On January 20 and 22, 1989, Ted Bundy sat down with King County Detective Robert Keppel to give his final confessions. As a gesture of good faith, and with the hope of receiving a stay in exchange for more information on the final resting place of his unrecovered victims, Bundy described the final hours and resting place of one Seattle victim, Georgann Hawkins. Hawkins was a freshman at the University of Washington in Seattle who was abducted only steps away from her sorority house. His “Bones for Time” strategy was a desperate last attempt to ward off execution, as Bundy intended for her remains to be found so he would be seen as too valuable to be put to death. After Bundy’s execution, investigators unsuccessfully attempted to locate her remains in Issaquah.
Excerpts from the ‘Washington Confession’
January 20, 1989
Ted Bundy: Ok. All right. Well. Let’s just do one here. I mean, let’s start. Obviously we have to start somewhere. And I think it might, we might, as a long shot — it’s pretty long shot — that you might be able to get something out of it. At least some of that so called tangible evidence that might be of some value not only to you but to others. And maybe a bit of information, even if you don’t find anything else, that might be of some value to families. Ok. So we’ll do — I understand that at the Issaquah site, which I could describe to you, will describe to you if you want, there were three, remains of three individuals found, two identified and one not, cause of the, the, so few, the kinds of remains that were found were so few and unidentifiable. Ok?
Robert Keppel: Uh-huh.
TB: What do you want? Description of the site first? How to get there. I mean, you just don’t, you just don’t make this up. Right?
RK: I want to know what the site is.
TB: Yeah. Well, the old Highway 90, which is no longer there, not like it used to be. It’s a — but at that time when you were coming up from Issaquah you went from a basically a freeway, you rose up out of Issaquah into the foothills and you rounded a bend and it turned into the old 90 off of the freeway. And about a mile and a half, two miles beyond that bend– this is 20-year-old, 15-year-old stuff, so be mindful of it. It was not a divided highway at that time, so you could turn clear across the highway. You could make a left hand turn going East. You could turn clear across the highway on the risk of getting a ticket, I suppose, and go North across the highway and turn across unto any side road. So if you drove North, if I was to drive North up and going East on 90, about mile, let’s say more or less up that stretch of road there’s a, a kind of a, used to be, a — is it called an access road? Not an access road. That’s not the word I’m looking for. It’s a side road, small dirt side road. You would turn left going East. You would enter the side road, go across the ravine or over a ravine that was between the side road and the highway, then turn, sort of go left again and go in back down toward Issaquah on the side road, pass underneath some, at the time, utility or power transmission lines were there — creek, that was a creek down in the ravine between 90 and the side road, this little dirt side road. Maybe half a mile, quarter of a mile down this little side road if you turn, if you kept on following it all the way down it would join 90 again but if you turned just about the time it reached 90 again you could — there’s another little dirt road that went up the hill, across some railroad tracks, wound up the side of the hill. Just on the other side of the railroad tracks about 20 yards up there’s a little grassy area. And so, and you know, some scrub growth. Old alders and what-have-you. A little path that ran parallel to the railroad tracks and then up into the woods, running sort of West. The dirt road went past this grassy area I just mentioned and went up the hill maybe, maybe it went up half a mile. It wort of meandered up the side of the hill, hilly area. Also in the area, maybe fifty yards to the East, down into another ravine, was an old abandoned cabin. Ring a bell? Think. Well, so. Let’s see.
RK: Where should we have found the bodies?
TB: Lord knows where and what the little creatures up there did. The animals would have done. But I think… well, let me start with one. Let me start this way. The unidentified remains — gee, this is where I’m a little bit — the presence of the officers down here is a little bit unnerving. Some of this stuff I don’t mind talking about, because they wouldn’t know them from Adam. But names, I can write it down. I can whisper it to you or whatever. I just don’t want the police getting any kind of names at this point. And then I’ll just write the name down for you. All right? Did you see that? This is — the name that I just wrote down was Georgann Hawkins. Um. Up that dirt road, beyond the grassy area. I’ll try to trace it here on a piece of paper. How about that? That might help a little, I’m working from some pretty old memories. Well. Let’s do it this way. Here’s the grassy area. Here’s the road coming up this, trees. To the North, Northwest of this grassy area — Oh, yeah, great. Let me try to orient myself here. Jeez.
