from a kernel of truth”.

H. H. Holmes was executed on May 7, 1896, nine days before his 35th birthday, for the murder of his friend and accomplice Benjamin Pitezel. During his trial for the murder of Pitezel, Holmes confessed to numerous other killings.

Early life

Holmes was born Herman Webster Mudgett in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, United States, on May 16, 1861, to Levi Horton Mudgett and Theodate Page Price, both of whom were descended from the first English immigrants in the area. Mudgett was his parents’ third-born child; he had an older sister Ellen, an older brother Arthur, a younger brother Henry and a younger sister Mary. Holmes’s father was from a farming family, and at times he worked as a farmer, trader and house painter; his parents were devout Methodists. Later attempts to fit Holmes into the patterns seen in modern serial killers have described him torturing animals and suffering from abuse at the hands of a violent father, but contemporary and eyewitness accounts of his childhood do not provide proof of either.
At the age of 16, Holmes graduated from high school and took teaching jobs in Gilmanton and later in nearby Alton. On July 4, 1878, he married Clara Lovering in Alton; their son, Robert Lovering Mudgett, was born on February 3, 1880, in Loudon, New Hampshire. As an adult, Robert became a certified public accountant, and served as city manager of Orlando, Florida.

Holmes enrolled in the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont at age 18, but was dissatisfied with the school and left after only one year. In 1882, he entered the University of Michigan’s Department of Medicine and Surgery[8] and graduated in June 1884 after passing his examinations.[9] While enrolled, he worked in the anatomy lab under Professor Herdman, then the chief anatomy instructor. Holmes had previously apprenticed in New Hampshire under Dr. Nahum Wight, a noted advocate of human dissection. Years later, when Holmes was suspected of murder and claimed to be nothing but an insurance fraudster, he admitted to using cadavers to defraud life insurance companies several times in college.

Housemates described Holmes as treating Clara violently, and in 1884, before his graduation, she moved back to New Hampshire and later wrote that she knew little of him afterwards. After he moved to Mooers Forks, New York, a rumor spread that Holmes had been seen with a little boy who later disappeared. Holmes claimed the boy went back to his home in Massachusetts. No investigation took place and Holmes quickly left town. He later traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and eventually got a job as a keeper at Norristown State Hospital, but quit after a few days. Subsequently, he took a position at a drugstore in Philadelphia, but while he was working there, a boy died after taking medicine that was purchased at the store. Holmes denied any involvement in the child’s death and immediately left the city. Right before moving to Chicago, he changed his name to Henry Howard Holmes to avoid the possibility of being exposed by victims of his previous scams. In his confession following his arrest, Holmes claimed that he had killed his former medical school classmate, Dr. Robert Leacock, in 1886 for insurance money; Dr. Leacock, however, died in Watford, Ontario in Canada on October 5, 1889.[12][13] In late 1886, while still married to Clara, Holmes married Myrta Belknap (b. October 1862 in Pennsylvania) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He filed for divorce from Clara a few weeks after marrying Myrta, alleging infidelity on her part, but the claims could not be proven and the suit went nowhere. Surviving paperwork indicated that she probably was never even informed of the suit. In any case, the divorce was never finalized; it was dismissed June 4, 1891, on the grounds of “want of prosecution”. Holmes had a daughter with Myrta, Lucy Theodate Holmes, who was born on July 4, 1889, in Englewood, Chicago, Illinois; as an adult, Lucy became a public schoolteacher. Holmes lived with Myrta and Lucy in Wilmette, Illinois, and spent most of his time in Chicago tending to business. Holmes married Georgiana Yoke on January 17, 1894, in Denver, Colorado, while still married to both Clara and Myrta.

Illinois and the “Murder Castle”

H. H. Holmes’ “Castle”

Holmes arrived in Chicago in August 1886 and came across Elizabeth S. Holton’s drugstore at the southwest corner of South Wallace Avenue and West 63rd Street in Englewood. Holton gave Holmes a job, and he proved himself to be a hardworking employee, eventually buying the store. Although several books portray Holton’s husband as an old man who quickly vanished along with his wife, Dr. Holton was actually a fellow Michigan alumnus, only a few years older than Holmes, and both Holtons remained in Englewood throughout Holmes’ life and survived well into the 20th century; the idea that Holmes killed them is strictly fiction.

The Englewood post office at 63rd and Wallace Streets; Holmes’ “Castle” site was just at the far left adjoining the post office building

Holmes purchased an empty lot across from the drugstore, where construction began in 1887 for a two-story mixed-use building, with apartments on the second floor and retail spaces, including a new drugstore, on the first. When Holmes declined to pay the architects or the steel company, Aetna Iron and Steel, they sued in 1888. In 1892, he added a third floor, telling investors and suppliers that he intended to use it as a hotel during the upcoming World’s Columbian Exposition, though the hotel portion was never completed. Furniture suppliers found that Holmes was hiding their materials, for which he had never paid, in hidden rooms and passages throughout the building. Their search made the news, and investors for the planned hotel pulled out of the deal when a jeweler in the building showed them the articles. The hotel was burned to the ground shortly after Holmes was executed and eventually became a post office in the 1930s.

First murders

One of Holmes’ early murder victims was his mistress, Julia Smythe. She was the wife of Ned (Icilius) Conner, who had moved into Holmes’ building and began working at his pharmacy’s jewelry counter. After Conner found out about Smythe’s affair with Holmes, he quit his job and moved away, leaving Smythe and her daughter Pearl behind. Smythe gained custody of Pearl and remained at the hotel, continuing her relationship with Holmes. Julia and Pearl disappeared on Christmas Eve of 1891, and Holmes later claimed that she had died during an abortion, though what truly happened to the two was never confirmed. Another likely Holmes paramour, Emeline Cigrande, began working in the building in May 1892, and disappeared that December. Another woman who vanished, Edna Van Tassel, is also believed to have been one of Holmes’ victims.
While working in the Chemical Bank building on Dearborn Street, Holmes met and became close friends with Benjamin Pitezel, a carpenter with a criminal past who was exhibiting, in the same building, a coal bin which he had invented.[3] Holmes used Pitezel as his right-hand man for several criminal schemes; a district attorney later described Pitezel as “Holmes’ tool … his creature”. In early 1893, a one-time actress named Minnie Williams moved to Chicago; Holmes claimed to have met her in an employment office, though there were rumors that he had met her in Boston years earlier. He offered her a job at the hotel as his personal stenographer, and she accepted. Holmes was able to persuade Williams to transfer the deed to her property in Fort Worth, Texas, to a man named Alexander Bond (an alias of Holmes). In April 1893, Williams transferred the deed, with Holmes serving as the notary (Holmes later signed the deed over to Pitezel, giving him the alias “Benton T. Lyman”). The next month, Holmes and Williams, presenting themselves as man and wife, rented an apartment in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Minnie’s sister, Nannie, came to visit, and in July, she wrote to her aunt that she planned to accompany “Brother Harry” to Europe. Neither Minnie nor Nannie were seen alive after July 5, 1893.

Capture and arrest

H. H. Holmes’ mugshot (1895)

With insurance companies pressing to prosecute Holmes for arson, Holmes left Chicago in July 1894. He reappeared in Fort Worth, where he had inherited property from the Williams sisters. There, he sought to construct another “castle” along the lines of his Chicago operation, once again swindling a number of suppliers.
In July 1894, Holmes was arrested and briefly incarcerated for the first time, on the charge of selling mortgaged goods in St. Louis, Missouri. He was promptly bailed out, but while in jail he struck up a conversation with a convicted outlaw named Marion Hedgepeth, who was serving a 25-year sentence. Holmes had concocted a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $10,000 by taking out a policy on himself and then faking his death. Holmes promised Hedgepeth a $500 commission in exchange for the name of a lawyer who could be trusted. Holmes was directed to a young St. Louis attorney named Jeptha Howe. Howe was in practice with his older brother, Alphonso Howe, who had no involvement with Holmes or Pitezel or their fraudulent activities. Jeptha Howe, however, found Holmes’ scheme brilliant. Nevertheless, Holmes’ plan to fake his own death failed when the insurance company became suspicious and refused to pay. Holmes did not press the claim; instead, he concocted a similar plan with Pitezel.

Benjamin Pitezel

Pitezel agreed to fake his own death so that his wife could collect on a $10,000 life insurance policy, which she was to split with Holmes and Jeptha Howe. The scheme, which was to take place in Philadelphia, called for Pitezel to set himself up as an inventor under the name B.F. Perry, and then be killed and disfigured in a lab explosion. Holmes was to find an appropriate cadaver to play the role of Pitezel. Instead, Holmes killed Pitezel by knocking him unconscious with chloroform and setting his body on fire with the use of benzene. In his confession, Holmes implied that Pitezel was still alive after he used the chloroform on him, prior to being set on fire. However, forensic evidence presented at Holmes’ later trial showed that chloroform had been administered after Pitezel’s death (a fact which the insurance company was unaware of), presumably to fake suicide to exonerate Holmes should he be charged with murder.
Holmes proceeded to collect the insurance payout on the basis of the genuine Pitezel corpse. Holmes then went on to manipulate Pitezel’s unsuspecting wife into allowing three of her five children (Alice, Nellie and Howard) to be in his custody. The eldest daughter and the baby remained with Mrs. Pitezel. Holmes and the three Pitezel children traveled throughout the northern United States and into Canada. Simultaneously, he escorted Mrs. Pitezel along a parallel route, all the while using various aliases and lying to Mrs. Pitezel concerning her husband’s death (claiming that Pitezel was hiding in London), as well as lying to her about the true whereabouts of her three missing children. In Detroit, just prior to entering Canada, they were only separated by a few blocks. In an even more audacious move, Holmes was staying at another location with his wife, who was unaware of the whole affair. Holmes would later confess to murdering Alice and Nellie by forcing them into a large trunk and locking them inside. He drilled a hole in the lid of the trunk and put one end of a hose through the hole, attaching the other end to a gas line to asphyxiate the girls. Holmes buried their nude bodies in the cellar of his rental house at 16 St. Vincent Street in Toronto.
Frank Geyer, a Philadelphia police detective assigned to investigate Holmes and find the three missing children, located the decomposed bodies of the two Pitezel girls in the cellar of the Toronto home. Detective Geyer wrote, “The deeper we dug, the more horrible the odor became, and when we reached the depth of three feet, we discovered what appeared to be the bone of the forearm of a human being.” Geyer then went to Indianapolis, where Holmes had rented a cottage. Holmes was reported to have visited a local pharmacy to purchase the drugs which he used to kill Howard Pitezel, and a repair shop to sharpen the knives he used to chop up the body before he burned it. The boy’s teeth and bits of bone were discovered in the home’s chimney. Holmes’ murder spree finally ended when he was arrested in Boston on November 17, 1894, after being tracked there from Philadelphia by the Pinkertons. He was held on an outstanding warrant for horse theft in Texas, as the authorities had become more suspicious at this point and Holmes appeared poised to flee the country in the company of his unsuspecting third wife.
Following the discovery of Alice and Nellie’s bodies, in July 1895, Chicago police and reporters began investigating Holmes’ building in Englewood, now locally referred to as “The Castle”. Though many sensational claims were made, no evidence was found which could have convicted Holmes in Chicago. According to Selzer, stories of torture equipment found in the building are 20th-century fiction.
CaptureIn October 1895, Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, and was found guilty and sentenced to death. By then, it was evident that Holmes had also murdered the Pitezel children. Following his conviction, Holmes confessed to 27 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Toronto (though some persons he “confessed” to murdering were, in fact, still living), and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid $7,500 (worth $221,000 today) by the Hearst newspapers in exchange for his confession, which was quickly found to be mostly nonsense. Holmes gave various contradictory accounts of his life, initially claiming innocence and later that he was possessed by Satan. His propensity for lying has made it difficult for researchers to ascertain the truth on the basis of his statements. While writing his confessions in prison, Holmes mentioned how drastically his facial appearance had changed since his imprisonment. He described his new, grim appearance as “gruesome and taking a Satanical Cast,” and wrote that he was now convinced that after everything that he had done, he was beginning to resemble the Devil.
On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, also known as the Philadelphia County Prison, for the murder of Pitezel. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Despite this, he asked for his coffin to be contained in cement and buried 10 feet deep, because he was concerned grave robbers would steal his body and use it for dissection. Holmes’ neck did not snap; he instead was strangled to death slowly, twitching for over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung.
On New Year’s Eve 1909, Hedgepeth, who had been pardoned for informing on Holmes, was shot and killed by police officer Edward Jaburek during a holdup at a Chicago saloon.
On March 7, 1914, the Chicago Tribune reported that, with the death of Quinlan, the former caretaker of the Castle, “the mysteries of Holmes’ Castle” would remain unexplained. Quinlan had committed suicide by taking strychnine. His body was found in his bedroom with a note that read, “I couldn’t sleep.” Quinlan’s surviving relatives claimed that he had been “haunted” for several months and was suffering from hallucinations. The Castle itself was mysteriously gutted by fire in August 1895. According to a newspaper clipping from The New York Times, two men were seen entering the back of the building between 8 and 9 p.m. About a half an hour later, they were seen exiting the building, and rapidly running away. Following several explosions, the Castle went up in flames. Afterwards, investigators found a half-empty gas can underneath the back steps of the building. The building survived the fire and remained in use until it was torn down in 1938. The site is currently occupied by the Englewood branch of the United States Postal Service.
In 2017, amid allegations that Holmes had in fact escaped execution, Holmes’ body was exhumed for testing. Due to his coffin being contained in cement, his body was found not to have decomposed normally. His clothes were almost perfectly preserved and his mustache was found to be intact. The body was positively identified as being that of Holmes with his teeth. Holmes was then reburied.

Non-fiction media

April 12, 1896 newspaper, the New York Journal, showing the interior of Holmes’ “Castle”

The case was notorious in its time and received wide publicity in the international press. Interest in Holmes’s crimes was revived in 2003 by Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, a best-selling nonfiction book that juxtaposed an account of the planning and staging of the World’s Fair with Holmes’s story. His story had been previously chronicled in The Torture Doctor by David Franke (1975), The Scarlet Mansion by Allan W. Eckert (1985) and Depraved: The Shocking True Story of America’s First Serial Killer by Harold Schechter (1994), as well as “The Monster of Sixty-Third Street” chapter in Gem of the Prairie: An Informal History of the Chicago Underworld by Herbert Asbury (1940, republished 1986). Asbury’s account drew heavily on 1890s tabloids and included several claims – such as the “200 victims” figure, Holmes killing Dr. Holton and torture equipment found in the castle – that, according to Selzer, were the products of his own imagination. However, Asbury’s account was a major foundation for later retellings of Holmes, including Larson’s, which quoted several portions of Asbury’s account verbatim.
The 1974 novel American Gothic by horror writer Robert Bloch was a fictionalized version of the story of H. H. Holmes. In 2003, cartoonist/illustrator Rick Geary published a graphic novel about Holmes titled The Beast of Chicago: The Murderous Career of H. H. Holmes. Selzer’s comprehensive 2017 biography, H. H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil, attempted to separate fact from fiction, and to trace how the story grew.
A documentary film on Holmes, H. H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer, was released in 2004, narrated by Tony Jay. The producer and director of the film, John Borowski, also wrote a book on Holmes titled The Strange Case of Dr. H. H. Holmes.
U.K.’s Channel 5 aired a documentary, Slaughtered at the Murder Hotel, on July 17, 2013.
Episode 3 of the first season of the History Channel’s Haunted History TV series, airing in July 2013, was dedicated to Holmes and the Murder Castle. In July 2017, the History Channel broadcast the eight-part limited series American Ripper, in which Holmes descendant Jeff Mudgett attempted to link Holmes to the Jack the Ripper case. The series concluded with the exhumation of Holmes’ grave and the positive identification of Holmes’ body.
A three-part miniseries, titled The Murder Castle, premiered October 28, 2017 on Investigation Discovery.
Devil in the White City, an upcoming film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Holmes, is set to be directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Billy Ray, based on the book of the same name. The film will follow Daniel H. Burnham’s construction of the 1893 World’s Fair, as well as Holmes’ building of his hotel.

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I think H.H. Holmes is a very interesting person even though he killed people.

Tell me what you think of this case in the comments.




MM 10-5-18

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.

This month and next month we will be talking about Serial Killers in MM. There will be 8 Serial Killers we will be talking about and I will go into as much of there cases as I can without making the posts to long. These posts will be more graphic then usual so a big Warning on the Graphic nature of these posts. For the months of December and January will be talking about Familicide. I will go into more about what Familicide is when I do the first post for December. This post is 1 of 8 in this series.


This week we are looking into the case of Ted Bundy.

Ted Bundy




Theodore Robert Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. Shortly before his execution and after more than a decade of denials, he confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The true victim count is unknown and could be much higher.

Many of Bundy’s young female victims regarded him as handsome and charismatic, which were traits that he exploited to win their trust. He would typically approach them in public places, feigning injury or disability, or impersonating an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them at more secluded locations. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes for hours at a time, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least 12 of his victims, and for a period of time, he kept some of the severed heads as mementos in his apartment. On a few occasions, he simply broke into dwellings at night and bludgeoned his victims as they slept.

In 1975, Bundy went to jail for the first time when he was incarcerated in Utah for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault. He then became a suspect in a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in multiple states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes and committed further assaults, including three murders, before his ultimate recapture in Florida in 1978. For the Florida homicides, he received three death sentences in two separate trials.

Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989. Biographer Ann Rule described him as “a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human’s pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after”. He once called himself “the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet”; Attorney Polly Nelson—a member of his last defense team—wrote: “Ted was the very definition of heartless evil.”

Early life


Bundy was born Theodore Robert Cowell on November 24, 1946, to Eleanor Louise Cowell (known for most of her life as Louise) at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont. His father’s identity was never determined with any degree of certainty. His birth certificate assigned paternity to a salesman and Air Force veteran named Lloyd Marshall, but Louise later claimed that she had been seduced by “a sailor” whose name may have been Jack Worthington. Years later, investigators would find no record of anyone by that name in Navy or Merchant Marine archives. Some family members expressed suspicions that Bundy might have been fathered by Louise’s own violent, abusive father, Samuel Cowell, but no material evidence has ever been cited to support or refute this.

For the first three years of his life, Bundy lived in the Philadelphia home of his maternal grandparents, Samuel and Eleanor Cowell, who raised him as their son to avoid the social stigma that accompanied birth outside of wedlock at the time. Family, friends, and even young Ted were told that his grandparents were his parents and that his mother was his older sister. He eventually discovered the truth, although he had varied recollections of the circumstances. He told a girlfriend that a cousin showed him a copy of his birth certificate after calling him a “bastard”, but he told biographers Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth that he found the certificate himself. Biographer and true crime writer Ann Rule, who knew Bundy personally, believed that he did not find out until 1969, when he located his original birth record in Vermont. Bundy expressed a lifelong resentment toward his mother for never talking to him about his real father, and for leaving him to discover his true parentage for himself.

In some interviews, Bundy spoke warmly of his grandparents and told Rule that he “identified with”, “respected”, and “clung to” his grandfather. In 1987, however, he and other family members told attorneys that Samuel Cowell was a tyrannical bully and a bigot who hated blacks, Italians, Catholics, and Jews. Bundy’s grandfather beat his wife and the family dog and swung neighborhood cats by their tails. He once threw Louise’s younger sister Julia down a flight of stairs for oversleeping. He sometimes spoke aloud to unseen presences, and at least once he flew into a violent rage when the question of Ted’s paternity was raised. Bundy described his grandmother as a timid and obedient woman who periodically underwent electroconvulsive therapy for depression and feared to leave their house toward the end of her life. Ted occasionally exhibited disturbing behavior, even at that early age. Julia recalled awakening one day from a nap to find herself surrounded by knives from the Cowell kitchen; her three-year-old nephew was standing by the bed, smiling.

In 1950, Louise abruptly changed her surname from Cowell to Nelson, and at the urging

Bundy as a senior in high school, 1965

of multiple family members, she left Philadelphia with her son to live with cousins Alan and Jane Scott in Tacoma, Washington.[26] In 1951 Louise met Johnny Culpepper Bundy, a hospital cook, at an adult singles night at Tacoma’s First Methodist Church. They married later that year and Johnny Bundy formally adopted Ted. Johnny and Louise conceived four children of their own, and although Johnny tried to include his adoptive son in camping trips and other family activities, Ted remained distant. He later complained to his girlfriend that Johnny wasn’t his real father, “wasn’t very bright”, and “didn’t make much money.”


Bundy had different recollections of Tacoma when he spoke to his biographers. When he talked to Michaud and Aynesworth, he described how he roamed his neighborhood, picking through trash barrels in search of pictures of naked women. When he spoke to Polly Nelson, he explained how he perused detective magazines, crime novels, and true crime documentaries for stories that involved sexual violence, particularly when the stories were illustrated with pictures of dead or maimed bodies. In a letter to Rule, he asserted that he “… never, ever read fact-detective magazines, and shuddered at the thought [that anyone would]”. In his conversation with Michaud, he described how he consumed large quantities of alcohol and “canvass[ing] the community” late at night in search of undraped windows where he could observe women undressing, or “whatever [else] could be seen.”

Bundy also varied the accounts of his social life. He told Michaud and Aynesworth that he “chose to be alone” as an adolescent because he was unable to understand interpersonal relationships. He claimed that he had no natural sense of how to develop friendships. “I didn’t know what made people want to be friends,” he said. “I didn’t know what underlay social interactions.” Classmates from Woodrow Wilson High School told Rule, however, that Bundy was “well known and well liked” there, “a medium-sized fish in a large pond”.

Snow skiing was Bundy’s only significant athletic avocation; he enthusiastically pursued the activity by using stolen equipment and forged lift tickets.

During high school, he was arrested at least twice on suspicion of burglary and auto theft. When he reached age 18, the details of the incidents were expunged from his record, which is customary in Washington State and most other states.

University years

After graduating from high school in 1965, Bundy spent a year at the University of Puget Sound (UPS) before he transferred to the University of Washington (UW) in 1966 to study Chinese. In 1967, he became romantically involved with a UW classmate who is identified by several pseudonyms in Bundy biographies, most commonly Stephanie Brooks. In early 1968 he dropped out of college and worked at a series of minimum-wage jobs. He also volunteered at the Seattle office of Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaign and in August attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami as a Rockefeller delegate. Shortly thereafter Brooks ended their relationship and returned to her family home in California, frustrated by what she described as Bundy’s immaturity and lack of ambition. Psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis would later pinpoint this crisis as “probably the pivotal time in his development”. Devastated by Brooks’s rejection, Bundy traveled to Colorado and then farther east, visiting relatives in Arkansas and Philadelphia and enrolling for one semester at Temple University. It was at this time in early 1969, Rule believes, that Bundy visited the office of birth records in Burlington and confirmed his true parentage.

Bundy was back in Washington in the fall of 1969 when he met Elizabeth Kloepfer (identified in Bundy literature as Meg Anders, Beth Archer, or Liz Kendall), a divorcée from Ogden, Utah. She worked as a secretary at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Their stormy relationship would continue well past his initial incarceration in Utah in 1976.

In mid-1970, Bundy was now focused and goal oriented, and he re-enrolled at UW, this time as a psychology major. He became an honor student and was well regarded by his professors. In 1971, he took a job at Seattle’s Suicide Hotline Crisis Center, where he met and worked alongside Ann Rule. Rule was a former Seattle police officer and aspiring crime writer who would later write one of the definitive Bundy biographies, The Stranger Beside Me. She saw nothing disturbing in Bundy’s personality at the time and described him as “kind, solicitous, and empathetic”.

After graduating from UW in 1972, Bundy joined Governor Daniel J. Evans’ re-election campaign. Posing as a college student, he shadowed Evans’ opponent, former governor Albert Rosellini, and recorded his stump speeches for analysis by Evans’ team. After Evans was re-elected, Bundy was hired as an assistant to Ross Davis, Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. Davis thought well of Bundy and described him as “smart, aggressive … and a believer in the system”.[51] In early 1973, Bundy was accepted into the law schools of UPS and the University of Utah despite mediocre Law School Admission Test scores. He got in on the strength of letters of recommendation from Evans, Davis, and several UW psychology professors.

During a trip to California on Republican Party business in the summer of 1973, Bundy rekindled his relationship with Brooks, who marveled at his transformation into a serious, dedicated professional who was seemingly on the cusp of a distinguished legal and political career. He continued to date Kloepfer as well, and neither woman was aware of the other’s existence. In the fall of 1973, Bundy matriculated at UPS Law School and continued courting Brooks, who flew to Seattle several times to stay with him. They discussed marriage; at one point he introduced her to Davis as his fiancée. In January 1974, however, he abruptly broke off all contact; her phone calls and letters went unreturned. Finally reaching him by phone a month later, Brooks demanded to know why Bundy had unilaterally ended their relationship without explanation. In a flat, calm voice, he replied, “Stephanie, I have no idea what you mean” and hung up. She never heard from him again. He later explained, “I just wanted to prove to myself that I could have married her”; but Brooks concluded in retrospect that he had deliberately planned the entire courtship and rejection in advance as vengeance for the breakup she initiated in 1968.

By then, Bundy had begun skipping classes at law school; by April, he had stopped attending entirely, as young women began to disappear in the Pacific Northwest. The year the murders began, he was the assistant director of the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission and wrote a pamphlet for women on rape prevention. Bundy joked with local newsmen that after his eight weeks in Salt Lake City’s jail system, before being released on bail, he had a beneficial experience for studying the law, thus giving him new insights for improving the criminal justice system. His first order of action was to focus on addressing the bail‐bond system and improving it.

The murders

Washington, Oregon

There is no consensus on when or where Bundy began killing women. He told different stories to different people and refused to divulge the specifics of his earliest crimes, even as he confessed in graphic detail to dozens of later murders in the days preceding his execution. He told Nelson that he attempted his first kidnapping in 1969 in Ocean City, New Jersey, but did not kill anyone until sometime in 1971 in Seattle. He told psychologist Art Norman that he killed two women in Atlantic City in 1969 while visiting family in Philadelphia. He hinted but refused to elaborate to homicide detective Robert D. Keppel that he committed a murder in Seattle in 1972, and another murder in 1973 that involved a hitchhiker near Tumwater. Rule and Keppel both believed that he might have started killing as a teenager. Circumstantial evidence suggested that he abducted and killed 8-year-old Ann Marie Burr of Tacoma when he was 14 years old in 1961; this was an allegation that he repeatedly denied. His earliest documented homicides were committed in 1974 when he was 27 years old. By his own admission, he had mastered the necessary skills—in the era before DNA profiling—to leave minimal incriminating forensic evidence at the crime scene.

Shortly after midnight on January 4, 1974 (around the time that he terminated his relationship with Brooks), Bundy entered the basement apartment of 18-year-old Karen Sparks[70] (identified as Joni Lenz, Mary Adams, or Terri Caldwell by various sources), a dancer and student at UW. After bludgeoning the sleeping woman senseless with a metal rod from her bed frame, he sexually assaulted her with either the same rod, or a metal speculum, causing extensive internal injuries. She remained unconscious for 10 days, but survived with permanent physical and mental disabilities. In the early morning hours of February 1, Bundy broke into the basement room of Lynda Ann Healy, a UW undergraduate who broadcast morning radio weather reports for skiers. He beat her unconscious, dressed her in blue jeans, a white blouse, and boots, and carried her away.

Throughout the first half of 1974, female college students continued to disappear at the rate of about one per month. On March 12, Donna Gail Manson, a 19-year-old student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, sixty miles (95 km) southwest of Seattle, left her dormitory to attend a jazz concert on campus, but never arrived. On April 17, Susan Elaine Rancourt disappeared while on her way to her dorm room after an evening advisers meeting at Central Washington State College in Ellensburg, 110 miles (175 km) east-southeast of Seattle. Two female Central Washington students later came forward to report encounters—one on the night of Rancourt’s disappearance, the other three nights earlier—with a man wearing an arm sling, asking for help carrying a load of books to his brown or tan Volkswagen Beetle.[80][81] On May 6, Roberta Kathleen Parks left her dormitory at Oregon State University in Corvallis, 85 miles (135 km) south of Portland, to have coffee with friends at the Memorial Union, but never arrived.

