1903: Arthur Alfred Lynch condemned 1795: Unspecified Robespierrists

1989: Ted Bundy, psycho killer

January 24th, 2009 Headsman

Qu’est-ce que c’est?

It was 20 years today that Ted Bundy, the signature sexual psychopath in a golden age of serial killers,* rode the lightning in Florida’s Starke Prison.

Executed Today is pleased to mark the occasion with a conversation with Louisville crime writer Kevin M. Sullivan, author of a forthcoming2009 book on Ted Bundy … and a man who knows how the world looks from inside Bundy’s ski mask.

Ted Bundy is obviously one of the most iconic, written-about serial killers in history. Why a book about Ted Bundy? What’s the untold story that you set out to uncover?

The desire, or drive, if you will, to write an article about Ted Bundy and then create a 120,000 plus word book about the murders, was born out of my crossing paths with his infamous murder kit. Had Jerry Thompson [a key detective on the Bundy case -ed.] left Bundy’s stuff in Utah that May of 2005, well, it would have been an enjoyable meeting with the former detective, but I’m certain it would have all ended quietly there. Indeed, I doubt if I’d even considered writing an article for Snitch [a now-defunct crime magazine -ed.], much less a book about the killings. But it was having all that stuff in my hands, and in my home, and then being given one of the Glad bags from Ted’s VW that made it very real (or surreal) to me, and from this, a hunger to find out more about the crimes led me forward.

Ted Bundy’s gear, right where you want it — image courtesy of Kevin M. Sullivan. (Check the 1975 police photo for confirmation.)

Believe me, in a thousand years, I never would have expected such a thing to ever come my way. I can’t think of anything more odd or surreal.

ET: You mentioned that you think you’ve been able to answer some longstanding questions about Bundy’s career. Can you give us some hints? What don’t people know about Ted Bundy that they ought to know?

I must admit, when I first decided to write a book about the crimes, I wasn’t sure what I’d find, so the first thing I had to do was read every book ever written about Bundy, which took the better portion of three or four months.

From this I took a trip to Utah to again meet with Thompson and check out the sites pertaining to Bundy and the murders in that state. Next came the acquisition of case files from the various states and the tracking down of those detectives who participated in the hunt for the elusive killer.

Now, no one could have been more surprised than me to begin discovering what I was discovering about some of these murders. But as I kept hunting down the right people and the right documents, I was able to confirm these “finds” at every turn. And while I cannot reveal everything here, It’s all in the book in great detail. Indeed, you could say that my book is not a biography in the truest sense, but rather an in-depth look at Bundy and the murders from a vantage point that is quite unique. I wish I could delve further into these things now , but I must wait until it’s published.

The Bundy story has a magnetic villain and a host of victims … was there a hero? Was there a lesson?

The real heroes in this story are the detectives who worked day and night for years to bring Ted Bundy to justice. And if there’s a lesson to be learned from all of this, it is this: It doesn’t matter how handsome or articulate a person might be, or how nicely they smile at you, for behind it all, there could reside the most diabolical person you’ll ever meet! We need to remember this.

But how can you act on that lesson without living in a continual state of terror? Bundy strikes me as so far outside our normal experience, even the normal experience of criminality, that I’m inclined to wonder how much can be generalized from him.

Actually, (and I might say, thank God here!) people as “successful” as Ted Bundy don’t come our way very often. I mean, the guy was a rising star in the Republican Party in Washington, had influential friends, a law student, and certainly appeared to be going places in life. Some were even quite envious of his ascension in life. However, it was all a well-placed mask that he wore to cover his true feelings and intentions. On the outside he was perfect, but on the inside a monster. He just didn’t fit the mold we’re used to when we think of a terrible killer, does he?

Now, there are those among us — sociopaths — who can kill or do all manner of terrible things in life and maintain the nicest smile upon their faces, but again, just beneath the surface ticks the heart of a monster, or predator, or what ever you might want to call them. Having said that, I’m not a suspicious person by nature, and so I personally judge people by their outward appearance until shown otherwise. Still, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to see the “real” individual behind the person they present to us on a daily basis.

You worked with case detectives in researching your book. How did the Ted Bundy case affect the way law enforcement has subsequently investigated serial killers? If they had it to do over again, what’s the thing you think they’d have done differently?

They all agree that today, DNA would play a part of the investigation that wasn’t available then. However, in the early portion of the murders, Bundy made few if any mistakes, as he had done his homework so as to avoid detection. As such, even this wouldn’t be a panacea when it came to a very mobile killer like Bundy who understood the very real limitations sometimes surrounding homicide investigations.

I can’t help but ask about these detectives as human beings, too. Clearly they’re in a position to deal with the heart of darkness in the human soul day in and day out and still lead normal lives … is a Ted Bundy the kind of killer that haunts or scars investigators years later, or is this something most can set aside as all in a day’s work?