RK: The only reason we have this picture is there was a big suit over this property going on and they took this picture on March 20, ’74. It’s just overheads.
TB: Is it still relatively undisturbed?
RK: Yup. That’s March — well, no. About right here the railroad track is gone and the freeway, right about where the railroad track is.
TB: In their construction how, did they disturb up the hillside much?
RK: Yeah. Of course, there’s some of that hillside left.
TB: Well, I’m trying to find. I mean, let me try to pinpoint here some — it’s a little bit harder, you know, not having seen it — I think what I’m talking to you about is that — well, it’s hard to pinpoint it like I need to do. I could show you what I mean by that area, I think.
RK: Right in here?
TB: Yeah. Now, up. God. You stop when I tell you. Go up the road. Keep going. Right about there, more or less, in and about 10 yards.
RK: Now, was that a flat area or was —?
TB: No. It’s rocky, very hilly.
RK: Ok. Cause as you go up into about this area, come up the hill, where you could drive a car and get off the road — you remember where that was?
TB: I don’t know cause I, I — see, back to the grassy area. I parked there and walked up. I never — I didn’t drive. So you see, I don’t know if you went up that far.
RK: Yeah, I did.
TB: But if —
RK: Oh, yeah, we were two miles —
TB: Ok. Well. In that location that I just described, I don’t know what it’s like today, but you should find some more that, of — we can get into details as to why —
RK: Why that area?
TB: This is where I get a little bit antsy, not about you, but it’s just the chance of being overheard. There’s some of this stuff that gets pretty tough. I can write it down, whisper it. I have no problem with that. I have to draw the line somewhere with being overheard at this point.
RK: Why don’t you pull the mike closer to your area and try that?… What you might try is whispering it and, you know, I think the tape will pick it up.
TB: Can you hear that?
RK: I can hear it, yeah.
TB: Okay, I just wrote that the Hawkins girl’s head was severed and taken up the road about twenty-five to fifty yards and buried in a location about ten yards west of the road on a rocky hillside. Did you hear that?
RK: Yeah. Where is the rest of her at?
TB: Down where the others were. I gave you that because I felt that it might be worthwhile to start there because that one hadn’t been discovered before. That was more or less a question mark, to a point. You know, we all know what the suspicions were, but basically — and so those people, the, you know, among other things, the family there might be able to — I don’t know if you still even have those separate, unidentified remains. But in any case, I think that was a good place to start.
RK: What was the damage to those remains? What instrument did you use?
TB: Yeah. But not anything you would have found that I know of. If you’d found it, probably you’d have found damage to the head; the jaw in particular probably broken. But if you’d found that, you’d have known who it was. Is there any reason you asked me that question?
RK: What I wondered was, were similar things done to Ott and Naslund?
TB: We’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves, but I will say this much: no. Well, wait a minute. Now, that’s a good question. Not similar things, not exactly. I don’t want to beg the question, but they were different. Certainly not as extensive in those two instances as opposed to the Hawkins girl.
RK: Okay, what weapons did you use on the Hawkins girl?
TB: [Writes the word “HACKSAW”]
TB: Ya. This is it. That and–
RK: How was that done?
TB: Well, we can go through it, step by step. So, a couple days later.
RK: Oh, about Georgann Hawkins. When did that happen?
TB: When? Well, May of…
RK: I know when she disappeared. On June twelfth.
TB: Oh. June?
RK: The severing, when did that happen?
TB: Oh, oh, oh, oh, that. Oh, excuse me. I was thinking of May, see? Ah, my memory. Oh, let’s see. I’d say about three days later.
RK: Three days later? Had you gone back there before that time?
TB: Uh huh. The next day.
RK: The next day. What did you do the next day?
