Ted Bundy may have begun his string of serial sex murders years before the first reported Seattle murder in 1974, possibly in the East, some authorities believe.
After Bundy claimed some final-hour victims, additional states - Idaho, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Vermont - were added to the map of Bundy's stalking grounds.Already on the list were Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Florida. Bundy had been thought responsible for as many as three dozen murders or missing young women in Western states. Authorities will pool information before they release a final tally of the victims claimed by Bundy.
Bundy's confession of two Idaho murders Sunday caught authorities there off-guard. "It was not suspected that Ted Bundy had committed any murders in Idaho," said Jim Jones, state attorney general.
But Idaho authorities now think they can link Bundy with the mysterious disappearance of 12-year-old Lynette Culver, a Pocatello seventh-grader who was last seen at lunch hour on May 6, 1975. "That corresponds with the date that Mr. Bundy claims he picked up an approximately 12-year-old girl," Jones said. Pocatello Police Chief Jim Benham asked to speak with Bundy in 1982, but the convicted murderer declined the interview.
Bundy also claims another murder in Idaho, a female hitchhiker 16 to 18 years old he picked up in September 1974 in Elmore County. He said he disposed of the body in the Snake River. Authorities are looking through missing persons reports but have made no connections yet. Bundy is thought to have killed the girls on road trips between Seattle and Salt Lake City.
Bundy was enrolled as a liberal arts student at Philadelphia's Temple University from January to May 1969. Some speculate his murders may have begun there, but so far there is no evidence to support the theory.
Capt. Robert Grasso, head of the Philadelphia police department's homicide unit, said Tuesday after a cursory examination no unsolved murders appear to fit the Bundy pattern. "There's nothing that seems to fit his modus operandi in Philadelphia proper. We have enough of our own, unfortunately."
Chris DeWitt, a spokesman for the Michigan attorney general's office, said Tuesday he is not aware of any Michigan case linked to Bundy. Michigan has 83 counties and some county prosecutor could possibly be involved in a case, but DeWitt said he was not aware of it.
According to wire reports, Art Norman, a forensic psychologist who worked on Bundy's appeals in Florida before moving to Oregon, said Bundy began his chain of murders much earlier than generally believed.
Bundy's death Tuesday brought relief to the mothers of two teenagers he murdered nearly 15 years ago.
"We are just feeling a lot of relief," said Vivian Rancourt from her home in La Conner, Wash. "We're glad this part of it is over and we can get on with normal, every-day living."
But Eleanor Rose, who keeps her daughter's bedroom exactly as it was in the summer of 1974, said: "I don't think anything will ever be the same again or anywhere near it. Part of me is gone and I don't know what I'm going to do."
Rancourt's daughter, Susan Elaine, and Rose's daughter, Denise Naslund, were both killed in 1974.