On October 2nd, 1975, Carol DaRonch along with Jean Graham and a friend of Debby Kent's were asked to view a line-up of seven men, one of whom was Bundy, at a Utah police station. Investigators were not surprised when Carol DaRonch picked Ted from the line-up as the man who had attacked her. Jean Graham and a friend of Debby Kent's had also picked Ted from the line-up as the man they had seen wandering around the auditorium the night Debby Kent had disappeared. Although Ted repeatedly professed his innocence, police were almost positive they had their man. Soon after he was picked out of the line-up, investigators launched a full-blown investigation into the man they knew as Theodore Robert Bundy.
During the fall of 1975, police investigators approached Meg
Anders for whatever information she was able to give about Ted.
After all, she had alerted police to her suspicions concerning
her boyfriend in connection to the notorious "Ted."
They believed Meg would most likely hold the key to Bundy's whereabouts,
habits and personality. What investigators learned would later
help link Ted Bundy to the murder victims.
On September 16th, 1975, Meg was called into the King County Police Major Crime Unit building in Washington State and interviewed by Detectives Jerry Thompson, Dennis Couch and Ira Beal. She was visibly stressed and nervous, but willing to offer the police any information necessary to help the case. When asked about Ted, she stated that on the nights of the murders, she could not account for him. Meg also told police that he would often sleep during the day and go out at night, exactly where she didn't know. She said that his interest in sex had waned during the last year. When he did show interest, he pressured her into bondage. When she told Bundy that she no longer wanted to participate in his bondage fantasies, he was very upset with her.
In a later interview with Meg, investigators learned that Ted had plaster of Paris to make casts in his room, which she had noticed when they first began dating. She also noticed on a later occasion that in his car, Ted had a hatchet. But there was something else important to the case that Meg would remember. She recalled that Ted had visited Lake Sammamish Park in July, where he had supposedly gone water skiing. A week after Ted had gone to Lake Sammamish Park, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund were reported missing.
After long hours of interviews with Meg, investigators decided to shift their focus to Stephanie Brooks. Stephanie would tell them of how he had abruptly changed his manner towards her from a loving and affectionate man to cruel and insensitive. Upon further questioning, police learned that Bundy's relationship with Stephanie had overlapped with his relationship with Meg and neither of them knew of the other woman. Ted seemed to be living a double life, filled with lies and betrayal. There was more to Ted than what investigators had initially expected.
Further investigation yielded more evidence that would later lead to his conviction. Lynda Ann Healy was linked to Bundy through a cousin of his; more eyewitnesses would recognize him from Lake Sammamish Park during the time Ott and Naslund disappeared; an old friend of Bundy's came forward saying he had seen pantyhose in the glove compartment of his car; plus Ted had spent a lot of time in the Taylor Mountains where the bodies of victims had been found. Bundy's credibility was further dented when police discovered he purchased gas on credit cards in the towns where some of the victims had disappeared. Furthermore, a friend had seen him with his arm in a cast when there was no record of him ever having a broken arm at any hospital. The evidence against Ted Bundy was building up, yet he still continued to profess his innocence.
Carol DaRonch testifying
On February 23, 1976 Ted was put on trial for the kidnapping
of Carol DaRonch. Bundy sat in a relaxed manner in the courtroom,
confident that he would be found innocent of the charges against
him. He believed that there was no hard evidence to convict him,
but he couldn't have been more wrong.
When Carol DaRonch took the stand, she told of her ordeal that she suffered sixteen months earlier. When asked if she were able to recognize the person who attacked her, she began to cry as she lifted her hand and pointed a finger to the man who had called himself "Officer Roseland." The people in the courtroom turned their attention to Ted Bundy, who stared at DaRonch coldly as she pointed at him. Later in the trial, Ted had said he had never seen the defendant but he had no alibi to confirm his whereabouts the day of the attack.
The judge spent the weekend reviewing the case before he handed down a verdict. Two days later he would find Bundy guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of aggravated kidnapping. Ted Bundy was later sentenced on June 30th to one to fifteen years in prison with the possibility of parole.