They are, first of all, very nice people. And you can’t be around them (either in person, or through numerous phone calls or emails) for very long before you understand how dedicated they are (or were) in their careers as police officers. They are honorable people, with a clear sense of duty, and without such people, we, as a society, would be in dire circumstances indeed.

Even before Bundy came along, these men were veteran investigators who had seen many bad things in life, so they carried a toughness which allowed them to deal with the situations they came up against in a professional manner. That said, I remember Jerry Thompson telling me how he looked at Ted one day and thought how much he reminded him of a monster, or a vampire of sorts. And my book contains a number of exchanges between the two men (including a chilling telephone call) which demonstrate why he felt this way

How about for you, as a writer — was there a frightening, creepy, traumatic moment in your research that really shook you? Was there an emotional toll for you?

Absolutely. But the degree of “shock”, if you will, depends (at least for me) on what I know as I first delve into each murder. In the Bundy cases I had a general knowledge of how Bundy killed, so there wasn’t a great deal that caught me by surprise, as it were. Even so, as a writer, you tend to get to know the victims very well through the case files, their family members or friends, and so on. Hence, I’ll continue to carry with me many of the details of their lives and deaths for the remainder of my life. And so, lasting changes are a part of what we do.

However, I did a story a few years back about a 16 year old girl who was horribly murdered here in Kentucky, and this case did cause me to wake up in the night in a cold sweat. Perhaps it was because I have a daughter that was, at the time, only a few years younger than this girl, and that some of what transpired did catch me off guard, so to speak, as I began uncovering just what had happened to this very nice kid.

Watch for Kevin M. Sullivan’s forthcoming The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History from McFarland in summer or fall of 2009.

* In fact, the term “serial killer” was coined in the 1970’s by FBI profiler Robert Ressler, as an improvement on the sometimes inaccurate category of “stranger killer”.

Additional Bundy resources from the enormous comment thread:

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Electrocuted,Execution,Florida,History,Infamous,Murder,Popular Culture,Serial Killers,Sex,USA

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8,544 thoughts on “1989: Ted Bundy, psycho killer”

  1. Kevin M. Sullivan says:


    Yeah, Ted would like us all to believe it was pornography, or just about any other thing on the planet, which drove him to murder women, so long as we shift our gaze to something else. But it was just another lie being told. The truth is ,Ted loved murder, and he very much enjoyed doing things to dying and recently dead women. From the moment he started down this long road of murder, he discovered a joy and fulfillment that surpassed anything and everything he’d ever known; for this was but the outworking of all those terrible fantasies he’d been cultivating for years.

  2. Vidor says:

    “It’s interesting in M&A book he explains what happened to Caryn Campbell saying that she was taken to his room but I cannot figure out how he managed to get her out of the hotel.”

    I don’t remember reading that. Do M&A really say that? It would certainly explain some things. If he’d rented a room at the Wildwood he could have coaxed her over there, whacked her over the head, hidden her there, and snuck her out in the wee hours of the night when the lobby of the hotel presumably would have been empty. Although I still think it makes the most sense for Bundy to have lured her to his car with the cripple routine. Mr. Sullivan mentioned Elizabeth Harter in his book–I wonder exactly what she did say? The commonly available source materials don’t say much beyond mentioning that someone saw Bundy but pointed to the wrong person in court. Did Harter describe him as fumbling around with a cast and crutches? What drew her attention to this man? Hopefully that will be in the upcoming book.

    I think Mr. Sullivan alluded to this upthread, but: does he take a position on the more controversial murders that some attribute to Ted Bundy? We have discussed Ann Marie Burr and the Wick/Trumbull attack–what of Carol Valenzuela? Shelley K. Robertson? Nancy Baird? Melanie Cooley? Or does he confine himself to the 25 generally agreed-upon victims (counting survivors, referencing the Wikipedia list)?

    Was Bundy looking to burglarize a house when he got arrested in Pensacola? One wonders what he was doing in that neighborhood for no particular reason when he should have been headed for the Alabama border.

  3. Jason Nelson says:

    I have to agree with your comments on Ted and pornography. After hearing Teds confessions with Bob Keppell where he referred to the importance of him maintaining some credability, i think this is why he agreed to be interviewed by Dr Dobson, as a way of skirting around the real issues which had driven him to kill. It was like he was using pornography as a scapegoat for his true desires to kill. I do believe that Ted did turn to it as a way of carrying out his fantasies and it was possibly a type of fuel for him to carry out attacks on women and young girls.

  4. Headsman says:

    This is such a great thread.

    After a bit of consideration, I changed Liz’s surname to her pseudonym in the comments that mentioned it. She may not have perfect privacy, but I’d rather give her a bit more than less.

  5. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Courtney!