Detectives from the King County and Seattle police departments grew increasingly concerned. There was no significant physical evidence, and the missing women had little in common, apart from being young, attractive, white college students with long hair parted in the middle. On June 1, Brenda Carol Ball, 22, disappeared after leaving the Flame Tavern in Burien, near Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. She was last seen in the parking lot, talking to a brown-haired man with his arm in a sling. In the early hours of June 11, UW student Georgann Hawkins vanished while walking down a brightly lit alley between her boyfriend’s dormitory residence and her sorority house. The next morning, three Seattle homicide detectives and a criminalist combed the entire alleyway on their hands and knees, finding nothing. After Hawkins’s disappearance was publicized, witnesses came forward to report seeing a man that night who was in an alley behind a nearby dormitory; he was on crutches with a leg cast and was struggling to carry a briefcase. One woman recalled that the man asked her to help him carry the case to his car, a light brown Volkswagen Beetle.

During this period, Bundy was working in Olympia at the Department of Emergency Services (DES), a state government agency involved in the search for the missing women. There, he met and dated Carole Ann Boone, a twice-divorced mother of two who, six years later, would play an important role in the final phase of his life.

Ted Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle, where he committed many of his crimes. Vehicle on display at the now-defunct National Museum of Crime & Punishment

Reports of the six missing women and Sparks’ brutal beating appeared prominently in newspapers and on television throughout Washington and Oregon. Fear spread among the population; hitchhiking by young women dropped sharply. Pressure mounted on law enforcement agencies, and the paucity of physical evidence severely hampered them. Police could not provide reporters with the little information that was available for fear of compromising the investigation. Further similarities between the victims were noted: The disappearances all took place at night, usually near ongoing construction work, within a week of midterm or final exams; all of the victims were wearing slacks or blue jeans; and at most crime scenes, there were sightings of a man wearing a cast or a sling, and driving a brown or tan Volkswagen Beetle.



The Pacific Northwest murders culminated on July 14, with the broad daylight abductions of two women from a crowded beach at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, a suburb twenty miles (30 km) east of Seattle. Five female witnesses described an attractive young man wearing a white tennis outfit with his left arm in a sling, speaking with a light accent, perhaps Canadian or British. Introducing himself as “Ted,” he asked their help in unloading a sailboat from his tan or bronze-colored Volkswagen Beetle. Four refused; one accompanied him as far as his car, saw that there was no sailboat, and fled. Three additional witnesses saw him approach Janice Anne Ott, 23, a probation case worker at the King County Juvenile Court, with the sailboat story, and watched her leave the beach in his company. About four hours later, Denise Marie Naslund, a 19-year-old woman who was studying to become a computer programmer, left a picnic to go to the restroom and never returned. Bundy told Stephen Michaud that Ott was still alive when he returned with Naslund—and that he forced one to watch as he murdered the other —but he later denied it in an interview with Lewis on the eve of his execution.

The King County police were finally provided with a detailed description of the suspect and his car when they posted fliers throughout the Seattle area. A composite sketch was printed in regional newspapers and broadcast on local television stations. Elizabeth Kloepfer, Ann Rule, a DES employee, and a UW psychology professor all recognized the profile, the sketch, and the car, and reported Bundy as a possible suspect; but detectives—who were receiving up to 200 tips per day —thought it unlikely that a clean-cut law student with no adult criminal record could be the perpetrator.

On September 6, two grouse hunters stumbled across the skeletal remains of Ott and Naslund near a service road in Issaquah, two miles (3 km) east of Lake Sammamish State Park. An extra femur and several vertebrae found at the site were later identified by Bundy as Georgann Hawkins’. Six months later, forestry students from Green River Community College discovered the skulls and mandibles of Healy, Rancourt, Parks, and Ball on Taylor Mountain, where Bundy frequently hiked, just east of Issaquah. Manson’s remains were never recovered.

Idaho, Utah, Colorado

In August 1974, Bundy received a second acceptance from the University of Utah Law

Rooming house in Salt Lake City where Bundy lived from Sept. 1974 to Oct. 1975, showing the fire escape used to sneak into his room and windows to the utility room where he concealed photo souvenirs of his murders

School and moved to Salt Lake City, leaving Kloepfer in Seattle. While he called Kloepfer often, he dated “at least a dozen” other women. When he studied the first-year law curriculum a second time, “he was devastated to find out that the other students had something, some intellectual capacity, that he did not. He found the classes completely incomprehensible. ‘It was a great disappointment to me,’ he said.”


A new string of homicides began the following month, including two that would remain undiscovered until Bundy confessed to them shortly before his execution. On September 2, he raped and strangled a still-unidentified hitchhiker in Idaho, then either disposed of the remains immediately in a nearby river, or returned the next day to photograph and dismember the corpse. On October 2, he seized 16-year-old Nancy Wilcox in Holladay, a suburb of Salt Lake City, and dragged her into a wooded area, intending to “de-escalate” his pathological urges, he claimed, by raping and then releasing her; but he strangled her—accidentally, he said—in the process of trying to silence her screams. Her remains were buried near Capitol Reef National Park, some two hundred miles (320 km) south of Holladay, but were never found.

On October 18, Melissa Anne Smith—the 17-year-old daughter of the police chief of Midvale (another Salt Lake City suburb)—disappeared after leaving a pizza parlor. Her nude body was found in a nearby mountainous area nine days later. Postmortem examination indicated that she may have remained alive for up to seven days following her disappearance. On October 31, Laura Ann Aime, also 17, disappeared 25 miles (40 km) south in Lehi after leaving a café just after midnight. Her naked body was found by hikers nine miles (14 km) to the northeast in American Fork Canyon on Thanksgiving Day. Both women had been beaten, raped, sodomized, and strangled with nylon stockings. Years later, Bundy described his postmortem rituals with the corpses of Smith and Aime, including hair shampooing and application of makeup.

In the late afternoon of November 8, Bundy approached 18-year-old telephone operator Carol DaRonch at Fashion Place Mall in Murray, less than a mile from the Midvale restaurant where Melissa Smith was last seen. He identified himself as “Officer Roseland” of the Murray Police Department and told DaRonch that someone had attempted to break into her car. He asked her to accompany him to the station to file a complaint. When DaRonch pointed out to Bundy that he was driving on a road that did not lead to the police station, he immediately pulled to the shoulder and attempted to handcuff her. During their struggle, he inadvertently fastened both handcuffs to the same wrist, and DaRonch was able to open the car door and escape. Later that evening, Debra Jean Kent, a 17-year-old student at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, twenty miles (30 km) north of Murray, disappeared after leaving a theater production at the school to pick up her brother. The school’s drama teacher and a student told police that “a stranger” had asked each of them to come out to the parking lot to identify a car. Another student later saw the same man pacing in the rear of the auditorium, and the drama teacher spotted him again shortly before the end of the play. Outside the auditorium, investigators found a key that unlocked the handcuffs removed from Carol DaRonch’s wrist.

In November, Elizabeth Kloepfer called King County police a second time after she read that young women were now disappearing in towns surrounding Salt Lake City. Detective Randy Hergesheimer of the Major Crimes division interviewed her in detail. By then, Bundy had risen considerably on the King County hierarchy of suspicion, but the Lake Sammamish witness considered most reliable by detectives failed to identify him from a photo lineup. In December, Kloepfer called the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office and repeated her suspicions. Bundy’s name was added to their list of suspects, but at that time no credible evidence linked him to the Utah crimes. In January 1975 Bundy returned to Seattle after his final exams and spent a week with Kloepfer, who did not tell him that she had reported him to police on three separate occasions. She made plans to visit him in Salt Lake City in August.

Caryn Campbell: Bundy’s 14th documented murder victim and the subject of his first homicide indictment

In 1975, Bundy shifted much of his criminal activity eastward, from his base in Utah to Colorado. On January 12, a 23-year-old registered nurse named Caryn Eileen Campbell disappeared while walking down a well-lit hallway between the elevator and her room at the Wildwood Inn (now the Wildwood Lodge) in Snowmass Village, 400 miles (640 km) southeast of Salt Lake City. Her nude body was found a month later next to a dirt road just outside the resort. She had been killed by blows to her head from a blunt instrument that left distinctive linear grooved depressions on her skull; her body also bore deep cuts from a sharp weapon. One hundred miles (160 km) northeast of Snowmass, on March 15, Vail ski instructor Julie Cunningham, 26, disappeared while walking from her apartment to a dinner date with a friend. Bundy later told Colorado investigators that he approached Cunningham on crutches and asked her to help carry his ski boots to his car, where he clubbed and handcuffed her, then assaulted and strangled her at a secondary site near Rifle, ninety miles (140 km) west of Vail. Weeks later, he made the six-hour drive from Salt Lake City to revisit her remains.

Denise Lynn Oliverson, 25, disappeared near the Utah–Colorado border in Grand Junction on April 6 while riding her bicycle to her parents’ house; her bike and sandals were found under a viaduct near a railroad bridge. On May 6, Bundy lured 12-year-old Lynette Dawn Culver from Alameda Junior High School in Pocatello, Idaho, 160 miles (255 km) north of Salt Lake City. He drowned and then sexually assaulted her in his hotel room, before disposing of her body in a river north of Pocatello (possibly the Snake).

Caryn Campbell disappeared while walking down this brightly lit hallway to her hotel room.

In mid-May, three of Bundy’s Washington State DES coworkers, including Carole Ann Boone, visited him in Salt Lake City and stayed for a week in his apartment. Bundy subsequently spent a week in Seattle with Kloepfer in early June and they discussed getting married the following Christmas. Again, Kloepfer made no mention of her multiple discussions with the King County Police and Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and Bundy disclosed neither his ongoing relationship with Boone nor a concurrent romance with a Utah law student known in various accounts as Kim Andrews or Sharon Auer.


On June 28, Susan Curtis vanished from the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, 45 miles (70 km) south of Salt Lake City. Curtis’s murder became Bundy’s last confession, tape-recorded moments before he entered the execution chamber. The bodies of Wilcox, Kent, Cunningham, Culver, Curtis, and Oliverson were never recovered.

In August or September 1975, Bundy was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although he was not an active participant in services and ignored most church restrictions. He would later be excommunicated by the LDS Church following his 1976 kidnapping conviction. When asked his religious preference after his arrest, Bundy answered “Methodist”, the religion of his childhood.

In Washington state, investigators were still struggling to analyze the Pacific Northwest murder spree that had ended as abruptly as it had begun. In an effort to make sense of an overwhelming mass of data, they resorted to the then-innovative strategy of compiling a database. They used the King County payroll computer, a “huge, primitive machine” by contemporary standards, but the only one available for their use. After inputting the many lists they had compiled—classmates and acquaintances of each victim, Volkswagen owners named “Ted”, known sex offenders, and so on—they queried the computer for coincidences. Out of thousands of names, 26 turned up on four separate lists; one was Ted Bundy. Detectives also manually compiled a list of their 100 “best” suspects, and Bundy was on that list as well. He was “literally at the top of the pile” of suspects when word came from Utah of his arrest.

Arrest and first trial

Items found in Bundy’s Volkswagen, Utah, 1975

On August 16, 1975, Bundy was arrested by a Utah Highway Patrol officer in Granger (another Salt Lake City suburb). The officer had observed Bundy cruising a residential area in the pre-dawn hours; Bundy fled the area at high speed after seeing the patrol car. The officer searched the car after he noticed that the Volkswagen’s front passenger seat had been removed and placed on the rear seats. He found a ski mask, a second mask fashioned from pantyhose, a crowbar, handcuffs, trash bags, a coil of rope, an ice pick, and other items initially assumed to be burglary tools. Bundy explained that the ski mask was for skiing, he had found the handcuffs in a dumpster, and the rest were common household items. However, Detective Jerry Thompson remembered a similar suspect and car description from the November 1974 DaRonch kidnapping, which matched Bundy’s name from Kloepfer’s December 1974 phone call. In a search of Bundy’s apartment, police found a guide to Colorado ski resorts with a checkmark by the Wildwood Inn and a brochure that advertised the Viewmont High School play in Bountiful, where Debra Kent had disappeared. The police did not have sufficient evidence to detain Bundy, and he was released on his own recognizance. Bundy later said that searchers missed a collection of Polaroid photographs of his victims; he destroyed the photographs after he was released.


Salt Lake City police placed Bundy on 24-hour surveillance, and Thompson flew to Seattle with two other detectives to interview Kloepfer. She told them that in the year prior to Bundy’s move to Utah, she had discovered objects that she “couldn’t understand” in her house and in Bundy’s apartment. These items included crutches, a bag of plaster of Paris that he admitted stealing from a medical supply house, and a meat cleaver that was never used for cooking. Additional objects included surgical gloves, an Oriental knife in a wooden case that he kept in his glove compartment, and a sack full of women’s clothing. Bundy was perpetually in debt, and Kloepfer suspected that he had stolen almost everything of significant value that he possessed. When she confronted him over a new TV and stereo, he warned her, “If you tell anyone, I’ll break your fucking neck.” She said Bundy became “very upset” whenever she considered cutting her hair, which was long and parted in the middle. She would sometimes awaken in the middle of the night to find him under the bed covers with a flashlight, examining her body. He kept a lug wrench, taped halfway up the handle, in the trunk of her car—another Volkswagen Beetle, which he often borrowed—”for protection”. The detectives confirmed that Bundy had not been with Kloepfer on any of the nights during which the Pacific Northwest victims had vanished, nor on the day Ott and Naslund were abducted. Shortly thereafter, Kloepfer was interviewed by Seattle homicide detective Kathy McChesney, and learned of the existence of Stephanie Brooks and her brief engagement to Bundy around Christmas 1973.

Bundy’s 1975 Utah mug shots

In September, Bundy sold his Volkswagen Beetle to a Midvale teenager. Utah police impounded it, and FBI technicians dismantled and searched it. They found hairs matching samples obtained from Caryn Campbell’s body. Later, they also identified hair strands “microscopically indistinguishable” from those of Melissa Smith and Carol DaRonch. FBI lab specialist Robert Neill concluded that the presence of hair strands in one car matching three different victims who had never met one another would be “a coincidence of mind-boggling rarity”.

On October 2, detectives put Bundy into a lineup. DaRonch immediately identified him as “Officer Roseland”. In the same lineup, witnesses from Bountiful picked him as the stranger who lurked about the high school auditorium. There was insufficient evidence to link him to Debra Kent (whose body was never found), but more than enough evidence to charge him with aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault in the DaRonch case. He was freed on $15,000 bail, paid by his parents, and spent most of the time between indictment and trial in Seattle, living in Kloepfer’s house. Seattle police had insufficient evidence to charge him in the Pacific Northwest murders, but kept him under close surveillance. “When Ted and I stepped out on the porch to go somewhere,” Kloepfer wrote, “so many unmarked police cars started up that it sounded like the beginning of the Indy 500.”

In November, the three principal Bundy investigators—Jerry Thompson from Utah, Robert Keppel from Washington, and Michael Fisher from Colorado—met in Aspen, Colorado and exchanged information with 30 detectives and prosecutors from five states. While officials left the meeting (later known as the Aspen Summit) convinced that Bundy was the murderer they sought, they agreed that more hard evidence would be needed before he could be charged with any of the murders.

On February 23, 1976, Bundy stood trial for the DaRonch kidnapping. On the advice of his attorney, John O’Connell, Bundy waived his right to a jury due to the negative publicity surrounding the case. On March 1, after a four-day bench trial and a weekend of deliberation, Judge Stewart Hanson Jr. found him guilty of kidnapping and assault. On June 30, he was sentenced to serve a minimum of one to a maximum of 15 years in the Utah State Prison. In October, he was found hiding in bushes in the prison yard carrying an “escape kit”—road maps, airline schedules, and a social security card—and spent several weeks in solitary confinement. Later that month, Colorado authorities charged him with Caryn Campbell’s murder. After a period of resistance, he waived extradition proceedings and was transferred to Aspen in January 1977.


Pitkin County Courthouse. Bundy jumped from the second window from the left, second story.

On June 7, 1977, Bundy was transported 40 miles (64 km) from the Garfield County jail in Glenwood Springs to Pitkin County Courthouse in Aspen for a preliminary hearing. He had elected to serve as his own attorney, and as such, was excused by the judge from wearing handcuffs or leg shackles. During a recess, he asked to visit the courthouse’s law library to research his case. Bundy was concealed behind a bookcase when he opened a window and jumped from the second story, spraining his right ankle as he landed. After shedding an outer layer of clothing he walked through Aspen as roadblocks were being set up on its outskirts, then hiked southward onto Aspen Mountain. Near its summit he broke into a hunting cabin and stole food, clothing, and a rifle. The following day he left the cabin and continued south toward the town of Crested Butte, but became lost in the forest. For two days he wandered aimlessly on the mountain, missing two trails that led downward to his intended destination. On June 10, he broke into a camping trailer on Maroon Lake, 10 miles (16 km) south of Aspen, taking food and a ski parka; but instead of continuing southward, he walked back north toward Aspen, eluding roadblocks and search parties along the way. Three days later, he stole a car at the edge of Aspen Golf Course. Cold, sleep-deprived, and in constant pain from his sprained ankle, he drove back into Aspen, where two police officers noticed his car weaving in and out of its lane and pulled him over. He had been a fugitive for six days. In the car were maps of the mountain area around Aspen that prosecutors were using to demonstrate the location of Caryn Campbell’s body (as his own attorney, Bundy had rights of discovery), indicating that his escape was not a spontaneous act, but had been planned.


1977 photograph — taken shortly after first escape and recapture — from Bundy’s FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives poster

Back in jail in Glenwood Springs, Bundy ignored the advice of friends and legal advisors to stay put. The case against him, already weak at best, was deteriorating steadily as pretrial motions consistently resolved in his favor and significant bits of evidence were ruled inadmissible. “A more rational defendant might have realized that he stood a good chance of acquittal, and that beating the murder charge in Colorado would probably have dissuaded other prosecutors … with as little as a year and a half to serve on the DaRonch conviction, had Ted persevered, he could have been a free man.” Instead, Bundy assembled a new escape plan. He acquired a detailed floor plan of the jail and a hacksaw blade from other inmates, and accumulated $500 in cash, smuggled in over a six-month period, he later said, by visitors—Carole Ann Boone in particular. During the evenings, while other prisoners were showering, he sawed a hole about one foot (0.30 m) square between the steel reinforcing bars in his cell’s ceiling and, having lost 35 pounds (16 kg), was able to wriggle through it into the crawl space above. In the weeks that followed he made a series of practice runs, exploring the space. Multiple reports from an informant of movement within the ceiling during the night were not investigated.


By late 1977, Bundy’s impending trial had become a cause célèbre in the small town of Aspen, and Bundy filed a motion for a change of venue to Denver. On December 23 the Aspen trial judge granted the request—but to Colorado Springs, where juries had historically been hostile to murder suspects. On the night of December 30, with most of the jail staff on Christmas break and nonviolent prisoners on furlough with their families, Bundy piled books and files in his bed, covered them with a blanket to simulate his sleeping body, and climbed into the crawlspace. He broke through the ceiling into the apartment of the chief jailer—who was out for the evening with his wife[188]—changed into street clothes from the jailer’s closet, and walked out the front door to freedom.

After stealing a car, Bundy drove eastward out of Glenwood Springs, but the car soon broke down in the mountains on Interstate 70. A passing motorist gave him a ride into Vail, 60 miles (97 km) to the east. From there he caught a bus to Denver, where he boarded a morning flight to Chicago. In Glenwood Springs, the jail’s skeleton crew did not discover the escape until noon on December 31, more than 17 hours later. By then Bundy was already in Chicago.


Bundy in Tallahassee during his triple murder indictment, July 1978

From Chicago, Bundy traveled by train to Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, on January 2 in a local tavern, he watched his alma mater UW defeat Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Five days later he stole a car and drove to Atlanta, where he boarded a bus and arrived in Tallahassee, Florida, on the morning of January 8. He rented a room under the alias Chris Hagen at a boarding house near the Florida State University (FSU) campus. Bundy later said that he initially resolved to find legitimate employment and refrain from further criminal activity, knowing he could probably remain free and undetected in Florida indefinitely as long as he did not attract the attention of police; but his lone job application, at a construction site, had to be abandoned when he was asked to produce identification. He reverted to his old habits of shoplifting and stealing credit cards from women’s wallets left in shopping carts.


In the early hours of January 15, 1978—one week after his arrival in Tallahassee—Bundy entered FSU’s Chi Omega sorority house through a rear door with a faulty locking mechanism. Beginning at about 2:45 a.m. he bludgeoned Margaret Bowman, 21, with a piece of oak firewood as she slept, then garroted her with a nylon stocking. He then entered the bedroom of 20-year-old Lisa Levy and beat her unconscious, strangled her, tore one of her nipples, bit deeply into her left buttock, and sexually assaulted her with a hair mist bottle. In an adjoining bedroom he attacked Kathy Kleiner, breaking her jaw and deeply lacerating her shoulder; and Karen Chandler, who suffered a concussion, broken jaw, loss of teeth, and a crushed finger. Tallahassee detectives later determined that the four attacks took place in a total of less than 15 minutes, within earshot of more than 30 witnesses who heard nothing. After leaving the sorority house, Bundy broke into a basement apartment eight blocks away and attacked FSU student Cheryl Thomas, dislocating her shoulder and fracturing her jaw and skull in five places. She was left with permanent deafness, and equilibrium damage that ended her dance career. On Thomas’s bed, police found a semen stain and a pantyhose “mask” containing two hairs “similar to Bundy’s in class and characteristic”.

Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman, two of Bundy’s victims

On February 8, Bundy drove 150 miles (240 km) east to Jacksonville, in a stolen FSU van. In a parking lot he approached 14-year-old Leslie Parmenter, the daughter of Jacksonville Police Department’s Chief of Detectives, identifying himself as “Richard Burton, Fire Department”, but retreated when Parmenter’s older brother arrived and challenged him. That afternoon, he backtracked 60 miles (97 km) westward to Lake City. At Lake City Junior High School the following morning, 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach was summoned to her homeroom by a teacher to retrieve a forgotten purse; she never returned to class. Seven weeks later, after an intensive search, her partially mummified remains were found in a pig farrowing shed near Suwannee River State Park, 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Lake City.


On February 12, with insufficient cash to pay his overdue rent and a growing suspicion that police were closing in on him, Bundy stole a car and fled Tallahassee, driving westward across the Florida Panhandle. Three days later, at around 1:00 a.m., he was stopped by Pensacola police officer David Lee near the Alabama state line after a “wants and warrants” check showed his Volkswagen Beetle was stolen. When told he was under arrest, Bundy kicked Lee’s legs out from under him and took off running. Lee fired a warning shot followed by a second round, gave chase and tackled him. The two struggled over Lee’s gun before the officer finally subdued and arrested Bundy. In the stolen vehicle were three sets of IDs belonging to female FSU students, 21 stolen credit cards and a stolen television set. Also found were a pair of dark-rimmed non-prescription glasses and a pair of plaid slacks, later identified as the disguise worn by “Richard Burton, Fire Department” in Jacksonville. As Lee transported his suspect to jail, unaware that he had just arrested one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, he heard Bundy say, “I wish you had killed me.”

Florida trials, marriage

Departing a preliminary hearing, Miami, 1979

Following a change of venue to Miami, Bundy stood trial for the Chi Omega homicides and assaults in June 1979. The trial was covered by 250 reporters from five continents and was the first to be televised nationally in the United States. Despite the presence of five court-appointed attorneys, Bundy again handled much of his own defense. From the beginning, he “sabotaged the entire defense effort out of spite, distrust, and grandiose delusion”, Nelson later wrote. “Ted [was] facing murder charges, with a possible death sentence, and all that mattered to him apparently was that he be in charge.”


According to Mike Minerva, a Tallahassee public defender and member of the defense team, a pre-trial plea bargain was negotiated in which Bundy would plead guilty to killing Levy, Bowman and Leach in exchange for a firm 75-year prison sentence. Prosecutors were amenable to a deal, by one account, because “prospects of losing at trial were very good.” Bundy, on the other hand, saw the plea deal not only as a means of avoiding the death penalty, but also as a “tactical move”: he could enter his plea, then wait a few years for evidence to disintegrate or become lost and for witnesses to die, move on, or retract their testimony. Once the case against him had deteriorated beyond repair, he could file a post-conviction motion to set aside the plea and secure an acquittal. At the last minute, however, Bundy refused the deal. “It made him realize he was going to have to stand up in front of the whole world and say he was guilty”, Minerva said. “He just couldn’t do it.”

Odontologist Richard Souviron explaining bite mark evidence at the Chi Omega trial

At trial, crucial testimony came from Chi Omega sorority members Connie Hastings, who placed Bundy in the vicinity of the Chi Omega House that evening, and Nita Neary, who saw him leaving the sorority house clutching the oak murder weapon. Incriminating physical evidence included impressions of the bite wounds Bundy had inflicted on Lisa Levy’s left buttock, which forensic odontologists Richard Souviron and Lowell Levine matched to castings of Bundy’s teeth. The jury deliberated for less than seven hours before convicting him on July 24, 1979, of the Bowman and Levy murders, three counts of attempted first degree murder (for the assaults on Kleiner, Chandler and Thomas) and two counts of burglary. Trial judge Edward Cowart imposed death sentences for the murder convictions.


Six months later, a second trial took place in Orlando, for the abduction and murder of Kimberly Leach. Bundy was found guilty once again, after less than eight hours’ deliberation, due principally to the testimony of an eyewitness who saw him leading Leach from the schoolyard to his stolen van. Important material evidence included clothing fibers with an unusual manufacturing error, found in the van and on Leach’s body, which matched fibers from the jacket Bundy was wearing when he was arrested.

During the penalty phase of the trial, Bundy took advantage of an obscure Florida law providing that a marriage declaration in court, in the presence of a judge, constituted a legal marriage. As he was questioning former Washington State DES coworker Carole Ann Boone—who had moved to Florida to be near Bundy, had testified on his behalf during both trials, and was again testifying on his behalf as a character witness—he asked her to marry him. She accepted, and Bundy declared to the court that they were legally married.

On February 10, 1980, Bundy was sentenced for a third time to death by electrocution. As the sentence was announced, he reportedly stood and shouted, “Tell the jury they were wrong!” This third death sentence would be the one ultimately carried out nearly nine years later.

In October 1982, Boone gave birth to a daughter and named Bundy as the father. While conjugal visits were not allowed at Raiford Prison, inmates were known to pool their money in order to bribe guards to allow them intimate time alone with their female visitors.

Death row and confessions

Bundy after his convictions in the Chi Omega trial

Shortly after the conclusion of the Leach trial and the beginning of the long appeals process that followed, Bundy initiated a series of interviews with Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth. Speaking mostly in third person to avoid “the stigma of confession”, he began for the first time to divulge details of his crimes and thought processes.


He recounted his career as a thief, confirming Kloepfer’s long-time suspicion that he had shoplifted virtually everything of substance that he owned. “The big payoff for me,” he said, “was actually possessing whatever it was I had stolen. I really enjoyed having something … that I had wanted and gone out and taken.” Possession proved to be an important motive for rape and murder as well. Sexual assault, he said, fulfilled his need to “totally possess” his victims. At first, he killed his victims “as a matter of expediency … to eliminate the possibility of [being] caught”; but later, murder became part of the “adventure”. “The ultimate possession was, in fact, the taking of the life”, he said. “And then … the physical possession of the remains.”

Bundy also confided in Special Agent William Hagmaier of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit. Hagmaier was struck by the “deep, almost mystical satisfaction” that Bundy took in murder. “He said that after a while, murder is not just a crime of lust or violence”, Hagmaier related. “It becomes possession. They are part of you … [the victim] becomes a part of you, and you [two] are forever one … and the grounds where you kill them or leave them become sacred to you, and you will always be drawn back to them.” Bundy told Hagmaier that he considered himself to be an “amateur”, an “impulsive” killer in his early years, before moving into what he termed his “prime” or “predator” phase at about the time of Lynda Healy’s murder in 1974. This implied that he began killing well before 1974—though he never explicitly admitted doing so.

