On June 7, 1977, while attending pretrial hearings for the murder of Caryn Campbell in Aspen, Colorado, Ted Bundy leapt from a second floor window of the Pitkin County Courthouse to freedom. After six days of wandering in the mountains, he was recaptured. This is the story of that first escape.
The Seattle Times
“Bundy: chatty calmness, then a desperate leap,” by Richard Larsen
June 8, 1977
“Ted Bundy just escaped!”
That startling news came just yesterday morning. Especially hard for me to believe because, in our lengthy conversation only four days earlier, Bundy sounded composed, chatty, still confident about his preparations for his coming murder trial in Colorado.
He was telephoning that day from the county jail at Glenwood Springs. He wanted to talk about the interview we’d had in that jail a few days earlier, on May 27. And he wanted to talk about politics…
[Hear the original May 27, 1977 recorded interview on Patreon.]
On our May 27 visit, I had tried to take two packages of Fig Newtons to him there in jail. But jailers had said no to the cookies: They had Bundy in a shroud of security– handcuffs and/or leg irons whenever he was out of his cell and a ban on any outside food…
An attorney with the local public defender’s office, John Browne, also received a telephone call the same day from Bundy. They’re often on the phone together: Browne was helping Bundy, serving as his own counsel, prepare his defense against the murder charge. Browne believes Bundy’s escape yesterday was an impetuous act: “I don’t think it was planned.”
Browne had just received in the mail from Bundy a stack of documents involved in the Colorado murder case. Browne was planning to go to Colorado Friday, “to spend about four days down there.”
“Ted has constantly maintained his innocence of everything,” says Browne, who believes him. Browne describes Bundy as a middle-class citizen who went to law school and “believed in the system.” Then he was convicted of a kidnapping charge in Utah. And now he faces a murder charge, which could be a very weak one, in Colorado. But the prosecution was talking about 200 to 300 witnesses in that trial. Bundy felt anxious, no doubt.
“I think he no longer believed in the system,” Browne said.
Yesterday was just another day of almost-routine pretrial motions in the same courtroom Bundy had appeared in May 26. Except this time the arguments were over whether or not the death penalty should be an issue in the case. At 10:30 am there was a court recess of 15 minutes. Uncuffed, Bundy was permitted to walk alone into the law library– a small room adjoining the courtroom.
He jumped from a second-story window. Because of the old building’s high ceilings, the drop was much longer than one from the second story of a more modern building. Several minutes elapsed before his courtroom guards knew.
Great pressures no doubt were on Bundy, a complex person whose behavior has fascinated the many people who have examined him and his background. The most intrigued and probative Bundy-watchers have been the police…
In Salt Lake City yesterday, Captain Hayward expressed fear that Bundy might be shot by those in the Colorado manhunt. “I have a lot of things I want to talk to him about,” Hayward said.
In Seattle, the public defender Browne bemoaned the extraordinary happenings around Bundy: “If people can, for the moment, consider that he can be innocent…” Consider that, said Browne, adding: “I think he was becoming more and more apprehensive of a fair trial.”
Bundy had some extra pressure lately. Some of his friends were being questioned by Utah County authorities intensifying an investigation into the 1975 murder of a young woman– a case which could produce another charge of murder.
The Aspen Times
“Escaped kidnaper Bundy eludes helicopter, hounds, manhunters,” by Bill Rollins
June 9, 1977
…An intensive manhunt that began within minutes of the escape had grown to include tracking dogs, helicopter with an infrared scanner that can “see through” trees by detecting the heat of a human body, and hundreds of volunteers. Road blocks were maintained at every highway and jeep road leading from Aspen. In the city, house by house, yard by yard, shed by shed search was continuing…
Impressions of his footprints were deeply imbedded in the sod from the landing. Bundy had several minutes’ head start on sheriff’s deputies.
In court, he was wearing a brown, vertically ribbed turtleneck and brown cord slacks. There was a subsequent report that he had a blue and white striped shirt under his turtleneck.
Bundy was seen by Casey Armstrong, a courthouse secretary, through a basement window as he ran past the northwest corner of the building. Moments later another secretary, Whitney Wulf, found legal papers that the defendant dropped in his leap– just below a south side, Main Street window of the law library. A witness reported seeing him shortly after the escape near Freddie’s Restaurant, two blocks east of the courthouse on Main St. Later, he was reported in the Smuggler Mountain area.
Police warned residents over the Aspen radio stations to lock doors and windows and stay inside. Roadblocks were set up on roads leading out of the valley. A helicopter was scouring the countryside within the hour, and a request was made for bloodhounds.