    You know, while I’ve heard all the stories about Ted’s “conversion”, I must tell you I have my doubts. I did read one time that Bundy asked Bill Hagmaier about what he (Bundy) should say to God on that day. And despite my several lengthy conversations with Bill, I never asked him about this to see if it was true or not. Now, as a retired minister, I can say that Bundy was not beyond salvation from a Christian perspective, but such a repentance would have to be sincere. And sincerity, I’m afraid, was sadly lacking in Ted Bundy. In other words, it would have been almost impossible for Bundy, given his mental and emotional make-up (a sociopath) to ever bring himself to the place where this would be possible. At least, that is my SINCERE take on it.

    Now to the problem of pornography: Looking at pornography may cause one to want to have sex, but it will not cause one to want to slaughter women and cut off their heads. It just doesn’t work that way. And while I like Rev. Dobson, I’m really sorry he fell for that one, and believe me, Ted was happy to fool him in such a manner. Ted was a master at both lying and murder, for these were things he dearly loved.

    Take care,


  6. Courtney says:

    Hi Kevin,

    First, wow, what a forum and the time you’ve taken to respond to everyone. Thank you. I stumbled upon this site and glad I did. I’m excited about your new book coming out.

    My question to you would be concerning the Dobson interview. Do you think or feel that Ted was being completely honest in this interview? Dobson seems to think he (Ted) had genuine emotion and wanted to make a statement against pornography–however, many people feel he was using Dobson just for publicity. And do you think he was reborn again in the Christian faith? It was claimed that he became a Christian and had repented to God. Do you think this was true?

    Thanks a lot! Again, I’m excited about the book.

  7. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Claire–

    No need to say you’re sorry. I just decided at the beginning of the book that I was going to follow her lead and protect her privacy. I just felt it was the proper thing to do.

    I go into great detail concerning the Campbell murder, and I think you’ll find it very enlightening. And yes, Bundy at times did feel a mustache would conceal him from later identification, but he was quite wrong here.

    I don’t believe Jerry was at the trial, but he was certainly happy Bundy was there!


  8. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    For this particular book I dealt with two family members (different families), and some friends of the victims, and that was the extent of the personal interviews of those extremely close to the murders. I didn’t go out of my way to seek them out as I purposely didn’t want to cause additional undo pain to folks who have already had far too much anguish in their lives. It’s something I wanted to avoid.

  9. Claire says:

    To apologise I presumed Liz would still be married and not using her maiden name so though it would be ok to mention. Liz deserves privacy and so does her daughter. I think she was very courageous for withstanding the fear she must have felt when she had her suspicions and her overcoming many hardships in her life inspired me no end.

    Thank you Kevin for the info on Diane.

    I like how this thread has evolved and I have learnt a lot of information I did not know previously.

    I think in the instance with Debby Kent Bundy was supposed to be wearing a fake mustache. I read he’d studied drama at Stanford or Temple (can’t remember which one). It certainly came in use when trying out his approaches.

    It’s interesting in M&A book he explains what happened to Caryn Campbell saying that she was taken to his room but I cannot figure out how he managed to get her out of the hotel. Someone would surely see??? It’s probably the one murder that there is still not a lot known about.

    Was Jerry Thompson in attendence at the Utah trial? I know it was David Yocum for the prosecution. Not much is known about the Utah trial except that he tried to fool the Judge by changing his appearence.


  10. Richard A. Duffus says:

    Thanks for the updated comments. It must have been tough talking with the families.

  11. Kevin M. Sullivan says:


    Yes, Bob Keppel is an interesting guy. But if you got to know Mike Fisher, Jerry Thompson, Don Patchen, and the others, you would come back saying the same thing about these guys too. They are all really great people!

  12. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Richard– I forgot to address the personal emotional toll : Well, the best way to describe it is this: When I’m conversing with a member of the victim’s family, or speaking to the dead persons’ friend, I kind of feel like an unwanted guest. A “bringer-of-bad-news” if you will. It is not easy for some folks to discuss the the homicide of their loved one, even if it did happen decades ago, and while no one really got angry with me while writing this book (except the sister of one of Bundy’s intended victims who got away from him at CWSC) I have had people very mad at me for daring to write about a murder of their friend (a murder that happened 30 years ago) as if I was wrong doing the piece in the first place. I remember the editor of “Snitch” calling me one day because a family member of the deceased was angry because of a photo I’d located and used for the article, and he wanted to know where I’d gotten it. So I told him not to worry, as it came from the police file, and it is a part of the public record, and as such, okay to use for publication. So everything was okay.

    Having said all of that ( those things a writer should never have to deal with) I do get to “know” the victims I write about, and as such, you can’t help being wounded in your own soul when you get to know them, and you learn many things about their lives and their deaths. And these thing NEVER leave me. But it’s a part of what I do, and I see no way around this aspect of writing about such things.

