INTERROGATION OF TED BUNDY: PREFACE
On January 18, 1989, I was contacted by Bob Keppel, Chief Investigator for the Washington Attorney General’s Office, and informed that Ted Bundy was possibly going to provide information regarding murders committed in Idaho. On January 19 and 20, 1989, I had several telephone conversations with Diana Weiner, an attorney purportedly representing Mr. Bundy in civil matters. As a result of these conversations, an interview with Ted Bundy was scheduled for Sunday, January 22, 1989, at 11:00 am to take place at the Florida State Prison.
During discussions between the Idaho Attorney General and the Director of the Idaho Department of Law Enforcement regarding a proposed interview, it was decided that two other officers would accompany me to Florida, specifically, Randall Everitt, a criminal investigator with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office and Jim Whitehead, Chief of the Idaho Bureau of Investigation.
At approximately 10:00 am on January 22, 1989, we arrived at the Florida State Prison and met with Paul Decker and L. E. Turner, both of whom are assistant superintendents for the prison. We were provided with prison records and given verbal background information concerning Mr. Bundy. At approximately 11: 00 am, we met with Diana Weiner and Special Agent William Hagmaier of the FBI and were advised that there would be a delay in the scheduling of the interview. We were also informed that this would be a non-contact interview and that it would be necessary to place tape recorders on both sides of a glass partition.
Prior to the interview, we met with Diana Weiner and Ted Bundy and had an unrecorded conversation regarding preconditions. Diana Weiner asked for us to agree to two specific conditions as follows:
- That we would forward a written document of some type to the governor of Florida advising him that Mr. Bundy had been cooperative in providing information relating to Idaho murders. Further, that it was our understanding that Mr. Bundy was also attempting to assist other law enforcement agencies in clearing murders within the severe time restrictions allowed. While she did not specifically ask for us to recommend a postponement in Mr. Bundy’s execution, there was a clear inference to that effect.
- That we would hold a press conference immediately following the interview with Mr. Bundy and make the same statements outlined in paragraph #1 above.
We agreed in part to the conditions in paragraph #1 and declined to comply with those in paragraph #2.
The interview commenced at 12:02 pm. The pre-agreed format was that I would ask the questions and that Jim Whitehead and Randy Everitt would pass notes to me with any questions they wished to have posed. Also present during the interview were Diana Weiner and Special Agent Hagmaier. The interview was terminated by Diana Weiner after exactly one hour. Since tape recorders had been placed on both sides of the glass, it was necessary to separately transcribe the question tape and the answer tapes and then integrate the two sides of the conversation. During this process we discovered that a portion of the interview recorded on Mr. Bundy’s side of the glass had been lost on a self-reversing tape recorder. Since a backup recorder was also used on that side of the glass, we were eventually able to document the entire interview. A copy of that transcript is attached hereto.
RUSSELL T. RENEAU
INTERROGATION OF TED BUNDY
January 22, 1989
Ted Bundy: All right, let’s begin with… try to focus in on the date here… the period. I believe it’s April 1975, possibly May. It’s in one of those two months. I traveled from Salt Lake City to… now here is my confusion to either Pocatello or Idaho Falls and I tend to think it was Pocatello but I’m not absolutely sure. Trying to recall perhaps the day of the week… again I know it was during the week, not on a weekend. I stayed in a Holiday Inn in, well in all likelihood Pocatello… for at least one night. I’m cutting down on a lot of factual stuff right now… you’re free to ask. Just to give you the picture. I abducted a young girl from a junior high school, probably in Pocatello. It’s hard to tell from this map… perhaps if we had a more detailed map of the general vicinity, region of around Pocatello, I might be able to tell you more specifically. But eventually that same day I… it’s a little bit hard, excuse me, to talk about. Get a little bit closer here so my voice won’t carry quite so far down the way where the officers are sitting. Later that same day, her body was placed in the river. I don’t know what river, again if I could see a road map I would be able to better tell you. Probably the Snake River but again I’m not absolutely certain. Again it’s… I don’t know what representations were made to you or what inferences about my activities in Idaho. That’s why I felt that I didn’t know if you, wanted to be coming down here, all three of you, for me to tell you essentially what I have to tell you. I mean I’m not telling you about some large number of incidents, crimes, but that’s the first incident and if you want to probe into that further to get more information…
Russell Reneau: I have just a few questions I would like to ask now. When you… after the abduction did you leave the city of Pocatello and if so which direction were you headed with her?