In July 1984, Raiford guards found two hacksaw blades that Bundy had hidden in his cell. A steel bar in one of the cell’s windows had been sawed completely through at the top and bottom and glued back into place with a homemade soap-based adhesive. Several months later, guards found an unauthorized mirror hidden in the cell, and Bundy was again moved to a different cell .

Mug shot taken the day after sentencing for the murder of Kimberly Leach

Sometime during this period, Bundy was attacked by a group of his fellow death row inmates. Though he denied having been assaulted, a number of inmates confessed to the crime, characterized by one source as a “gang rape”. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with a disciplinary infraction for unauthorized correspondence with another high-profile criminal, John Hinckley, Jr. In October 1984, Bundy contacted Robert Keppel and offered to share his self-proclaimed expertise in serial killer psychology in the ongoing hunt for his successor in Washington, the Green River Killer. Keppel and Green River Task Force detective Dave Reichert interviewed Bundy, but Gary Leon Ridgway remained at large for a further 17 years. Keppel published a detailed documentation of the Green River interviews, and later collaborated with Michaud on another examination of the interview material. Bundy coined the nickname “The Riverman” for Gary Ridgway, which was later used for the title of Keppel’s book, The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer.


In early 1986, an execution date (March 4) was set on the Chi Omega convictions; the Supreme Court issued a brief stay, but the execution was quickly rescheduled. In April, shortly after the new date (July 2) was announced, Bundy finally confessed to Hagmaier and Nelson what they believed was the full range of his depredations, including details of what he did to some of his victims after their deaths. He told them that he revisited Taylor Mountain, Issaquah, and other secondary crime scenes, often several times, to lie with his victims and perform sexual acts with their decomposing bodies until putrefaction forced him to stop. In some cases, he drove for several hours each way and remained the entire night. In Utah, he applied makeup to Melissa Smith’s lifeless face, and he repeatedly washed Laura Aime’s hair. “If you’ve got time,” he told Hagmaier, “they can be anything you want them to be.” He decapitated approximately twelve of his victims with a hacksaw, and kept at least one group of severed heads—probably the four later found on Taylor Mountain (Rancourt, Parks, Ball and Healy)—in his apartment for a period of time before disposing of them.

Less than 15 hours before the scheduled July 2 execution, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed it indefinitely and remanded the Chi Omega case for review on multiple technicalities—including Bundy’s mental competency to stand trial, and an erroneous instruction by the trial judge during the penalty phase requiring the jury to break a 6–6 tie between life imprisonment and the death penalty—that, ultimately, was never resolved. A new date (November 18, 1986) was then set to carry out the Leach sentence; the Eleventh Circuit Court issued a stay on November 17. In mid-1988, the Eleventh Circuit ruled against Bundy, and in December the Supreme Court denied a motion to review the ruling. Within hours of that final denial, a firm execution date of January 24, 1989, was announced. Bundy’s journey through the appeals courts had been unusually rapid for a capital murder case: “Contrary to popular belief, the courts moved Bundy as fast as they could … Even the prosecutors acknowledged that Bundy’s lawyers never employed delaying tactics. Though people everywhere seethed at the apparent delay in executing the archdemon, Ted Bundy was actually on the fast track.”

With all appeal avenues exhausted and no further motivation to deny his crimes, Bundy agreed to speak frankly with investigators. He confessed to Keppel that he had committed all eight of the Washington and Oregon homicides for which he was the prime suspect. He described three additional previously unknown victims in Washington and two in Oregon whom he declined to identify (if indeed he ever knew their identities). He said he left a fifth corpse—Donna Manson’s—on Taylor Mountain, but incinerated her head in Kloepfer’s fireplace. (“Of all the things I did to [Kloepfer],” he told Keppel, “this is probably the one she is least likely to forgive me for. Poor Liz.”)

He described in gory detail his abduction of Georgann Hawkins from the brightly lit UW alley—how he lured her to his car, clubbed and handcuffed her, drove her to Issaquah and strangled her, spent the entire night with her body, and revisited her corpse on three later occasions. He also admitted, for the first time, that he returned to the UW alley the morning after Hawkins’s abduction and murder. There, in the very midst of a major crime scene investigation, he located and gathered Hawkins’s earrings and one of her shoes, where he had left them in the adjoining parking lot, and departed, unobserved. “It was a feat so brazen,” wrote Keppel, “that it astonishes police even today.”

“He described the Issaquah crime scene [where the bones of Ott, Naslund, and Hawkins were found], and it was almost like he was just there”, Keppel said. “Like he was seeing everything. He was infatuated with the idea because he spent so much time there. He is just totally consumed with murder all the time.” Nelson’s impressions were similar: “It was the absolute misogyny of his crimes that stunned me,” she wrote, “his manifest rage against women. He had no compassion at all … he was totally engrossed in the details. His murders were his life’s accomplishments.”

Bundy confessed to detectives from Idaho, Utah, and Colorado that he had committed numerous additional homicides, including several that were unknown to the police. He explained that when he was in Utah he could bring his victims back to his apartment, “where he could reenact scenarios depicted on the covers of detective magazines.” A new ulterior strategy quickly became apparent: he withheld many details, hoping to parlay the incomplete information into yet another stay of execution. “There are other buried remains in Colorado”, he admitted, but refused to elaborate. The new strategy—immediately dubbed “Ted’s bones-for-time scheme”—served only to deepen the resolve of authorities to see Bundy executed on schedule, and yielded little new detailed information. In cases where he did give details, nothing was found. Colorado detective Matt Lindvall interpreted this as a conflict between his desire to postpone his execution by divulging information and his need to remain in “total possession—the only person who knew his victims’ true resting places.”

When it became clear that no further stays would be forthcoming from the courts, Bundy supporters began lobbying for the only remaining option, executive clemency. Diana Weiner, a young Florida attorney and Bundy’s last purported love interest, asked the families of several Colorado and Utah victims to petition Florida Governor Bob Martinez for a postponement to give Bundy time to reveal more information. All refused. “The families already believed that the victims were dead and that Ted had killed them”, wrote Nelson. “They didn’t need his confession.” Martinez made it clear that he would not agree to further delays in any case. “We are not going to have the system manipulated”, he told reporters. “For him to be negotiating for his life over the bodies of victims is despicable.”

Boone had championed Bundy’s innocence throughout all of his trials and felt “deeply betrayed” by his admission that he was, in fact, guilty. She moved back to Washington with her daughter and refused to accept his phone call on the day that he was executed. “She was hurt by his relationship with Diana [Weiner],” Nelson wrote, “and devastated by his sudden wholesale confessions in his last days.”

Hagmaier was present during Bundy’s final interviews with investigators. On the eve of his execution, he talked of suicide. “He did not want to give the state the satisfaction of watching him die”, Hagmaier said.


Bundy died in the Raiford electric chair at 7:16 a.m. EST on January 24, 1989; he was 42 years old. Hundreds of revelers—including 20 off-duty police officers, by one account—sang, danced and set off fireworks in a pasture across the street from the prison as the execution was carried out, then cheered loudly as the white hearse containing his corpse departed the prison. His body was cremated in Gainesville, and its ashes scattered at an undisclosed location in the Cascade Range of Washington State, in accordance with his will.

Modus operandi and victim profiles

Bundy was an unusually organized and calculating criminal who used his extensive knowledge of law enforcement methodologies to elude identification and capture for years. His crime scenes were distributed over large geographic areas; his victim count had risen to at least 20 before it became clear that numerous investigators in widely disparate jurisdictions were hunting the same man. His assault methods of choice were blunt trauma and strangulation, two relatively silent techniques that could be accomplished with common household items. He deliberately avoided firearms due to the noise they made and the ballistic evidence they left behind. He was a “meticulous researcher” who explored his surroundings in minute detail, looking for safe sites to seize and dispose of victims. He was unusually skilled at minimizing physical evidence. His fingerprints were never found at a crime scene, nor any other incontrovertible evidence of his guilt, a fact he repeated often during the years in which he attempted to maintain his innocence.

Bundy in a Miami courtroom in 1979, ten years before his execution

Other significant obstacles for law enforcement were Bundy’s generic, essentially anonymous physical features, and a curious chameleon-like ability to change his appearance almost at will. Early on, police complained of the futility of showing his photograph to witnesses; he looked different in virtually every photo ever taken of him. In person, “his expression would so change his whole appearance that there were moments that you weren’t even sure you were looking at the same person”, said Stewart Hanson, Jr., the judge in the DaRonch trial. “He [was] really a changeling.” Bundy was well aware of this unusual quality and he exploited it, using subtle modifications of facial hair or hairstyle to significantly alter his appearance as necessary. He concealed his one distinctive identifying mark, a dark mole on his neck, with turtleneck shirts and sweaters. Even his Volkswagen Beetle proved difficult to pin down; its color was variously described by witnesses as metallic or non-metallic, tan or bronze, light brown or dark brown.



Bundy’s modus operandi evolved in organization and sophistication over time, as is typical of serial murderers, according to FBI experts. Early on, it consisted of forcible late-night entry followed by a violent attack with a blunt weapon on a sleeping victim. Some victims were sexually assaulted with inert objects; all except Healy were left as they lay, unconscious or dead. As his methodology evolved Bundy became progressively more organized in his choice of victims and crime scenes. He would employ various ruses designed to lure his victim to the vicinity of his vehicle where he had pre-positioned a weapon, usually a crowbar. In many cases he wore a plaster cast on one leg or a sling on one arm, and sometimes hobbled on crutches, then requested assistance in carrying something to his vehicle. Bundy was regarded as handsome and charismatic by many of his victims, traits he exploited to win their confidence. “Ted lured females”, Michaud wrote, “the way a lifeless silk flower can dupe a honey bee.” Once near or inside his vehicle the victim would be overpowered, bludgeoned, and restrained with handcuffs. Most were sexually assaulted and strangled, either at the primary crime scene or (more commonly) after transport to a pre-selected secondary site, often a considerable distance away. In situations where his looks and charm were not useful, he invoked authority by identifying himself as a police officer or firefighter. Toward the end of his spree, in Florida, perhaps under the stress of being a fugitive, he regressed to indiscriminate attacks on sleeping victims.

At secondary sites he would remove and later burn the victim’s clothing, or in at least one case (Cunningham’s) deposit them in a Goodwill Industries collection bin. Bundy explained that the clothing removal was ritualistic, but also a practical matter, as it minimized the chance of leaving trace evidence at the crime scene that could implicate him. (A manufacturing error in fibers from his own clothing, ironically, provided a crucial incriminating link to Kimberly Leach.) He often revisited his secondary crime scenes to engage in acts of necrophilia, and to groom or dress up the cadavers. Some victims were found wearing articles of clothing they had never worn, or nail polish that family members had never seen. He took Polaroid photos of many of his victims. “When you work hard to do something right,” he told Hagmaier, “you don’t want to forget it.” Consumption of large quantities of alcohol was an “essential component”, he told Keppel, and later Michaud; he needed to be “extremely drunk” while on the prowl in order to “significantly diminish” his inhibitions and to “sedate” the “dominant personality” that he feared might prevent his inner “entity” from acting on his impulses.

All of Bundy’s known victims were white females, most of middle-class backgrounds. Almost all were between the ages of 15 and 25 and most were college students. He apparently never approached anyone he might have met before. (In their last conversation before his execution, Bundy told Kloepfer he had purposely stayed away from her “when he felt the power of his sickness building in him.”) Rule noted that most of the identified victims had long straight hair, parted in the middle—like Stephanie Brooks, the woman who rejected him, and to whom he later became engaged and then rejected in return. Rule speculated that Bundy’s animosity toward his first girlfriend triggered his protracted rampage and caused him to target victims who resembled her. Bundy dismissed this hypothesis: “[T]hey … just fit the general criteria of being young and attractive”, he told Hugh Aynesworth. “Too many people have bought this crap that all the girls were similar … [but] almost everything was dissimilar … physically, they were almost all different.” He did concede that youth and beauty were “absolutely indispensable criteria” in his choice of victims.

After Bundy’s execution, Ann Rule was surprised and troubled to hear from numerous “sensitive, intelligent, kind young women”, who wrote or called to say they were deeply depressed because Bundy was dead. Many had corresponded with him, “each believing that she was his only one”. Several said they suffered nervous breakdowns when he died. “Even in death, Ted damaged women,” Rule wrote. “To get well, they must realize that they were conned by the master conman. They are grieving for a shadow man that never existed.”


Bundy underwent multiple psychiatric examinations; the experts’ conclusions varied. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and an authority on violent behavior, initially made a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, but later changed her impression more than once. She also suggested the possibility of a multiple personality disorder, based on behaviors described in interviews and court testimony: a great-aunt witnessed an episode during which Bundy “seemed to turn into another, unrecognizable person … [she] suddenly, inexplicably found herself afraid of her favorite nephew as they waited together at a dusk-darkened train station. He had turned into a stranger.” Lewis recounted a prison official in Tallahassee describing a similar transformation: “He said, ‘He became weird on me.’ He did a metamorphosis, a body and facial change, and he felt there was almost an odor emitting from him. He said, ‘Almost a complete change of personality … that was the day I was afraid of him.'”

While experts found Bundy’s precise diagnosis elusive, the majority of evidence pointed away from bipolar disorder or other psychoses, and toward antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Bundy displayed many personality traits typically found in ASPD patients (who are often identified as “sociopaths” or “psychopaths”), such as outward charm and charisma with little true personality or genuine insight beneath the facade; the ability to distinguish right from wrong, but with minimal effect on behavior; and an absence of guilt or remorse. “Guilt doesn’t solve anything, really”, Bundy said, in 1981. “It hurts you … I guess I am in the enviable position of not having to deal with guilt.” There was also evidence of narcissism, poor judgment, and manipulative behavior. “Sociopaths”, prosecutor George Dekle wrote, “are egotistical manipulators who think they can con anybody.” “Sometimes he manipulates even me”, admitted one psychiatrist. In the end, Lewis agreed with the majority: “I always tell my graduate students that if they can find me a real, true psychopath, I’ll buy them dinner”, she told Nelson. “I never thought they existed … but I think Ted may have been one, a true psychopath, without any remorse or empathy at all.” Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) has been proposed as an alternative diagnosis in at least one subsequent retrospective analysis.

On the afternoon before he was executed, Bundy granted an interview to James Dobson, a psychologist and founder of the Christian evangelical organization Focus on the Family. He used the opportunity to make new claims about violence in the media and the pornographic “roots” of his crimes. “It happened in stages, gradually”, he said. “My experience with … pornography that deals on a violent level with sexuality, is once you become addicted to it … I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far … where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give that which is beyond just reading it or looking at it.” Violence in the media, he said, “particularly sexualized violence”, sent boys “down the road to being Ted Bundys.” The FBI, he suggested, should stake out adult movie houses and follow patrons as they leave. “You are going to kill me,” he said, “and that will protect society from me. But out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that.”

While Nelson was apparently convinced that Bundy’s concern was genuine, most biographers, researchers, and other observers have concluded that his sudden condemnation of pornography was one last manipulative attempt to shift blame by catering to Dobson’s agenda as a longtime pornography critic. He told Dobson that “true crime” detective magazines had “corrupted” him and “fueled [his] fantasies … to the point of becoming a serial killer”; yet in a 1977 letter to Ann Rule, he wrote, “Who in the world reads these publications? … I have never purchased such a magazine, and [on only] two or three occasions have I ever picked one up.” He told Michaud and Aynsworth in 1980, and Hagmaier the night before he spoke to Dobson, that pornography played a negligible role in his development as a serial killer. “The problem wasn’t pornography”, wrote Dekle. “The problem was Bundy.” “I wish I could believe that his motives were altruistic,” wrote Rule. “But all I can see in that Dobson tape is another Ted Bundy manipulation of our minds. The effect of the tape is to place, once again, the onus of his crimes, not on himself, but on us.”

Hagmaier and Bundy during their final death row interview on the eve of Bundy’s execution, January 23, 1989

Rule and Aynesworth both noted that for Bundy, the fault always lay with someone or something else. While he eventually confessed to 30 murders, he never accepted responsibility for any of them, even when offered that opportunity prior to the Chi Omega trial—which would have spared him the death penalty. He deflected blame onto a wide variety of scapegoats, including his abusive grandfather, the absence of his biological father, the concealment of his true parentage, alcohol, the media, the police (whom he accused of planting evidence), “society” in general, violence on television and, ultimately, true crime periodicals and pornography. He blamed television programming—which he watched mostly on sets that he had stolen—for “brainwashing” him into stealing credit cards. On at least one occasion he even tried to blame his victims: “I have known people who … radiate vulnerability”, he wrote in a 1977 letter to Kloepfer. “Their facial expressions say ‘I am afraid of you.’ These people invite abuse … By expecting to be hurt, do they subtly encourage it?”


A significant element of delusion permeated his thinking:

Bundy was always surprised when anyone noticed that one of his victims was missing, because he imagined America to be a place where everyone is invisible except to themselves. And he was always astounded when people testified that they had seen him in incriminating places, because Bundy did not believe people noticed each other.

“I don’t know why everyone is out to get me”, he complained to Lewis. “He really and truly did not have any sense of the enormity of what he had done,” she said. “A long-term serial killer erects powerful barriers to his guilt,” Keppel wrote, “walls of denial that can sometimes never be breached.” Nelson agreed. “Each time he was forced to make an actual confession,” she wrote, “he had to leap a steep barrier he had built inside himself long ago.”


The night before his execution, Bundy confessed to 30 homicides, but the true total remains unknown. Published estimates have run as high as 100 or more, and Bundy occasionally made cryptic comments to encourage that speculation. He told Hugh Aynesworth in 1980 that for every murder “publicized”, there “could be one that was not.” When FBI agents proposed a total tally of 36, Bundy responded, “Add one digit to that, and you’ll have it.” Years later he told attorney Polly Nelson that the common estimate of 35 was accurate, but Robert Keppel wrote that “[Ted] and I both knew [the total] was much higher.” “I don’t think even he knew … how many he killed, or why he killed them”, said Rev. Fred Lawrence, the Methodist clergyman who administered Bundy’s last rites. “That was my impression, my strong impression.”

On the evening before his execution, Bundy reviewed his victim tally with Bill Hagmaier on a state-by-state basis for a total of 30 homicides:

  • in Washington, 11 (including Parks, abducted in Oregon but killed in Washington; and including 3 unidentified)
  • in Utah, 8 (3 unidentified)
  • in Colorado, 3
  • in Florida, 3
  • in Oregon, 2 (both unidentified)
  • in Idaho, 2 (1 unidentified)
  • in California, 1 (unidentified)


The following is a chronological summary of the 20 identified victims and 5 identified survivors:


Washington, Oregon
  • January 4: Karen Sparks (often identified as Joni Lenz in Bundy literature) (age 18): Bludgeoned and sexually assaulted in her bed as she slept; survived
  • February 1: Lynda Ann Healy (21): Bludgeoned while asleep and abducted; skull and mandible recovered at Taylor Mountain site
  • March 12: Donna Gail Manson (19): Abducted while walking to a concert at The Evergreen State College; body left (according to Bundy) at Taylor Mountain site, but never found
  • April 17: Susan Elaine Rancourt (18): Disappeared after attending an evening advisors’ meeting at Central Washington State College; skull and mandible recovered at Taylor Mountain site
  • May 6: Roberta Kathleen Parks (22): Vanished from Oregon State University in Corvallis; skull and mandible recovered at Taylor Mountain site
  • June 1: Brenda Carol Ball (22): Disappeared after leaving the Flame Tavern in Burien; skull and mandible recovered at Taylor Mountain site
  • June 11: Georgann (often misspelled “Georgeann”) Hawkins (18): Abducted from an alley behind her sorority house, UW; skeletal remains identified by Bundy as those of Hawkins recovered at Issaquah site
  • July 14: Janice Ann Ott (23): Abducted from Lake Sammamish State Park in broad daylight; skeletal remains recovered at Issaquah site
  • July 14: Denise Marie Naslund (19): Abducted four hours after Ott from the same park; skeletal remains recovered at Issaquah site
Utah, Colorado, Idaho
  • October 2: Nancy Wilcox (16): Ambushed, assaulted, and strangled in Holladay, Utah; body buried (according to Bundy) near Capitol Reef National Park, 200 miles (320 km) south of Salt Lake City, but never found
  • October 18: Melissa Anne Smith (17): Vanished from Midvale, Utah; body found in nearby mountainous area
  • October 31: Laura Ann Aime (17): Disappeared from Lehi, Utah; body discovered by hikers in American Fork Canyon
  • November 8: Carol DaRonch (18): Attempted abduction in Murray, Utah; escaped from Bundy’s car and survived
  • November 8: Debra Jean Kent (17): Vanished after leaving a school play in Bountiful, Utah; body left (according to Bundy) near Fairview, Utah, 100 miles (160 km) south of Bountiful; minimal skeletal remains (one patella) found, but never positively identified as Kent’s


  • January 12: Caryn Eileen Campbell (23): Disappeared from a hotel hallway in Snowmass, Colorado; body discovered on a dirt road near the hotel
  • March 15: Julie Cunningham (26): Disappeared on the way to a tavern in Vail, Colorado; body buried (according to Bundy) near Rifle, 90 miles (140 km) west of Vail, but never found
  • April 6: Denise Lynn Oliverson (25): Abducted while bicycling to her parents’ house in Grand Junction, Colorado; body thrown (according to Bundy) into the Colorado River 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Grand Junction, but never found
  • May 6: Lynette Dawn Culver (12): Abducted from Alameda Junior High School in Pocatello, Idaho; body thrown (according to Bundy) into what authorities believe to be the Snake River, but never found
  • June 28: Susan Curtis (15): Disappeared during a youth conference at Brigham Young University; body buried (according to Bundy) near Price, Utah, 75 miles (121 km) southeast of Provo, but never found


  • January 15: Margaret Elizabeth Bowman (21): Bludgeoned and then strangled as she slept, Chi Omega sorority, FSU (no secondary crime scene)
  • January 15: Lisa Levy (20): Bludgeoned, strangled and sexually assaulted as she slept, Chi Omega sorority, FSU (no secondary crime scene)
  • January 15: Karen Chandler (21): Bludgeoned as she slept, Chi Omega sorority, FSU; survived
  • January 15: Kathy Kleiner (21): Bludgeoned as she slept, Chi Omega sorority, FSU; survived
  • January 15: Cheryl Thomas (21): Bludgeoned as she slept, eight blocks from Chi Omega; survived
  • February 9: Kimberly Diane Leach (12): Abducted from her junior high school in Lake City, Florida; skeletal remains found near Suwannee River State Park, 43 miles (69 km) west of Lake City

Other possible victims

Bundy remains a suspect in several unsolved homicides, and is likely responsible for others that may never be identified; in 1987 he confided to Keppel 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”.

  • Ann Marie Burr, age 8, vanished from her Tacoma home on August 31, 1961, when Bundy was 14. The Burr house was on Bundy’s newspaper delivery route. The victim’s father was certain that he saw Bundy in a ditch at a construction site on the nearby UPS campus the morning his daughter disappeared. Other circumstantial evidence implicates him as well, but detectives familiar with the case have never agreed on the likelihood of his involvement. Bundy repeatedly denied culpability and wrote a letter of denial to the Burr family in 1986; but Keppel has observed that Burr fits all three of Bundy’s “no discussion” categories of “too close to home”, “too close to family”, and “very young”. Forensic testing of material evidence from the Burr crime scene, in 2011, yielded insufficient intact DNA sequences for comparison with Bundy’s.
  • Flight attendants Lisa E. Wick and Lonnie Trumbull, both 20, were bludgeoned with a piece of lumber as they slept in their basement apartment in Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill district on June 23, 1966 near the Safeway store where Bundy worked at the time, and where the women regularly shopped. Trumbull died. In retrospect, Keppel noted many similarities to the Chi Omega crime scene. Wick, who suffered permanent memory loss as a result of the attack, later contacted Ann Rule: “I know that it was Ted Bundy who did that to us,” she wrote, “but I can’t tell you how I know.” In the absence of incriminating evidence, Bundy’s involvement remains speculative.
  • Vacationing college friends Susan Davis and Elizabeth Perry, both 19, were stabbed to death on May 30, 1969. Their car was found that day abandoned beside the Garden State Parkway outside Somers Point, New Jersey, near Atlantic City, 60 miles (97 km) south of Philadelphia; and their bodies—one nude, one fully clothed—were found in nearby woods three days later. Bundy attended Temple University from January through May 1969 and apparently did not move west until after Memorial Day weekend. While Bundy’s accounts of his earliest crimes varied considerably between interviews, he told forensic psychologist Art Norman that his first murder victims were two women in the Philadelphia area. Biographer Richard Larsen believed that Bundy committed the murders using his feigned-injury ruse, based on an investigator’s interview with Julia, Bundy’s aunt: Ted, she said, was wearing a leg cast due to an automobile accident on the weekend of the homicides, and therefore could not have traveled from Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore; there is no official record of any such accident. Bundy is considered a “strong suspect”, but the case remains open.
  • Rita Curran, a 24-year-old elementary school teacher and part-time motel maid, was murdered in her basement apartment on July 19, 1971, in Burlington, Vermont; she had been strangled, bludgeoned and raped. The location of the motel where she worked (adjacent to Bundy’s birthplace, the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers) and similarities to known Bundy crime scenes led retired FBI agent John Bassett to propose him as a suspect. No evidence firmly places Bundy in Burlington on that date, but municipal records note that a person named “Bundy” was bitten by a dog that week, and long stretches of Bundy’s time—including the summer of 1971—remain unaccounted for. Curran’s murder officially remains unsolved.
  • Joyce LePage, 21, was last seen on July 22, 1971, on the campus of Washington State University, where she was an undergraduate. Nine months later, her skeletal remains were found wrapped in carpeting and military blankets, bound with rope, in a deep ravine south of Pullman, Washington. Multiple suspects—including Bundy—have “never been cleared”, according to investigators. Whitman County authorities have said that Bundy remains a suspect.
  • Rita Lorraine Jolly, 17, disappeared from West Linn, Oregon, on June 29, 1973; Vicki Lynn Hollar, 24, disappeared from Eugene, Oregon, on August 20, 1973. Bundy confessed to two homicides in Oregon without identifying the victims. Oregon detectives suspected that they were Jolly and Hollar, but were unable to obtain interview time with Bundy to confirm it. Both women remain classified as missing.
  • Katherine Merry Devine, 14, was abducted on November 25, 1973, and her body was found the next month in the Capitol State Forest near Olympia, Washington. Brenda Joy Baker, 14, was seen hitchhiking near Puyallup, Washington, on May 27, 1974; her body was found in Millersylvania State Park a month later. Though Bundy was widely believed responsible for both murders, he told Keppel that he had no knowledge of either case. DNA analysis led to the arrest and conviction of William E. Cosden for Devine’s murder in 2002. The Baker homicide remains unsolved.
  • Sandra Jean Weaver, 19, a Wisconsin native who had been living in Tooele, Utah, was last seen in Salt Lake City on July 1, 1974; her nude body was discovered the following day near Grand Junction, Colorado. Sources conflict on whether Bundy mentioned Weaver’s name during the death row interviews. Her murder remains unsolved.
  • Carol L. Valenzuela, 20, was last seen hitchhiking near Vancouver, Washington, on August 2, 1974. Her remains were discovered two months later in a shallow grave south of Olympia, along with those of another female later identified as Martha Morrison, 17 (last seen in Eugene, Oregon on September 1, 1974). Both victims had long hair parted in the middle. In August 1974 Bundy drove from Seattle to Salt Lake City and could have passed through Vancouver and Eugene en route, but there is no evidence that he did.
  • Warren Leslie Forrest is now believed to have killed both victims, as Morrison’s blood was found on one of his guns.
  • Melanie Suzanne “Suzy” Cooley, 18, disappeared on April 15, 1975, after leaving Nederland High School in Nederland, Colorado, 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Denver. Her bludgeoned and strangled corpse was discovered by road maintenance workers two weeks later in Coal Creek Canyon, 20 miles (32 km) away. While gas receipts place Bundy in nearby Golden on the day Cooley disappeared, and Cooley is included on the list of Bundy victims in most Bundy literature, Jefferson County authorities say the evidence is inconclusive and continue to treat her homicide as a cold case.
  • Shelly (or Shelley) Kay Robertson, 24, failed to show up for work in Golden, Colorado, on July 1, 1975. Her nude, decomposed body was found in August, 500 feet (150 m) inside a mine on Berthoud Pass near Winter Park Resort by two mining students. Gas station receipts place Bundy in the area at the time, but there is no direct evidence of his involvement; the case remains open.
  • Nancy Perry Baird, 23, disappeared from the service station where she worked in Farmington, Utah, 20 miles (32 km) north of Salt Lake City, on July 4, 1975, and remains classified as a missing person. Bundy specifically denied involvement in this case during the death row interviews.
  • Debbie Smith, 17, was last seen in Salt Lake City in early February 1976, shortly before the DaRonch trial began; her body was found near the Salt Lake City International Airport on April 1, 1976. Though listed as a Bundy victim by some sources, her murder remains officially unsolved.