  13. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    When Bundy killed Debra Kent, he really killed the rest of the Kent family as well. Though they remained alive, with jobs to contend with and things to do, their emotional state was never the same, and it would also lead to the divorce of Dean and Belva Kent. But it is also true that Bountiful, that small and otherwise “safe” community, had a terrible thing befall them too, and if the city has a collective “soul”, if you will, then it was changed by Theodore as well. And these lasting changes can be seen in that small city even today.

  14. Ted Montgomery says:

    Thanks, Kevin. Bob Keppel is a really interesting guy, as I’m certain you discovered in your chats with him.

  15. Richard A. Duffus says:

    By “terrible aftermath” I assume you mean the effect the murder had on the Kent family. I’ve made it a point while researching Bundy to learn as much as possible about the victims and their families. It helps keep things in perspective. But that knowledge comes with a heavy emotional burden. How do you handle that?

  16. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    I can’t remember if Harter’s name is mentioned in the other books, but I received information about her from Mike Fisher, and through court documents.

    I won’t go into specifics about the Kent murder now, but yes, I believe there was a reason for Bundy being so disheveled at that time, and I go over the possibilities of what may have happened in the parking lot that evening, and why. And like all the murders I’ve covered in the book, I spend a good deal of time painting a literary portrait, if you will, of that diabolical night in Bountiful, Utah, and its terrible aftermath.

  17. Vidor says:

    I didn’t name Ms. Harter because I didn’t know her name. I don’t think she’s mentioned by name in any of the books I’ve read–Larsen, Rule, M&A–only that a witness said she saw Bundy but failed to identify him in court.

    What do you think about the Debby Kent murder? It’s very interesting that he was seen in the auditorium with his hair mussed and his shirt untucked AFTER the intermission when Kent went to the parking lot. Did he really knock her over the head and throw her into the car and then come back in? Seems incredible, but there’s no other explanation.

    “The Stranger Beside Me” movie version is terrible. Rule’s book is bad enough in its attempts to portray the author as Ted’s close friend or something when they were really just using each other, but the movie is awful, awful, awful. Bundy is shown taking the stand and testifying in Florida. In the movie he drops a bloody flashlight in the hallway of the Chi Omega house and leaves blood smeared in the stairwell. He goes to his execution sporting a full head of hair. Bad, bad, bad.

  18. Kevin M. Sullivan says:


    I again read your post, and I see that you were conveying info. about Harter without naming her. Beyond that, I’m certain Bundy was “seen” by many others, but was not “noticed”, if you will. That Bundy was not outfitted in skiing equipment may have left those who did see him in the lobby of the inn believing he was an employee, and never gave him a second thought. Who knows.

  19. Kevin M. Sullivan says:


    Whatever happened, Bundy took the truth to his grave. However, having read all the offerings from the attorneys, It seems to me, that Ted’s relationship was somewhat guarded with them; guarded, in as much as by the time he started to open up to them, his back was against the wall, and he was in a fight for his life.

    Keep also in mind, that Ted’s friendship with Hagmaier was (in my opinion) on a far different level than with the lawyers. He really trusted Hagmaier (and Keppel, for that matter) and conveying to them his darkest secrets was probably more acceptable to him. Hagmaier was his “friend” to the very end, and so I don’t think Ted Lied to him about the Lake Sammamish murders. It just makes more sense to me.

    Someone did see Ted at the Wildwood Inn. It was a woman by the name of Elizabeth Harter. And, I go into great detail concerning Caryn Campbell’s abduction and what transpired there.

    Did Bundy kill little Ann Marie Burr? I don’t know. Could he have done the deed? Yes; and he certainly intimated to Ron Holmes that he did. So who knows? That he denied it later on means nothing, as it was the killing of a mere child, and like the Leach murder, he just didn’t want to speak about it.

    I hope you enjoy the book. Feel free to kick it around with me later (at this site) once you finish it, as I’m sure you’ll have additional comments or questions at that time.


  20. Vidor says:

    I bookedmarked this page months ago to check back on the release date of the book. Interesting to see that a long discussion thread followed.

    Maybe one shouldn’t argue with someone such as Mr. Sullivan who has thoroughly researched the murders but I will do so, in at least a couple of areas. First, the Lake Sammamish murders. Mr. Sullivan states his belief that Bundy had Ott and Naslund alive together and cites Bundy’s confessions to Hagmaier. However, in the Polly Nelson book Bundy specifically states that not only did he NOT have Ott and Naslund alive together, but that he lied to Michaud in order to confuse law enforcement. Remember that while he told his story to Michaud in 1980, he was confessing to Lewis and Nelson shortly before his execution, and remember further that he had no reason to fear confessing to them in any case, as they were legally bound to keep their knowledge confidential. Remember further that we know for a fact he lied to Michaud at least once: he ‘speculates’ about killing Brenda Ball by strangulation after a consensual sexual encounter, while in fact Ball’s skull had a huge fracture in it.