TB: I believe it was north.
RR: Ok, do you recall approximately how far out of the city it would have been where her body was placed in the river?
TB: A few miles, it’s hard to say… five miles. I mean that would be just a rough guess.
RR: Can you describe the girl for us?
TB: She was in her early teens, wearing blue jeans, long brown hair, is about all I can remember for sure.
RR: About how tall do you think she was?
RR: Did you ever learn her name during your contact with her?
TB: I may have but I can’t recall… I don’t recall specifically. I can… there maybe a couple of corroborative type details that I can give you… that might help but, by way of identity they just happened to stick in my mind for reasons that I can’t quite you know explain really. She made a comment that sounded like she had other friends or relatives in Seattle. The reason I remembered that is, cause I’ve been in Seattle. Made a comment indicating that either she lived with her grandmother or that her grandmother lived with her family. Another comment indicating that perhaps they were thinking of moving to another house, the family was thinking of moving to another house. Indications that she had had some trouble with truancies at school, about missing school and also finally that I encountered her at a time when she was leaving the school grounds to meet someone at lunch time. Those are the… some of the specific kinds of recollections that come to mind immediately. As I say, I don’t recall the name of the young lady.
RR: When you stayed at the motel there, did you register under your name or what name, what was it?
TB: I registered under an assumed name but… yes I didn’t register under my name and I could describe the place well, I mean the Holiday Inn such as it is, but nevertheless, no I did not register under my own name.
RR: You recall what name you used?
TB: No. In all likelihood it would be a name I would pick out of thin air. I mean it wouldn’t be a name I would remember.
RR: Were you driving? How were you traveling at that time?
TB: I was driving yes.
RR: What kind of vehicle were you driving?
TB: A Volkswagen sedan, beige.
RR: Where was that vehicle registered?
RR: To you?
TB: To me.
RR: Would you have used that license number when you registered?
TB: That’s a good question, uh cause you know they often do. Conceivably you know, cause often times I wasn’t quite as careful as I should have been but you know if I… it’s possible but not necessarily likely.
RR: Did you have any encounters at all with any law enforcement people during this trip, traffic citations, anything like that?
TB: No, but… no, I may have come close a couple times, as a matter of fact, but nothing that ended up with an actual contact. There was a contact but I don’t know if you can follow it up. The evening before, it was a campus, a college campus in town and which is the reason it makes me think it was probably Pocatello. Anyway… and I was asked to leave one of the buildings by someone, one of the supervisors, but I don’t know if that’s an incident that could be recorded anyway.
RR: Remember which building it was you were asked to leave?
TB: If I had … and I can visualize, at least what I think I am visualizing, the campus. By the map I mean, the diagram, it might be able to help me a little bit I think it’s it was a dormitory, it was a high-rise and it was sort of on the edge of the campus.
RR: Why was it you were asked to leave?
TB: Well I was just an unauthorized person in the building and couldn’t produce any identification so it was on one of the upper floors.
RR: Did you purchase gasoline for your vehicle in Pocatello? And if so, would you have used a credit card?
TB: You know I wouldn’t have for this reason… I can recall this fairly clearly, is because a full tank of gas from Salt Lake City I was able to make round trip without stopping for gas. That’s my recollection. I don’t, I seem to feel like I avoided using the credit card in that area at that time.
RR: Did you have any significant contact with anyone else in the Pocatello area during your stay there?
TB: I’m thinking it was a course of two days actually that I was there. No.
RR: What we would like to do Mr. Bundy, if it’s alright with you, is move ahead to the other incident you were going to tell us about then we may come back to this one if we come up with some other questions. Would that be alright?