TB: Just went back to check out the site, make sure nothing had been left there. See, you know, the feeling is, I reached the point and half expected that she might not even be there. That somehow, I hadn’t even killed her, if you will. So I went back—oh, yeah. Removed things like the rope. I—no, no, I had already done that. Can’t remember if I found anything there or not. But I wanted to make sure. Oh, that’s what it was. Talk about details coming back. I couldn’t find one of the shoes, so I thought it was there. But it wasn’t. So I went back—this was the next day—got on my bicycle, and rode back to that little parking lot. I knew there were police all over the place by that time, but I was kind of nervous—and I’ll tell you why in a minute. Cause I’d left and my car had been parked there. Somebody may have seen it. Now, if something was found there, it might connect me. So I went back to that parking lot at about five o’clock in the afternoon and found both pierced earrings and the shoe, laying in the parking lot. So I surreptitiously gathered them up and rode off.
RK: After the police had checked that area?
TB: Well, you can tell me. I’d seen whole streams of them driving around all over the place, but they were concentrating on places like the nearby parks. I bet you they couldn’t have looked in that parking lot and missed the white patent-leather clog and two white pierced earrings—little hoops.
RK: That was discovered by you the next day?
TB: Yeah. Around five o’clock, six o’clock.
RK: After you left the Issaquah scene that night and went toward Taylor Mountain, did you go back to Taylor Mountain, knowing what was there?
TB: No. No, I wasn’t going back. I just drove by there. That’s all. It was along the highway. I didn’t even slow down. Yeah, that was really not on my mind at that time.
RK: Okay, so what happened in the next couple days?
TB: Well, again, and this might be something you could plug into, if that’s what you want to do. The reason I was so nervous about anything like that being found in that parking lot was that no more than two weeks before, I had been using the same modus operandi in the same neighborhood. In front, now, of the same sorority house that Georgann Hawkins disappeared from, I encountered a girl going out the door and asked her to help me. I walked her all the way to that lot, eleven o’clock on a Friday night. And I was drunk, and I was just babbling on. Told her I worked in Olympia, that I lived in a rooming house. I mean, I was just horrified later on.
RK: Were you drunk when you got Hawkins?
TB: Yes, more or less, but yes. That was basically part of the M.O. at that time. Yeah. But I reached all the way to the car—and this would happen sometimes—and just said, ‘No, I don’t want to do it.’ I said, Thank you. See you later.’ And she walked away. But after the Hawkins thing, I was just paranoid as hell that this girl would say, ‘You know, something weird happened to me a couple weeks ago. This guy came along with crutches and asked me to help him. He took me to a Volkswagen and said he worked in Olympia and lived here in the university district.’ How many people could that apply to? So, there you are.
RK: Okay, how about getting back to—going back to that scene?
TB: Okay. Well, I went back the next day, and I went back about three days later to do that business we talked about earlier and went up the roadway with it. It was sort of a crude attempt to disguise the identity—or avoid, I mean—the identification of the remains as such. I don’t know. In retrospect, it sounds pretty incoherent, but that’s what was motivating it at the time. And then maybe about a week to two weeks later, I went back for a third time. Yeah.
RK: What for?
TB: Again, just to see what was going on. You know, there’s a lot of psychological stuff going on here that we just don’t have time for. I mean, we could spend days explaining it. I mean, there is an aspect here of, you know, the possessiveness Bill’s talked about and I’m sure you’re familiar with, the aftereffects. This is why I’m so keen on the staking out crime scenes of this type afterwards, fascination with death, necrophilia, all that. But, of course, you know, in June after a week, what with all the local wildlife, that there’s not much left.
RK: Were you going back to that scene to commit sex acts?
TB: Well, I don’t want to talk about that right now. We will talk about it someday, but I don’t have—we don’t—not really— have enough to give you the background on that. I want us to work into that.
RK: Okay, all right. Now, did you always carry the little hacksaw with you?
TB: Oh, it was in the tool kit. I had a metal tool kit in the front trunk, such as it is, in the Volkswagen. It had everything in there. I mean, you know, all the tools you need to repair Volkswagens, just like any tool kit, metric stuff. And in there was a hacksaw. And also a little shovel, little army shovel.