    Consider further the logistics of having Ott and Naslund alive together. He took Ott from the lake a little bit after noon, IIRC. He’d have had to subdue her, take her to the hiding place, and secure her there in such a way that not only could she not get away but that there would be no chance of anyone finding her. He would have had to make it back to the lake in order to have encountered Naslund around 4 p.m. Then he would have had to take Naslund to the hiding place, kill both of them, and then make it back in time to meet Liz (Kendall), which IIRC was sometime around six.

    Plus, we know that he was busy approaching other women between the disapperances of Ott and Naslund. I think Bob Keppel mentions four women he approached and failed with between Ott and Naslund, in addition to the first woman that he approached before Ott who walked with him to the VW. Does this seem likely? Would he have had the time? Where could he have secured Ott so that she couldn’t get away and no one would find her? And why would he have taken such a huge, huge risk as to leave her anywhere alive while he was gone?

    It seems much more likely to me that he incapacitated Ott in the car (as he attempted to do with Carol DaRonch), took her to a secluded place (quite likely the Issaquah dump site), killed her there, and went back and repeated the process with Naslund.

    I also disagree with Mr. Sullivan on the Ann Marie Burr murder. He might have implied being guilty of that murder at one time, but he denied it at all other times, including right at the end when he was confessing to a bunch of murders anyway and didn’t have anything left to lose. In the Nelson book he describes in detail how he first attempted to kidnap a woman in New Jersey in 1969, failed, then finally committed his first murder a few years later. Finally it’s not immediately obvious how he could have abducted and transported a little girl in the middle of the night when his only transportation was a bicycle. She certainly would have been difficult to take anywhere, even (especially?) if he’d rendered her unconscious.

    I am very much looking forward to reading Mr. Sullivan’s book. AFAIK William Hagmaier hasn’t spoken very much about the things that Ted Bundy told him, so for that alone “The Bundy Murders” is worthwhile. Am also looking forward to seeing the pictures. Two years ago I had occasion to drive through Snowmass, Colorado, and I would have liked to have stopped and taken a picture of the walkway where he encountered Caryn Campbell, but I couldn’t figure out how to explain it to my wife without her thinking I was completely nuts.

    Someone mentioned upthread about other women he approached that lived to tell the tale. It’s always amazed me that no one remembered him from the night of the Campbell murder. He must have been roaming the halls doing his cripple routine–impersonating a police officer probably wouldn’t have worked with her loved ones in the lounge downstairs, telling her her car was broken into wouldn’t have worked since they didn’t even have a car, and it strains credulity to think he could have whacked her on the head and carried her off from inside a crowded hotel. So he must have been roaming that hallway. How many other women did he approach? How could nobody have seen him, other than the one woman who may not have really seen him, seeing as how she pointed to the wrong person in court? A mystery.

  21. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Ah, the fine print of the law! Perhaps the FBI assumed Bundy was intending to leave the state, and because he was technically still a prisoner of Utah (having been handed over to Colorado to remain in custody for trial) once he was an escapee, perhaps he came under some type of Federal “flight” law; but who knows? Perhaps some extenuating circumstances came into play here.

  22. Jason Nelson says:

    There is some information about Bundys alleged sighting in wyoming in the FBI files. It was based on a report that stated that Bundy had been seen in wyoming and this was put forward by a police informant. It does not give any information regarding this report but it would be interesting to know more about it.

  23. Richard A. Duffus says:

    According to Ann Rule, on Friday June 10 the FBI joined the manhunt. To do that they needed jurisdiction, a federal unlawful flight warrant. Colorado wouldn’t go along with that, convinced Bundy was still near Aspen. So the FBI went to Utah to get help swearing out a warrant. The warrant was based on a reported Bundy sighting in Wyoming which the FBI had to believe was credible. I would love to know the details of that sighting.

  24. Jason Nelson says:

    Would you be able to elaborate on that point Richard about the FBI being involved with Bundy’s first escape. I ve never heard this theory before but now that you mentioned it, sounds very interesting.

  25. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    You know, Richard, I don’t believe I mention the FBI by name at that time. I might, but I don’t think so.

  26. Kevin M. Sullivan says:


    An additional thought: Not that’s it’s a “big deal” that you mentioned Liz’s last name, because it’s in every police report (though sometimes redacted) and Dr. Holmes identifies her in his books as well. I’m just following her lead as I think it’s the proper thing to do.

    See ya

  27. Richard A. Duffus says:

    Do you delve into the FBI’s involvement in Bundy’s first escape?

