A vial of blood containing Ted Bundy’s DNA has been found in Florida, thanks to queries from a detective in Tacoma working on the case of Ann Marie Burr, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from her family home in 1961.
The vial was discovered after Florida authorities received a call from a detective working a cold case in Tacoma, Washington state. The blood had been taken in 1978 when Bundy was arrested in the death of a 12-year-old girl in Columbia County, Florida., The News Tribune in Tacoma reported.
Despite an order to destroy much of the biological evidence in the Florida case, the vial was still on file, said David Coffman, chief of forensic services at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Tallahassee crime lab.
“We were really surprised,” he said.
It is surprising DNA samples weren’t collected for study prior to his execution in 1989. Bundy has been a prime suspect in the abduction of Burr for decades.
He had a paper route and frequently visited his uncle, who lived in the Burr neighborhood. He later studied at the University of Puget Sound [UPS] and University of Washington.
During an interview with King County Detective Robert D. Keppel Bundy mentioned committing homicides in 1972 and 1973, the latter involving a hitchhiker near Tumwater, Washington, but he refused to provide more details.
In 1987 he confided to Keppel that there were “some murders” that he would “never talk about”, because they were committed “too close to home”, “too close to family”, or involved “victims who were very young.”
The coincidences are just too much to overlook.
The Burr house was on Bundy’s newspaper delivery route. The girl’s father is certain he saw Bundy in a ditch at a construction site on the nearby UPS campus the morning his daughter disappeared.
Bundy repeatedly denied being involved in the Burr case. He wrote a letter to the Burr family in 1986, continuing to deny any involvement.
“At the time, I was a normal 14-year-old-boy,” Bundy wrote. “I did not wander the streets late at night. I did not steal cars. I had absolutely no desire to harm anyone. I was just an average kid.”
For years I’ve been intrigued by Bundy and other serial killers, especially the unresolved cases. Other criminal cases, such as D. B. Cooper and the I-5 Killer, have fascinated me.1 Before finding Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer case was another that I’d read a few books and news stories about.
Prior to reading The I-5 Killer by Ann Rule, I had no idea about serious crimes committed in Salem, Oregon, my hometown. As a kid I was pretty naive. One of these incidents happened at what was the TransNational or TransAmerica building. It is now a U.S. Bank. I walk by there frequently. I doubt most people know what occurred in that building so many years ago. The I-5 Killer is still in town, behind walls and barbed wire at the Oregon State Penitentiary.
Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me is a great read for anyone wanting to know more. She worked beside Bundy at a crisis hotline in Seattle, where ironically Ted talked people out of suicide and both tried to help those who called in whatever ways they could.
I remember watching a made-for-TV movie on Bundy, played by Mark Harmon, now more well-known from his stint on NCIS. The movie was frequently replayed on TBS. News reports out of Hollywood reported that it could very well end Harmon’s acting career. Of course, it didn’t, although casting may have been more difficult for him and some may have passed him over because of the role.
As of October 2007, Ted Bundy’s mother still lived in Tacoma. At the time a reporter asked if she’d “break a 25-year silence in speaking about her son. She declined.”
A book about Ann Marie Burr and Ted Bundy will released this fall. Whether or not it will be any good is another question.
1. I share this fascination with sportscaster Colin Cowherd. I was listening to his show this morning, and he was discussing Cooper, Bundy, and a serial killer on Long Island. I actually find Cowherd rather annoying, especially his often inane pontificating on his radio show. I know him from his time working at the NBC affiliate in Portland, KGW. Occassionally I’d watch him, but mostly I just ignored him and his commentary and continue to do so, now more than ever.