He was just a typical normal kid, a Boy Scout and a little bit above average in school. Not a person who knew Ted well can believe he did it.
- Eleanor Louise Bundy, mother of Ted BundyI'm the most cold-hearted S.O.B. you're ever going to meet.
- Ted Bundy talking to police detectives
I was impressed. If I didn't know - didn't believe - what he's done, he and I could be best friends.
- Ronald M. Holmes, criminology professor, University of Louisville
Following a protracted legal struggle covering more than a decade, the chameleon has changed color for the final time.
A jolt of electricity ended Theodore Robert Bundy's tumultuous life at 7:16 a.m. EST Tuesday morning. But nothing, it seems, will end the outrage and controversy that dogged Bundy for nearly 15 years.
In death, Bundy will forever remain an enigmatic puzzle. Experts concluded he had no diagnosable mental illness, no history of mental problems, no apparent trouble recognizing and coping with reality, and no criminal background to speak of.
It was this unique personality that prompted one Utah law enforcement official to refer to Bundy as a "living contradiction." How else can you explain someone who was seen as handsome, intelligent and charming by his friends but was so heinous, maniacal and sadistic to his victims.
Many will no doubt argue for years to come which Ted Bundy they executed at Florida State Prison near Starke. Was it Bundy, the all-American boy? Or Bundy, the all-American psychopath?
This man, or monster, suspected in the deaths of more than 30 young women throughout Utah, Washington, Colorado and Florida, was born under a pall of illegitimacy Nov. 24, 1946, in Burlington, Vt., to Eleanor Louise Cowell.
Little is known about his father other than that he was a sailor. He was given his mother's maiden name of Cowell, but that was later changed legally to Nelson - picked for its anonymity. It would be changed yet again.
Young Bundy grew up hearing his mother referred to as his "older sister." His grandparents became "Mom" and "Dad." It turned out to be an impossible secret for the family to keep, although his real mother never admitted the closer relationship to him.
Some have theorized his mother's refusal to do so played a part in the apparent hatred he later developed toward the opposite sex.
Despite those strange beginnings, however, Bundy was somehow able to lead a near-normal life as a child. When he was 4 years old, he moved with his "older sister" to Tacoma, Wash., to start a new life. There Eleanor met and married Johnnie Bundy in mid-1951.
Bundy took his adoptive father's surname and began his march toward adulthood. His life wasn't terribly different from that of other young men growing up in the '60s. High school friends and acquaintances remember him as a good-looking socializer. His teachers remember him as a model student but not a standout. In fact, the only smudges found on his juvenile record are that he was picked up twice by juvenile authorities for suspicion of auto theft and burglary.
College was Bundy's next stop. And as in high school, his undergraduate days had "typical" written all over them. After bouncing around several schools, he finally graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in psychology and a 3.4 grade point average.
Upon graduation, he kept busy working as a consultant for the Seattle crime commission - ironically writing reports on the prevention of rape. He also dabbled in politics - first working on the re-election campaign of Gov. Dan Evans and later as an assistant to Ross Davis, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. During this period, he further enhanced his model citizen image by nabbing a purse snatcher and saving a drowning child.
He also fell in love with a beautiful rich girl with long, dark hair parted down the middle. Bundy carried on a yearlong romance with her before she jilted him. Others have speculated that Bundy's sadistic rage can be traced to this rejection, finding it more than coincidence that most of Bundy's believed victims also had long, dark hair parted down the middle.
It wasn't long, however, before another young woman could be found at Bundy's side - this time, a young divorcee from Utah whose faith in him never wavered through charges of aggravated kidnapping in Utah and capital homicide in Colorado. It wasn't until he went to trial for a trio of murders he was accused of in Florida that she finally abandoned him.
His brief but well-documented career as a law student was launched at Puget Sound University in the fall of 1973. And so was the first of his sex-crime sprees. The first known victim was Lynda Ann Healey. Her murder was closely followed by Donna Manson and six others - all reportedly confessed to by Bundy.
When Bundy left Washington to continue his law studies at the University of Utah, the killings stopped - only to begin again in the Beehive State.
Although Bundy was never brought to trial, Utah investigators suspected him in the slayings of at least five young women along the Wasatch Front between the fall of 1974 and the spring of 1976. But during an 11th-hour confessional in his Florida prison cell, Bundy admitted to eight Utah killings.
Bundy didn't escape Utah justice completely, however. He was arrested and convicted of the Nov. 8, 1974, kidnapping of Carol DaRonch from the Fashion Place Mall in Murray on the same night one of his other victims, Debra Kent, disappeared from a high school parking lot in Bountiful.
At the time of his arrest, Bundy was totally unaware that he'd been linked to the Washington killings by his lover, who after much torment and at the urging of a close girlfriend, told Washington police about her suspicions that he could be the murderer they were looking for.
She made phone calls soon after Utah and Colorado women started disappearing, just as Washington girls had disappeared the year before. Even before his arrest by Hayward, Bundy had been secretly photographed near his apartment by Salt Lake detectives who had already started a suspect file on him. Within a day or two, Bundy was linked to the DaRonch case.
Bundy was subsequently tied to killings in Colorado and transferred from Point of the Mountain, where he was serving time for the kidnapping, to Colorado. There, a pair of daring escapes made him a part of American folklore of the '70s. He was recaptured in Colorado after the first escape. But the second eventually took him to Florida, where the killings would start again.