Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes episode 2 recap: One of Us


Episode 2 of Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes examines how Ted Bundy was caught, and also his audacity to escape.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes often consults Kathleen McChesney, a Special Agent of the FBI, on her impressions of Bundy and his murders. It’s only fair, as someone like Bundy requires a woman’s perspective. He did, after all, state that he saw women as merchandise. It was disturbingly easy for him to kidnap and murder Denise Naslund and Janice Ott, who were at the Lake Sammamish State Park on July 14, 1974.

There were thousands of people there, and the name “Ted” was going around, which created thousands of leads. People also mentioned a light brown or tan Volkswagen bug. While that sounds like a slam dunk, Detective and author Robert D. Keppel reminds us there were 42,000 VWs in Washington alone.


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In 1980, Stephen G. Michaud was interviewing Ted Bundy and was concerned about being a mere conduit for Ted’s version of the story. Either way, Ted often referred to the murderous impulse as “the entity,” and tied murder to a pornography habit. It’s speculated that his mind linked naked women and violence, or anger, feeling cheated, and feeling wrong and insecure. It’s claimed that, during interviews, Bundy’s eyes would somehow go from blue to black. Journalist Hugh Aynesworth says Ted didn’t look him in the eye often, but when he looked at Ted’s hands, he often wondered “What did those hands do?”

Eventually, Bundy’s own girlfriend, Liz Kloepfer, called in about him. Apparently, he told her he followed a sorority girl once. She also once found a bag of women’s underwear, a bowl filled with house keys, plaster of paris and bandages, and a knife under the seat of his car. He was also gone while Brenda Ball disappeared. Of course, other people called in about their own suspects, probably with similar creepy coincidences. However, it became known that Ted Bundy was at Lake Sammamish the week before disappearances. That’s not proof enough that he committed a murder, but demonstrates that he knew the location. Quite simply, he had no alibis. However, because of his chameleon-like abilities,7 people didn’t identify Ted as the man at Lake Sammamish.  Keppel says they didn’t have solid information for arresting Ted, so the investigation reached a dead end.

Ted in Utah and Nov. 8, 1974

Probably to avoid detection , Bundy moved to Utah in 1974. There he did his best to fit in, seem normal. According to Michael Preece, a Mormom Branch president, Ted joined his church and seemed perfectly normal. Around that sime, Melissa Smith, a girl in Midvale, was found murdered, and so were Nancy Wilcox and Laura Aime. Then, on Nov. 8, 1974, Carol Daronch was stopped at a mall by a man she thouight was an officer. He claimed someone was trying to break into her car, and he seemed eager to get her to look inside.

She started feeling uneasy, especially after smelling alcohol on the man’s breath. However, being the trusting sort, she assumed he could be undercover in his VW bug. After driving around for a bit, he handcuffed her and pulled out a gun. She managed to get out of the car, and a struggle ensued between her and the crowbar wielding maniac. Luckily, she was able to run to an approaching car and the assailant fled. As Daronch notes now, 4 hours later he drove to a high school and killed Debi Kent. In fact, in the parking lot near her car, they found the keys to Daronch’s handcuffs.

March-August 1975

On Taylor Mountain, Washington, student foresters made the grisly discovery of Brenda Ball’s skull. Three other bodies were also found, including those of Naslund and Ott. Due to a lack of DNA technology, it took some time to identify further victims. Then, in Colorado, more women disappeared. These included Caryn Campbell, Julie Cunningham and Denise Oliverson. There were no witnesses. However, the world caught a lucky break. Salt Lake City patrolman Bob Hayward noticed a VW bug cruising with its lights off in the early am hours. It sped away, causing Hayward to give chase. When Bundy was apprehended, they found a ski mask, an ice pick, strips of torn sheets, pantyhose and handcuffs.

The authorities contacted Carol Daronch to identify him in a lineup. Though he cut his hair and parted it differently, she recognized him instantly. The question became, is Utah Ted the Seattle Ted? A multi-state conference was held on the matter. Of course, no one in Ted’s church thought he was guilty.

Trial of February ’76

Although Ted was arrogant and cocky, he was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping, with a maximum sentence of 15 years. He was 29 years old. According to psychologist Al Carlisle, Bundy spoke highly of his childhood. Ted Bundy’s mother, Louise, gave that impression as well, saying, “Our son is the best son in the world.” However, some additional claims about Bundy emerged. One involved his holding a date’s head underwater, almost drowning her.

Also, it was learned that Ted’s older sister was actually his mother, and that the people claiming to be his parents were his grandparents. Ted denied it was a big deal for him, but it would be a disturbing discovery. Also, despite claims of a normal family, Ted’s grandfather was known to be violent. Bundy’s own personality profile was found to be consistent with violence.

Oct. 1, 1976

Meanwhile, the Caryn Campbell case was building. It was demonstrated that Ted was around the Wildwood Inn, as there were gas receipts. Bundy was extradited to Colorado. During interviews, he insisted he wasn’t “weird,” and not guilty of the crimes. He humbly admitted to swiping a comic book when he was five. Being philosophical, he argued, “No man is truly innocent” and he’d been impolite at times, but that he “never physically harmed anyone in the context you’re speaking of.”

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In the Garfield County Jail, Bundy mentally measured the distance from courthouse to alley, alley to the riverbed, the river to mountains for an escape attempt. He also got a haircut. When the time was right, he walked to the window of the courthouse’s law library and jumped out, fatefully spraining his ankle.

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