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Ted Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle

There are two Volkswagen Beetles associated with the Ted Bundy murders; the one he owned in Utah and the one he stole in Florida. The car on display at the Museum is the car that Bundy owned. It was integral to both his murders and conviction as it contained important DNA evidence.

Ted Bundy Volkswagen
Ted Bundy Volkswagen

Bundy’s documented killing spree began in early 1974 with the assault of Joni Lenz, an 18-year-old University of Washington freshman. He continued to kidnap and kill women in Washington State at the rate of one per month until he moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah’s law school.

Stories emerged of a man named “Ted” seen either on crutches or with his arm in a plaster cast. The man would ask young women to help him carry books, ski boots, or other items to his car. Several women reported having been approached by him but, feeling unnerved, declined to assist. Bundy removed the passenger seat in order to lay his victims flat and better conceal them after luring them to the car.

On August 15, 1975, Bundy fled police attempting to pull him over, who then searched his VW Beetle. They found suspicious objects, such as a crowbar, a box of large green plastic garbage bags, an ice pick, flashlight, gloves, torn strips of sheeting, knit ski mask, handcuffs, and a strange mask made from panty hose. They also noticed that the passenger seat had been removed and placed in the back seat. Bundy was arrested for evading an officer, but was released despite the suspicious objects and behavior.

Six days later he was arrested for possession of burglary tools. Police took several photos of the interior and exterior of Bundy’s car, but he was again released on bail. The next day he thoroughly cleaned the Volkswagen and sold it to a teenager.

In October 1975, three witnesses picked Bundy out of a police lineup and he was charged with attempted murder and kidnapping. Authorities seized his Volkswagen to search for further evidence and found hairs that matched victims. Unfortunately after being found guilty and spending some time in prison he escaped and continued killing. He managed to avoid authorities until 1978 when he was arrested in a stolen orange Volkswagen Beetle in Florida.

Ted Bundy was executed by electric chair in Florida on January 24, 1989. At the time of his death he had confessed to thirty murders, but alluded to more.

For More Information on Ted Bundy, please visit the Crime Library’s page on Ted Bundy.
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