TB: Sure, sure uh let me ask you this for what it’s worth and I don’t want you to betray any specifics or anything, but were you aware of anything like this, any of you, happening during that period of time if you don’t mind or is that too much…
RR: There were some missing persons reports during that period of time. We’re going to have to check the details you’ve given us to see if it fits any of those.
TB: All right. I was just hoping that maybe you were already aware in some way that you would able to focus in on that. I should probably add that it was a junior high school.
RR: Can you tell me approximately where in town the junior high school was?
TB: Well in relationship to… best as I can recall, in relationship to the Holiday Inn it was sort of like across town maybe two miles, three miles. You would leave the Holiday Inn and turn let’s say left and I don’t know if you would stay on the exact same street but, turn left and move in the direction that would be taking you away from the Holiday Inn after you turn left and maybe 30 blocks, 20 to 30 blocks up away was the, was the, was the school.
RR: Did this route take you through the center of town?
TB: Well it’s across, well let’s see… that’s a good question. It wouldn’t have taken you… well I don’t think it would’ve taken you through the center, it wouldn’t have taken you through the center of the city. That would be my rough guess, cause the center of the city as I recall, is somewhere south of the school.
RR: Ok so would you have been traveling principally east or west from the Holiday Inn?
TB: I believe it would’ve been… I know it would’ve been in the northern part of…
RR: Was there anyone else around at the time that you abducted this girl that might have seen that happen?
TB: Well there were a number of people there, but no one seemed to know, that I detected, took any notice or acted in a way that indicated that they were taking notice.
RR: Were you able to get her to go with you voluntarily?
RR: OK, if we could move on to the second one?
TB: In approximately early September, 1974, I was driving from Seattle to Salt Lake City. I was moving. I was passing through Idaho on the highway… maybe it was 84… the freeway. Somewhere just on the outside, very close to or on the outskirts of Boise, I picked up a hitchhiker traveling… well I was traveling east at the time. I’m trying to recall… she was standing down… it wasn’t a downtown off-ramp, I mean on-ramp, but it was further out of the city. Ranch style suburban houses were in view of the off-ramp, on-ramp. It was early evening as I recall. Anyway, I pulled over… my car was full of stuff… she was carrying a large green backpack. I believe she was 16 to 18, light brown hair, about 5′ 6″. My recollection is we stopped… well I had no place specific in mind, because it was after dark. It was at that point of the freeway when you first come into any contact with the river. We were driving, somewhere we could pull off the side of the road and drive to the river, get off close to the river. The river would have been on the right hand side of the highway going west.
RR: Excuse me you said west but did-
TB: No that’s not right.
TB: That’s all that comes off the top of my head.
RR: Was her body placed in the river?
RR: Do you recall what the area was like to the extent that you could tell in the dark, whether or not it was difficult to get to the water, those kinds of things?
TB: I’m trying to recall… it seems like we didn’t have to pull off the freeway, or we could pull right off as opposed to a regular freeway where you had to find an exit. It was partially paved, partially dirt road that lead down underneath a… it may have been a railroad trestle… it was alongside a little creek. The area was sandy as it led out to the river bank.
RR: When you put this body in the river, was- how was the body attired? Was there clothing or not?
RR: Were there any weights or anything like that attached to the body?
RR: So can you recall approximately how much time you were with this girl as you were traveling east?
TB: Three hours… four.
RR: Three or four hours, ok. Did she tell you where, what her ultimate destination was?
TB: My recollection is it was somewhere in Montana.
RR: Did you have the impression she was a runaway or that she was just traveling on her own?
TB: I got the impression that she was leaving home. Probably from the Boise area.
RR: When you were down by the river or perhaps some other location what happened with the clothing and the backpack that you described?
TB: The clothing was also put in the river. The backpack went to Salt Lake and it was disposed of along a road side near a dump.
RR: Did you go through any of the contents before discarding the backpack?
RR: Was there anything in there that told you what her identity was?
TB: There was identification in there. It was… the identification itself was burned.
RR: When you were on this particular trip, which vehicle were you driving at that time?