RK: Did you ever bury anybody?
TB: Oh, yes. Yeah, in, you might say, my more coherent—not coherent—when I was really going all out and took my time, yeah, I did. I mean, it’s quite clear. I mean, there’s no question—almost without question, those who have been found were not, and those who haven’t been found were buried. It’s that simple.
RK: I’m thinking about areas, time, and whether I need to stay with the rest of that Issaquah site. Or whether I need to move on to a different murder I don’t even know about. I might be able to corroborate facts in the next couple of days. I know the basic six. Now I know about seven, one that was missing that we didn’t know was there. The missing Donna Manson—the girl from Thurston County—we haven’t covered where she is. That’s all I know about so far from you. Now I need to know what other murders you’re talking about. Are there murders in other jurisdictions in Washington? I want to get some perspective because, eventually, I’d like to get as many details on each one that lean. I don’t want to go for two hours and say, ‘Well, I have no idea what the scope is.’ ‘Cause if anybody asks me what the scope is, somebody of importance, I’d like to know what it is.
TB: Yeah. I don’t blame you.
RK: You and I have talked for two hours already, not counting the other visits I’ve had [with] you and your letters to me. But what I need to know is if I have to fight for more time. What do I have to fight about? I know the details of things that are here, but maybe some other people don’t have as much to talk about as I do. I don’t know. It depends on what they have. So I know about those eight. And you’re talking about three others. How far back in time? You got January ’74 through July of ’74. Are there more within that time frame that I don’t know about in the state of Washington?
TB: Yes, there are. I hear you, Bob. What I’m trying to do, for my own self, is to demonstrate that I am serious about this. You have a legitimate need to know it all. And you want, of course, to start with what is most obvious, that is, the identities, numbers, dates, and that’s important. There’s a lot more important stuff. And I’ve never spoken to anybody about this and, for me, it was an important first confession of its kind. I’m not asking for any kind of public service awards, but the reality is that’s what it was for me. (…) What I wanted to show, do with you is something we haven’t done before and which — is talk about something very specific. This is something I’ve held, God forbid, but I’ve held for all these many years, fifteen years or so. And I think I — glad we started, with that particular indi– that individual, victim, case, because it was one of the unidentified ones, more or less, you know, in some — I think you had your suspicions, obviously, and very strong suspicions, but — So we start with a case which I think kind of demonstrates or exemplifies what we’re trying to do. What kind of information I have. I have more or — I intend to talk to the Colorado authorities about one of their cases where remains have — where they’ve found nothing. Absolutely nothing where they can. And the same with Utah.
RK: …if we have a particular location and site we can certainly, you know, mount the people to check the site and search for it. We’re a hell of a lot better at it today than we were fourteen years ago. That’s for sure. And we’ve got the auspices of the Green River Task Force to search and help search in probably the most professional way possible, and that’s about all I can offer. If we know a location where you think we can find something.
TB: I don’t feel like we’ve, we’ve achieved, we’ve accomplished something here but I don’t feel like we’ve really joined heads on this thing. I don’t know what you want to do. I know you’ve been on, on this case, so to speak, the Bundy case, for a long time. I know that you must have some deep seated feelings about it. I don’t want to make too many assumptions, but here’s what it comes down to to me. I want the truth, the truth that’s going to be helpful to you, but the broader truth that has a wider application. That’s my bottom line. There’s just no way it can be done in these circumstances with this amount of time, and that’s the way it is. I’m not holding you hostage. If you don’t want to do anything with it you’re free to walk away. If you can put your heads together with these other law enforcement people and think of any way, I’m not asking for clemency, I’m not asking to get off. I’m not asking for sympathy, but I, I draw the line. We need a period of time, 60, 90 days, a few months, systematically going over with everybody, bottom to top, everything I can think of. Get it all down. You can use it as you see fit. But that’s how it is. Now, if you can see a way. I know you’re limited in what you can do. You’ve got your job and your political considerations and all that and your boss apparently has taken a position against this, but all I can tell you is when you go out and talk to those other people, you can tell them this. Yes, I’m only going to give you part of it. I’ll give you something substantial right now to show you that my head is in the right place. I will not be in — put myself in a position of giving it all away and not getting the kind of result that I think is best from my people and I think for society in general. But, I don’t want to sound like I’m too altruistic here, that is a consideration, but I am concerned about my own people. Bob, they’re going to get me sooner or later. You don’t need to worry about that, but you’ve been after this for fifteen years. A couple months is not going to make any difference. That’s what I have to say.