Minutes before his execution, Hagmaier queried Bundy about unsolved homicides in New Jersey, Illinois, Vermont (the Curran case), Texas, and Miami, Florida. Bundy provided directions—later proven inaccurate—to Susan Curtis’s burial site in Utah, but denied involvement in any of the open cases.


  • Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle was displayed in the lobby of the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington DC until its closure in 2015. It is presently on exhibit at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
  • A ski mask, rope, flashlight, handcuffs, gloves, and a nylon mask were all found inside Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle’s glove compartment.
  • There are various handwritten letters from prison and death row written by Ted to various friends and family found here.
  • There’s a county jail medical record, check, and log for Bundy here.
  • Polaroid photographs of Bundy’s victims have been found throughout the years.
  • Photographs of Nita Neary, a witness on the stand to Bundy’s Chi Omega crimes, can be found here.

In media


  • The Deliberate Stranger (1986), starring Mark Harmon
  • Ted Bundy (2002), starring Michael Reilly Burke
  • The Stranger Beside Me (2003), starring Billy Campbell
  • The Riverman (2004), starring Cary Elwes
  • Bundy: A Legacy of Evil (2008), starring Corin Nemec
  • The Capture of the Green River Killer (2008), played by James Marsters
  • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, played by Zac Efron


  • “Ted, Just Admit It,” from the Jane’s Addiction album Nothing’s Shocking, was inspired by – and features a quote from – Bundy.
  • “Stay Wide Awake” by Eminem alludes to Bundy and his crimes.
    Aborted’s song “Meticulous Invagination” includes Ted Bundy and what he is known for.
  • “Blow” by Tyler the Creator refers to Bundy.
  • “Ball” by T.I. also incorporates references to Ted Bundy.
  • Porcupine Tree’s song “In Blackest Eyes” directly refers to the serial killer.
  • “Bundy” by Animal Alpha openly addresses Bundy’s crimes.
  • “I Motherf-cker-” by Church of Misery includes Bundy-related themes.
  • “Ted Bundy” by Mr. Morbid and Melph is a song that also directly alludes to Bundy’s career as a killer.
  • “The Ted Bundy Song” by Macabre explicitly focuses on the serial killer.
    Blitzkid’s “Mr. Gore” includes heavy reference to Bundy.
  • “Ted, What’s the Porn Like in Heaven” by Allusondrugs directly addresses the serial killer’s self proclaimed addiction to porn and how it fueled his rage to kill.


  • Rule, Ann (1980). The Stranger Beside Me. W.W. Norton and Company Inc.
  • Sullivan, Kevin M (2009). The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History. McFarland and Company Inc.
  • Aynesworth, Hayes (2000). Ted Bundy : Conversations with a Killer. Authorlink Press.


  • Ted Bundy: Devil In Disguise. It overall profiles Bundy.
  • Ted Bundy: An American Monster. It focuses on the hunt for “prolific serial killer”
  • Ted Bundy, as recalled by the man who brought him to justice. It Includes archival film and case documents reveal deeper truths behind the crimes.
  • Ted Bundy: What Happened. This TV show recalls the horrific crimes of “charismatic law student” Ted Bundy, who killed at least 36 young women.


I found this information on

The next section is more information on the victims and other important information.

Known Victims

The Washington Murders


anne_marie_burrName: Anne Marie Burr, 8 years-old.
Disappeared: August 13, 1962 from Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington.
Found: Never
Anne Marie lived only 10 blocks from 15 yr old Ted Bundy, the local paperboy, and followed him around like a puppy. She awoke one night to tell her parents her little sister was sick, then the small blonde girl presumably returned to bed. But the next morning, she was nowhere to be found, and a window facing the front street was wide open. The child was in her nightgown when she vanished. Despite a huge effort on the Tacoma police’s part, the little girl was never found.
The street in front of her home was being torn up for repaving and her body could have easily been buried in one of the deep ditches, only to be covered with dirt and asphalt the next day. Bundy was uncomfortable and quickly changed the subject when questioned before his execution, about child murders he was most likely responsible for.

Lonnie TrumbullName: Lonnie Trumbell, ?? years-old.
Murdered: June 23, 1966 Seattle, Wa.
Name: Lisa Wick, ?? years-old.
Attacked: June 23, 1966 Seattle, Wa.
Lonnie was dating a King County deputy sheriff, and her father was a Portland Ore Fire Dept lieutenant. She was a pretty brunette, and she and Lisa Wick roomed together because of their stewardess jobs. She saw her boyfriend late that afternoon, then talked to him around 10 pm that evening. She and Lisa were going to sleep and she told the man goodnight.
The next morning, Lonnie and Lisa’s third roommate, another stewardess, returned home at 9:30 am and found the door unlocked, which was very odd. She walked into their room and thought them to be asleep, but no one responded when she spoke to them. She turned on the light and was horrified by what she saw. Both girls had been savagely bludgeoned. Lonnie Trumbell did not survive the attack, but Lisa did, possibly because of the soft rollers she’d gone to bed wearing. She lingered in a coma for some time. She remembered nothing. A blood-covered piece of wood was found in a nearby vacant lot.

Name: Joni Lenz, 18 years-old.
Attacked: February 4, 1974 Wa.
Joni had gone to sleep in her basement room of a big house which several young people rented together. The next afternoon, after she hadn’t appeared all morning, her housemates went to check on her and found her lying in her bed, her hair and face matted with dried blood. She’d been beaten with a metal rod broken from the bed frame, and when they pulled the covers back, they were horrified to find the rod had been brutally jammed into her vagina. The incredible thing is, this poor girl lived through the attack. It left irreparable damage to her internal organs, and she never regained memory of the attack. It also left her severely brain damaged. She was a shy, friendly girl with no enemies, and it was determined to be a random act of savage violence.

linda_healyName: Lynda Ann Healy 21 years-old.
Disappeared: Jan 31, 1974 Seattle, Wa.
Found: March 3, 1975 Taylor Mountain, Wa.
A tall, slender beautiful girl with long dark hair and blue eyes, Lynda worked as a ski forecaster for Northwest Ski Reports. She was a senior at WSU, majoring in psychology. She had grown up in a sheltered middle-upper class home near Seattle. She sang beautifully, but her real love was working with mentally handicapped children. She lived in a house with 4 other female college students, and all had heard of the attack on Joni Lenz, and were normally very cautious.
On Jan 31, Lynda rose at 5:30 am like always, and bicycled over to the Reports office just a few blocks away. Her day was spent in normal classes and activities, and at one point, she wrote the last letter of her young life, to a good friend, mentioning the dinner she was making for her parents the following evening – a very warm, happy letter. She retired to bed at her usual early hour that night, and no one heard or saw anything. When her roommates came home and went to bed, they didn’t disturb her, thinking she was asleep. At 5:30 am, her alarm went off and the girl in the room next to hers awoke to it, then dozed off again.
At 6, when her own alarm went off, she was surprised to hear Lynda’s still blaring. She went in and turned it off, noticing the bed was immaculately made, which was very unusual, since Lynda never made it until after returning from work. Lynda’s boss called shortly after, and it was soon realized that Lynda had not biked to work. Her bike was still in the basement, and the side door was unlocked, which alarmed all the girls. Lynda was a very dependable girl and never missed work, never left the door unlocked, and never walked off without informing someone of her plans.
Her parents showed up for the dinner she never made, and they knew then, how serious it was. They called the police. Upon investigation, the police pulled back her bedcovers and found a heavily blood stained pillowcase and blood-soaked sheets. Her nightgown was found stuffed in her closet, the neck line crusted with dried blood. The clothes she’d worn that day were missing. Not one trace of the attacker or her body could be found. A year later, during a thorough investigation of what came to be known as Bundy’s graveyard, Lynda’s skull was found, bearing the unmistakable marks of vicious battering. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

donna_mansonName: Donna Gail Manson, 19 years-old.
Disappeared: Mar 12, 1974 from Evergreen State College, near Olympia.
Found: Bundy claimed a part of her was found Mar 3, 1975 at Taylor Mountain, Wa.
Donna was a very intelligent college student, an expert flutist with the potential to play in a symphony, and highly individual. She was 5 ft tall, at 100 pounds with long dark hair, quite pretty. In spite of her high IQ, she had grade problems, and smoked marijuana daily. She was given to taking off unexpectedly, returning to her friends with adventurous tales of hitchhiking to other towns. Her roommate was bothered by her obsession with magic, death and alchemy.
She stayed out late often and asked her roommate to cover for her in class while she slept in. In March of 74, she was very depressed. She wasn’t reported missing for 6 days because of her habit of taking off on whims. March 12, she’d left her room around 7 pm to walk to a campus jazz concert. She was never seen alive again. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution and said her remains were part of those unidentified bones found Mar 3, 1975 on Taylor Mountain, Wa.

susan_rancourtName: Susan Elaine Rancourt, 19 years-old.
Disappeared: April 17, 1974, Central Wa. State College, Ellensburg.
Found: Mar 3, 1975 Taylor Mountain, Wa.
Susan differed from the other girls, being a pretty blonde with a curvy figure that made her self conscious, and large blue eyes. She stood 5 ft 2 at 120 lbs. She was one of 6 children, and worked 2 full-time jobs 7 days a week the summer before her freshman year, to pay for tuition. She was an extremely shy but brilliant girl with ambitions to go into medicine. Her family moved away to Alaska and she had the courage to stay behind and attend CWSC.
In college she was averaging a 4.0 and working full time in a nursing home. She had a boyfriend in another area, and she jogged every morning and took karate classes. She was terrified of the dark. She never went anywhere alone. Not until the night of April 17. It was mid-term finals and she’d learned of a new job opening for dorm advisors. Always looking for a chance to make more money to support herself, and being preoccupied with finals, she took a rare chance–one that cost her very life. At 8 pm she took a load of clothes to the campus laundry, then walked to the advisor’s meeting by herself. It was dark, but the campus was hopping with students.
The meeting ended at 9, and she’d planned to meet a friend to see a German film. The friend finally went alone when Susan never showed. Susan was last seen leaving the advisor’s meeting. Investigators found only her skull as they excavated Taylor Mountain, Bundy’s graveyard of severed heads. It was brutally fractured. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

Name: Brenda Baker, 15 years-old.
Disappeared: May 25, 1974–ran away from home in Redmond, Wa.
Found: June 17, 1974 in Millersylvania Park.
Her badly decomposed body was found in the park, and cause of death was impossible to determine. She’d run away from home, and no personal info is available at this point.

roberta_parksName: Roberta Kathleen Parks, 20 years-old.
Disappeared: May 6, 1974, from OSU in Corvalles, Oregon.
Found: Mar 3, 1975 Taylor Mountain, Wa.
Kathy was a tall slender girl with long, ash blond hair, and was majoring in world religions. She’d had a miserable week when she disappeared. She was homesick for her family in California, and had broken up with her boyfriend. May 4th she’d had an argument with her father on the phone, and her sister called from Spokane on May 6th to tell her their father had suffered a massive heart attack. Her sister called later with the good news that their father would recover.
It’s speculated that Kathy was feeling terrible guilt over the argument and the heart attack that followed. That night, she agreed to walk to another dorm hall to have coffee with friends. She never arrived. Her skull was excavated with the others on Taylor Mountain, so far away from her Oregon dorm. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

brenda_ballName: Brenda Carol Ball, 22 years-old.
Disappeared: May 31, 1974, Burien, Wa.
Found: Mar 1, 1975 in the thickly wooded Taylor Mountain.
Brenda stood 5 ft 3, 112 lbs, with lively brown eyes. On the night of May 31-June 1, she’d gone to the Flame Tavern alone. She told friends that day, she would see about getting a ride to Sun Lakes, on the eastern side of the state, to meet them there later. She stayed at the tavern till 2 am, then asked a musician for a ride, but he was going the other way.
She was seen last in the parking lot, talking to a man with his arm in a sling. Because she was such a free spirit, her friends thought nothing of her absence, and didn’t become suspicious until almost 19 days after she was last seen. March 1 of 1975, college students working on Taylor Mt, discovered the first of several skulls on that mountain, and it proved to be that of Brenda Ball. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

georgeann_hawkinsName: Georgeann Hawkins, 18 years-old.
Disappeared: June 10, 1974 UW in Seattle, Wa.
Found: According to Bundy, one of her bones was found Sept 6, 1974 nearly 2 miles from Lake Sammamish State Park.
A tiny, beautiful girl who stood 5 ft 2, 115 lbs, Georgeann had long dark hair, large brown eyes, and was an exceptionally bright student. She’d maintained straight A’s through the tough UW curriculum, though many students had dropped to a C average. She’d been having trouble with her Spanish, and had considered dropping the course. The day of June 10th, she called her mother and told her she was going to cram for the following day’s Spanish finals instead of dropping it.
Georgann had a Peirce County job lined up for the summer, and talked to her parents about it every week. She belonged to the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. On June 10th, she and a sorority sister had gone to party and had a couple of mixed drinks. Georgeann then left to stop by her boyfriend’s room and say goodnight to him on her way back to her own dorm, which was just 6 houses down from him, to cram for her exam. She was a very cautious girl and rarely walked anywhere alone, but the street was so well lighted, and hardly deserted.
Many students were cramming for exams that night, so Georgeann was hardly the only one awake at 12:30 am. She visited her boyfriend, borrowed some Spanish notes, then headed for the street. A friend called out of a window to her, and they chatted for a few minutes. She said goodnight and walked 30 feet away before he stuck his head back in through the window. 2 other male friends remembered seeing her cover the last 20 feet before disappearing around the corner. She only had 40 feet to go in the brightly lit alley. Georgeann’s roommate knew something was wrong when she didn’t arrive 2 hours later, and she called Georgeann’s boyfriend and learned she had left his place at 1 am. She woke the housemother, and together they waited for the girl. They called the police in the morning, and because of the other disappearances in the area, the Seattle police took action immediately. They later learned that a housemother had awaken to a high scream.
She’d thought it was a few of the students horsing around as usual, and went back to sleep. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution, and though he was foggy on the details, he remembered how trusting she was. He’d asked her for help carrying his briefcase to his car because of his fake cast, and she’d obliged. He knocked her out, stuffed her into the car and sped away. She came to before he killed her, and in her confused rambling, said she had thought he’d been sent to help her with her Spanish exam. He knocked her out again, then pulled over and strangled her. Before his execution he claimed that part of her remains were found Sept 6,1974 nearly 2 miles from Lake Sammamish State Park.

janice_ottName: Janice Ott, 23 years-old.
Disappeared: July 14, 1974 Lake Sammamish State park, Wa.
Found: Sept 6, 1974 nearly 2 miles from the park.
Standing barely 5 ft, 100 lbs, Janice Ott was a very young looking 23, with long blonde hair and striking green-gray eyes.She worked as a probation case worker for King County Youth Service in Seattle, and was very educated in the psychology of the anti-social personality.She felt that with her experience and kind personality, she could really help others who needed special guidance in changing for the better. A newly wed of a year and a half, July 14th was a sad day for her.
The job she’d worked so hard for had taken her away to Washington, leaving her husband behind in his own practice in Riverside Ca. She was missing him very much the day of her disappearance. She left a note for her roommate and told her she’d be home by 4, then biked to the park. Witnesses later said she got up to help a friendly man in a cast, and that was the last Janice Ott was ever seen alive. Workers discovered some of her remains in a wooded area where other victims had been dumped. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

denise_naslundName: Denise Naslund, 18 years-old.
Disappeared: July 14, 1974 Lake Sammamish State park, Wa.
Found: Sept 6, 1974 nearly 2 miles from the park.
Denise was a strikingly pretty girl at 5 ft 4, 120 lbs, with long dark hair and dark eyes. She was studying to be a computer programmer, working part time in an office to pay her way through night school. She and her boyfriend of 9 months had planned a picnic that day at the park with another couple. They roasted hot dogs, then the men fell asleep in the sun.
Denise walked off to the bathrooms around 4:30 pm. She never returned. Her friends started to worry after a while, and searched for her. Denise had brought her dog and they hoped she was looking for the dog, but it turned up alone. Workers discovered some of her remains in a wooded area where other victims had been dumped {along with Janice Ott’s remains} Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

The Colorado Murders

caryn_campbellName: Caryn Campbell, 23 years-old.
Disappeared: Jan 12, 1976 Wildwood Inn, Aspen, Colorado.
Found: Feb 18, 1975 Owl Creek Road, Aspen Colorado.
Caryn was a registered nurse from Farmington, Michigan,and stood 5 ft 4 with long brown hair. She was engaged to a cardiologist who was 9 yrs older than her, and got along well with his 2 children. They had gone to Aspen to combine a medical seminar with a vacation. Caryn hadn’t been feeling well on January 12th, and had argued with her fiancee about the date of their marriage. She wanted to marry soon, he was in no hurry to rush into a second marriage.
Even though she had a slight case of the flu, Caryn took the kids skiing and sightseeing while their father attended the seminar. Later they ate dinner with friends, then returned to the inn where they were staying. They settled in the lounge, and Caryn remembered a magazine she’d left in their room, and went to retrieve it. After she had been gone a while, her fiancee went to find her. She wasn’t in the room, she wasn’t anywhere to be found. He searched frantically for her and soon brought the police into it. She’d simply vanished into thin air.
He had to pack and fly home with his children, but kept waiting for a call from Caryn, explaining why she’d walked away from them. She never called. On February 18th, she was found in a snowbank off of Owl Creek Rd, not far from the inn where she had been vacationing. She lay in the bloodstained snowbank nude, battered and cut. It was highly likely that she was raped.Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

julie_cunninghamName: Julie Cunningham, 26 years-old.
Disappeared: Mar 15, 1975 Vail, Colorado.
Found: Never
Julie was considered to be a very attractive, very nice woman, and worked in a sporting goods store while also working part time as a ski instructor. She had a depressing history with men, often falling for the wrong type, only to hear the “it was great, I’ll call you sometime” line she’d come to know so well. The week she disappeared, she’d had the last heartbreak of her life. She’d thought this was the right one, and had gone to Sun Valley with him for a weekend, only to learn he’d had no interest in a long term relationship.
She wanted marriage and kids, and she was in the wrong atmosphere for finding a lasting relationship. She returned to Vail, crying and depressed. On March 15th, she talked to her mother for the last time on the phone, then decided she needed a break, and left for the local tavern. She would have met her roommate there, but Julie Cunningham never arrived. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

denise_oliversonName: Denise Lynn Oliverson, 25 years-old.
Disappeared: Apr 6, 1975 Grand Junction, Colorado.
Found: Never
The pretty dark haired woman had argued badly with her husband before she peddled off on her bike to visit her parents. Her parents hadn’t expected her, and when she didn’t return that night, her husband assumed she was still angry with him and had stayed at their house.He decided to giver her some time to cool off, and the next day, when he called their house, was alarmed to learn she had never arrived there. Police searched the route she had mostly likely taken, and found her bike and her sandals under a viaduct near a railroad bridge. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

Name: Melanie Cooley, 18 years-old.
Disappeared: Apr 15, 1975 Nederland, Colorado.
Found: Apr 23, 1975 Coal Creek Rd, Nederland, Colorado.
Melanie could have been Debby Kent’s twin sister, and had walked off from her small town high school that spring day, never to be seen alive again. County road workers found her body 20 miles away. She had been bludgeoned on the back of the head, her hands had been tied, and a dirty pillowcase was left twisted around her neck. No other information is available on the victim at this moment. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

Name: Shelly Robertson, 24 years-old.
Disappeared: July 1, 1975 Golden, Colorado.
Found: Aug 21, 1975 a mine in Berthoud Pass, Colorado.
Shelly was given to hitchhiking for fun to other states, and when she didn’t show up for work on July 1, friends and family first thought she’d gone off on a whim again. She’d argued with her boyfriend prior to her disappearance, and no one knew exactly what she was feeling July 1.
The summer passed without a word, and they realized with dread that the pretty 24 yr old had not gone away on her own. They learned she had been last seen by friends on June 30th, and on July 1, a policeman had noticed her at a gas station with a man in a beat up old truck. August 21, her nude body was found inside a mine by 2 mining students. Cause of death was impossible to determine because of decomposition. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

The Utah Murders

nancy_wilcoxName: Nancy Wilcox, 16 years-old.
Disappeared: Oct 2,1974 from Holladay, Salt Lake County, Utah.
Found: Never
Nancy Wilcox disappeared from Holladay, near Salt Lake City, Utah on October 2, 1974. Wilcox was last seen riding in a VW bug similar to Ted Bundy’s and was likely Bundy’s first victim in Utah.
Ted Bundy told detectives before he died that he had left her body, along with that of Debi Kent, in a secluded area south of Salt Lake City. Her body has never been recovered.

melissa_smithName: Melissa Smith, 17 years-old.
Disappeared: Oct 18,1974 Midvale, Utah.
Found: Oct 27, 1974 near Summit park, in the Wasatch Mountains.
Melissa was the daughter of Midvale’s police chief and was a very cautious girl. Midvale itself was a small Mormon town, very quiet, and though her father worried about his kids and taught them to be safety-aware, Melissa had little to fear in the tiny community. Standing 5 ft 3, Melissa was a small, pretty girl with long dark hair parted in the middle.
October 18th, Melissa had plans to attend a slumber party. She ended up walking to the local pizza parlor to console a friend who’d had a quarrel with her boyfriend. After this, she left to pick her overnight clothes up and go to the party. She never made it home, and she never made it to the party. The teenager who’d gone to comfort a friend in need, was found battered and nude 9 days later, far from the small town she’d grown up in.
Her head had been severely beaten with perhaps a crowbar, and her body had been battered before death.She had been strangled, raped and sodomized. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

laura_aimeName: Laura Aime, 17 years-old.
Disappeared: Oct 31, 1974, Lehi, Utah.
Found: Nov 27, 1974 in the Wasatch Mountains.
Laura had stood nearly 6 ft tall and weighed a mere 115 lbs, and felt very insecure of her “awkward,” bony appearance. She’d dropped out of high school and moved in with friends while working small jobs. She was referred to as a drifter looking for something to grasp in life. She talked to her parents daily, but wasn’t missed until 4 days after Halloween. She had gone to a cafe on Halloween night and, bored with the activity there, left around midnight and headed to a park.
She was found a month later on the bank of a river in the Wasatch Mountains. Her face was beaten beyond recognition and she was found nude. She had been strangled and apparently beaten with an iron crowbar or prybar. Like Melissa Smith, she had been sexually assaulted. She had been drinking just enough to be intoxicated, but not so much that she couldn’t scream, run or fight back. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

debra_kentName: Debby Kent, 17 years-old.
Disappeared: Nov 8, 1975 Bountiful, Utah.
Found: Never
Debby was a pretty girl, with long brown hair parted in the middle. Her father was recovering from a heart attack, and the night of Nov.8, he was feeling well enough to attend a high school play with Debby and her mother. They dropped her younger brother off at the local skating rink and went on to the high school. Debby called the skating rink at intermission to let her brother know the play wouldn’t end until well after 10, then returned to her seat.
She offered to pick up her brother while her parents stayed behind at the school, and hurried away to the parking lot around 10:30 pm. Several people who lived near the school later admitted to hearing 2 short, terrified screams between 10:30 and 11. They described them as coming from someone in “mortal terror.” They even walked outside and stared into the darkness, hoping to find the source. They saw nothing, and they reported nothing. Debby’s brother waited at the rink while the crowds thinned at the high school, leaving her irritated parents waiting til midnight.
When they realized theirs was the only car left in the parking lot, they immediately called the Bountiful police, who were all to familiar with the recent disappearances in nearby towns. Later, a father told police he’d arrived late at the play and saw a light colored VW bug racing away from the school. A small handcuff key was found in the parking lot, one that fit the cuffs Carol DaRonch had brought in. Nothing else was turned up. Debby Kent’s family faced a tragic, heart broken Christmas, along with Melissa Smith’s and Laura Aime’s families. Bundy confessed to her murder before his execution.

carol_daronchName: Carol DaRonch, 18 years-old.
Attacked: Nov 8, 1974, Salk Lake City, Utah.
It was a rainy day when 18 yr old Carol DaRonch left home around 6:30 pm and headed towards a Murray shopping mall. She was a very striking girl, with large doe eyes and long dark hair. She was living at home and working for the Mountain Bell Telephone Company. While at the mall, she ran into some cousins and visited with them for a while. Then she made a purchase and went off to Waldens Books. As she was looking through some books, a handsome, well dressed man approached her.
He asked if she’d parked near Sears, and she said yes. He asked for her license number and she gave it to him. He then told her that someone had tried to break into her car, and she needed to come take a look. Young and trusting, Carol DaRonch didn’t even wonder how he’d found her. He had an authorititave air that made her assume he was a security guard or officer. She followed him quietly out of the building, but felt a sudden apprehension as they headed out into the rainy night. She asked him for some ID, and he only laughed, making her feel stupid for bothering.
They got to her car, and nothing was missing. He then told her she needed to come to the station to see if she knew the suspect. After much hesitation, she follwed him to a side building which he told her was a sub station. [it was the back door of a laundry mat]He said the suspect must have been taken to headquearters. He then co-erced her into going to “headquarters.” It wasn’t until they were in his Volkswagon that she smelled alcohol on his breath.
When he told her to put on her seatbelt, she said no, and was ready to jump, but he’d already driven off and was going very fast. She realized he was heading away from the police station. Suddenly he screeched to a halt and tried to handcuffed her, but in the struggle, connected both cuffs to the same wrist. As they struggled, he pulled out a small gun and threatened her with it. She fell out of the door into the sodden earth, and got up as he came at her with a crowbar.
He threw her up against the car, and in a sheer adreneline rush brought on by utter terror, Carol DaRonch broke free from her attacker and ran wildly to the road. An older couple came upon her just in time and took the terrified girl to the police station. She was their first living, breathing victim.

Name: Nancy Baird, 23 years-old.
Disappeared: July 4, 1975, from Layton, Utah.
Found: Never
Disappeared from a gas station where she worked. Part of her regular routing of working at this sort of establishment is continual contact with customers who are usually strangers. Bundy, no doubt, was just another customer to her. Unfortunately for Baird, her workplace environment placed her medium-high risk for victimization.

Name: Sue Curtis, 15 years-old.
Disappeared: June 28, 1975 from Layton, Utah
Found: Never
No details.

Name: Debbie Smith, 17 years-old.
Disappeared: February, 1976.
Found: April 1, 1976 at Salk Lake International Airport.
No details.

The Oregon Murders

Name: Roberta Kathleen Parks, 20 years-old.
Disappeared: May 6, 1974, from OSU in Corvalles, Oregon.
Found: Mar 3, 1975 Taylor Mountain, Wa.
Failed to return from a late night stroll at Oregon State University at Corvallis.

Name: Rita Lorraine Jolly, 17 years-old.
Disappeared: June 1973, from west Linn.
No details.