TB: The Volkswagen.
RR: Same vehicle we discussed before? Was it at that time also registered in Utah?
TB: No, it was registered in Washington.
RR: Again this would have been approximately September of… early September ‘74.
TB: Yes. You could get the exact date because I was purchasing gas along the way with a credit card.
RR: Which kind of credit card was it?
TB: Standard Oil.
RR: Do you recall which places you might have stopped for gas or which towns?
TB: I made a number of trips back and forth. This particular trip I don’t remember, in terms of where I got gas, although Boise was a frequent stop… where I got gas.
RR: What name was the credit card in?
TB: Mine. Theodore Bundy.
RR: Can you tell me, if we’re to locate this young person’s body, what would the physical evidence show us was the cause of death?
TB: Well, I… which are you talking about?
RR: Well I’m talking about… No, I’m talking about the second one right now.
TB: The one I talked about first? Oh, okay. Well you know, at this point and time I don’t know that you could tell that in a way because so much time has passed, but the cause would have been strangulation.
RR: Would there have been any structural damage?
TB: Possibly, from a blow to the head.
RR: The strangulation… was a ligature of any kind used and can you tell me which part of the head would have been damaged?
TB: Uh, the right side or right rear.
RR: What type of ligature was used?
TB: A white nylon clothes line cord.
RR: What did you do with the ligature afterwards?
TB: It was left in the… well wait a minute let me see. I think it was among the articles of clothing that was thrown in the river at that time.
RR: Now if we could go back to the first incident for just a moment. Same question, what was the cause of death in that situation?
TB: Uh… uh, it would have been drowning.
RR: And again would there be any structural damage?
RR: Again speaking about the first incident which you described, did this girl have school books or school articles with her?
TB: No. My understanding was… my recollection is that, at the time she was leaving the school grounds to go meet someone and I assume that she left everything at the school.
RR: Again speaking to the first incident… the junior high school girl… at the time that her body was placed in the river was she clothed or not?
RR: And the clothing you’ve already described as blue jeans and what else?
TB: Well, I can’t clearly recall now. I’m… I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could. I need to focus in on that a little bit better… let’s see, a jacket of some kind but nothing really loud colored, it wasn’t a bright color of jacket that I recall. A pullover top, blue jeans and shoes, not boots, shoes of some kind.
RR: But not a dress?
RR: You described some things about her circumstances at the time. Is there anything else you can recall about where she was going to meet someone or who that person might have been?
TB: Um, I recall her saying something going to meet a boy at a nearby park or recreation area, center that’s, yes, that’s what she seems to have said… what I recall her saying.
RR: Did you get the impression that she was just going there for lunch?
TB: Basically, yes.
RR: If we could go back to the second one just for a minute?
Jim Whitehead: Mr. Bundy, when you… after you picked this girl up you said that you drove near the river, near the freeway. Did you get off on a two lane road or was it, did you take an off-ramp to get to the river from the freeway?
TB: This is a little after dark by this time. You see, let me try to explain what I remember, the best of what I can recall. As you may remember, back in the mid 70’s… am I recalling this right… I’m trying to remember this now. But portions of this highway that ran close to the river would go back and forth from old construction to new, you know, old construction. I seem to remember this being a stretch of old construction. I mean the old style highway. And it seems to be shortly after I first noticed the river. It was a clear night so the river was, well, visible in the sense that it’s visible at night. But no, I don’t think I had to take an off-ramp to get to it. I may have been able to get onto a side road. I think that at first there was a side road but it wasn’t… it was like a turn off, and there were some railroad tracks between the highway and the river. I mean a railroad trestle.
RR: And there was a little stream?
TB: What amounted to a little stream that ran down underneath the trestle which may have been why the trestle was there.
RR: I’m returning to the first incident. Do you recall why you were in Pocatello at that particular time?
RR: Can you tell me?
TB: Oh yes. Oh, excuse me. Ah… madness, what can I say. It was basically to do what was done.
RR: Where were you living at that time?
TB: Salt Lake City.