January 22, 1989
RK: …I contacted each of the victims’ relatives and talked to them and I told them how sincere you were and how open you were about talking to me about it and that it was a difficult process to go through. And, you know, they wished me luck and —
TB: How about the one in particular, the Georgann Hawkins? Were there any — you know, is there going to be any attempt to go over that area again?
RK: Ok. Georgann Hawkins area is pretty much so thoroughly searched. I mean, that was the first one and it was — we went for miles all over on hands and knees. We found a lot of bones, but, you know,, by the time we got — the only thing we have of her, or had of her, for the medical examiner lost bones—-
TB: They lost the —
RK: Yeah. Were two, was one femur bone. We ended up with five femur bones. That’s all we had. We never did — we actually found — all we found of Janice Ott was her lower jaw bone. We didn’t find her skull. We found Naslund’s skull. We found Ott’s, what we think was Ott’s, backbone. You know, those animals they just walk around out there and do their thing…
Excerpt from the Interview with FBI Special Agent William Hagmaier
January 22, 1989
Bill Hagmaier: I am here at Florida State Prison, Raiford, Florida, with Mr. Ted Bundy. We are having a meeting and presently it is two days prior to his scheduled execution date and he has consented to share, some of his ideas and experiences with us for the purpose of giving law enforcement a better understanding of people they may encounter in the future who have been involved in activities similar to those of Mr. Bundy at an earlier age. It is late at night and Mr. Bundy has been spending the whole day attempting to help authorities in other states resolve unsolved homicides as far back as fourteen years.
Ted’s been kind enough to spend the last couple of days and perhaps the next two which he is aware may be the last two that he’ll spend on this earth and he is determined to designate the majority of that time to assisting local law enforcement in resolving cases that he has been involved with. He has been doing it with the purposes of trying to resolve some of the trauma for the victims’ families and also to assist local law enforcement authorities in actually understanding the scope of his involvement because there have been a number of cases for which he has been accredited with when it has been quite obvious and apparent that he was not responsible for a number of others that he has been suspected of. I think what I will do is just let Ted talk a little bit. I know he is tired and perhaps we will have an opportunity to do this in the future, about his feelings about what he has been involved in, that which was important to him, and molding his behavior, and whatever else he might share with us this evening.
Ted Bundy: Yeah; thank you Bill, I don’t– it’s hard to know where to begin… I wanted for a long time to be able to be in a position, Bill, where I could be absolutely in a position to apply the facts of cases to the rather abstract conversations we’ve had some time to give some meaning to them. For instance today I thought it was and yesterday when we talked with Bob Keppel about the Georgann Hawkins case… I think there were things that came out that I could see had application to things other than the simple solution of these cases, the application to the, the, to other cases solved and unsolved, whether they were attributed to me or to someone else… I was talking about today’s session with the Colorado authorities in the Cunningham case and one of the investigators questioning me, questioning my veracity or just trying to learn more or both, they didn’t understand why according to him that in the past that I had been believed to be someone who left the victims lying on the ground and did not bury them and why would I come back later. Do you remember that?
BH: Yes, I do.
TB: And yet he saw some kind of inconsistency which seemed to him to be a, uh, detract from the credibility of the story. Is that your impression? He was having a hard time letting me trying to explain to him.
BH: He was. He was, I think part of that was that he had preconceived ideas as a lot of us in law enforcement do when we think we’ve got a signature series of murders and we assume that somebody’s going to act the same way in every time. But of the thirty that you were involved in, can you have an idea of how many were actually buried?
TB: Uh, that’s a good question. I mean a whole new set of… uh, gee. Ten.
BH: Ten burials of the thirty?