Name: Vicki Lynn Hollar 24 years-old.
Disappeared: August 1973, from Eugene.
No details.

The Florida Murders

Name: Karen Chandler, 21 years-old.
Attacked: Jan 14, 1978 FSU, Tallahassee Florida.
Karen had gone home and cooked dinner for her family, then returned before 12 am to work on a sewing project. She went to bed a little after that. The house had been quite deserted that evening, and when several different sorority sisters returned, a chain of events happened that led them to realize an intruder had been among them. One girl saw Bundy running from the building, while another heard strange thumping sounds. They went to alert the housemother, and as they hurried down the hall, Karen staggered into the hall, blood streaming down her face, delirious. She suffered from broken teeth, jaw and skull fractures, cuts, and one crushed finger.

Name: Kathy Kleiner, 20 years-old.
Attacked: Jan 14, 1978 FSU, Tallahassee Florida.
Kathy Kleiner went to a wedding with her fiancee, then went to dinner with friends. Like her roommate Karen Chandler, she was in bed by 12 am. After Karen’s horrifying appearance, the housemother hurried into the room to find Kathy sitting up in bed, holding her head in her hands as blood gushed from her wounds. She had lacerations and puncture wounds on her face, broken teeth, her jaw was broken in 3 places and whiplash injury to neck. Later she would have a pin put in her jaw, and all her teeth were permanently loosened. She called for her boyfriend and pastor. She had no memory of the attack because she had been asleep.

lisa_levyName: Lisa Levy, 20 years-old.
Murderd: Jan 14, 1978 Tallahassee Florida.
Lisa had worked all day and went to a popular campus disco at 10 pm with a sorority sister. She only stayed a half hour because she was tired from working all day, and went home to bed. Her roomate was gone for the weekend, so she was in the dorm alone. Lisa Levy apparently hadnt awakened to all the hysteria coming from the rooms when Karen and Kathy were found. She would never awaken again. An officer found her without a pulse, and began CPR and cardio pulmonary massage. She died before she reached the hospital. Her right nipple had been almost bitten off, her left collarbone was broken, and she had been strangled. A Clairol hairspray bottle had been jammed into her vagina. There was a double bitemark on her left buttock, which would help identify and send Ted Bundy to the electric chair.

margaret_bowmanName: Margaret Bowman, 21 years-old.
Murderd: Jan 14, 1978 FSU, Tallahassee Florida.
Margaret was the daughter of a wealthy and prominent ST Petersburg family. She went on blind date at 9:30 pm, came home and was waiting in the rec room, anxious to talk to her friends about the date. She talked to Melanie Nelson about it in Melanie’s dorm as Mel changed into pjs. Margaret went to bed around 2:30 am. She was found lying on her stomach in bed, her skull shattered as she slept.
A nylon stocking had been pulled so tightly around her neck it was nearly broken. Her skull was so smashed that it was impossible to tell the injuries apart. The coroners opinion was, both girls were unconscious from the blows themselves. One can only pray….

Name: Cheryl Thomas, ?? years-old.
Attacked: Jan 14, 1978 Tallahassee Florida.
Cheryl is a tall, slim girl with long dark hair and dark eyes, very pretty and rather shy. Cheryl, a dance student, had gone out and after staying to have tea at her date’s, she returned home around 1:30 am. She turned on the tv, made something to eat and fed her new kitten. Her neighbors and friends who lived next door, arrived home and shouted teasingly through the wall for her to turn down the tv. She turned out the kitchen light, waited for the kitty to follow her, and went to bed. Later she awoke to a sound, decided it was the kitten on the kitchen window sill and drifted back to sleep.
Her neighbor, Debbie, woke around 4 am to a strange hammering sound. She slept on a mattress on the floor and felt the whole house vibrate from the thumps. She shook her roommate awake and they listened in fear until there was silence. Then they heard Cheryl moaning and whimpering. They weren’t sure whether it was from a bad dream or not, so Debbie snuck to the phone and quietly called her boyfriend and asked what they should do. He told her it was probably nothing, but she felt there was something horribly wrong.
The girls had a security check they’d made up a while before that. They were always to answer the phone no matter what, no matter what time. If they didnt, then something was wrong. They called Cheryl’s room til it rang 5 times, and Debbie’s roommate said loudly, “Call the police…NOW!” As they were reaching the police, they heard a great crash from Cheryls apartment, as if someone was running and crashing through the kitchen. Debbie and her roommate were shocked to see a dozen police cars at their house within 4 minutes of their call.
They had no idea what had gone on at Chi Omega. Cheryl was found lying diagonally across her bed, barely conscious, whimpering and writhing in pain. Her face was turning purple with bruises, it was swollen and she had several serious head wounds. She suffered the worst injuries on that night. Her skull was fractured in 5 places, causing permanent hearing loss in her left ear. Her left shoulder was dislocated, her jaw was broken, and her 8th cranial nerve was so damaged that she would never have normal equilibrium.
She wasnt released from the hospital for a month. If the girls hadn’t shouted about calling the police, one can only guess what an uninteruppted Ted Bundy would have finished doing to Cheryl Thomas.

kimberly_leachName: Kimberly Leach, 12 years-old.
Disappeared: Feb 9, 1978 Lake City, Florida.
Found: Apr 7, 1978 Suwannee State Park, Florida.
The pretty, dark eyed, dark haired pre-teen was a small girl, 5 ft tall and 100 lbs. She was very excited the day she disappeared. She’d just been elected first runner up to the Valentine Queen at her junior high. Feb 9 was a rainy, windy day in Lake City. When she arrived at her PE class, she remembered leaving her purse in her homeroom class. Her teacher let her run off to get it. This meant dodging from one building to another. Kim’s friend went with her, and as they started back to PE, her friend remembered something she herself had to retreive.
Kim kept going, and when her friend came back outside, she was alarmed to see the little girl going off with a man. Many witnesses that day remember seeing the little girl with an angry man, and he simply looked like a father who’d been called to school to take a naughty child home. They remembered the girl was crying. No one thought anything of it.The school called her home later that afternoon to routinely check on why she hadn’t attended the rest of her classes. Her parents knew instantly that something was wrong–Kim didnt skip school, and she was very dependable.
She hadnt come home. They contacted the authorities, who went on the typical “run away” theory, but her parents knew she was too happy about the Valentine election, and she had absolutely no reason to be upset enough to run off. After 8 weeks of heavy searching, the bare bones of the girl who’d been thrilled to become runner up in the Valentine court, were found in a pigpen. There was evidence of sexual assault, but no head trauma. It appeared that she had been strangled, but the decomposition made it difficult to tell.

The Idaho Murders

Name: Lynette Culver, 13 years-old.
Disappeared: May 1975.
No details.

The Vermont Murders

Name: Rita Curran, 24 years-old.
Murdered: July 19, 1971 Burlington, Vermont.
Rita was a very pretty, shy woman with long dark hair. She taught second grade and worked summers as a chambermaid in a hotel. Rita spent most of her time working with deprived and handicapped children. The hotel was next door to the unwed mother’s home where Ted Bundy was born. She’d lived at home until she turned 24, then moved into her own apartment with another girl. She was hoping to find a good man that summer, and wanted to marry and have children. The evening of her murder, she’d rehearsed with her barber shop quartet til 10 pm. Her roommate and a friend left her alone in the apartment around 11:30 pm, and when they returned, they talked a while, assuming Rita was in the bedroom asleep. When the roomate walked into the bedroom, she found the bludgeoned, nude body of the schoolteacher. Like many of Bundy’s later victims, Rita Curran had been beaten, strangled and raped.

Ted Bundy Timeline:

11/24/46 – Is born as Theodore Robert Cowell in a home for unwed mothers in Burlington, Vermont.
05/19/51 – Bundy’s mother, Louise, marries Johnnie Bundy and her son takes his step-father’s last name.
Spring 1965 – Graduates from Woodrow Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington.
Fall 1965 – Enrolls at the University of Puget Sound and attends the school until the Spring of 1966.
06/23/65 – Murders Lonnie Trumbull and seriously injuresroommate Lisa Wick in their Seattle apartment.
Fall 1966 to Spring 1969 – Attends the University of Washington.
1967 to 1968 – Courts Stephanie Brooks, who closely resembles his future victims.
Fall 1968 – Brooks breaks off relationship with Bundy.
Early 1969 – Visits his brithtown of Burlington, Vermont, and learns for certain that he is illegitimate.
Fall 1969 – Re-enters Univ of Washington and meets Liz Kendall, his girlfriend throughout most of the murders.
Spring 1973 – Graduates form the University of Washington.
11/25/73 – Abducts Kathy Devine from a Seattle street corner.
12/06/73 – Devine’s body is found near Olympia, Washington.
01/05/74 – Attacks Joni Lenz in her Seattle apartment. Lenz survives.
02/01/74 – Abducts Lynda Ann Healy from her basement bedroom in Seattle.
03/12/74 – Abducts Donna Manson from the campus of Evergreen College.
04/17/74 – Abducts Susan Rancourt from the Central Washignton St. campus.
05/06/74 – Abducts Kathy Parks from the campus at Oregon St.
06/01/74 – Abducts Brenda Ball from Burien, Washington.
06/11/74 – Abducts Georgeann Hawkins from an alley near her University of Washington fraternity house.
06/17/74 – Brenda Baker’s body is found in Millersylvania St. Park. It is unknown when she was abducted.
07/14/74 – In seperate incidents, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund are abducted from Lake Samm St. Park.
09/02/74 – A Jane Doe is abducted from Boise, Idaho.
Fall 1974 – Enters the University of Utah Law School.
09/07/74 – Body parts of Ott, Naslund, and Hawkins are recovered 2 miles from lake Samm St. Park.
10/02/74 – Abducts Nancy Wilcox.
10/18/74 – Abducts Melissa Smith from Midvale, Utah.
10/27/74 – Smith’s body is found in Summitt Park near Salt Lake City, Utah.
10/31/74 – Abducts Laura Aimee from Lehi, Utah.
11/08/74 – Botches abduction of Carol DeRonch but abducts Debby Kent later that day from school in Bountiful.
Thanksgiving 1974 – Aimee’s body is found.
01/12/75 – Abducts Caryn Campbell from a hotel in Aspen, Colorado.
02/18/75 – Campbell’s body is found near the motel she disappeared from.
03/03/75 – The skulls of Healy, Ball, Parks, and Rancourt are found near Taylor Mountain in Washington.
03/15/75 – Abducts Julie Cunningham from Vail, Colorado.
04/06/75 – Abducts Melanie Cooley from her school in Nederland, Colorado.
04/23/75 – Cooley is found dead twenty miles from Nederland.
05/06/75 – Abducts Lynette Culver from her school playground in Pocatello, Idaho.
06/28/75 – Abducts Susan Curtis from the campus of BYU while attending a youth conference.
07/01/75 – Abducts Shelley Robertson from Golden, Colorado.
07/04/75 – Abducts Nancy Baird from Layton, Utah.
08/16/75 – Arrested for possession of burglary tools during a traffic stop in Salt Lake City.
February 1976 – Abducts Debbie Smith in Utah.
03/01/76 – Is found guilty of aggravated kidnapping in the DeRonch attack.
04/01/76 – Smith’s body is found at Salt Lake International Airport.
06/30/76 – Sentenced to 1-15 years in prison.
06/07/77 – Escapes from Pitkin Co. Law Library in Colorado while preparing for trial in the Campbell murder.
06/13/77 – Is apprehended in Aspen, Colorado.
12/30/77 – Escapes from Garfield County Jail in Colorado and flees to Tallahassee, Florida.
01/14/78 – Enters Chi Omega sorority house in Tallahassee, killing Lisa Levy and Magaret Bowman.
01/14/78 – Also attacks Cheryl Thomas in her house nearby, seriously injuring her.
02/09/78 – Abducts Kimberly Ann Leach from her school in Lake City, Florida.
02/15/78 – Arrested while driving a stolen VW in Pensacola, Florida.
04/12/79 – Leach’s body is found in Suwanee St. Park in Florida.
07/27/78 – Indicted for the murders of Levy and Bowman.
07/31/78 – Indicted for the Leach murder.
07/07/79 – Leach and Bowman murder trial begins.
07/23/79 – Found guilty of the murders of Levy and Bowman.
07/31/79 – Sentenced to death for the murders of Levy and Bowman.
01/07/80 – Trial begins for the Leach murder.
02/06/80 – Found guilty of Leach murder.
02/09/80 – Sentenced to death for Leach murder.
07/02/86 – Obtains a stay of execution only fifteen minutes before he is scheduled to die.
11/18/86 – Obtains a stay of execution only seven hours before he is scheduled to die.
11/17/89 – Final death warrant is issued.
01/24/89 – Executed in the electric chair at 7:16 AM.


Below is a chronological list of Ted Bundy’s known victims. Bundy never made a comprehensive confession of his crimes and his true total is not known, but before his execution, he confessed to Hagmaier to having committed 30 murders. Many of his victims remain unknown. All the women listed were killed, unless otherwise noted.


May 1973: Unknown hitchhiker, Tumwater, Washington area. Confessed to Bob Keppel before Bundy’s execution. No remains found.


January 4: Joni Lenz (pseudonym) (18, survived). University of Washington first-year student who was bludgeoned in her bed and impaled with a speculum as she slept.
February 1: Lynda Ann Healy (21). Bludgeoned while asleep and abducted from the house she shared with other University of Washington co-eds.
March 12: Donna Gail Manson (19). Abducted while walking to a jazz concert on the Evergreen State College campus, Olympia, Washington. Bundy confessed to her murder, but her body was never found.
April 17: Susan Elaine Rancourt (18). Disappeared as she walked across Ellensburg’s Central Washington State College campus at night.
May 6: Roberta Kathleen “Kathy” Parks (22). Vanished from Oregon State University in Corvallis while walking to another dorm hall to have coffee with friends.
June 1: Brenda Carol Ball (22). Disappeared from the Flame Tavern in Burien, Washington.
June 11: Georgeann Hawkins (18). Disappeared from behind her sorority house, Kappa Alpha Theta, at the University of Washington.
July 14: Janice Ann Ott (23) and Denise Marie Naslund (19). Abducted several hours apart from Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Washington.
September 2: Unknown teenage hitchhiker. Idaho. Confessed before his execution. No remains found.
October 2: Nancy Wilcox (16). Disappeared in Holladay, Utah. Her body was never found.
October 18: Melissa Smith (17). Vanished from Midvale, Utah, after leaving a pizza parlor.
October 31: Laura Aime (17). Disappeared from a Halloween party at Lehi, Utah.
November 8: Carol DaRonch (survived). Escaped from Bundy by jumping out from his car in Murray, Utah.
November 8: Debra “Debi” Kent (17). Vanished from the parking lot of a school in Bountiful, Utah, hours after DaRonch escaped from Bundy. Shortly before his execution, Bundy confessed to investigators that he dumped Kent at a site near Fairview, Utah. An intense search of the site produced one human bone — a knee cap — which matched the profile for someone of Kent’s age and size. DNA testing has not been attempted.
Bundy is a suspect in the murder of Carol Valenzuela, who disappeared from Vancouver, Washington, on August 2, 1974. Her remains were discovered two months later south of Olympia, Washington, along with those of an unidentified female.
January 12: Caryn Campbell (23). Campbell, a Michigan nurse, vanished between her hotel lounge and room while on a ski trip with her fiancé in Snowmass, Colorado.
March 15: Julie Cunningham (26). Disappeared while on her way to a nearby tavern in Vail, Colorado. Bundy confessed to investigators that he buried Cunningham’s body near Rifle, Garfield County, Colorado, but a search did not produce remains.
April 6: Denise Oliverson (25). Abducted while bicycling to visit her parents in Grand Junction, Colorado. Bundy provided details of her murder, but her body was never found.
May 6: Lynette Culver (13). Snatched from a school playground at Alameda Junior High School in Pocatello, Idaho. Her body was never found.
June 28: Susan Curtis (15). Disappeared while walking alone to the dormitories during a youth conference at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her body was never found.
Bundy is a suspect in the murder of Melanie Suzanne “Suzy” Cooley, who disappeared April 15, 1975, after leaving Nederland High School in Nederland, Colorado. Her bludgeoned and strangled corpse was discovered by road maintenance workers on May 2, 1975, in nearby Coal Creek Canyon. Gas receipts place Bundy in nearby Golden, the day of the Cooley abduction. The Jefferson County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office has classified the Melanie Cooley murder as a cold


January 15: Lisa Levy (20), Margaret Bowman (21), Karen Chandler (survived), Kathy Kleiner Deshields (survived). The Chi Omega killings, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
January 15: Cheryl Thomas (survived). Bludgeoned in her bed, eight blocks away from the Chi Omega Sorority house.
February 9: Kimberly Leach (12), kidnapped from her junior high school in Lake City, Florida. She was raped, murdered and discarded in Suwannee River State Park in Florida.

Psychiatric Evaluation of Ted Bundy

(Deposition of Dr. Emanuel Tanay)
The following is a deposition taken by Polly Nelson, who represented Bundy throughout the collateral appeal process. It was only at this stage that the question of Ted Bundy’s sanity was raised, though not in relation to the crimes. Nelson was hoping prove to the court that Bundy was not, at the time, comepetent to stand trial, therefore invalidating his conviction on three counts of murder. Dr. Emauel Tanay, who evaluated Bundy in 1979, is testifying as to what his findings were at that time.
Saturday, December 12, 1987.
Polly Nelson: What were your impressions of Mr. Bundy when you examined him on May eighteenth, 1979?
Dr. Emanuel Tanay: My impressions were that he was an individual who was indeed rather intelligent – who was well informed about a variety of matters – but, just as I indicated in my preliminary report, based on documents only, namely April twenty-seventh, 1979, he showed a typical picture of someone who suffers from a lifelong personality disorder. Someone who was, what we would call in psychiatry, an impulse-ridden indivdual, prone to acting out and more involved with immediate gratification than any long-term concerns. He was what in the literature has been described in the past as a typical psychopathic type of personality. This is an old term that is no longer used outside of textbooks, but nevertheless I found it quite descriptive of Mr. Bundy.
Nelson: What do you mean by the term “impulse-ridden?”
Tanay: Someone who has no control, or at least impaired control, over his or her impulses. Most people might perceive a certain type of impulse to act in a certain fashion, because it might gratify some kind of need, but they will reflect about it and make choices. Impulse-ridden individuals don’t have that ability. They are driven to gratify their impulse without subjecting it to reflection.
Nelson: Turning to page four of Exhibit Fifteen, you state that “in the nearly three hours which I spent with Mr. Bundy I found him to be in a cheerful, even jovial, mood. He was witty but not flippant; he spoke freely; however, meaningful communication was never established. He was asked about his apparent lack of concern so out of keeping with the charges facing him. He acknowledged that he was facing a possible death sentence. However, he said, ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.’ ” Do you recall that impression?
Tanay: Yes, I do.
Nelson: Could you describe more fully what Mr. Bundy’s mood and affect was like at that time?
Tanay: Mr. Bundy was more involved with impressing me with his brilliance and his wit than to use the services that had been arranged for him of an expert. He was informed that I was someone of national reputation and that he was to avail himself of these services – Mr. Minerva and other members of the defense team had so informed me – but that did not take place. Mr. Bundy dealt with me as if I was a reporter for Time magazine or some other publication. He certainly didn’t deal with me as if I was a psychiatrist retained by the defense to assist in defending him when he was facing a death sentence. He played a similar game with me as he played with the investigators.
Nelson: In what way?
Tanay: You see, I pointed out to him that a person who committed these type of sadistic homicides may be someone who may have available to him the defense of insanity, and I clearly indicated to him that it may be useful for him to discuss that with me; and just like he did with the investigators, he was confessing that he did – and I say “confessing” in quotes, because it wasn’t an official confession, but he was leading me to believe that he indeed committed these acts. Just like he told the investigators, to use their own words, that he was telling them that he did it, and yet he wasn’t. So he was creating a situation where he was pursuading people that he committed these acts and yet making it impossible for a psychiatrist, like myself, to review this in a manner that could convceivably assist his lawyer in formulating a defense, and he played it, ya know, he talked to me but never really talked to me about the situation directly. He never acknowledged that he committed the acts, therefore we could never discuss them, and yet he was indicating, in a manner that I can’t really describe to you, just as he did with the police officers, that he was the one who did it.
Nelson: What was your impression of the reason that Mr. Bundy was acting in that way?
Tanay: My impression was that it was typical behavior of a psychopath who likes to defy authority, who has a need, who is driven to defy authority – and that includes lawyers, psychiatrists, law enforcement, judges – and that was more important to him than saving his own life. He was typically responding to a gratification of the moment.
Nelson: You wrote here on page five of Exhibit Fifteen that “Mr. Bundy rationalized away every piece of evidence which linked him to the crime,” and a little further down, “Mr. Bundy has an incapacity to recognize the significance of the evidence held against him. It would be simplistic to characterize this as merely lying, in as much as he acts as if his perception of the evidence was reality – he makes decisions based upon these distorted perceptions of reality.” Do those statements accurately reflect your opinions concerning Mr. Bundy?
Tanay: Yes. On the same page I am describing, or making reference to what I knew at the time the evidence was against him, which certainly I was told by his attorneys was persuasive. By confronting him with the interview I tried to find out if he would respond to my pointing out to him the reality that he was facing, which he did. He simply rejected it.
Nelson: At the bottom of the same page you state, “It is my opinion, based on a variety of data, that his dealings with the criminal justice system are dominated by psychopathology.” Are you referring there merely to the alleged crimes or to Mr. Bundy’s other behaviors?
Tanay: Both. He was doing the same thing, he was being the same psychopath when he dealt with his victims that he tortured and killed as when he was dealing with lawyers who were helping him, or investigators who were trying to solve the crime. He was behaving in the same manner – psychiatrically it was the same, even though the consequences were obviously not as tragic, since he couldn’t harm anybody in the manner that he harmed his victims. He was harming other people. He was destructive to himself. He was destructive to his lawyers. My observations were that he was manipulating people around him, including his lawyers, even though it was destructive to him. Ultimately he was the victim of it all, but he was victimizing other people even while he was in jail.
Nelson: In your opinion, was this behavior of Mr Bundy’s under his conscious control?
Tanay: No, it was not. This was part and parcel of his maladaptive personality structure. He was doing what was dictated by his personality disorder.
Nelson: This psychopathology that you note, with which he deals with the criminal justice system, was that a temporary phenomena or was it a chronic condition?
Tanay: It was a lifelong pattern. It was not a temporary phenomena. It was an expression of his basic persoanlity structure.
Nelson: Would you describe Exhibit One?
Tanay: The real background of it is the fact that I told Mr. Minerva that I did not believe that Mr. Bundy would do what he was told to do, and my recollection was that Mr. Minerva was writing this to confirm that I was right, because I did – I recall Mr. Minerva expressing to some degree, I would have to say, admiration, for the fact that I had anticipated what would occur – I did not think that Mr. Bundy would cooperate.
Nelson: Cooperate in what manner?
Tanay: With the advice of his lawyers – including even Mr. Farmer, who supposedly Mr. Bundy greatly respected and admired – and that he would take the guilty plea, because it was my view that he would not, because that would terminate the show, his ability to be the celebrity would come to an end, he would be just someone who was spared from the death sentence, and the show would be over. Whereas, his need was to have the proceedings go on and on in order to gratify his pathological needs.
Nelson: If Mr.Bundy made the decision to reject the plea bargain, in your opinion would that have been a rational decision?
Tanay: No. It was, in my opinion, clearly an irrational decision, even though I anticipated it, not because it was rational but because it was consistent with the psychopathology, the mental disorder from which he suffered. In fact, had he done what his lawyers advised him to do, that would have been rational, since it was forseeable that he would be convicted and face the death penalty.
Nelson: Was Mr. Bundy’s behavior with his attorney and his actions in terms of self-representation and other defense matters, was that an integral part of his psychopathology?
Tanay: Very definitely so. He behaved like a typical psychopath with his lawyers, and, for that matter, with me.
Nelson: You testified at the competency hearing of June eleventh, 1979. At that hearing, did Mr. Bundy’s competency counsel, Mr. Hayes, explore your opinion to develop facts on which to make a decision as to Mr. Bundy’s competency?
Tanay: No one did that. To be very simplistic about it, my feeling of that hearing was like someone who dressed up for the party and arrived and they canceled the party. I was asked very few questions, and very little information about my knowledge of Mr. Bundy or the case was placed on the record.
Nelson: In your experience as an expert witness, was this proceeding unique?
Tanay: I have testified – I belive the first time was thrity years ago, and I have testified on many occasions since – but this is the only case like that, where I have been declared an adverse witness to both parties, and where information that I had was really not developed by the means of an adversary proceeding. Normally, one side pulls in one direction, the other side pulls in the other direction, and considerable information is elicited. I always consider cross-examination to be essential to develop a point of view that I am presenting.
Nelson: Did you feel that your opinion was adequately presented in this hearing?
Tanay: Not at all. Not at all. There was no exploration – that was my impression, I made some notes of it – that was my impression of what happened, and when I read it now that just confirms that my considerable work invested in the case was not utilized in that hearing. I mean, I did not develop my opinion and explain my opinion in this case. An expert witness, unlike a lecturer in a classroom, cannot function on his or her own. He or she is completely, say, at the mercy of whoever takes the testimony.
Nelson: Did you have an opinion at the time of the hearing on June eleventh whether or not Mr. Bundy was able to assist his counsel?
Tanay: Considering the nature of the functions that he was to perform as a defendant claiming innocence, it was my opinion that he was not able to stand trial. When you say assist his counsel, he was his own counsel.
Nelson: Was he capable of changin g that behavior and not becoming his own counsel?
Tanay: In my opinion, he was not. He was predictably unpredictable. What I mean by that is that one could anticipate that he would be guided more by showmanship than prudence.
Nelson: Was Mr. Bundy able meaningfully to assit his counsel at that time?
Tanay: He was not.
Nelson: Referring to the first factor in the Florida rules of criminal procedure governing competency to stand trial, do you have an opinion as to whether Mr. Bundy was able to appreciate the charges?
Tanay: Yes, I do have an opinion that he was able to appreciate the charges intellectually.
Nelson: When you say “intellectually,” do you mean that there was some way in which he was not able to appreciate the charges?
Tanay: That’s true. I’m of the opinion that he did not appreciate the seriousness of the charges. He could intellectually tell you what the charges were, but he just dismissed them as real insignificant – based on his rich imagination of law enforcement – which was not the case. Clearly the charges were based upon solid evidence, but that was not his view.
Nelson: Dr. Tanay, when you say that Mr. Bundy dismissed the weight of the evidence against him, was that merely carelessness on his part or was that due to an emotional or mental factor?
Tanay: It was part of the illness, his attitude was the product, the outcome, of the nature of the illness.
Nelson: Looking to the second factor of the Florida standards, was Mr. Bundy able to appreciate the range and the nature of the possible penalty?
Tanay: Again, intellectually he was. As I pointed out in my report, he said that he would cross that bridge when he came to it, when I was asking him, Do you know that you are facing th death snetence? He could intellectually acknowledge it, but he sure didn’t act like a man who was facing a death sentence. He was acting like a man who did not have a care in the world. I think I commented upon it in my report, that he was cheerful and acted more like a man who was not in jail but was onstage.
Nelson: Was that fact psychiatrically significant?
Tanay: Yes. It’s consistent with the diagnosis that I have previously described, of someone who is typical psychopath or suffers from a personality disorder.
Nelson: Dr. Tanay, did you ever observe Mr. Bundy with Mr. Minerva?
Tanay: Yes. As I indicated in my report, Mr. Bundy was acting as if Mr. Minerva was his third assistant and not a lawyer representing him.
Nelson: Did you in June of 1979 have an opinion as to Mr. Bundy’s ability to assist his attorneys in planning his defense?
Tanay: I did have an opinion.
Nelson: And what was that opinion?
Tanay: That he was unable to assist in planning his defense. To the contrary, he was interfering with whatever meaningful plans the defense made. He sabotaged pretty consitently what the defense lawyers had worked out. His conduct was symptomatic of his illness, and it was outside his control.
Nelson: What was your opinion as to Mr. Bundy’s motivation to help himself in the legal process?
Tanay: He was not motivated by a need to help himself. He was motivated by the need to be the star of the show, as I pointed out in my report. He was the producer of a play in which he was playing a big role. The defense and his future were of secondary importance to him. Tanay: Definitely not. I have absolutely no doubt that he was a disaster as cocounsel or chief counsel of his own defense and that was certainly forseeable.