RR: Was that the purpose for your visit to the dormitory the night you were asked to leave?
TB: Well, not specifically. I mean it was… you have to… I’d have to do a lot of explaining if my explanations would do… it was more or less that it was some idle roaming around, it wasn’t, it was nonspecific, you know for anything in particular.
RR: Was there any sexual contact with either of these two girls?
TB: Well… yes, I’m afraid there was, and yet I… you know…
RR: As to both of the girls?
RR: Did you notice, as to either of these girls, any jewelry or other items like that they were wearing?
TB: The only thing that comes to mind is with the second girl. Would be a kind of a bead necklace, an old simple little bead necklace, that’s all.
RR: Do you recall what color it would have been?
TB: Well, I’m not really good at describing jewelry and bead doesn’t really describe it. They were more like long little sections of spaghetti with a string stuck through it and they were black and a lighter color.
RR: What was done with that necklace?
TB: I think it was left… that was left with the body.
RR: Still on the body at the time it was placed in the river?
RR: Were either one of these girls other than Caucasian?
TB: No, they were both Caucasians.
RR: Alright now this route… this is regarding incident number two where you picked up the hitchhiker near Boise. You had made this drive a number of times by then?
RR: On this route you have traveled a number of times… as you mentioned it was under construction, parts of the road were under construction at that time. After leaving Boise in those years, there were a couple of different places on the way to Pocatello where it would turn into a two lane highway. Do you recall whether or not this section where you had the river to your right might have been one of those?
TB: No, I’ve wondered about that… I mean as I traveled I traveled during that period when it went back and forth and when there was a part that was, during the mid-70’s, ‘73, ‘74, ‘75, wait a minute… at least one part of it was a basically old style two lane highway with telephone poles and all that and even though it was night it was pretty evident that when you go back to an old two lane highway it’s just a different way of driving and it feels like I was back on that kind of stretch of roadway near the river.
RR: During one of those stretches, during that period of time, one of the two lane roads went through a small town, a very small town. Do you recall any buildings or anything like that before you got to the railroad trestle?
TB: Well let me think. I know the kind of place you’re talking about and I can’t say that I’m… that at that particular time that I can place going through a small town, as being near or before the area that I’m talking about.
RR: Can you recall approximately how long it was after you made the turn off you described before you reached the river?
TB: Oh, it was real near, real close by I mean no more than just you know a minute or so.
RR: When you parked the vehicle when you got down close to the river did you have to park under or near the railroad trestle you described?
TB: It seems to me that it was like a piece of roadway that kind of dead-ended heading down hill. Like there used to be an access road that had gone down to the river but it sort of had been washed away, but it was near, it was maybe no more than 40, 30, 40 yards away from the trestle.
RR: As to the first incident that you described, we talked about… you said you thought that it might be about five miles outside of town that you drove to the point where you made the stop at the river. Can you tell us what the terrain, trees that kind of thing were like around the spot where you placed the body in the river?
TB: It was more than… there was some vegetation at the river edge leading from the roadway to the river there was a grassy, it was grassy, there weren’t any trees or anything. Above the roadway away from the river there was a hilly area but again no trees, no woodlands, and further down the way there was a bridge, not an old bridge but a small, uh just a very small, it may have even been a one lane bridge but it was conceivable it was two lane, but I don’t remember, that I went across it but I did note that, maybe two hundred yards downstream.
RR: Can you recall how wide the river was at that point?
TB: At that time it seemed like it was in flood stage. I mean it seemed like it was up above its banks and…
RR: Can you recall at that point the approximate distance between the banks?
TB: Yeah, I’m trying, uh let’s see, it’s not real wide like I know the Snake can be… it’s a hundred yards.
RR: Was there a road that led right to the spot where you stopped?
TB: No, no the road was maybe fifty yards away from, well it was, yeah there was no roadway the paved road ran maybe fifty yards away and then there was what looked like a kind of area where people would drive down but not enough to make a roadway, you know what I’m saying? Just sort of an obvious turn off kind of place but where people might stop and go fishing but where there wasn’t a road or anything formal.
