SEATTLE — More than 50 years after serial killer Ted Bundy began his murderous terror spree, local investigators are pushing to solve old crimes that could be connected to the serial killer while he lived in the Pacific Northwest.
KIRO 7 learned that Washington investigators are looking at evidence from two unsolved murders, using state-of-the-art technology.
However, there is one major hiccup -- Ted Bundy’s DNA is not in the Washington state database.
Despite confessing to 11 murders in Western Washington, Bundy was never convicted in this state. That’s why his DNA is only in the national database. He was executed in Florida in 1989.
“It was shocking to find out that a multi-state killer would not be in a national database to connect unsolved homicides,” said Tacoma cold case detective Lindsey Wade. "It seems like common sense that maybe he would be in our state database given the fact that he was a serial killer in our state."
Linking Bundy to local cold cases
In 2011, Wade worked to develop a DNA profile for Bundy, hoping it would help solve additional crimes.
She even has a picture of him hanging over her desk.
“[Ted Bundy] is definitely a motivator for me in my job,” Wade said. “I mean, he’s really the worst of the worst. He’s the most frightening kind of offender.”
In 1974, Bundy targeted women across Washington.
Among his victims, University of Washington student Georgann Hawkins. She was walking down an alley in UW’s Greek Row when Bundy approached her, walking with crutches. He asked her to help carry his briefcase.
In an interview with Washington investigators, Bundy said he hit Hawkins with a crowbar and put her in his Volkswagen bug.
Like many of his victims, Bundy said he dismembered and dumped Hawkins somewhere near Issaquah -- but her body has never been found.
"Ted Bundy was an animal that destroyed lives and left a wake of destruction everywhere he went,” said Cloyd Steiger, who leads the Washington Attorney General’s Homicide Investigation Tracking System.
He says he knows that one or two police agencies in Washington are currently working suspected Bundy cases.
Ted Bundy's connection to unsolved Queen Anne attack
KIRO 7 also learned that Seattle Police detectives are re-examining evidence from 1966, when two flight attendants were bludgeoned in their Queen Anne apartment with a piece of lumber.
One of the flight attendants, Lonnie Trumbull, died from the attack. Her roommate survived, but suffered permanent memory loss.
At the time of the attack, Bundy worked nearby at the Queen Anne Safeway.
Seattle police told KIRO 7 that the Queen Anne attack is similar to two murders Bundy committed in Florida, at the Chi Omega Sorority House in 1978.
While fingerprints left at the scene did not match Bundy, investigators say many people, including a news photographer, were allowed into the crime scene, which was common in 1966.
Washington investigators hope that they’ll find some answers in the crime scene evidence Bundy left behind.
Finding peace for unsolved homicide victims
KIRO 7 asked Steiger if there is any chance these unsolved murders may be solved.
“Certainly some of them could be," he said. "The ones that have physical evidence that’s never been tested or never been tested recently, because of the advances in DNA technology.”
One of the people who knew Bundy the best during his time in Seattle was crime author Ann Rule.
She worked with Bundy at the Seattle Crisis Clinic, and later wrote what is considered the definitive biography on Bundy: “The Stranger Beside Me.”
Before her death, Rule talked about the moment Florida investigators asked Bundy if it was accurate he killed 36 young women.
“He reportedly replied, ‘Add one digit to that and you’ll have it,'” Rule said. “Was he being sarcastic? Did he mean 37 murders, or did he mean 136 murders, or did he mean 360 murders?”
Steiger said that it would make sense that Bundy killed many more people than the murders he was convicted of.
"If Ted Bundy killed a hundred people, just for mathematical simplicity, there are probably 10 to 15,000 people that he affected,” Steiger said.
The disappearance of Ann Marie Burr
In Wade’s Tacoma office, there is a stack of binders full of evidence related to the unsolved disappearance of 8-year-old Ann Marie Burr. She was kidnapped from her Tacoma home in 1961, and her body has never been found.
Bundy remains one of the prime suspects. He was 14 years old at the time and lived nearby.
He repeatedly denied any involvement in her death.
“If we don’t get an answer, we will just have to going on,” Ann Marie’s mother, Beverly Anne Burr told KIRO 7 before her death. “We’ll just have to keep going on, and pray and hope somehow we’ll someday know.”
KIRO 7's Dave Wagner sat down with KIRO Radio's Dave Ross to talk about the case:
Last week, KIRO 7 spoke exclusively to a local woman who was picked up by Bundy in 1972.
“I knew my life was flashing in front of me,” she told KIRO 7.
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