true crime

The faces we should be remembering when we talk about Ted Bundy.

There’s a Hollywood film coming out charting Ted Bundy‘s twisted life, and there’s the Ted Bundy Tapes documentary currently showing on Netflix. Both aim to explore the mind, the madness, of a man routinely described as “charming”, “handsome”, “intelligent”, despite being America’s most deadly serial killer.

(Netflix has even been forced to discourage viewers from posting about his “hotness” on social media.)

This morbid fascination with Bundy means that, even 30 years on from his execution, most would recognise his name. Most would recognise his face. Most would be able to recall at least some of what this monstrous crimes involved, including the abduction, torture, rape, and/or murder of at least 30 women and girls in the mid-to-late 1970s.

But would we recognise any of those women?

These are just some of their stories.

Margaret Bowman

Margaret was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but her family moved around a lot when she was young. During her teenage years they settled in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Margaret went to the local high school and became a member of the French club and the tennis team. She went on to Florida State University, where she studied art history and classical civilisations, and joined the Chi Omega sorority because her grandmother, also named Margaret, had pledged there.

The January of 1978, she was learning to sew, and at the time of her murder at Chi Omega she was working on a green velveteen dress.

She was 21.

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Georgann Hawkins

As a child, 'George' was a self-confident little girl, the kind that drew people in. She was popular, athletic, and a keen swimmer - "She swam competitively for quite a while until she found out about boys, then that was about it,” her mother told Green Valley News.

'George' went on to become a student of University of Washington. She was last seen outside her boyfriend's dorm and walking down a brightly lit alley to get back to her sorority.

She never made it.

She was 18.

Debi Kent

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Debi, 17, was a beautiful ballet dancer,  who dreamed of a career on the stage.

The Utah girl and her family were at a Viewmont High School production of "The Redhead" on Nov. 8, 1974, when she volunteered to go pick up her little brother from a nearby roller rink. She never arrived. Her car was found where she'd left it earlier that evening, in the school carpark, but there was no trace of the teen.

For years her disappearance remained a mystery, until Bundy confessed to her murder before his 1989 execution. Her remains were never found.

Since that November day, Debi's family have left a light on for their "caring" daughter.

"We always left the porch light on when they went out at night, and the last one home always turned it off," her mother told Deseret News in 2000. "I will never turn it off. As long as I'm here, I will never turn it off."

Janice Ott

Public service was a big part of Janice's family. Her father was the assistant director of public schools in Spokane, Washington, and had once been an associate of the state board of paroles. That civic-mindedness rubbed off on Janice, and after graduating from Washington State college she worked as a probation case officer at a juvenile county court.

Her devotion to the job kept her in Washington when, roughly 18 months into their marriage, her husband moved to California to study design of prosthetic devices for people with disabilities. They wrote and called regularly, and were planning to reunite in September 1974.

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Janice was last seen alive on July 14 that year sunbathing in Lake Sammamish State park. Witnesses heard her talking to a man with a cast on his arm, who asked her for help loading his sailboat onto his car. The man had introduced himself as Ted.

Her remains were found that September roughly three kilometres away in a heavily wooded area, along with those of another of Bundy's victims, Denise Marie Naslund.

Melissa Smith

As the daughter of the police chief, Melissa was a cautious girl. Her father had warned her and her sister time and again about the importance of personal safety and the dangers that can befall young women. Still, their Utah town was a peaceful one of just 5000 residents, mostly Morman, and that danger had never quite seemed real.

On the evening of October 18, 1974, Melissa had been planning to attend a sleepover, but a friend, who worked at the local pizza parlour, called her in despair after a fight with her boyfriend. Melissa walked alone to the restaurant and comforted the girl. She then set out on the same route home, where she planned to collect her belongings and head to the sleepover. She never arrived.

Her body was found nine days later more than 30 minutes' drive away in Summit Park.

And...

Donna Gail Manson, Karen Sparks, Lynda Ann Healy, Susan Elaine Rancourt, Roberta Kathleen Parks, Brenda Carol Ball, Denise Marie Naslund, Nancy Wilcox, Laura Ann Aime, Carol DaRonch, Caryn Eileen Campbell, Julie Cunningham, Denise Lynn Oliverson, Lynette Dawn Culver, Susan Curtis, Lisa Levy, Karen Chandler, Kathy Kleiner, Cheryl Thomas, Kimberly Diane Leach, and according to experts potentially dozens more.

Read more:

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