Ironically, Sheriff Dick Kienast had anticipated that Bundy might try an escape when he was first extradited to Colorado from Utah State Prison. Partly because of Kienast’s fears about security, Bundy was transferred to the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs. He was brought in handcuffs to hearings here. But the cuffs were off when he made his jump to freedom.
Xerox photos of Bundy were printed and circulated to motorists in downtown Aspen soon after the break…
It had been Deputy Westerlund’s practice to look into the courtroom from the corridor periodically through the glass windows of the door to see that Bundy was there. Perhaps five minutes after court recess began, this reporter went back into the courtroom and saw that it was empty. Westerlund noticed my concern.
“I think he’s in there,” he said, poking his head into the courtroom and indicating the door leading to the court clerk’s office, on a line with the judge’s bench at the front of the courtroom.
“I hope so,” I said. Moments later, in the corridor, a secretary rushed up the stairs to say that Bundy had been seen running past a basement window…
The Aspen Times
“The Bundy manhunt: is a killer loose in Aspen?,” by John Sabella
June 9, 1977
The escape of Theodore Bundy from Pitkin County authorities was an incident often joked about– before it actually occurred.
The escape itself and subsequent, unsuccessful manhunt revealed serious deficiencies in the operations of local law enforcement agencies, and they have produced days filled with guns and nights filled with fear; uncommon events in carefree Aspen…
What better place to make a break than Aspen? The sheriff speculates. He argues that Bundy should be shackled in the courtroom, but Judge George Lohr overrules him…
On the morning of the escape, the two law officers escorting him make Bundy get into their patrol car first. He sits in the front, the passenger seat. Sgt. Murphy slides into the backseat, behind Bundy. Kralicek, the driver, keeps his left hand on the steering wheel and his right hand free, near his gun.
Bundy is silent for long periods during their 40 mile drive. Kralicek, who has spent considerable time guarding the prisoner, later says it is normal behavior, not suspicious. Murphy, however, is nervous. He doesn’t like the jerky movements Bundy makes with his manacled hands. The deputy unfastens the strap that holds his gun in its holster.
When they arrive at the courthouse, Kralicek leads Bundy by the arm while Murphy follows and carries the suspect’s box of legal papers. Aspen Times photographs the trio outside the building. It is a routine assignment: file material for use when the trial opens. Lewy is the only newsman at the courthouse. His photos later prove to be the only up-to-date shots of Bundy available, and Lewy rushes prints to the sheriff’s office for use at their roadblocks and for dissemination to the news media…
…Between 10:40 and 10:45 am, an unidentified passerby on Main St sees a man jump 30 feet out of the second story window of the courthouse. It is the window nearest the west corner of the building. He lands hard; his feet make deep imprints in the lawn, and the impact throws him forward onto his hands, which leave more imprints. He races across the front lawn of the courthouse, behind the Concept 600 building and Freddie’s Restaurant, past the bus depot and across the Roaring Fork River. The Main Street passerby hurries to the sheriff’s office with a question: “Is it normal for people to jump out of second story windows around here?”
Kralicek is at the counter. He curses when he hears the news. It has to be Bundy. Kralicek and secretary Coleen Curtis race up the stairs. Only when Westerlund sees Curtis does he respond with alarm to Bundy’s absence. He makes a frantic call on his radio: “Bundy has escaped!” The dispatch office logs the time as 10:48 am.
Sheriff’s secretary Whitney Wulf runs for the sheriff when she hears the news. Kienast is notified. Next Wulf runs out the front door of the courthouse. Near the lilac bush at the west corner, she finds some of Bundy’s papers and the footprints. Simultaneously, Curtis finds Bundy’s sweater in the courtroom. She brings it downstairs. It will later be used as scent for the trained dogs that are flown in.
At about 10:50, the telephone rings at the sheriff’s office. A man from Freddie’s has seen the fugitive race past the building. Officers scouring the area meet a group of kids who have seen the suspect cross the river at the old Riverside Trailer Park. It is shortly before 11 am Tuesday. These are the only two confirmed sightings of the fugitive.
It is half an hour before progress from Aspen is completely blocked. Law officers think that if Bundy is on foot, he is probably headed toward Hunter Creek. Deputies who have exercised Bundy outside the courthouse say he often studied the Hunter Valley and the slopes of Red and Smuggler Mountains.
Bundy exercised regularly in his cell, also deputies described his physical condition as excellent.
Off-duty officers and the reserve begin arriving at the sheriff’s office. They wear civilian clothes. They are heavily armed…
At City Hall, police Chief Art Hougland and City Attorney Dorothy Nuttall confer hurridly. Go ahead and place a temporary ban on the sale of firearms, she says, and I’ll find some justification.