  28. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Claire–

    Bundy’s girlfriend was a lady by the name of Diane Edwards. I do not identify her by her real name in my book, however. She was from San Francisco, and from a couple of Bundy’s friends and co-workers I’ve spoken with, she was a very good looking woman. It seems Ted would take her around his political circles and among some of his very influential friends. However, many of these folks had no idea he was dating Liz too, and that he was keeping the two women far away from each other. One very high-ranking politico told me it would be years before he even knew of Liz Kendall, and that he had absolutely no idea Bundy was seeing two women at the same time!

    BTW: Everyone in my book is identified by their real name except for: Edwards; Liz (Kendall), her daughter, and Liz’s friend; a doctor friend of Caryn Campbell; and one or two other individuals. And in these cases, the reader is informed. I mention this only as you have used Liz’s real name, and I wanted the readers of this site to understand that, as a matter of respect to her (Liz) I decided at the beginning of the book to honor the pseudonym she has chosen for herself, her daughter, and her friend. The others were a matter of courtesy given the particulars of each situation. Everyone else is there for the world to see.


  29. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Ted–

    Excellent review! Well-written and informative; you couldn’t ask for more. Thanks for sharing it with us!


  30. Claire says:

    I keep looking for the Riverman to purchase or download. I have downloaded a German version, I speak a little German to understand a bit, but not much. So in that respect I have seen Riverman. I would prefer it in English though, then I can actually compare it.

    I don’t remember reading any reference to Mike Fisher in The Riverman, I’ll have to check my copy now tonight. I remember Keppel writing he compared notes with other investigators because Bundy creid in one of his interviews and he did this with the other states, presumably to gain sympathy.

    A Ted Bundy movie should start with his birth in the Elizabeth Lund home becasue he was left as an orphan for 3 months, the movie should then move to his university days when he met his first girlfriend. Can anyone answer that, what her name was? I’ve read Diane in Defending the Devil, Marjorie Russell in M&A’s books and Stephanie Brooks for the rest.

    The movie should then do fast sequences of his attempts and attempted attacks.
    Then the night he met Liz (Kendall) & then run through the murders after that. Lake Samm should always be included, seeing as it was the first highly publicised murder of Bundy’s.

    The next bit should be the Utah arrest, the trail can be missed out. Then the Colorado 1st escape and the 2nd escape.

    Then the Chi Omega murders and of course Kim Leach. The Florida trials (at least Chi O) needs to be dramatised and then a brief run through of his final days, conecntraing more on the confessions and then being led from the death watch cell and end with the fireworks outside FSP. It made me quite queasy to see the execution in the 2002 movie so I personally would leave that out.

    That’s how I would do a movie about Bundy anyway. I enjoyed mapping the scenes, once a Media Studies student, always a Media Studies student it seems.


  31. Ted Montgomery says:

    Hi Kevin,

    You and your correspondents might enjoy reading a review I wrote for Riverman (the TV version) back just before it first aired. Try this linkL http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/entertainment/2002025838_greenside06.html

  32. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Fiz–

    I’d be very, very surprised at a June release date, and only a little less surprised if it’s July. Still, I believe it’s feasible to envision a July date, as they may be farther ahead in production than I realize. I believe when the booksellers began advertising the book, everybody had a June date, but then some quickly changed to July. So I just don’t know any more than this. However, McFarland often puts out a book-launch date (the month, actually) when things are approaching the time of release. So I suppose we must all keep our eyes open, as they say, ha, ha!


  33. Fiz says:

    Or given me, too!

  34. Fiz says:

    Amazon.com has give me the date of 6th June, Kevin. Do they know something you don’t?!

  35. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Yeah, I say July, but it could be August or …? All I can say is they are finished with editing, and their people are working on other aspects of the book while I wait for the page proofs. So it’s coming along nicely.

    Jason, while Keppel’s book refers to Bundy’s confessions to Fisher, I don’t believe they go into detail concerning them. There is a lot more to learn about this aspect as you will see. Indeed, surprises await the reader throughout the book!

    Yes, some of the movies do have their errors, don’t they? Take the movie “Ted Bundy” with Michael Reilly (I think that’s his name). Sure, it has some problems, but I must admit, he does remind me of Ted-the-psychopath! LOL!!!

    See Ya,


  36. Jason Nelson says:

    In relation to the Bundy movie, there are a lot of factual errors made that anyone who studied the life and crimes of Bundy would not make. One example is when Ted told his girlfriend he flunked psychology and was failing law school. He actually got an honours in psychology although the other comment is probably right. The deliberate stranger seemed to be a little light in terms of not going into depth into why Bundy killed in the first place. But as mentioned above, it would be difficult to relate Bundys story in a 2-4 hour film because he was himself a very complex character.
    July thats only two months away. It sounds like it may hit stores by summer which would be a treat. I had a feeling it may have been released at the end of the year.
    I am also interested in any confessions Bundy had made which may not been known to the public. The colorado confessions (with Mike Fisher) can be found in the Riverman book which was a good read. There are a number of books which have snippets on Bundys confessions that are not publicly known.
    Good purchase Kevin. I am surprised you got it quite cheap since they are quite rare but nice collectors item to have.

