Searchers have found bones and a deteriorated blouse that officials say may belong to Nancy Wilcox, a 17-year-old Holladay girl that serial killer Ted Bundy said he murdered in 1974.
Bones were taken from three different locations during a 21/2-square-mile search Friday of an area one mile east of Capitol Reef National Park, where Bundy told officials he buried Wilcox's body.Most of the bones are believed to belong to animals, but Wayne County Sheriff Kerry Ekker said bones found in one location could be human.
"They were of the size that alarmed us to the point that it could have been human," he said. Searchers found a "shoulder blade that would have to be off of a small animal or a human of approximately Nancy's size."
All of the bones will be sent Monday or Tuesday to the state medical examiner's office, and Ekker said he should know more by late next week.
Searchers also found near the shoulder blade the remains of what appeared to be a tan-colored blouse with lace. "It was deteriorated to the point that it could have been 141/2 years ago," he said.
The original color of the material found Friday could have been tan, or it could have faded to that color from exposure, he said.
Salt Lake County sheriff's detective Jerry Thompson, one of the detectives who originally investigated the disappearance of Wilcox, said she was wearing a blouse of unknown color, blue corduroy pants, a silver chain necklace with beads and a turquoise ring when she disappeared from her Holladay neighborhood on Oct. 2, 1974.
"I've never been involved in the case until Mr. Bundy said he buried her in my county," Ekker said, adding that he plans to discuss his findings with the Salt Lake County sheriff's office.
During the week before his execution, Bundy confessed to killing and then burying Wilcox. The bones found Friday were partially exposed, and not buried, but Ekker said that doesn't mean they couldn't be those of Wilcox.
"He (Bundy) claimed that he buried her, but in past victims he didn't bury them," he said. "The information that we got on this is very vague."
Only the bones that were exposed were removed and will be sent to the medical examiner. "We didn't extricate any of the bones," Ekker said, adding that he did not want to disturb evidence from the sites until more information could be obtained from the examiner.
Bundy told officials he remembered disposing the body after driving south on I-15 and then onto U-89, but did not remember many more details, Ekker said.
"He thought the word `Notom' meant something to him when he left the highway," he said. Bundy's description of a steep dugway was congruent with an old dugway near the Notom Ranch, where the search was conducted. But the sheriff said he is not extremely confident that area is where Bundy buried Wilcox.
"I can't realize how anyone, even in the dark, could pass through Wayne County . . . and not remember any part of it."
Ekker said he plans to conduct one more search of the area after he receives some information from a psychic in California who claims she can pinpoint the area where the body was buried.
"I'm going to take a long shot. I'm desperate at this point," he said.
But even if the bones do not belong to Wilcox, Ekker said he will conduct no more searches. "I'd definitely like to discover the body . . . but there's only so much I can do," he said. "We've exhausted our efforts."
Searches for the bodies of two other Bundy victims are expected to begin soon. Acting Carbon County Sheriff Jim Robertson said individual searches for the body of 15-year-old Sue Curtis, who disappeared from a Brigham Young University youth conference June 27, 1975, have been going on for some time.
"There hasn't been any luck at all," he said. "We're finding bones, but they're animal bones."
Carbon County officials are coordinating search efforts with BYU police officers. They have been looking in an area 10 miles south of Price where Bundy claimed to have buried Curtis. Robertson said additional searches are planned.
Sanpete County deputy sheriff Jerry Jorgansen said snow is still preventing searchers from looking for the body of Debi Kent.
"We still have a snow cover in the mountain where these body parts are expected to be," he said. Searchers will scour an area between Fairview and Mt. Pleasant, where Bundy confessed he buried Kent's body.
Kent, 17, disappeared from Bountiful's Viewmont High School on Nov. 8, 1974.
"All I know is they're in the process of organizing a good, professional search," said Bountiful Police Sgt. David Winter.