The information victims and below came from

Here are a few other pictures I found in a google search for this case and some of them are graphic.



My thoughts on the case are that he was a very despicable man and also very conniving. He tricked a lot of women into things and it was very scary for them. I am glad he was sentenced to death and executed because he was evil to the core. I have watched some of the films and documentaries and would like to get some of the books and read them.

Ok so I know this was a long one and all the serial killer post probably will be because of how many victims there are. What are your thoughts on this case? Did you know this information? Are you happy with the outcome of the trials and the sentencing? Have you seen any of the films or read any of the books? Let us know the answers to these questions in the comments section, and come back next time for another MM.


Mom Classic White

MM 9-20-18

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.

This week we are looking into the case of the Trial and Exicution of Richard Hickcock and Perry Smith and the movie “In Cold Blood”.

The Trial and Exicution of Richard Hickcock and Perry Smith

Richard “Dick” Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith were a team of mass murderers, family annihilators, and robbers responsible for the massacre of the Clutter family after their attempted robbery went astray in 1959.
They are also the main suspects for the massacre of the Walker family in Florida a month after the Clutter murders. In 2012, their bodies were exhumed to have DNA extracted to compare them to DNA found at the Walker house, though due to five decades of degradation, the results were inconclusive. The police in Osprey, Florida still consider Hickock and Smith the main suspects.


Richard Hickockrichard

Hickock was born in Kansas City, Kansas. Originally a popular student and athlete in high school, he changed when he was in a serious car accident in 1950 that disfigured his face, making it asymmetric. Though he wanted to attend academia, his parents, both being farm workers, couldn’t provide their son with a higher education. He got his first job at the age of 16, at the Santa Fe Railroad Company, and went on to work as an ambulance driver and a car painter. When he was 19, he married one Carol Bryan, who was 16 at the time. They later conceived three sons together. He took a job as a mechanic at the Mark Buick Company. After he impregnated one Margaret Edna outside his marriage, he and Bryan divorced. He then married his former mistress. In order to make ends meet, he became a petty criminal, committing acts of check fraud and petty theft, which is what got him arrested in January of 1956. In 1958, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced to a maximum of five years at the Kansas State Penitentiary. It was during that sentence that his second wife also divorced him. It was also when he met Perry Smith.

Perry Smithperry

Smith was born in Huntington, Elko County, Nevada and had three siblings; one brother and two sisters (one of which was born after him). His parents, “Tex” John Smith, an Irishman, and Flo Buckskin, a Cherokee, were both rodeo performers. In 1929, the family moved to Juneau, Alaska, where Tex Smith made a living of distilling bootleg whiskey. Due to him being abusive to both his wife and their children, she took them and moved to San Francisco, California. When she died an alcoholic, choking on her own vomit, Smith was 13. He and his siblings were then placed in a Catholic orphanage. He later claimed that he was abused there as well, both physically and emotionally, for his chronic bedwetting. He was also in a Salvation Army-run orphanage, where, he also claimed later, one attendant tried to drown him. His brother committed suicide at an early age, as did one of his sisters. His other sister married, had a family and completely broke off all contact with him. At the age of 16, he joined the Merchant Marine. He later joined the U.S. Army, and served in the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star, but never being promoted. Even though he racked up a record for getting into fights with other soldiers and Korean civilians, he was honorably discharged in 1952. After getting a job as a car painter whilst living with an Army friend in Tacoma, Washington, Smith used his first paycheck to buy a motorcycle, which he crashed the same year due to bad weather. Barely surviving, Smith spent six months in a hospital recovering and when he was released from its care, he suffered chronic leg pains and became addicted to aspirin. In March of 1956, Smith was sentenced to five to twelve years in prison after being found guilty of breaking and entering, and was sent to serve the sentence at the Kansas State Penitentiary.

Killings, Capture, and ExecutionsHickock_and_Smith_mugshots

In prison, Hickock and Smith learned from Floyd Wells, a former farm worker at the Clutter farm serving time for breaking and entering, that Herb Clutter was rich and spent almost $10,000 a year on the farm. They misconstrued his story, believing Clutter kept a vast amount of cash in his house. In actuality, he was a very frequent check writer (he once even wrote a $1 check to pay for a hair cut) and kept almost no cash in the house. Together, they made a plan to rob Mr. Clutter and flee with the money. After Smith was paroled on July 6, 1959, a few years early of his sentence, he awaited Hickock’s release. When the latter was paroled as well on August 13, the two drove to Holcomb, Kansas, where the Clutter farm was located. After attempting to rob the house, only to discover that they had been mistaken, they killed the entire family and fled the scene. Smith later claimed that the home invasion derailed even further when Hickock considered raping Nancy Clutter, but Smith, who had views against rape (despite being willing to commit murder), stopped him and even threatened him, “You touch her and I’ll kill you”. The two then argued what to do before agreeing to kill the Clutters to eliminate them as witnesses. They spent the following month on the run, supporting themselves with forged checks. The bodies were discovered the next day when the family was missed at church (it was a Sunday) and friends came over to check on them.

The murders were investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Inspection, whose investigation initially led nowhere, until Wells told a warden at the Kansas State Penitentiary about Hickock and Smith and how they had planned to rob the Clutters. Agent Harold Nye of the KBI visited Hickock’s parents in Olathe, Kansas, in whose home Hickock had briefly lived after the killings and left the shotgun used in the massacre in his room (the parents had been told that he used it for rabbit hunting). On December 30, the two killers were arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada and brought back to Kansas. Upon being interrogated, Hickock and Smith gave contradictory confessions. It was never firmly established exactly who killed who; at first, Smith claimed that he killed both Herb and Kenyon and that Hickock killed Bonnie and Nancy. Hickock, on the other hand, claimed that Smith was the one who killed all four family members. Smith later changed his confession and, because he “felt sorry for Dick’s mother”, claimed that he did indeed kill all of the Clutters, but because both refused to testify in court, no official testimony of who killed In_Cold_Bloodthe women exists. Both killers were found guilty and sentenced to death. During their time on death row in Lansing, Kansas, Hickock and Smith were interviewed extensively by author Truman Capote, who was doing research about the case after reading about it in the media. He also became a good friend of Smith; there are rumors that their relationship may even have been sexual, though no proof of this exists. The resulting book, In Cold Blood, became an international bestseller and is regarded a pioneering work in the true crime genre. Hickock and Smith were both executed by hanging just after midnight on April 14,

Modus Operandi

Utilizing a 12-gauge Savage Model 300 shotgun during the attack, Hickock and Smith entered the Clutter residence through the front door (Holcomb was a small community and people were comfortable leaving their doors unlocked at night). Inside, they awoke the family at gunpoint. When the robbery plan turned out to be futile, they killed the family members, all of whom, except Nancy (whose wrists were tied behind her back and her ankles tied together), were tied up in intricate patterns connecting the wrists to the legs. They were all killed by a single shot to the head, except for Herb Clutter, whose throat was slashed before he was shot.

Known Victims


November 15, 1959: The Clutter family Clutter_Family
Herbert “Herb” Clutter, 48 (father; non-fatally slashed his throat first before fatally shooting him)
Kenyon Clutter, 15 (son)
Bonnie Clutter, 45 (mother)
Nancy Clutter, 16 (daughter)
Notes: Perry Smith had also falsely claimed to have killed an African-American male named King “just for fun” by beating him to death with a bicycle chain sometime before the massacre. He had in fact known a man by that name, but hadn’t harmed him.


December 19, 1959: The Walker family thJAXSC3IC
Christine Walker, 24 (raped and shot)
Cliff Walker, 25 (shot)
Jimmie Walker, 3 (shot)
Debbie Walker, 1 (shot and drowned)
Authorities in Osprey, Florida suspect that Hickock and/or Smith were responsible for the Walker family murders a month after the Clutter family murders. 34 days before the Walker murders, Smith and Hickock fled to Florida in a stolen car, and were spotted at least a dozen times between Tallahassee and Miami.

Episodes On Criminal Minds

Season Two

“The Big Game” – Hickock and Smith were mentioned by Reid uses them as an example to describe the dynamics of a killer team when it was initially assumed that the unsub the BAU was searching for was a killing team. Smith is also quoted by Gideon in the beginning of the episode as a bookend quote, “I didn’t have anything against them, and they never did anything wrong to me, the way other people have all my life. Maybe they’re just the ones who have to pay for it.”
“Legacy” – While not directly mentioned, the duo appear to have been referenced in this episode, as the episode’s unsub Charles Holcombe has the last name of the town where the Clutter familicide occurred.

Season Eleven

“The Sandman” – The duo were mentioned as an example of two-person family annihilator team. They were also the inspiration for the episode.

Hickock and Smith were also mentioned in the Criminal Minds novel Jump Cut, once more as an example of team killers.
I got this information from

The movie “In Cold Blood”

In Cold Blood is a 1967 American drama film written, produced and directed by Richard Brooks, based on Truman Capote’s book of the same name. It stars Robert Blake as Perry Smith, Scott Wilson as Richard “Dick” Hickock, and John Forsythe as Alvin Dewey. The film follows the trail of Smith and Hickock; they break into the home of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, kill all four members of the family who are present, go on the run, and are found and caught by the police, tried for the murders, and eventually executed. Although the film is in parts faithful to the book, Brooks created a fictional character, “The Reporter” (played by Paul Stewart). The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Director, Original Score, Cinematography, and Adapted Screenplay.
Some scenes were filmed at the locations of the original events, including Garden City and Holcomb, Kansas; Kansas State Penitentiary, where Smith and Hickock were executed; and the Clutter residence, where the murders took place.
In 2008, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


In November 1959, Perry Smith (Robert Blake) and “Dick” Hickock (Scott Wilson) concoct a plan to invade the home of the Clutter family, as Mr. Clutter supposedly keeps a large supply of cash in a safe. When the two criminals execute the robbery, they are unable to find a safe as Mr.Clutter uses checks. In order to leave no witnesses, they murder Mr. and Mrs. Clutter and their two teenage children. The bodies are discovered the next day, and a police investigation is immediately launched. As the investigation builds, the two wanted men continue to elude law enforcement by heading south and crossing into Mexico; but, after a while, they return to the U.S. and decide to travel to Las Vegas to win some money at gambling. There, they are arrested for violating parole, being in possession of a stolen car, and passing bad checks.
The police separately interrogate the two men about the Clutter murders. Both Smith and Hickock admit to passing bad checks, but they deny knowing anything about the murders. The police claim that a mistake made by the men is that they left a witness, but they are slowed by Smith’s refusal to provide answers. Next, the police confront them with evidence, such as a bloody footprint matching the boots worn by one of the men. Finally, Hickock confesses and states that he does not want to be executed for the crime, claiming that Smith committed all of the murders. When Smith learns that Hickock confessed, he recounts how, although it was he, Smith, who wielded the knife and pulled the trigger for the four killings, Hickock was there beside him as an active accomplice.
The story of the murders is told in flashback, after the subjects’ arrests. Smith and Hickock are both found guilty of the crime and sentenced to be hanged. A representation of their final moments and their execution is presented at the conclusion of the film.


Robert Blake as Perry Smith
Scott Wilson as Dick Hickock
John Forsythe as Alvin Dewey
Paul Stewart as Jensen, the reporter
Gerald S. O’Loughlin as Harold Nye
Jeff Corey as Walter Hickock, Dick’s father
John Gallaudet as Roy Church
James Flavin as Clarence Duntz
Charles McGraw as Tex Smith, Perry’s father
Sammy Thurman as Flo Smith, Perry’s mother
Will Geer as Prosecuting attorney
John McLiam as Herbert Clutter
Ruth Storey as Bonnie Clutter
Brenda C. Currin as Nancy Clutter
Paul Hough as Kenyon Clutter
Vaughn Taylor as Good Samaritan
Jim Lantz as Officer Rohleder
Donald Sollars as Clothing Salesman
Sheldon Allman as Revd. Jim Post
Harriet Levitt as Mrs. Hartman
Mary Linda Rapelye as Sue Kidwell
Sadie Truitt and Myrtle Clare, residents of Holcomb, Kansas, appear as themselves


The film was generally well received. Critics praised Brooks’ interpretation of Capote’s book and were especially complimentary of the performances of the cast, including Scott Wilson and Robert Blake as the killers. Another aspect that helped the film was the use of black-and-white photography to heighten the tension, giving it the “you are there” touch. Brooks added to the film’s authenticity by filming in the actual locations, including the Kansas State Penitentiary, where the executions of Smith and Hickock took place.
The film went on to receive four Academy Award nominations: Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Original Music Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay. At the time of its release, it was rated “For Mature Audiences”, which meant no children under 17 were allowed to see the film without parents or legal guardians of age; now the MPAA has rated the film “R”, due to its violence and mature nature.

American Film Institute Lists

AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies – Nominated
AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains:
Perry Smith & Dick Hickock – Nominated Villains
AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores – Nominated
AFI’s 10 Top 10 – #8 Courtroom Drama

Musical score and soundtrack220px-In_Cold_Blood_(soundtrack)

In Cold Blood Soundtrack album by Quincy Jones
at RCA Victor’s Music Center Of The World
Film score
Neely Plumb
Quincy Jones chronology
In the Heat of the Night
(1967)In the Heat of the Night1967
In Cold Blood
For Love of Ivy
(1968)For Love of Ivy1968
The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones, and the soundtrack album was released on the Colgems label in 1967.
Truman Capote lobbied unsuccessfully to have Jones removed from the film. According to Jones, Capote called director Richard Brooks and said “Richard, I don’t understand why you’ve got a Negro doing the music for a film with no people of color in it.’ And Richard Brooks said, ‘Fuck you, he’s doing the music”. Capote later apologized to Jones.
The Vinyl Factory said “The opening title track, with its galloping drums and corrosive strings, lets you know you are entering a bleak musical terrain. “Perry’s Theme”, which begins with a beatific Spanish guitar, mutates into something terrifying, as strings rise and fall ominously. With its harrowing organ blasts, “Murder Scene” is a haunting aural crime photo. At the time, this menacing soundtrack was considered a convention breaker not only for Jones, but also for black composers in Hollywood”.

Track listing

All compositions by Quincy Jones
1. “In Cold Blood” − 2:48
2. “Clutter Family Theme” − 2:03
3. “Hangin’ Paper” − 2:10
4. “Down Clutter’s Lane” − 2:43
5. “Seduction” − 2:35
6. “Perry’s Theme” − 3:20
7. “Lonely Bottles” − 2:34
8. “No Witnesses” − 2:13
9. “I’ll Have to Kill You” − 2:25
10. “Nina” (Lyrics by Gil Bernal) − 3:56
11. “Murder Scene” − 2:02
12. “The Corner” − 2:52


Unidentified orchestra arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones
Gil Bernal − vocals (track 10)

Television remake

A 1996 miniseries was also made based on the book, directed by Jonathan Kaplan and with a screenplay by Benedict Fitzgerald. In that adaptation, Anthony Edwards portrayed Dick Hickock, Eric Roberts played Perry Smith, and Sam Neill played Kansas Bureau of Investigation detective Alvin Dewey.

I got this information from
I first want to say I am so sorry to the families and friends that were effected by these men and I send my prayers to there surviving family members and friends.

I was floored by this crime and I watched the movie today. It was a good movie and very tragic too. Let me know if you have watched the movie or if you have heard of this tragic story. I hope you liked my presentation of the case and if there is a case you want me to cover let me know.
This is part of a new mini series that will be doing for the months of August and September. The mini series is called True Crime of the Big Screen and it will be about true crime that has been turned into movies but it does exclude serial killer movies because we will be doing a mini series on serial killers in October and November. Now on to the case.

MM 9-13-18

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.

This week we are looking into the case of the Death of Marjorie “Marge” Nugent and the Movie Bernie.



The Death Of Marjorie “Marge” Nugent

Bernhardt “Bernie” Tiede II (/ˈtiːd/; born August 2, 1958) is an American mortician and convicted murderer. Tiede confessed to the shooting of a wealthy 81-year-old widow,Bernie and Jack Black as Bernie Marjorie “Marge” Nugent, in Carthage, Texas on November 19, 1996. The murder is the subject of the 2011 film Bernie, directed by Richard Linklater and starring Jack Black as Tiede.

Family and early life

Bernhardt Tiede II is the son of Bernhardt Tiede (1912–1973), a native of Olgenow, Russia (previously Ukraine) of German descent who had immigrated with his family to the United States in 1926. Bernhardt Tiede (Sr.) had served as a professor of music and choral director at Our Lady of the Lake College (now Our Lady of the Lake University) in San Antonio, Texas (1946–1948), at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas (1948–1957), at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas (1957–1968), and then at McMurry College (now McMurry University) in Abilene, Texas, where he served as director of the McMurry Chanters, the position he held until his death in 1973. In addition to his work as a university professor, the elder Tiede also served as church music director and as a vocal performer. Bernie Tiede’s mother was Bernhardt Tiede Sr.’s first wife, Lela Mae Jester (1933–1960). They were married in 1957, and Bernie was born in the next year. But Bernie’s mother died in an automobile accident when he was two years old. In 1963 his father married Clara Kathryn Wiley (b. 1938), who became Bernie’s stepmother. His father died in Abilene, Texas when Bernie was fifteen. Bernie Tiede graduated from Cooper High School (Abilene, Texas) in 1976.

Marjorie Nugent

Tiede met Nugent in March 1990 at her husband’s funeral, with which Tiede helped while assistant director at Hawthorn Funeral Home. The two eventually became inseparable. In 1991, Nugent altered her will and disinherited her son, leaving her entire $10 million estate to Tiede. By 1993, Bernie left his job to work for her full time as her business manager and travel companion.
Bernie & MargeIn November 1996 Tiede killed Nugent by shooting her in the back four times with a .22 rifle. He then placed Nugent’s body in a freezer used to store food at her Carthage home. According to the Amarillo Globe-News, Nugent’s estranged son, Amarillo pathologist Rod Nugent, traveled from Amarillo to Panola County nine months after her death, where he declared Nugent a missing person. After entering Marjorie’s residence, Rod and his daughter found his mother’s body in the freezer, wrapped in a white sheet.
Tiede was taken in for questioning, and he admitted to Nugent’s murder to police in August 1997. Tiede stated that after the murder, he cleaned the body and placed Nugent in a freezer. After this, Tiede admits, he had given gifts to several friends in Carthage using Nugent’s money, which she had previously given him power of attorney to use.
A jury sentenced Tiede to 50 years in prison for Nugent’s murder. Tiede appealed his sentence and the appellate courts ruled that there was sufficient evidence for the jury to have found premeditation. Tiede filed a post-conviction writ of habeas corpus, in which Tiede alleged that his constitutional rights were violated in the first trial because of newly discovered evidence. He alleged in the writ that the 81-year-old Nugent was controlling and emotionally and verbally abusive toward him, driving him to murder her in a dissociative state brought on by years of sexual abuse from his uncle. The Texas Criminal Courts of Appeal approved the writ.

(some of the photos of the house i am not sure about)

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According to the deceased’s estranged son, Rod Nugent, Tiede alienated Nugent from her family, friends and the business associates of her late husband. Nugent told the Globe-News: “It appears this Bernie Tiede kind of systematically estranged my mother from all these people one at a time … At some point they became angry with my mother.”
When interviewed, Panola County, Texas District Attorney Danny “Buck” Davidson said that the town of Carthage was “split up” in regards to their opinion of Tiede. Davidson told the Longview News-Journal, “People remember him (Tiede) as being real nice and doing nice things, and they’d like my office to go real easy on him. And then, there’s a group that wants no mercy.”
Tiede was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison. Rod Nugent filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tiede, claiming Tiede had embezzled more than $3 million from Marjorie Nugent.

Imprisonment and release

Shortly after entering the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 1999 Tiede was attacked by fellow inmates. During his imprisonment, Bernie was described by a prison official as “a model prisoner,” teaching health classes and participating in the prison’s choir. He had been, until May 2014, serving a life sentence. However, District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson and a visiting Judge Diane DeVasto of Tyler, Texas, allowed him to be released from his life sentence that month on $10,000 bail, after the appeals attorney for the case, Jodi Cole, discovered that Tiede had been sexually abused as a child for multiple years. Cole alleged that Tiede shot Nugent while in a brief dissociative episode brought on by his abusive relationship with her, a theory backed by forensic psychiatrist Richard Pesikoff.
Mr. Tiede’s ability to repress and compartmentalize the abusive events from childhood and adolescence was ultimately overwhelmed by the repeated and extensive psychological abuse he suffered from Mrs. Nugent. The end result, his loss of control over his emotions and behavior, is evidenced in his final actions toward Mrs. Nugent.
—Richard Pesikoff
It’s also been suggested that Tiede’s handwritten confession (a major factor in the murder being considered first-degree) was heavily influenced by threats of leaking private video tapes of Tiede. When presented with the new evidence, Davidson agreed that had he known this information in the original trial he would have sought a lighter sentence. Nugent’s family heard about the release through media reports. Her granddaughter expressed shock that the release was granted and claimed that Richard Linklater’s 2011 film Bernie had influenced the legal system. The Nugent family created a website to honor Nugent’s memory, posting photos of her and articles relating to her murder.
Between the time of his release in 2014 and his re-sentencing in April 2016 Tiede resided in Austin, Texas, in filmmaker Richard Linklater’s garage apartment, which was a condition of his release.
The re-sentencing trial began on April 6, 2016. During the re-sentencing trial, Marjorie’s granddaughter Shanna Nugent spoke directly to Bernie saying “You are nothing to me.” Shanna and Rod Nugent both asserted that Marjorie was in fact a kind woman on good terms with her family (unlike the film’s portrayal) whom Tiede conned to spend her fortune without her knowledge.
This differs greatly from other witnesses’ testimonies as Gregg County Commissioner Darryl Primo testified that in a conversation he had with Marjorie between 1991 and 1996 that she spoke well of Bernie’s spending, stating, “I’ll spend every dime [of my money] before I leave it to my family.” Additionally Merrell Rhodes, the victim’s sister, spoke of her feelings toward Marjorie saying “I was always afraid of her…I never forgot that she was my sister… I always loved her as a sister, actually, even when she did ugly things, and she did.” Merrel’s son, Joe Rhodes, attested to the movie’s accurate portrayal and mentioned several acts of his aunt’s abuse toward him in the New York Times article “How My Aunt Marge Ended Up in the Deep Freeze”.
Despite this, On April 22, 2016, a jury of 10 women and two men deliberated and issued a new sentence of 99 years or life for Tiede. After three weeks of testimony, the jurors deliberated for just over four hours.
As of 2016 Tiede resides in the Telford Unit of the TDCJ. A week after his re-sentencing, his lawyers filed an appeal to the court’s decision. In June 2016, the 1997 theft charge against Tiede was dropped. In August 2017, a Texas appeals court upheld the 99-year prison sentence.
Tiede was the subject of the 48 Hours episode “The Mortician, the Murder, the Movie” outlining his crime as well as his brief re-entry to society and re-sentencing
This information came from


The movie Bernie

Bernie is a 2011 American black comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, and written by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth. The film stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey. It is based on a 1998 Texas Monthly magazine article by Hollandsworth, “Midnight in the Garden of East Texas,” that chronicles the 1996 murder of 80-year-old millionaire Marjorie Nugent in Carthage, Texas by her 39-year-old companion, Bernhardt “Bernie” Tiede. Tiede proved so highly regarded in Carthage that, in spite of having confessed to the police, the district attorney was eventually forced to request a rare proprietorial change of venue in order to secure a fair trial.
The film went on to receive critical acclaim for its direction, accuracy to the real-life event, “Town Gossips” element, and particular praise for Jack Black’s portrayal of Tiede, with many calling it his best performance to date.


In small-town Carthage, Texas in 1996, local assistant mortician Bernie Tiede, a beloved member of the community, becomes the only friend of the wealthy, recently widowed Marjorie Nugent, who is widely considered cold and unpleasant by the other townsfolk. Tiede, in his late 30s, and the elderly Nugent quickly become inseparable, frequently traveling and lunching together, though Tiede’s social life becomes hindered by Nugent’s constant and sometimes abusive need for his attention.
Tiede murders Nugent after growing weary of the emotional toll of her possessiveness, persistent nagging, and non-stop putdowns. For nine months, Tiede takes advantage of her poor reputation to excuse her absence with few questions while using her money to support local businesses and neighbors. Finally, Nugent’s stockbroker uses Tiede’s neglect of previously agreed upon payments to enlist the help of her estranged family. This results in an authorized police search of her house that concludes with the discovery of Nugent’s corpse in a freezer chest.
The local district attorney, Danny Buck Davidson, charges Tiede with first-degree (premeditated) murder. Tiede is arrested and he soon confesses that he killed Nugent while claiming her emotional abuse as a mitigating circumstance. Despite this confession, many citizens of Carthage still rally to Tiede’s defense, with some even asserting that Nugent deserved to die. Frustrated, Davidson successfully requests a change of venue to the town of San Augustine, 50 miles away, to avoid selecting a biased jury. Despite the absence of evidence of premeditation, Tiede is found guilty as charged and imprisoned for life.


Jack Black as Bernie Tiede

movie vs real
Movie Vs. Real

Shirley MacLaine as Marjorie “Marge” Nugent
Matthew McConaughey as Danny Buck Davidson
Brady Coleman as Scrappy Holmes
Richard Robichaux as Lloyd Hornbuckle
Rick Dial as Don Leggett
Brandon Smith as Sheriff Huckabee
Larry Jack Dotson as the Rev. Woodard
Merrilee McCommas as Molly
Mathew Greer as Carl
Gabriel Luna as Kevin
Kay Epperson as Townsperson – spoke with Bernie (Jack Black) in prison scene


Principal photography took 22 days, during September–October 2010, in Bastrop, Smithville, Georgetown, Lockhart, Carthage and Austin, Texas.
The film creates uncertainty by mixing documentary conventions with fictional elements. There are talking-head interviews with Carthage town gossips; some of the talking heads are performers, while some are townspeople playing themselves.
Linklater said the screenplay he co-wrote with Skip Hollandsworth was a boring read, and that “the gossip element almost kept the film from being made, because it reads boring. I said, ‘But they’ll be funny characters. I could just imagine the accents.’”


The film made its world premiere as the opening night film of the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival. Millennium Entertainment released the film on April 27, 2012.


Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 89% “Certified Fresh” rating, based on 154 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Richard Linklater’s Bernie is a gently told and unexpectedly amusing true-crime comedy that benefits from an impressive performance by Jack Black”. On Metacritic, the film has a 75 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times enjoyed the film, giving it 3 and a half stars out of 4. He would go on to give particular praise to Jack Black’s performance as well as Linklater’s direction, saying “His genius was to see Jack Black as Bernie Tiede.”
Critic Jonathan Rosenbaum called the film a masterpiece, describing it as a companion piece to Linklater’s 1998 film The Newton Boys and saying the writing is “so good that the humor can’t be reduced to simple satire; a whole community winds up speaking through the film, and it has a lot to say. In fact, it’s hard to think of many other celebrations of small-town American life that are quite as rich, as warm, and as complexly layered, at least within recent years.”

In a positive review in Slate, Dana Stevens lauded the performances of the three leads, saying that both Black and McConaughey are at their best when working with Linklater. But she reserved her highest praise for “the good people of Carthage, who, sitting on porches or the hoods of their cars, recount the strange story of Bernie Tiede and Marjorie Nugent”.

Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle said:
If I hadn’t already read Skip Hollandsworth’s Texas Monthly article recounting the tragicomic tale of Carthage’s assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede, I’d swear this film adaptation was based on one of Joe R. Lansdale’s East Texas gothics. As ever, truth proves itself stranger than fiction and the human heart (which is stranger and more inscrutable than anything). And Jack Black redeems himself (for Gulliver’s Travels, among other things) with a subtly quirky performance that’s one of his personal best.
Gregory Ellwood of HitFix said the film is “not as funny as Linklater wants it to be…”. But he went on to praise Black’s performance: “Black is simply great… making you believe someone like Bernie could really exist and while accenting his funny characteristics also portraying him as three-dimensional character.”

Eric Kohn of indieWIRE called it “an oddly endearing love letter to Southern eccentricities”. He found the film hard to categorize, saying: “Bernie is a shape-shifting genre vehicle set apart from anything else in Linklater’s career. There’s a loose sensibility to this mockumentary—mysterious comedy? comedic mystery? It’s tough to categorize as anything beyond an enjoyable experience.”
Mary Pols, writing in Time, gave the film an unfavorable review: “You would be hard pressed to find a film that feels more true to a reporter’s experience of an event. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, at least not cinematically… The movie translation is playful and cunning but never escapes the reportorial trap; observation after the fact rarely matches the energy of experience… The big problem with playing this same note over and over again is that while the pairing of a 81-year-old harridan and the 39-year-old effeminate mensch, whether off on a cruise together or dining at the local taqueria, may sound funny, it’s mostly just sad.”
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly named the film one of the top ten films of 2012 calling it a “deviously droll light-comic tabloid docudrama”.

Local response

The making of the film, based on an article in Texas Monthly magazine by Skip Hollandsworth, who also co-wrote the comedic film with Linklater, divided citizens of Carthage, Texas, the small town in East Texas where the Nugent murder occurred. In the film, Linklater includes interviews with several Carthage residents about their feelings of support for Bernie Tiede. Some citizens hope the film will stimulate an increase in tourism, while others have voiced anger that a comedy film was derived from the events surrounding the murder of an 81-year-old woman.
“You can’t make a dark comedy out of a murder,” says Panola County District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson (portrayed in the film by McConaughey). “This movie is not historically accurate,” adds Davidson, who says that Nugent’s story is missing. “The movie does not tell her side of the story.”
“If it was fiction it might be funny, but this was a real person in a real town and no, I don’t think it’s funny at all,” says Carthage resident Toni Clements who knew both Tiede and Nugent.
Owners of the Hawthorn Funeral Home in Carthage, Texas, where Bernie Tiede met Marjorie Nugent, refused to allow the film to use the name of the funeral home in the movie. “We felt we did not want the Hawthorn Funeral Home name or family name thought of in a dark comedy… you always know locally these are real people and families so there is a sting.”
“I’ve now seen the movie Bernie twice and, except for a few insignificant details … it tells the story pretty much the way it happened,” Joe Rhodes, Nugent’s nephew, wrote in The New York Times Magazine shortly before the film’s general release. His cousin Rod, Nugent’s only child, did not return his calls and had his lawyer send Rhodes a letter strongly insinuating the possibility of legal action. “I guarantee he won’t like it.”


Having seen the film, Austin-based attorney Jodi Cole met with the director, Richard Linklater, for further information. After meeting with Tiede himself in prison, she began work on a habeas corpus petition in his case, raising issues not addressed in his previous direct appeal. Tiede was released from his life sentence on $10,000 bail in May 2014 with the condition that he live with Linklater in Austin, Texas. Nugent’s granddaughter expressed shock that the release was granted, specifically citing the influence of the film’s depiction of Tiede.
On January 2, 2015, an Austin, Texas news channel reported that the district attorney agreed to release Bernie Tiede and was not ruling out a future prosecution. Panola County prosecutor Danny Buck Davidson said that he met with the family of Marjorie Nugent and that the film led to successful efforts to have Tiede released early from a life sentence. Out on bond, Tiede was due back in court March 2015. Davidson eventually agreed that Tiede was wrongly sentenced for first-degree murder when he deserved a lesser sentence. On April 22, 2016, after a resentencing hearing in Henderson, Texas, a jury deliberated for four-and-a-half hours, and Tiede was sentenced to serve a prison term of 99 years to life.


Bernie earned nominations for Best Feature and Best Ensemble Performance at the 2012 Gotham Awards. The film was nominated for Best Feature at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards, while Black received a nomination for Best Male Lead. The National Board of Review included Bernie in their Top 10 Independent Films. The Broadcast Film Critics Association nominated Bernie for Best Comedy. Black earned a nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy, while MacLaine was nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy.
Jack Black’s performance as Bernie Tiede earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
A reader survey by the Los Angeles Times named it “most under-appreciated” film of 2012, from a shortlist of seven films selected by the newspaper.
Bernie won Rotten Tomatoes’ 14th annual Golden Tomato award for the best reviewed comedy released in 2012.

This information came from i/Bernie_(2011_film)

Bernie was a creepy guy from what I gathered from the movie and the true stories I have read. This movies is a good take on the story but I wish they would have done it more on Marge’s life instead of just Bernie. I do recommend this movie but it can be a little boring at times so if you watch it just be patient in watching.

This is part of a new mini series that will be doing for the months of August and September. The mini series is called True Crime of the Big Screen and it will be about true crime that has been turned into movies but it does exclude serial killer movies because we will be doing a mini series on serial killers in October and November. Now on to the case.

Have a blessed day


MM 9-6-18

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.

This week we are looking into the case of The Torture and Murder of Sylvia Likens and the movies An American Crime and The Girl Next Door.

!!!Warning this case is very very Graphic it talks about brutal torture, molestation, and murder of a young girl and children are involved!!!

The Torture and Murder of Sylvia Likens


Sylvia Likens


This case took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States in October of 1965. The 16 year old Sylvia was held captive, abused, and tortured to death over a period of three months according to Gertrude Baniszewski, Baniszewski’s Children, and other neighborhood children. Likens’ parents had left her and her sister Jenny in the care of

Jenny Likens

Gertrude while they worked for the carnival. They paid Gertrude $20 a week to take care other the girls.

Gertrude her daughter Paula, her son John, and two neighborhood youths, Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs, were tried and convicted of torturing and murdering Sylvia. The case was described by the prosecutor in the case as “ the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana”.

Gertrude age 39, was American and Dutch descent, she had 7 children by this time. She was always in abusive relationships and that is what she new, but this is no excuse.

Sylvia Marie Likens was born January 3, 1949 she was the third child of carnival workers Lester Cecil Likens and Elizabeth Frances “Betty” Likens. She was born between two sets of fraternal twins: Diana and Danny (two years older), and Jenny and Benny (one year younger, Jenny being disabled by polio).

In July 1965, Sylvia and Jenny were living with their mother, Betty, in Indianapolis, Indiana. During that time, Betty was arrested and jailed for shoplifting. Lester, their father, who was recently separated from their mother, arranged for the girls to board with Gertrude, the mother of the girls’ new friend Paula (17) and Paula’s six siblings Stephanie (15), John (12),Marie (11), Shirley (10), James (8), and few months old Dennis Jr. During her early time with the Baniszewski family, she would sing with Gertrude’s daughter, Stephanie.

Although the Baniszewskis were poor, Lester “didn’t pry”
into the condition of the house (as he reported at the trial), and he encouraged Gertrude to “straghten his daughters out”.

Lester Likens agreed to pay $20 a week in exchange for the girls care. Gertrude was described by the Indianapolis Star as a “haggard, underwight asthmatic”, was suffering from depression and the stress of several failed marriages. When his payment arrived late, Gertrude beat the Likens girls on their bare buttocks with paddles.

Gertrude soon focused her abuse exclusively on Sylvia. She accused her of stealing candy that she had bought, and humiliated her when she admitted that she once had a boyfriend. Gertrude’s daughter, Paula, who was pregnant at thee time, kicked Sylvia in the genitals and accused her of being pregnant. Later medical examination proved that Sylvia was not pregnant and could not have been. Gertrude began allowing her older children to beat Sylvia and repeated push her down stairs for entertainment. During a church function, Gertrude force-fed Sylvia a hot dog overloaded with condiments. Sylvia vomited afterwards, which she was later forced to consume. Gertrude also accused Sylvia of prostitution and delivered misogynistic sermons about the filthiness of prostitutes and women in general.

Sylvia was later accused of spreading rumors within Arsenal Technical High School that Paula and Stephanie were prostitutes. This supposedly provoked Stephanie’s boyfriend, Coy Hubbard, to physically attack Sylvia. Afterwards, Hubbard, and several other classmates and local boys visited the Baniszewski residence to assist Gertrude in abusing Sylvia. Gertrude encouraged Hubbard, her children, and neighborhood children to torment Sylvia, including, among other things:

  • beating her
  • starving her
  • tying her up
  • forcing her to eat feces and drink urine
  • clubbing her with objects such as hair spray cans, dishes and bottles
  • using her as a practice dummy during violent Judo sessions
  • clawing here
  • lacerating her
  • burning her body with lit cigarettes over 100 times
  • burning her with scalding water
  • injuring her genitals
  • rubbing salt into her wounds
  • forcing her to strip naked and insert an empty glass Coca-Cola bottle into her vagina

Paula once beat Sylvia in the face with such force that she broke her own wrist. She later had to wear a cast, which she used to further beat Sylvia.

Gertrude later forced Jenny to hit her sister, beating her if she did not comply.

Meanwhile, Raymond and Phyllis Vermillion, the middle-aged couple who moved in next door saw Gertrude to be an ideal caretaker for their two children. They visited the Banszewski residence on two occasions, where they witnessed Paula, with Gertrude’s appoval, abusing Sylvia and boasting about it in front of them. The Vermillions refused to report the abuse to the authorities out of fear on both occasions.

Gertrude eventually forbade Sylvia from attending school after Sylvia confessed to having stolen a gym suit from the school when Gertrude would not buy a gym suit for her. She brutally beat and whipped Sylvia and did the same for Jenny after remembering that she supposedly stole a tennis shoe. Gertrude then switched the topic to the “evils” of premarital sex and brutally kicked Sylvia multiple times in her vagina. She also burned all her fingers with matches and further whipped her.

Sylvia eventually became incontinent due to the severity of the torture. She was denied access to the bathroom and thus, was forced to urinate herself. As punishment for her incontinence, Gertrude threw and locked her in the basement. Throughout her captivity, Gertrude frequently, with the assistance of her children an their friends, restrained Sylvia in a bathtub filled with scalding water and rubbed salt onto her burns. She was often kept naked and rarely fed. At times, Gertrude and her 12 year old son John Jr. would make Sylvia eat her own feces, as well as urine and feces from the diaper of the baby son (1) by this time. She also made abusing Sylvia a pastime, charging the neighborhood children five cents to see the “display” of Sylvia’s naked body and tie, beat, burn and mutilate her. Sylvia attempted to alert the neighbors for help by screaming and hitting the walls of the basement with a spade, ultimately to no avail.

The Likens sisters had no way to contact other family members to inform them of the abuse. Jenny, especially, struggled to do this since she was constantly threatened by Gertrude that she would be abused and tortured next like her sister. She was also bullied by the neighborhood girls and beaten whenever she alluded to Sylvia’s situation. Early that summer, they saw their older sister, Diana, a couple of times at the local park. Diana was 18 years old, married, and estranged from the rest of her family. Their parents had forbidden contact between the two. When her sisters finally had the chance to tell Diana about the punishments they were receiving, she assumed that seeing her was the reason why. They wished they could all live together, but at the time, they didn’t know they lived less then a mile and a half apart. Diana eventually learrned that Sylvia and Jenny were staying at a home which was not their partents’, and she attempted to visit them. She did not know the woman who answered the door, but later learned it was Gertrude. She told Diana that the girls were not allowed to see her, and ordered Diana off her property. At one point, Diana secretly gave a starving Sylvia a sandwich. Sylvia remained silent about the matter but after Marie revealed it, Paula and Gertrude choked and paddled her before subjecting her to another scalding bath. Shorty thereafter, a neighbor made an anonymous report, which prompted an in-home visit by a public health nurse. The nurse entered the home and made inquiries, but hd no choice but to leave without further inestigation. She told Gertrude the report was about Silvia; Gertrude replied she had kicked Sylvia out of her house, and that her whereabouts were unknown. The nurse had no way of knowing that the subject of her inquiry was right below her in the basement.

Sylvia was often deprived of water. Jenny later speculated, during her court testimony, that Sylvia was unable to produce tears due to dehydration.

On October 22, Sylvia was forced by john to eat a bowl of soup with her fingers. John quickly took away the bowl when Sylvia attempted to eat it. Gertrude eventually allowed her to sleep upstairs, under the condition that she learned not to wet herself. That night, Sylvia whispered to Jenny to give her a glass of water before falling asleep. On October 23, Gertrude discovered that Sylvia had urinated herself. As punishment, Sylvia was forced to masturbate with an empty glass Coca-Cola bottle in front of Gertrude’s children. After that, she stripped Sylvia naked and carved the words “I’M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT” onto Sylvia’s abdomen with a heated needle. When Gertrude was unable to finish the branding, she had Richard Hobbs finish. Hobbs and 10 year old Shirley Then used an iron poker in an attempt to burn the letter “S” into Sylvia’s chest; the burn scar ended up looking like the number “3”. Gertrude later taunted Sylvia about how she would never be able to marry a man due to the words carved onto her stomach. Sylvia was taken back to the basement, where Coy Hubbard arrived to tie her up and slam her body against the walls six to seven times. That night, Sylvia confided to her sister, “I’m going to die. I can tell”. The next day, Gertrude woke Sylvia, then dictated a letter to her, intending to mislead her parents into believing that she had run away. The letter also tried to frame a group of anonymous boys for the abusing and mutilating Sylvia after she supposedly agreed to have sexual relations with them. After Sylvia finished the letter, Gertrude formulated a plan to have John Jr. and Jenny take Sylvia to a nearby forested area and leave her there to die.

On October 25, Sylvia tried to escape after overhearing Gertrude plan to blindfold her and dump her body in Jimmy’s Forest, a wooded area nearby. Sylvia fled to the front door but due to her extensive injuries, Gertrude caught her in time. Sylvia was provided with toast but was unable to eat it due to her severe dehydration. Gertrude shoved the toast into her mouth and struck her face several times with a curtain rod. She violently threw Sylvia into the basement and with the assistance of Hubbard, she tied and bludgeoned her until she was unconscious. Sylvia managed to recover but was unable to speak intelligibly and move her limbs properly. Sylvia tried to exit the basement but collapsed before she could make it to the stairs. Gertrude crushed her head with her feet and stood there for several moments.

On October 26, after multiple beatings, burnings, and scalding baths, Sylvia died of a brain hemorrhage, shock, and malnutrition. She was 16 years old.

When Stephanie Banszewski and Richard Hobbs realized that Sylvia was not breathing, Steephanie tried to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation. Gertrude, however, shouted at them that Sylvia was “faking it”.

When Gertrude finally realized that Sylvia was dead, she sent Hobbs to call the police from a nearby pay phone. When poplice arrived, Gertrude handed them the letter she had forced Sylvia to write a few days previously. Before the police officers left the house, however, Jenny Liken approached them and said, “Get me out of here and I’ll tell you everything.” Her statement, combined with the discovery of Sylvia’s body, prompted the officers to arrest Gertrude, Paula, Stephanie and John Banszewski, Ricard Hobbs,, and Coy Hubbard for murder. Other neighborhood children present at the time- Mike Monroe, Randy Lepper, Drlene McGuire, Judy Duke, and Anna Siscoe- were arrested for “injury to person”.

In the arrignment the Gertrude Banszewski, her children, Hobbss, and Hubbard were held without bail pending the trial.

An examination and autopsy of Sylvia’s body revealed numerous burns, bruising, muscle and nerve damage. All of her fingernails were also broken backwards and most of the skin’s outer layer peeled off. Her severely mutilated body led authorities to initially believe that it was the work of an “anonymous madman.” In her death throes, Sylvia bit through her lips, partially severing each of them. Her vaginal cavity was nearly swollen shut, although an examination of the canal determined that her hymen was still intact, which meant it was possible she was still a virgin, discrediting Gertrude’s assertions that Sylvia was a prostitute and her insistence that she was pregnant. The official cause of death was brain swelling, internal hemorrhaging of the brain, and shock from severe and prolonged damage to her skin.

During a highly publicized trail, Gertrude denied being responsible for Sylvia’s death. She pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity”. She claimed that she was too distracted by her ill health and depression to control her children.

Four minors who took part in the abuse of Sylvia were also put on trial. They were:

  • Paula Banszewski, age 17
  • John Banszewski, age 13
  • Richard Hobbs, age 15
  • Coy Hubbard, age 15

The attorneys for the minors claimed that they had been pressured by Gertrude Banszewski.

When Gertrude’s 11 year old daughter, Marie, was called to the stand as a witness for the defense, she broke down and admitted that she had been forced to heat the needle with which Hobbs had carved Sylvia’s skin. She also testified that she had seen her mother beating Sylvia and forcing her into the basement.

In his closing statement, Banszewski’s lawyer said: “I condemn her for being a murderess… but I say she’s not responsible because she’s not all here!” He tapped his head to make his point about her state of mind..

On May 19, 1966, Gertrude Banszewski was convicted of first degree murder. She was spared the death penalty and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Gertrude Banszewski during her arrest.

Paula Banszewski, who had given birth to a daughter during the trial, was convicted of second degree murder. She was also sentenced to life imprisonment.

Richard Hobbs, Coy Hubbard,, and John Banszewski Jr. were all convicted of manslaughter and given two 2-to-21-year prison sentences.


Hobbs, Hubbard, and John Jr. each served two years in a reformatory before being paroled in 1968/

In 1971,, Gertrude and Paula were granted another trial by the Indiana Supreme Court, largely for reasons of a prejudicial atmosphere due to heavy news media publicity before and during the trial. Paula pleaded guilty to volutary manslaughter and was released from prison one year later. Gertrude, however, was again convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Over the course of the next 14 years, Gertrud became a model prisoner at the Indiana Women’s Prison, working in the sewing shop and becoming a “den mother” to younger female inmates. By the time she came up for parole in 1985, she was known by the prison nickname “Mom”.

The news of Gertrude’s parole hearing sent a shockwave through the Indiana community. Jenny Likens and her family appeared on television to speak out against Gertrude; the members of two anticrime groups, Protect the Innocent and Society’s League Against Molestation, travelled to Indiana to oppose her parole and support the Likens family, beginning a sidewalk picket campaign. Over the course of two months, the groups collected over 40,000 signature from the citizens of Indiana, including those who were too young to remember the case, demanding that Gertrude be kept behind bars. Despite the efforts, Gertrude was granted parole. During the hearing, she stated: “I’m not sure what role I had in it…because I was on drugs. I never really knew her… I take full responsibility for whatever happened to Sylvia”. The parole board, taking her good behavior in prison into account, voted in favor of granting Gertrude her freedom 3-2, and she was released at age 56.

Gertrude was released from prison on December 4, 1985, and traveled to Iowa, where she called hersself Nadine Van Fossan, using her middle name and maiden name. She lived in obscurity until her death in Laurel, Iowa, from lung cancer, on June 16, 1990, aged 60.

When Jenny Liken, who was then married and living in Beech Grove, Indiana, saw Gertrude Banszewski’s obituary in a newspaper, she clipped it and mailed it to her mother with the note: “Some good news. Damn old Gertrude died. Ha ha ha! I am happy about that.” Jenny Liken Wade died of a heart attack on June 23, 2004, at the age of 54.

Richard Hobbs died of cancer on January 2, 1972, at the age of 21, four years after being released from the reformatory.

After the Westside Middle School massacre, John Banszewski Jr., by then calling himself John Blake, made aa statement claiming that young criminals are not beyond help and describing how he had turned his life around. He died of diabetes at General Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on May 19, 2005, at the age of 52.

Coy Hubbard was in and out of prison after his release. He was later charged with the murder of two men but was aquitted. He died of a heart attack on June 23, 2007,, at the age of 56 in Shelbyville, Imdiana. He had a wife and five children.

Paula Banszewski, the eldest of Gertrude’s seven children, received a prison sentence of twenty years to life for her part in Sylvia’s death. Her baby daughter, Gertrude, whom she gave birth to while incarcerated, was later adopted. In 1971, she twice tried unsuccessfully to escape from prison. In 1972, she was paroled and assumed a new identity. She eventually married, has two children, and reportedly lives in a small town in Iowa today. She worked as an aide to a school counselor for 14 years at the Beaman Conrad Liscomb Union Whitten (BCLUW) school district in Iowa, having changed her name to Paula Pace and lied to the school district when applying for the job. She was fired in 2012 when the school discovered her deception.

The murder charge against Stephanie Banszewski (15) was dropped when she turned state’s evidence against the other defendants. She assumed a new name and became a school teacher. She married and has several children.

The injury to person charges against the younger juveniles, Anna Ruth Siscoe, Judy Darlene Duke, Michael John (Mike) Monroe, Darlene McGuire, and Randy Gordon Lepper, were dropped. Siscoe married and had children and grandchildren. She died on October 23, 1996 at the age of 44. Lepper died on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis at the age of 56.

On May 10, 2015 Sylvia’s sister Diana and her husband, Cecil Knutson, were reported missing by their son, Robert Acosta. Diana and Cecil had been gambling at Valley View Casino in Valley Center, California. Surveillance showed the couple leaving the casino at about 2 pm by car, but they did not show up at their son’s house in La Quinta. Acosta contacted the police and appeared on television, asking the public’s help in finding his parents. On May 25,2015, the couple was found in a mountainous area of an Indian reservation by members of a volunteer jeep patrol. Cecil was dead and Diana was severely dehydrated after surviving on just rainwater and some food. Diana was airlifted to a hospital in serious condition. She told investigators they were looking for a shortcut when they got lost and became stuck on a rugged road.

The house at 3850 East New York Street in which Sylvia was tortured and murdered stood vacant and rundown for many years after the murder. Although there was some discussion of purchasing it for renovation and using it as a women’s shelter, the necessary funds were never raised. The house was demolished on April 23, 2009. The property is now church parking lot.

A six-foot tall block of granite was dedicated in June 2001 as a memorial to Sylvia Likens in Willard Park, 1700 E. Washington Street. The dedication was attended by several hundred people.

There have been many books, movies and television shows done on the case. The following are just 2 of the movies.

I found this information at

If you want to see more about the memorial they created in her memory go to

The Movie An American Crime




An American Crime is a 2007 American crime drama film starring Ellen Page and Catherine Keener. The film is based on the true story of the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens by Indianapolis housewife Gertrude Baniszewski. It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
Because of internal problems with the film’s original distributor, First Look International, the film was not released theatrically. The Showtime television network officially premiered An American Crime on May 10, 2008.
The film was nominated for a Golden Globe, a Primetime Emmy (both for Keener’s performance), and a Writers Guild of America Award.


In 1965, sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens (Ellen Page) and her 15-year-old sister, Jenny (Hayley McFarland) enjoy themselves at a carnival circuit. Their parents, Lester (Nick Searcy) and Betty (Romy Rosemont), who work at the carnival circuit, reconcile their previously estranged relationship and agree to go on a tour together. To cope with these changes, they decide to leave the Likens sisters in the care of an impoverished single mother named Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener), since they have befriended her children at church.
Gertrude agrees to this since the parents have promised to pay her $20 per week to take care of the Likens sisters. Their stay is initially pleasant, until Lester’s weekly payment fails to arrive. Infuriated, Gertrude whips the sisters with a belt in the basement. The payment, along with a letter from the parents, nevertheless arrives but Gertrude intentionally discards the letter and says nothing to the Likens girls. Her daughter, Paula (Ari Graynor), is later upset when Sylvia informs her abusive boyfriend about her secret pregnancy. Gertrude forces Sylvia to apologize for “spreading lies” and has her son Johnny (Tristan Jarred) restrain Sylvia so that Paula could beat her.
The rumors surrounding Paula’s pregnancy soon circulate around their school. Meanwhile, Jenny discovers the letter in the trash, prompting Sylvia to call them. The Baniszewski children notice her calling her parents and inform their mother. Gertrude believes that they stole the money from her to make the call (in reality, they traded empty Coke bottles in for money) and burns Sylvia’s hand with a cigarette. The abuse escalates as Gertrude accuses Sylvia of flirting with Andy, the father of Gertrude infant son, and starting more rumors. then forces Sylvia to insert an empty glass Coke bottle up her skirt in front of her children and orders Johnny and Stephanie’s (Scout Taylor-Compton) boyfriend Coy Hubbard (Jeremy Sumpter) to push her down the basement stairs and lock her in.
Gertrude assures a fearful Jenny that Sylvia will stay in the basement “until she learns her lesson”. To cover up the situation, she instructs her children to maintain the fiction that Sylvia was sent to juvenile for her bad influence. With Gertrude’s knowledge and approval, Johnny regularly invites the neighborhood children to the basement to beat and burn Sylvia for fun. Paula soon feels guilty and tells her mother that she believes that Sylvia has been punished enough. Gertrude ignores her, but the local Reverend (Michael O’Keefe) arrives, hinting that Paula has confessed to him about her pregnancy and Sylvia’s ongoing abuse. Gertrude tells him that Sylvia was sent to juvenile. Once the Reverend leaves, Gertrude orders everyone into the basement.
In the basement, Gertrude restrains Sylvia on the floor and begins branding the words “I’M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT!” on her abdomen with a heated needle. When Gertrude is unable to finish, she forces her teenage neighbor Ricky Hobbs (Evan Peters) to continue the branding. That night, Paula quietly helps Sylvia escape from the basement. Gertrude is awakened by Shirley and tries to prevent Sylvia’s escape, but Paula stops her. Ricky finds her and drives her to her parents, who are horrified at Sylvia’s condition as she lifts her shirt up and shows them her branded wound in her stomach. Sylvia tells them that the only reason why Jenny lied about them being fine was because she was afraid of Gertrude. They drive back to the Baniszewski household to make sure Jenny is okay. Sylvia walks inside the house and oversees a distraught and crying Stephanie leaning over her dead body, begging her to breathe, Ricky trying to help bring her back, Shirley and Marie watching them while hugging each other crying, and a depressed Jenny, revealing that the escape was just a hallucination . Ricky runs to the telephone booth to call 911. Gertrude believes that Sylvia is faking it until Stephanie announces to the cops that Sylvia is dead as soon as they show up. Marie and Shirley, devastated, run upstairs.
When the police arrive, one of the officers ask Ricky what happened. Jenny approaches and replies for Ricky, telling the officer to get her out of the house and she’ll explain. At a murder trial, Jenny reveals to the prosecutor that Sylvia did not do anything to hurt Gertrude or anyone else and that Gertrude threatened her with the same treatment if she told anyone the truth. Gertrude denies any wrongdoing and blames her children and their friends for Sylvia’s death. Despite this, she is declared guilty of first-degree murder and is sentenced to life in prison. Sylvia’s voice-over also narrates the fates of her other murderers. In her prison cell, Gertrude sees Sylvia’s ghost but before she attempts to apologize, the ghost disappears. It is also revealed that Gertrude was released on parole in 1985 but died five years later. The ghost of Sylvia visits her parents’ carnival circuit, where she states that it was the only place she ever felt safe. The film ends with ghost Sylvia riding one of the horses on the carousel in her parents’ carnival.


Ellen Page as Sylvia Likens
Catherine Keener as Gertrude Baniszewski
Hayley McFarland as Jennifer Faye “Jenny” Likens
Ari Graynor as Paula Baniszewski
Nick Searcy as Lester Likens
Romy Rosemont as Betty Likens
Evan Peters as Ricky Hobbs
James Franco as Andy Gordon
Brian Geraghty as Bradley
Michael Welch as Teddy Lewis
Jeremy Sumpter as Coy Hubbard
Scout Taylor-Compton as Stephanie Baniszewski
Tristan Jarred as Johnny Baniszewski
Hannah Leigh Dworkin as Shirley Baniszewski
Carlie Westerman as Marie Baniszewski
Bradley Whitford as Prosecutor Leroy K. New
Michael O’Keefe as Reverend Bill Collier


Principal photography took place in 2006. Most of the cast were completely unaware of the real Likens murder until after they read the script, which was based largely on actual court transcripts from the case. Catherine Keener originally turned down the role of Gertrude Baniszewski; however, after she could not get the story out of her head, she met with director Tommy O’Haver and agreed to do the film. Ellen Page was the only choice to play Sylvia Likens.