School officials contact the dispatch office: they won’t let children go home alone. Long lines build up at roadblocks, where officers search every car. At the Catherine’s Store roadblock, Garfield County officers make nine arrests unrelated to Bundy. Nearly 500 pounds of marijuana are confiscated. A federal fugitive from California is arrested with weapons in his vehicle.
Shortly before 3 pm, the first tracking dog is led to the point of the last sighting. Bundy’s sweater and shoes give the dog the scent. The dog tracks the suspect about a quarter mile, to the bridge near Herron Park, and loses the trail. Perhaps Bundy entered a car there.
Authorities consider the possibility of an accomplice. They learn that Daniel Kellum, Bundy’s cellmate in the Pitkin County Jail, who was also transferred to Garfield County, is absent without leave from a work release program. He remains a suspect.
Traces are put on Bundy’s girlfriends– he corresponds with several– but they all are found to be out of the area.
As darkness falls the intensity of the search diminishes. Officers are sent home to rest, and told to report for duty at 4:30 am. It begins to rain. Four roadblocks are retained throughout the night, and patrols are maintained on roadways and trails.
Residents lock their doors; some come to the sheriff’s office for escorts home. The next morning, Kienast calls for volunteers to assist in a house to house search. The volunteer patrols go out, but organization is lacking. Criticism of the sheriff’s department mounts… The law officers have no new leads. There has been no trace of Bundy since the sighting near the river only minutes after he escaped.
Reporter Richard Larsen, a veteran observer of Bundy since the days when he was a respected citizen, speculates that the escape could have been vaguely pre-meditated since the suspect waived extradition to Colorado. Why wouldn’t he take a chance and come to free and easy Aspen, where the country cops might make a mistake?
And, with a criminal whose alleged atrocities rival those of a Manson or a Zebra, more and more the questions is asked: “Why was the security in the courtroom so lax?”
Federal Bureau of Investigation Teletype
From: Denver Office
To: Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle
Date: June 9, 1977
RE: Theodore Robert Bundy, aka Ted Bundy, aka Theodore Robert Cowell (true name)
Bundy was in custody of the State of Utah and had been transported to Colorado for the purpose of a murder trial. He escaped from custody on June 7, 1977. He fled the area of Aspen, Colorado, and it is believed that he fled from the State of Colorado.
For information all offices, subject being held Pitkin County Jail, Aspen, Colorado, for murder of Caryn Eileen Campbell, January 12, 1975, whose nude body was found February 17, 1975 near Aspen Snowmass ski resort area where she was staying with boyfriend. Subject escaped from Pitkin County Courthouse, Aspen, by jumping approximately 30 feet from third story window at 10:25 am, June 7, 1977.
Subject last sighted a few blocks away in Aspen. Cooperative law enforcement and civilian search of area with use of helicopter, tracking dogs, mountain rescue search squads, negative.
Afternoon of June 7, at Independence Pass, east of Aspen, stopped year unknown green Fiat, with white female driver, male passenger, and girl. Inquired about camping, with no visible camping gear in the vehicle. After observing subject’s photo, advised male passenger closely resembles subject, had very pale complexion and blue eyes. This vehicle and occupants not located, however, it would be necessary for vehicle to have passed the same road block twice and therefore probably not identical.
Subject previously convicted in Salt Lake City for aggravated kidnapping, sentenced 1-15 years, Utah State Penitentiary, Draper, Utah, June 1976.
On June 9, 1977, Salt Lake City Attorney’s Office filed escape warrant and warrant issued, no bond. Salt Lake City Bureau Office filed complaint before U.S. Magistrate Daniel Allsop, Salt Lake City, for Escape, Violation Title 18, USC, Section 1073, $100,000 cash bond.
Subject is suspect in multiple rape-murders in Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
Subject described as white male, aged 30, 5’11”- 6’0″, 145-155 lbs, blue eyes which are somewhat of an attracting feature, deep set. Is known to wear glasses and dark glasses as a disguise. Dark brown normally wavy hair, parted on right side, currently collar length, sideburns to earlobe, hair partially covers ear. Hair is very wiry and when washed appears almost afro-like, easily manageable and worn in various styles. Currently clean shaven, however has worn a full beard and in the past has used false mustaches and beards as a disguise. Sallow prison pallor complexion, slim-medium, wiry, muscular, athletic build. Wrinkles on forehead, prominent wrinkles extending down from nostrils, thin nose, no noticeable scars or marks. All fingers ulner loops with exception of whorl in right thumb which is a tight twin loop and right index finger is radial loop.
Will review subject’s personal effects. Subject is armed and extremely dangerous; escape risk.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Teletype
From: Denver Office
To: Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle
Date: June 11, 1977
Mountain cabin, approximately five miles from Aspen, on Castle Creek Road, discovered broken into this morning, June 11. Cabin previously checked by caretaker June 4.