  37. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Here’s something cool: Riverman was only released on VHS, but the producers of the movie made up numerous copies on DVD for release to TV stations, but not for general release. Well, I was able to pick up one of these DVD’s on ebay about a year ago for 9 dollars.

  38. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Jason–

    I would start looking for the book in July, but it could be a bit longer. just keep checking the web sites you’re already visiting; or, check with McFarland, as they will have the most accurate release date.

    I’m not sure you’ll see any new pictures of Bundy (though you may) but you’ll see pictures of some of the crime locations as they look today, and that will be new to you.

    Concerning the movies: Well, there are aspects I like about them all, and there are areas where I wish they would have done a better job. But like you say, how can you do in two hours what is supposed to cover a lifetime. Still, they all pretty well convey the diabolical madness that was such a part of Theodore Robert Bundy


  39. Claire says:

    PS — I like the Deliberate Stranger (although this is the one book I haven’t read) with Harmon. The Stranger Beside me stains the facts too much, lake samm is turned into a a raquet hall. Eh???

    Ted Bundy 2002 is good in it’s portaryal of how Liz saw him (forever cheating and cold at times), they include a few events in that film from Liz Kendall’s book. Like the being thrown into a lake scene but Bundy does not come across as charasmatic which he was in real life. He is 2 dimensional. Which is good for creating the hatred and the pyschopathic nature but you need to be accurate and portray the Ted Bundy the public also saw before the accusations. I think the delibarate stranger shows both sides to Bundy.

    I have yet to see the Riverman with Cary Elwes and so cannot comment on that one.

    From the trailer I’ve seen of Bundy a legacy of evil, it covers more ground than the other films which seemed to have concentrated on Ted Bundy post Jan 1974. I’d like a film to speculate a little on his past before the murders and few films have done courtroom scenes. The Chi O trial was a turning point in creating the myth of Ted Bundy and I think this needs to be included in any feature film about Ted Bundy.


  40. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Claire (and everyone!)

    First, I don’t believe D Harry ever encountered Bundy, and with that statement, I’ll not speak of it again.

    As to the confessions: I worked very closely with Mike Fisher, the former Colorado investigator, and did receive a good deal of information from him, including confession material. But in truth, I have uncovered a lot of new material (confession and otherwise) not found in previous works on Ted Bundy As I have said, my book is an extremely in-depth look at Bundy’s trail of murder, and as such, I have tried to not leave any proverbial stone unturned. However, I was not able to locate the Utah tapes, but I don’t believe I needed them anyway.


  41. Claire says:

    I’m back from SK central, it’s not so good for getting a ripe coversation going.

    Investigators have had a hard time matching Ted’s MO to unsolved cases. The Kathy Devine case looked like Bundy did it but this was proved by DNA to be a another man a few years back. Keppel really believed this was one of Bundy’s victims.

    I think the unknown escaped victims perhaps have been afarid to come forward or wish to remain annoymous. The one high profile escapee I’ve read about is Debra Harry, the singer. She was in NY at the time and got in WV with who she swears is Ted Bundy. I didn’t believe this till I read he had been in NY.

    Jason- I too am from the UK and saw the conversations with a serial killer on Living TV. It was spooky how they got an evp, supposedly from Bundy from beyond the grave. The voice sounds nothing like him but it’s weird all the same. Is this something that has been on in the US anyone?

    I’d like to see the new Bundy film, the legacy of evil but have not been able to get a copy yet. All the films are flawed because you cannot get 42 years of his life in in 2 hours, and almost all are changed in certain ways.

    I was amazed at the Stranger Beside Me movie being dramatically different to the book. They make more of a friendship between Rule and Bundy than was actually there and she is constantly challenging him about his guilt in the movie. Rule from her book, was having an internal struggle about this and never, as far as I know asked him outright.

    From the 2002 movie I did notice certain real life victims were mentioned which I wasn’t expecting. Melissa Smith is mentioned and a few other Utah victims.

    Kevin, I’m looking forward to the confessions part. I was aware that Keppel had interviewed him for 2-3 hours in his last days but have only listened to the snippets available on the interenet, which from my guess is around 30 mins. I’ve also wondered did Utah ever disclose transcripts of the confessions. I know Dennis Couch has commented on the interviews but never found anyhting in transcript form. Are these the confessions you mean? Utah and Colorado?