TB: Just roughly, I mean I am just… yes.
BH: Ted, one of the things that came up in your efforts to assist the local investigators into resolving some of the homicides, particularly on a couple where they didn’t have the bodies and you’ve been working diligently, using maps and recollection as to where they can find them. Uh, you shared with us that a couple of the cases, and I am not sure how many, but you opted to sever the heads from the victims and, how many was that do you recall of thirty?
TB: Oh, that’s–
BH: I realize it’s a difficult question because you are a different person now than you were then. But to search back and–
TB: Oh perhaps half a dozen. [Editor’s note: Hagmaier later said Bundy wrote down “12” on a piece of paper while saying this.]
BH: Was the mutilation part of the sexual activity at times?
TB: Again, it was extremely rare and it was not, it was not– I know with some people I have heard it is their kind of signature but it was not something like that for me, but in those occasions when it occurred it was almost, outside of those couple of occasions, I was sort of frenzied, lashing out, it was more of an attempt to transport, conceal, uh, their remains more than anything else.
King County Department of Public Safety
Officer’s Report by Detective Malcolm Chang
Subject: Officer’s Witness Statement- Death Investigation
01-30-89 11:30AM: A meeting was held at an initial staging area in the City of Issaquah to discuss a primary search of an area that possibly contained the remains of one of Ted Bundy’s victims. Those present at this briefing were Captain Robert Evans, Robert Keppel–State Attorney General’s Office, Bill Haglund–King County Medical Examiner’s Office, Sergeant Bruce Peterson, Detective Cecil Ray and I.
01-30-89 12:05PM: We all proceeded to an area which can be described as land that was owned by Berlington Northern Railroad approx. 1.8 miles west of High Point Road, and approximately 450 to 500 feet north of I-90. The site itself was approximately 250 feet north of an abandoned railroad grade which runs parallel to I-90 in an east west direction and is on the west side of a trail that runs north off of the railroad grade. The area of concentration was approximately 209 feet north of and area that two sets of human remains were discovered and could be attributable to Bundy’s killing spree. Det. Ray and I began to dig in an area about 5 feet off of the northwest shoulder of the trail. The radius of our excavation attempt was approximately 8 feet and the depth was up to 18″ in some spots. It was determined that this attempt was a futile one due to the area to be covered. A decision was made to come back at a later time with heavy equipment and additional manpower to process this location properly.
Prior to our going back to this site, Det. Ray and I, through the Department of Assessments determined the owners of this land, obtained maps of the area and passed this information on to Capt. Evans and Sgt. Peterson.
02-15-89 8:00AM: The following individuals met at the location of I-90 and the High Point Way off ramp prior to proceeding to the excavation site:
King County Police:
Major Richard Kraske
Capt. Robert Evans
Sgt. Bruce Peterson
Det. Dave Reichert
Det. Alexandra Bennion
Det. Patrick Bowen
Det. Cecil Ray
Seattle Police Department:
Sgt. Don Cameron
Det. Sonny Davis
Det. Tom Pike
King County Parks:
02-15-89 8:30AM: All of us proceeded to the excavation site and the area to be dug was outlined to the employees from King County Parks so that they could begin digging. Henry Gonzales was the operator of a CASE 580 tractor with a back hoe and while he was operating this piece of machinery, several of the investigators at the site maintained a close watch of the earth he was uncovering in search for any human remains. This process was extremely time consuming as Gonzales scrapped about the top 6 to 8 inches of soil so as not to miss anything of importance. The area dug measured approximately 58′ x 23′ and went down to an approximate depth of up to 4 feet. During this process, the digging with the heavy machinery was stopped so that further investigation could be conducted manually with hand tools. While the search was being conducted, Det. Pat Bowen took photographs of this site.
After conducting a thorough search of this site, it was determined that all assigned personnel secure from this assignment. Det. Ray and I then cleaned the equipment used and secured from this scene.
[Editor’s Note: No remains were found].
Rest in Peace
Special thanks to the King County Archives, Rob Dielenberg, Det. Bob Keppel and Stephen Michaud.