While in prison, Bundy was subjected to a psychological evaluation that the court had previously requested. In Anne Rule's book The Stranger Beside Me, she stated that psychologists found Bundy to be neither "psychotic, neurotic, the victim of organic brain disease, alcoholic, addicted to drugs, suffering from a character disorder or amnesia, and was not a sexual deviate." The psychologists concluded that he had a "strong dependency on women, and deduced that that dependency was suspect." Upon further evaluation, they concluded that Ted had a "fear of being humiliated in his relationships with women."
While Bundy remained incarcerated in Utah State Prison, investigators began a search for evidence connecting him to the murders of Caryn Campbell and Melissa Smith. What Bundy did not realize was that his legal problems were to soon escalate. Detectives discovered in Bundy's VW hairs that were examined by the FBI and found to be characteristically alike to Campbell and Smith's hair. Further examination of Caryn Campbell's remains showed that her skull bore impressions made by a blunt instrument, and those impressions matched the crowbar that had been discovered in Bundy's car a year earlier. Colorado police filed charges against Bundy on October 22, 1976, for the murder of Caryn Campbell.
In April of 1977, Ted was transferred to Garfield County Jail in Colorado to await trial for the murder of Caryn Campbell. During preparation of his case, Bundy became increasingly unhappy with his representation. He believed his lawyer to be inept and incapable and eventually he fired him. Bundy, experienced in law, believed he could do the job better and he began to take up his own defense in the case. He felt confident that he would succeed at the trial scheduled for November 14, 1977. Bundy had a lot of work ahead of him. He was granted permission to leave the confines of the jail on occasion and utilize the courthouse library in Aspen, to conduct research. What police didn't know was that he was planning an escape.
On June 7th, during one of his trips to the library at the courthouse, Bundy managed to jump from an open window, injuring his ankle in the process, and escaped to freedom. He was not wearing any leg irons or handcuffs, so he did not stand out among the ordinary citizens in the town of Aspen. It was an escape that had been planned by Ted for a while. Aspen Police were quick to set up roadblocks surrounding the town, yet Ted knew to stay within the city limits for the time being and lay low. Police launched a massive land search, using scent tracking bloodhounds and 150 searchers in the hopes of catching Ted. However, Ted was able to elude them for days.
While on the run, Bundy managed to live off the food he stole from local cabins and nearby campers, occasionally sleeping in ones that were abandoned. Yet, Bundy knew that what he really needed was a car, which would better enable him to pass through police barriers. He couldn't hide in Aspen forever. Finally, Bundy found his ticket out of town when he discovered a car with the keys left in it. While trying to flee Aspen in the stolen vehicle, he was spotted by two police officers and recaptured, six days after his escape.
From then on, he was ordered to wear handcuffs and leg irons while conducting his research at the library in Aspen. However, Bundy was not the type of man who liked to be tied down.
Almost seven months later, Bundy again attempted an escape, but this time he was more successful. On December 30th, he crawled up into the ceiling of the Garfield County Jailand made his way to another part of the building. He managed to find another opening in the ceiling that led down into the closet of a jailer's apartment. He sat and waited until he knew the apartment was empty, then casually walked out of the front door to his freedom. His escape would go undiscovered until the following afternoon, more than fifteen hours later.
By the time police learned of his escape, Bundy was well on his way to Chicago. Chicago was one of the few stops that Bundy would make along the route to his final destination, sunny Florida. By mid January of 1978 Ted Bundy, using his newly acquired name Chris Hagen, had settled comfortably into a one-room apartment in Tallahassee, Florida.
Ted Bundy enjoyed his new found freedom in a place that knew little if nothing about him or his past. Bundy was stimulated by intelligence and youth and felt comfortable in his new environment nearby Florida State University. He spent much of his free time walking around F.S.U.'s campus, occasionally ducking into classes unnoticed and listening in on lectures. When he was not wandering around campus, he would spend his time in his apartment watching the television he had stolen. Theft became second nature to Bundy. Almost everything in his apartment was stolen merchandise. Even the food he ate was purchased from stolen credit cards. Under the circumstances, Bundy seemed to have enough material things to make him content. What he didn't have and what he missed the most was companionship.
On Saturday night, January 14th, few of the sorority sisters could be found at the Chi Omega House. Most were out dancing or at keg parties on campus. It wasn't unusual for the sisters to stay out late, since there was no curfew. In fact, it was pretty normal for the girls to return in the early morning hours. However, none of the sisters was prepared to confront the horror that awaited them back at their sorority house later that night.