RR: When you left Pocatello headed north were you on the freeway at that time?
TB: I believe so, yes.
RR: Perhaps if we could look at the map and that portion…alright we can see there where the… so you’d be enroute to Blackfoot if you were on the freeway?
TB: It’s what it looks like but it doesn’t look like… I didn’t think it would be that far because we’re talking in mileage terms like 21 miles. Which one of these dots, is this Pocatello?
RR: Up to the north a little further right before you see where it says Chubbuck. That whole area immediate south of Chubbuck is Pocatello.
TB: Ok. Well then I don’t know, that’s an awful long distance but it don’t… This is a reservoir obviously here right?
TB: Ok, well all I know is that the freeway, I do know that my recollection was that the freeway was, I took an off-ramp then went left or west of the freeway so that much I…
RR: Do you recall passing the Indian Reservation or some factories?
RR: But you did take an off-ramp?
RR: And that led you to another paved road which went down to the river or close to the river and then stopped?
TB: Went alongside the river and at some point part of it branched across the small bridge south of this location we’re talking about. I didn’t come to the end of it, I mean the paved road itself.
RR: And the bridge would have been to your south?
TB: Well, yeah if the way this river’s running yeah it would have been downstream.
RR: Did you see anyone else around the area on your approach down there?
TB: As a matter of fact, well I heard some kids, I assumed it to be kids I didn’t see, catch a glimpse of them, riding dirt bikes on this hilly area that was above the roadway away from the river.
RR: Did it look like that was an area commonly used for that purpose?
TB: It struck me that it was, yes.
RR: What time of day was this by the time that this occurred, by the time you reached the river, excuse me?
TB: Three o’clock.
RR: After you left the junior high school, where did you go from there?
TB: Uh, back to the Holiday Inn.
RR: Is that where the sexual contact occurred?
TB: Well, that’s when I have a hard time talking about some of these things.
RR: Do you recall if you had to go to the desk to get a key?
RR: Do you recall what part of the Holiday Inn you were staying in?
RR: Can you describe for me from the entrance approximately where your room would have been?
TB: It was all the way around the what I would call the back, the far side from the desk, the main entrance then all the around the back side, so you drive basically all the way around to the back. You know you’d have to take a circuitous route around the, the various wings of the Holiday Inn to get around to the backside of it, and it would’ve been on the first floor, I mean the ground level.
RR: Did you keep any items involving either of these incidents for any purpose?
TB: No, no I didn’t.
RR: When we talked about the backpack, you said that it was thrown in a real durnpsite. Do you…
TB: Well yeah, well I should say, how to describe this place this is an area south of Salt Lake City where there are lots of illegal dumping and there’s also a general area where the real city dump, at least use to be before the lake rose, I guess, and because a lot of the garbage trucks took that route there was lots of stuff along the sides of the highways so, you know, it was hardly noticeable, what else was out there. So it was just a lot of things laying all around the roadway and then off the road there were a lot of illegal dump sites. People did a lot of dumping.
RR: In addition to the instances that you described for us, did you… were there ever any unsuccessful attempts in Idaho, specifically around the Pocatello area?
TB: No, oh, oh, wait a minute, yeah I should just give that a little bit more thought, I could have. I thought you meant before, on that particular trip which was the only trip that I made to Pocatello from Salt Lake.
RR: There weren’t any unsuccessful ones in Pocatello that you recall?
TB: No, not really, no.
RR: Is there anything that might have been reported?
TB: Again only that incident on that college campus would conceivably have been reported and I’m not so sure about that.
RR: This green backpack. Could you describe for me some of the other contents besides the identification? If you recall.
Diana Weiner: We’re done. Our hour is up.
TB: See what you… you know, I don’t need to tell you your job but if you come up with questions that are important… that you simply want me to answer… perhaps I can find a way to do that. I know this isn’t much time.
RR: I’d appreciate that very much. Naturally we’re going to start checking right away on some of this information and we may very well have more questions later.
Many thanks to Chuck Meeks and Rob Dielenberg for the vintage and modern photographs.