Critical reception

The film received negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 23%, based on 13 reviews, with an average rating of 4/10. Ginia Bellafante of The New York Times called the film, “…one of the best television movies to appear in years” and praised Catherine Keener’s portrayal of Gertrude Baniszewski.
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The Movie The Girl Next Door


The Girl Next Door (also known as Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door and, in Germany, Jack Ketchum’s Evil) is a 2007 American horror film adaptation of Jack Ketchum’s 1989 novel of the same name. The film is loosely based on true events surrounding the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens by Gertrude Baniszewski during the summer of 1965.


In 2007, David Moran (William Atherton), a Wall Street player, witnesses a hit and run by a car. He responds to the situation and tries to resuscitate the victim. That evening, he reflects on his past to the summer of 1958, when he meets his first teenage crush Meg Loughlin (Blythe Auffarth). Meg and her disabled sister Susan (Madeline Taylor) have lost their parents in a car accident and because of this, they are sent to live with their reclusive aunt, Ruth Chandler (Blanche Baker), and her sons, Willie, Ralphie, and Donny (Graham Patrick Martin, Austin Williams and Benjamin Ross Kaplan).
Living next door to the Chandlers, David is aware of the charisma Ruth has, since she freely allows her sons and their neighborhood friends to her house, where she entertains them and offers them beer and cigarettes. Meanwhile, Ruth starves Meg, accuses her of being a whore and subjects her to misogynistic lectures, whilst her children listen. One day, David visits the Chandler residence, where he sees the Chandler sons tickling Meg. Ralphie inappropriately tickles Meg’s breasts, prompting her to fend him off as she runs from the room. His brothers humiliate Susan and when Ralphie brings Ruth to the situation, Ruth reprimands her for forgiving Meg’s actions. Ruth beats Susan’s bare buttocks as the Chandler sons restrain a horrified Meg, who came back to the room to save Susan. Ruth then takes the ring that Meg wears around her neck, which belonged to her mother.
A few days later, Meg stops a policeman, Officer Jennings (Kevin Chamberlin) and reports the ongoing child abuse at the Chandler residence. As punishment, Ruth and her sons bind Meg in the basement with her hands tied to the rafters. They play a bizarre game of “confession”, and when Meg has nothing to confess, she is stripped naked. They blindfold her, gag her and leave her there. That night, the boys sneak back downstairs, giving her water. They agree to loosen her bindings, but only if she lets them touch her. She refuses, but David loosens them anyway, promising to free her into the woods.
Eventually, Meg is untied but is unable to eat the food Ruth gives her since she is severely dehydrated, to the extent of choking if she did. Ruth again beats Susan’s bare buttocks for Meg’s disobedience. With Ruth’s approval, the neighborhood children visit the Chandler residence to tie, beat, burn and cut Meg for fun. Even sticking a switchblade into her belly button. Ruth cauterizes the wounds Meg receives with cigarettes. David tries to tell his parents but is unable to do so. Soon, the Chandler sons hear Officer Jennings arriving at their house, after having had his suspicions raised after a local boy reports a girl being beaten and used as a “plaything”. Before answering the door, Ruth threatens to kill Meg and David if they make a noise in the basement. Ruth and her sons then mislead Jennings and assures him that no wrongdoing has occurred. Back in the basement, David secretly loosens her bindings and tells her that it is time for her to escape. He also leaves money in the woods for Meg to run away with it. The next day, David still sees the money there, realizing that his plan had failed.
David quickly returns to the basement. There, Meg is raped by Willie, as punishment for trying to escape. David tells Ruth to stop but is harshly ignored. Donny steps forward, wanting to rape Meg as well, but Ruth does not want him to, considering it to be incest to have sex whilst his brother’s “scum” is still inside Meg. Ruth instead offers Eddie or David to take a turn with her. When David declines, Ralphie requests Ruth to brand Meg so that she’ll be known as a whore. She happily agrees as she starts carving into Meg’s belly and past her belly button the words “I F**K, F**K ME” with a heated sewing pin. Ruth taunts Meg about how she will never have relations with a man due to the branding. However, she fears that Meg may still have feelings, especially for David, and decides to perform a clitorectomy. David tries to flee and tell somebody but the children, under Ruth’s command, tie him up. Bound on the floor, David helplessly watches Ruth mutilate Meg’s vagina with a blowtorch.
The next morning, David awakes still on the basement floor. He frees himself from his bindings and finds Susan sitting with an unconscious Meg. Susan tells David that Meg did not escape the night that he secretly untied her because she was caught trying to take Susan with her. Although David’s plan was to come back for Susan after Meg escaped, Susan had told Meg that Ruth had molested her on a regular basis to extent of making her bleed, which made Meg want to escape, along with her sister, the house as soon as possible. Susan then tearfully insists that Meg should have just gone without her and saved herself while she could, but David tells Susan everything was going to be all right.
David is afraid that Meg won’t survive much longer without help, so he tries to get everyone else’s attention by lighting a fire in the basement. Ruth notices the smoke from the fire and enters the basement. As she enters, David quickly bludgeons Ruth to death with Susan’s crutches. Willie attacks David and vengefully attempts to stab him as Donny mourns his mother’s death. Jennings and another policeman arrest Willie and Donny (and presumably Ralphie) in time. Jennings checks Ruth’s pulse and questions David but after he tells him about her crimes, he leaves Ruth for dead. After Susan is taken from the basement by the authorities, David retrieves Meg’s ring from Ruth’s corpse and gives it to Meg as she succumbs to her wounds.
Years later, David, now an adult, reflects on how his past still haunts him to his present day, though as Meg taught him, “It’s what you do last that really counts.”


Daniel Manche as David Moran
William Atherton as adult David Moran
Blythe Auffarth as Meg Loughlin
Blanche Baker as Ruth Chandler
Madeline Taylor as Susan Loughlin
Benjamin Ross Kaplan as Donny Chandler
Graham Patrick Martin as Willie Chandler, Jr.
Austin Williams as Ralphie Chandler
Michael Nardella as Tony
Kevin Chamberlin as Officer Lyle Jennings
Dean Faulkenberry as Kenny
Gabrielle Howarth as Cheryl Robinson
Spenser Leigh as Denise Crocker
Grant Show as Mr. Moran
Catherine Mary Stewart as Mrs. Moran
Peter Stickles as EMT
Michael Zegen as Eddie
Jennifer Alexander as Girl at concession stand
Jack Ketchum as Carnival worker
Mark Margolis as Hit and run victim


The film had a polarizing effect on film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it currently holds a 67% “Fresh” rating. In contrast, Metacritic assigns it a 29.
Stephen King said about the film, “The first authentically shocking American film I’ve seen since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer over 20 years ago. If you are easily disturbed, you should not watch this movie. If, on the other hand, you are prepared for a long look into hell, suburban style, The Girl Next Door will not disappoint. This is the dark-side-of-the-moon version of Stand by Me.”

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This is part of a new mini series that will be doing for the months of August and September. The mini series is called True Crime of the Big Screen and it will be about true crime that has been turned into movies but it does exclude serial killer movies because we will be doing a mini series on serial killers in October and November. Now on to the case.


Have a blessed day


MM 8-24-18

Mom’s Mysteries




Welcome to Mom’s Mysteries. This is the blog post where we investigate true crimes, mysteries and weird things the happen to people. This will be a monthly post. If you are easily bothered by these things I recommend you not read any further. I am trying to keep the unsolved in the peoples eye and the solved for informative purposes. If you post any comments please be kind because we may or may not have friends and family of the victims read this and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Thank you and now to the case.

This week we are looking into the case of The Disappearance of Kathleen Durst and The Movie All Good Things.



The Disappearance of Kathleen Durst

Kathleen was last seen by friends at a dinner party in Connecticut on January 31, 1982. She arrived unexpectedly at the home of Gilberte Najamy, who was her closest friend at the time. Najamy stated Kathleen was visibly upset and that she was wearing sweatpants; she normally wore dressier clothing.kathleen & robert

Kathleen had received a phone call from her husband, former real estate heir Robert Alan Durst, at approximately 7:00 pm. and they apparently had an argument. She had spoken about her failing marriage during the course of the evening with Najamy. She told Najamy that she was returning to the couple’s cottage on Hoyt Street in South Salem, New York.thJH2XXVX6

Najamy stated that Kathleen also asked her to investigate in case anything happened to her. She was afraid that her husband would harm her. A photo of Robert is posted with this case summary.

Robert told authorities he drove Kathleen to the Katonah station to catch the 9:15 pm. train to the New York City borough of Manhattan later that same evening. The couple owned two apartments in Manhattan at the time. He said they had argued and Kathleen had drunk an entire bottle of wine. If Kathleen did catch the 9:15 train, she would have had only forty minutes in between to consume the wine.

kathleen_durst_13Robert also claimed that he never saw his wife again, but he did speak to her over the phone after she supposedly arrived in Manhattan at approximately 11:00 pm. Robert stated that the couple often lived apart and this arrangement was not unusual for their lifestyles.

Robert’s version of events apparently changed when speaking with law enforcement officials shortly after his initial statement. He told investigators that he actually called Kathleen from a pay phone near their South Salem cottage while walking their dog that evening. The nearest phone is three miles away on a dirt road and a snowstorm hit the area that night.

Robert also claimed that he stopped at a neighbor’s home for a drink afterwards. The residents said they never saw him that evening, but they did observe a blue light shining through the basement windows of the Dursts’ cottage the following night.

Gilberte NajamyNajamy became concerned when Kathleen failed to meet her at The Lion’s Gate in downtown New York City shortly after her disappearance. Najamy called authorities for several days in a row after she was unable to locate Kathleen.

Robert filed a missing person’s report on February 5. He claimed that he did not know Kathleen was missing until one of the deans from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the borough of the Bronx called him to report that Kathleen had not attended classes all week. She was enrolled at the school and only had three more months before graduation.

The dean stated that a woman identifying herself as Kathleen called the college on February 1 and said she was sick and could not attend class. No one is certain of the caller’s true identity.

A doorman at the Dursts’ Manhattan apartment on Riverside Drive claimed he saw Kathleen at the residence on February 1, one day after her last confirmed sighting. The doorman later admitted that he only saw the woman from behind and could not positively identify the person.

The building’s superintendent claimed that Robert threw out the majority of Kathleen’s belongings shortly after she vanished. Robert also began searching for a new tenant for the couple’s apartment. Robert denied the allegations.

Najamy broke into the South Salem cottage with her sister during the week Kathleen vanished. She called authorities from the home and told them that she entered the residence illegally, then requested an officer arrive at the scene. Investigators refused to dispatch anyone to the location.

Najamy and her sister discovered Kathleen’s unopened mail was tossed into the garbage. Robert told Najamy that Kathleen was wearing brown suede boots and a cable-knit sweater when he dropped her off at the train station, but Najamy found the clothing inside Kathleen’s closet. She and her sister also discovered trash bags stuffed into a floor-to-ceiling closet in the cottage’s dining room. She said that they became frightened afterwards and left the residence.

Kathleen was a former dental hygienist and nurse. She and Robert met in 1970, while she was living in an apartment building owned by Robert’s family. They were married in 1972 and moved to Vermont, where they owned a health food store called All the Good Things.

thR9MSEWORKathleen graduated from the nursing program at Western Connecticut State University in 1978, then enrolled in the Einstein College Of Medicine. She wanted to become a pediatrician.

Kathleen’s friends told investigators that she wanted to have children, but Robert did not. They also claimed that Robert pressured Kathleen into having an abortion in the late 1970s. Robert was having an affair with Prudence Farrow, a producer and the sister of the actress Mia Farrow, when Kathleen disappeared.

According to her friends and family, Kathleen decided to prepare the paperwork necessary for a divorce. Najamy stated that she believed Robert felt he was losing control of Kathleen at the time, since she was about to graduate from medical school and was able to support herself. He also claimed that she had affairs as well and that he did not believe the child she aborted was his baby.

Kathleen’s loved ones said that she was treated at an emergency room in New York City in January 1982 after Robert allegedly abused her. robert-durst-prison-time-10Kathleen suffered head injuries and facial bruising, but refused to file charges against her husband. The incident occurred several weeks before she vanished.

Investigators discovered that Robert had placed several phone calls to the Durst Organization from Ship Bottom, New Jersey the week Kathleen disappeared. Some have speculated that Robert may have disposed of his wife’s remains near the city.

Najamy drove to the Dursts’ cottage once a week to search through the trash and found some of Kathleen’s belongings had been discarded, along with several of Robert’s handwritten notes. Authorities asked Najamy not to discuss what was written on the notes, but she insinuated that it may have involved Kathleen’s case. Authorities did not conduct a thorough search of the Dursts’ South Salem cottage during the 1982 investigation into Kathleen’s disappearance.

Detectives initially believed that Kathleen had simply disappeared in order to escape a bad marriage and no foul play was involved. That manner of thinking changed as the years progressed with no sign of Kathleen.

In 1999, an informant announced that Kathleen was killed on the night of her disappearance in South Salem, the location of the couple’s cottage. An extensive search of the property was launched at that time and evidence was removed from the house. Authorities have not publicly announced their findings. Robert sold the cottage in 1990.

Najamy’s home and the home of another of Kathleen’s friends were broken into and ransacked sometime after Kathleen’s disappearance. The two women had kept files relating to Kathleen’s case and the files were among the items stolen from their residences. The burglaries remain unsolved and the stolen items were never recovered.

Another strange twist in Kathleen’s disappearance emerged in December 2000, when author Susan Berman was murdered by a .22 caliber gunshot to the back of the head in Los Angeles, California. Berman had been a friend of both Kathleen and Robert in New York and the three frequently socialized together.

bermanBerman and Robert remained close friends throughout the years and she served as his unofficial public spokesperson during the 1982 investigation into Kathleen’s case. New York authorities had planned to question Berman about any knowledge she may have had regarding Kathleen’s disappearance at the time she was murdered.

Berman was an extremely cautious, even paranoid person who nailed her windows shut and always locked her house. Authorities stated that there was no indication of forced entry to her home and it was assumed she was murdered by someone she knew.

Writer Julie Baumgold, a friend to both Robert and Berman, said that Berman planned to support Robert’s version of Kathleen’s disappearance when she was questioned by authorities. Baumgold claimed that Robert referred to Berman as his “witness.”

Berman was an author who penned the books Lady Las Vegas and Easy Street, which detailed her family’s experiences in the Las Vegas organized crime scene. She is the daughter of Davie Bugman, who was the partner of the gangster Bugsy Siegel and an associate of the Jewish Mafia boss Meyer Lansky. At the time of her murder, she was making a television documentary about Las Vegas.

Some people believe that Berman, who was protective of Robert, may have placed the phone call to the medical school dean and disguised herself as Kathleen in 1982. The suggestion has also been raised that Berman was murdered by organized crime figures as a result of her family connections, but investigators believed the possibility was remote.

Investigators are probing into the possibility that Robert may have been involved in Kathleen’s case. He has always maintained his innocence.

Kathleen was declared legally deceased in December 2001. Robert agreed to split her $130,000 estate with her mother. A judge ordered that Robert’s share of the estate be held in escrow in New York City until the outcome of the criminal investigation into Kathleen’s disappearance was closed. The ruling does not affect law enforcement’s continuing effort to resolve her case.

Robert was charged with the murder of Morris Black in October 2001. EXCLUSIVE: Robert Durst Evidence photos against him at the Courthouse in Galveston, Texas 2003His dismembered remains, all but the head, were discovered in late September 2001. He lived in the same apartment complex as Robert in Galveston, Texas. Neighbors told investigators the two men frequently argued about noise levels in the building.

Authorities discovered blood-covered boots, a drop cloth and a paring knife inside of Robert’s efficiency apartment. Blood splatters were also located on the floors, walls and in the kitchen sink. A .22 caliber pistol was discovered outside the apartment building in a garbage area, along with a spent shell casing. Neighbors stated that Robert was spotted loading trash bags into his vehicle immediately following Black’s disappearance.

Robert was arrested while driving in Texas and charged with the murder, along with marijuana possession. It is not clear why he was living in a small apartment in Texas, as he still possesses considerable assets. Many of his associates and family members have said he is mentally ill.

Several of Berman’s friends claimed she told them Robert confessed to Kathleen’s murder. The reports began to surface in January 2002. Berman allegedly told a friend that she had vital information related to Kathleen’s disappearance in December 2000; Berman was killed five days later.

Additional friends substantiated the reports at Berman’s memorial service in January 2001, claiming that Berman told them Robert was aware of her knowledge. Berman allegedly said that nothing could change Kathleen’s fate, but that did not mean she did not care for Robert.

Several of Berman’s friends stated that her relationship with Robert began to deteriorate in late 2000, after he gave her $50,000 to pay off some of her mounting debts. Authorities have not commented on the new information, but Najamy speculates Berman was blackmailing Robert with information she may have had on Kathleen’s disappearance.

Robert married Debrah Lee Charatan in a secret ceremony in January 2001. The couplerobert & debrah apparently did not tell any of their loved ones about the nuptials, as law enforcement officials discovered the marriage while attempting to track Robert’s whereabouts later in the year.

Charatan is the owner of New York-based Debrah Lee Charatan Realty Inc. She and Robert have reportedly dated since 1989 and once resided together in New York City.

Officials do not know if the marriage is legal, as Kathleen was not declared legally deceased until December 2001, eleven months after Robert’s marriage. Robert claimed he divorced Kathleen on his marriage license application with Charatan. There is no record of a divorce in public records.

Robert failed to appear at a Texas court hearing for Black’s murder on October 17, 2001 and proceeded to evade authorities for nearly seven weeks until his capture in Pennsylvania on November 30, 2001.

Robert was apprehended at a store in Hanover Township, Pennsylvania after attempting to steal a sandwich and bandages. This only 80 miles from the New York City borough of Manhattan, the site of Kathleen’s 1982 disappearance.

Robert changed his plea in Black’s murder from not guilty to self-defense/accident in March 2002 in Texas. The decision eliminated the need for DNA testing at the apartment crime scene.

Robert claimed that Black broke into his apartment and menaced him with a target pistol, and was accidentally shot while the two of them were struggling over the gun. Robert’s attorneys claim that he suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism, which they say caused his bizarre behavior after Black’s death, i.e. dismembering the body.

Robert was acquitted of murdering Black in November 2003. If he had been convicted, he could have gotten 99 years in prison. Jurors cited a lack of evidence as the reason for their verdict. He pleaded guilty to two counts of bail-jumping and one count of abuse of a corpse after his acquittal. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but was released after only two weeks.

Robert was arrested again in October 2004 for gun charges and was sentenced to nine months in prison, but was paroled in July 2005. His lawyer states that he is innocent of any wrongdoing in his wife’s case and was so devastated by her disappearance that he still carries a photograph of her with him at all times.

Authorities have looked into the possibility that Robert was in the Eureka, California area in November 1997. Karen Mitchell disappeared during that time and her case remains unsolved. Robert has never been charged in connection with Mitchell’s case and investigators are not certain if he was in the vicinity at the time.

Investigators don’t believe he was involved in the case of Kristen Modafferi, who disappeared from San Francisco, California that same year, but he’s being looked at in the 1971 disappearance of Lynne Schulze from Middlebury, Vermont. Robert and Kathleen owned their health food store in Middlebury at the time of Schulze’s disappearance, and she visited the store the day she disappeared.

HBO ran a six-part documentary called The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst in early 2015. For the documentary they interviewed Robert extensively.

In the final part, after an interview, Robert took a bathroom break, not realizing the microphone he was wearing was still turned on. He began talking to himself and said, “What a disaster,” and “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

Shortly after the documentary aired, Robert was charged with murder in the death of Susan Berman. He was living in New Orleans under an alias at the time of his arrest, and authorities found a gun, a mask and $43,000 in cash in his hotel room. They had feared he might try to flee the country. After his arrest he was transferred to a mental health facility and put on suicide watch.

Kathleen’s case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected. Robert is awaiting trial for Berman’s murder.

Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 14, 2018; date of birth and five pictures added.

This information came from


The Movie All Good Things

All Good Things is a 2010 American mystery/crime romantic drama film written by Marcus Hinchey and directed by Andrew Jarecki. It starred Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. Inspired by the life of accused murderer Robert Durst, the film chronicles the life of the wealthy son of a New York real estate tycoon, and a series of murders linked to him, as well as his volatile relationship with his wife and her subsequent unsolved disappearance.
All Good Things was filmed between April and July 2008 in Connecticut and New York. Originally scheduled for a July 24, 2009 release, the film ultimately received a limited release in December 3, 2010.
Robert Durst professed admiration for the film and offered to be interviewed by Jarecki, although he had not previously cooperated with journalists. Durst would ultimately sit with Jarecki for more than 20 hours over a multi-year period. From their sessions, Jarecki made a six-part documentary miniseries, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, shown on HBO in March 2015.


In 1970s New York City, David Marks (Gosling), the son of a powerful real estate tycoon, marries Katie McCarthy (Dunst), a beautiful working-class student. Together they flee New York for country life in Vermont—only to be lured back by David’s father (Frank Langella). Upon their return, they buy a beautiful apartment. When Katie brings up the idea of having children, David implies he can’t have any. They eventually buy a lake house out of town, and Katie tells a pregnant neighbor that she is expecting as well. Katie tells David, to which he responds by throwing a chair and breaking a shelf. David makes Katie have an abortion, which he misses while doing work for his father.
Katie goes back to college and eventually applies and gets into medical school. During a celebratory party at her parents’ house, David drags Katie out by her hair when he wants to go home and she asks him to wait. Katie wants a separation, but her funds, which she needs in order to graduate, are cut off when she attempts to leave. David gets violent and Katie begins to show signs of abuse. Family secrets are slowly revealed, and Katie disappears without a trace.
Years later, the 20-year-old case is re-opened. Soon after this, David’s best friend Deborah Lehrman (Lily Rabe) is found dead, and police consider David as the main suspect.


Ryan Gosling as David Marks (Robert Durst)
Kirsten Dunst as Katie McCarthy (Kathleen McCormack)
Frank Langella as Sanford Marks (Seymour Durst)
Lily Rabe as Deborah Lehrman (Susan Berman)
Philip Baker Hall as Malvern Bump (Morris Black)
Michael Esper as Daniel Marks (Douglas Durst)
Diane Venora as Janice Rizzo (Jeanine Pirro)
Nick Offerman as Jim McCarthy (Jim McCormack)
Kristen Wiig as Lauren Fleck
Stephen Kunken as Todd Fleck
John Cullum as Richard Panatierre (Dick DeGuerin)
Maggie Kiley as Mary McCarthy
Liz Stauber as Sharon McCarthy
Marion McCorry as Ann McCarthy (Ann McCormack)


The screenplay for All Good Things was written by Marcus Hinchey and Marc Smerling as a narrative loosely based on the events in the life of Robert Durst, a New York City real estate heir whose first wife, Kathleen McCormack, disappeared in 1982. The film’s title refers to a health food store of the same name which Durst and McCormack had established in the 1970s.
After the script was completed and Andrew Jarecki had agreed to direct, Ryan Gosling was attached to star and Kirsten Dunst was in negotiations by late January 2008. By early April, Frank Langella was in final negotiations with the film’s producers to join. Soon after, The Weinstein Company closed a deal to distribute All Good Things, and the film’s budget was set at US$20 million.
Filming began in April in New York City and various locations in Connecticut, which were chosen for “the tax incentive, scenic and period locations” provided by the state. Shooting on Lillinonah Drive at a lakefront house in Brookfield, Connecticut began in early May. Five locations at the Fairfield University campus were used for several scenes over a week of filming. The set moved to Carl Schurz Park, New York City, briefly before switching back to Connecticut. Three scenes were shot at Canal Street, Shelton, Connecticut, on May 30–31. Much of the Canal Street filming focused on the “heavy, industrial features” of the area, although the crew made some touch-ups, such as graffiti removal.
A single minute-long scene was shot on a bridge over the Housatonic River. Scenes were shot on Route 7 in Gaylordsville, Connecticut, on June 3, where a shop opposite the local fire department was used as a health food store. The following day, filming moved to Waterbury, Connecticut. The Hospital of Saint Raphael was used as a filming location on June 6. The film set at the hospital was built on a vacant floor scheduled to be renovated, and took a week for set designers to prepare. Filming later returned to Brookfield, Connecticut. The crew also shot for two days at the Ridgefield Community Center—standing in for New York’s Gracie Mansion —in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Manhattan;s West 38th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, was used for the old 42nd Street for shooting on June 25–26; shops were converted into 1970s Times Square sex shops and strip shows.
Jarecki, who previously produced and directed the 2003 documentary Capturing the Friedmans, said that making All Good Things “was less about wanting to do a narrative feature vs. a documentary and more about the merits of this particular project”. He shot “hundreds of hours of footage” of people associated with the true story of Robert Durst, saying that “It was part of the process. Maybe it will end up on the DVD some day.”
He eventually used some of that footage in the HBO documentary miniseries The Jinx (2015). This included the result of hours of discussion with Durst himself.


The film was originally set for release on July 24, 2009. In spring 2009, the film was delayed. An insider from The Weinstein Company stated that “the movie is really strong. We just needed more time to complete it.” Soon after, the film was set to release on December 11, 2009, only to be delayed again. The Weinstein Company released their upcoming film slate, with All Good Things listed for a March 2010 release. This never materialized.
In March 2010, director Andrew Jarecki bought back the U.S. distribution rights and was searching for a new distributor for the film. The Weinstein Company still holds the international rights, as well as basic cable television rights. On August 24, 2010, Magnolia Pictures acquired the American rights to the film and gave the film a theatrical release on December 3, 2010.
All Good Things was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 29, 2011, with commentary by Jarecki and Robert Durst.

Critical reception

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 33% and average score of 5.5/10 based on 95 reviews. The consensus was: “It’s well-acted, and the true story that inspired it offers plenty of drama—which is why it’s so frustrating that All Good Things is so clichéd and frustratingly ambiguous.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.
Both Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling were praised for their performances. Roger Ebert awarded the film three and a half out of four stars, applauded Dunst’s performance, but added, “I don’t understand David Marks after seeing this film, and I don’t know if Andrew Jarecki does.”

Box office

All Good Things earned $582,024 at the US box office and another $62,511 at the foreign box office for a worldwide total of $644,535.


The Jinx (Spoiler)

Robert Durst professed admiration for All Good Things and telephoned Jarecki after its release, offering to be interviewed, although he had not previously cooperated with journalists. Durst and Jarecki spent more than 20 hours together over several years. In February and March, 2015, director Jarecki’s six-part documentary miniseries, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, was shown on HBO. Durst was arrested in New Orleans, Louisiana, on first degree murder charges the day before the final episode aired on March 15, in which he appeared unintentionally to confess to three murders.

This information came from

The photos in the following slideshow are different crime scene photos for Roberts crimes and of his victims too.

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My thoughts on the disappearance and the movie

I believe the Robert is responsible for the disappearance and maybe murder of Kathleen just from the statements and limited evidence we have to go by. I really hope that her body is found one day so her family can have closure. As for the movie I have not got to watch it yet but I am going to watch it this weekend and I am going to watch the miniseries The Jinx as well. I think is pretty dumb on Roberts behalf to say things with the microphone still attached and I do think it is a confession of what he did.

Let me know your opinion in the comments and if you have seen the movie or the miniseries? Come back for the next MM. Thanks and talk to you next time.

This is part of a new mini series that will be doing for the months of August and September. The mini series is called True Crime of the Big Screen and it will be about true crime that has been turned into movies but it does exclude serial killer movies because we will be doing a mini series on serial killers in October and November. Now on to the case.

Have a blessed day


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