  42. Jason Nelson says:

    Hi everyone.
    Its good to see that more websites are now putting the book on their sites for pre-orders e.g. booksamillion. It has been stated on their website that it will be released in June 09? Is this date slightly optimistic since it is due late this year?
    I am really looking forward to seeing the pictures in this book as well. Is there anything in terms of new evidence or unseen pictures of bundy himself in there?
    I was also wondering what were your views on the Bundy films? There is the film Bundy, A stranger beside me and the film starring Mark Harmon and also the new Ted bundy film Bundy: A legacy of evil which was released in Australia? Considering each film had its flaws, would you say any of these films portrays Bundy the best way possible?
    Thanks everyone

  43. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Topelius!

    Yes, Bundy did go on what we call here in the states “dry runs”, which is the same as saying he went on practice runs. But, as he told Detective Bob Keppel, he would at times have every intention of killing a girl, but after getting her to his car, he would decide not to go through with the murder. He never gave a full explanation as to why he called things off, but it could have been something she said, or did, and he simply changed his mind.

    Now, as he started to transform himself into a killer, he did admit to smacking a woman in the head with a board, or something of that nature, but upon hearing her terrified screams, he quickly ran away. I can’t remember the date of this (Bundy may not have even given a date for this incident) but it may be after a 1969 failed attempt to abduct a woman when he lived briefly on the east coast.

    Did he kill in the mid 1960’s? I don’t know, but I think he may have started committing murder as early as 1969, but again, nobody knows for sure. I certainly think he killed before 1974, but because of the lack of evidence, I must go with 1974. And it is quite true, that 1974 marked a true change for Ted Bundy, in that he gave himself completely over to murder at that time, as if he were beginning a new career in life. And in a diabolical sense, that’s exactly what he was doing.

    Take care,


  44. Topelius says:

    Hi again, Kevin!

    I came across with an article which claimed Bundy trained, if you will, luring and attacking women before actually doing it. Bundy would lure a woman to his car and then let her go. And sometimes he would attack from behind and knock her out and then leave. If I remember correctly, Bundy was claimed to do these “trainings” already in high school.

    What is your opinion, did Bundy actually attacked women already in mid 1960`s?

    Thanks, take care!

  45. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi George,

    Apparently the money came from his defense fund; a fund created by those in Seattle (and perhaps elsewhere) who still believed in him. I do find it odd that he had “charge” of the money, and without it, escape would have been far more difficult indeed.

    I can’t remember the mention by M&A concerning the Boston Strangler, but it does make sense considering strangulation was Ted’s preferred method of murder. I think Bundy had a lot of respect for other killers of women, and perhaps he believed the connection between them was like belonging to a fraternity or some type of club.

    Just a thought.

  46. Richard A. Duffus says:

    He probably picked up the stuff during his first escape.

  47. george mcfadden says:

    Hey guys-
    One interesting little question:In Teds second Colorado escape,he used a hacksaw” the best money could buy.”He also had a tidy little sum handy to escape cross country.Where did all this come from ,the escape fairy?
    M&A mention that Bundy was fascinated by the Boston Strangler and his crimes.I know those gruesome events were covered extensively in mainstream media,as well as detective magazines.Note the Strangler used a ruse to put his victims at ease and was prone to home invasions.Sounds alittle like someone we know!

  48. Kevin M. Sullivan says:


    I forgot to mention the pictures! Yes, I believe I sent the publisher about 30 plus photos, and I’m thinking they might use them all, but we will have to wait and see what’s included after the book is released. Of course, I have pictures of Bundy and the victims, but I have also sent them photos I’ve taken at various sites pertaining to the murders, as well as a number of pictures of Ted’s murder kit and the items it held. So there won’t be any shortage of pictures.

  49. Kevin M. Sullivan says:


    As to particulars, or the specifics of that which is “new”, I will need to wait till the book is published before discussing them, or commenting in any way. However, I will tell you that these things I’ve “uncovered” have been known by certain investigators (but certainly not all of the Bundy investigators) for many years. Yet they’ve never been in print before, and I’ve taken great care to tie up some loose-ends, as it were, in the story of the Bundy murders. I also track Bundy’s movements and his personality changes in ways that (I believe) will be new and exciting for the reader; and all of it with an eye towards a better understanding of what happened along his trail of murder, and with various cases, why.

    And yes, you will be able to read parts of certain confessions that you may not be familiar with at the moment.

    One of the editors emailed me yesterday, informing me that the copy editor has finished with the manuscript and the book is now heading into production. This means that I’ll soon be on the look-out for the page proofs, and that I’ll need to finish the rather large index I’m creating for the book. So things are moving along rather nicely.

    See you a little later,


  50. Jason Nelson says:

    In terms of new information, would you be able to outline what new information (in general context) your book will contain or would we have to wait until your book is published? Since your book is primarily about Bundys murders, would it go into any detail on his confessions that are not widely known? Also are there going to be any new pictures in your book of either Bundy, locations, evidence etc? I am planning on purchasing the book as soon as it becomes avaliable on Amazon as i live in the UK. I hope the book can get at least a late summer release. Really looking forward to reading it and discussing it in full


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