Loaded rifle stolen, described as pump action high-powered deer rifle, no scope, and cabin possibly had additional ammunition. Latent fingerprints developed in cabin positively identified as subject’s.
Mountainous terrain search continuing in Aspen, Colorado area.
Subject armed with rifle, caliber unknown. Should be considered armed and extremely dangerous. Escape risk.
The Salt Lake Tribune
“Colorado Officials Claim Escapee Bundy Armed“
June 12, 1977
Accused murderer Theodore Bundy apparently is armed with a rifle which he obtained after breaking into a cabin in the Castle Creek area about 10 miles southwest. Bundy was last observed running east along Main Street into the aspen-covered hills.
Nina Johnston, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Bundy’s fingerprints were found in the cabin. Officials estimated Bundy had been at the cabin between 48 and 72 hours before, she said.
Trained dogs were flown from Denver Saturday night to assist in the manhunt, which was shifted from the area east of Aspen to the Castle Creek area following the discovering of the break-in earlier Saturday. The use of dogs had been suspended Wednesday after a rain shower caused the dogs to lose Bundy’s scent.
Meanwhile, officials were expressing renewed optimism in their search. “We think we are close,” said Mrs. Johnston. “This is the only good lead we’ve had since he escaped.”
Meanwhile, the Utah Highway Patrol confirmed Saturday that Aspen officials have put out a bulletin seeking the whereabouts of a former girlfriend of Bundy. Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Capt. Pete Hayward said that the woman apparently quit her job in Salt Lake City about two weeks ago, telling her employer she was returning to her home in the East. He said that there is “no known connection at this time” between the woman and Bundy’s escape.
The Seattle Times
“Bundy captured!,” by Richard Larsen
June 13, 1977
Theodore Bundy, tired, gaunt, and hungry, was recaptured unarmed in a stolen car early this morning. The ex-Seattleite was caught by two deputy sheriffs around 2 am on a street not far from the Courthouse where he had jumped to temporary freedom last Tuesday. When Bundy was identified, one officer said: “Welcome back, Ted.”
Under heavy guard, Bundy was taken back into the courtroom of his escape this morning, wearing jail issue, dark green coveralls. He was barefooted, and under new court orders, his ankles were chained…
The two officers earlier had been manning a roadblock several miles west of Aspen– a roadblock which probably would have stopped Bundy had he driven through Aspen. “At first I didn’t recognize him,” said deputy Gene Flatt. Bundy had effected some disguise, wearing a plaid shirt, which had been stolen from the cabin, a yellow hat, and wire-rimmed glasses, which had been taken from the car. He also had placed a Band-Aid on his nose.
Bundy’s recapture caused jubilation in the sheriff’s office, which had suffered embarrassment when Bundy fled. “We’re very, very relieved, to say the least,” said Undersheriff Ben Meyers.
Today Judge George Lohr read to Bundy the new charges of escape, burglary, misdemeanor theft (for stealing a .22 caliber rifle), and car theft. Bundy, obviously fatigued, seemed not to respond. Being led into the courtroom, Bundy exchanged a few words with reporters. When a photographer stumbled while trying to photograph him, Bundy kidded: “Don’t hurt yourself.”
Federal Bureau of Investigation Teletype
From: Denver Office
To: Salt Lake City Office
Date: June 13, 1977
For information of Salt Lake City, subject admitted breaking into cabin near Aspen, Colorado on June 8, 1977, where he spent the day and upon leaving, left a note on the window to conceal the break-in, stating, “TOM, Sorry, broke this when putting in plywood. Will have another put in immediately. -AMY”.
Pitkin County Sheriff’s Dept. Special Report
Subject: Bundy Escape Itinerary
Reporting Officer: Sgt. Don Davis
Date: June 15, 1977
On Monday, June 13, 1977, at approximately 2:35 a.m., the writer brought T. R. Bundy into Sheriff Kienast’s office for an interview regarding his whereabouts during the period of 10:42 a.m., June 7, 1977, to approximately 1:25 a.m. on June 13, 1977 when he was apprehended.
Bundy stated that the last time he was in Aspen for a hearing of motions on he thinks May 23, he decided that the next time he came to Aspen on Wednesday June 7, he would escape. Bundy had been preparing for an eventual escape for months but had not solidified his plans for an actual date until then. Bundy said that he had become more serious about the plan approximately 30 days prior to the actual escape, but that it took that long for him to overcome his concerns for what effect an escape would have on his pending trial for murder.
Upon his arrival at the Pitkin County courthouse and being escorted to the county room he stated he almost made his attempt immediately but was interrupted by Judge Lohr exiting his chambers. At recess Bundy decided he would have to go soon, and after the room cleared he began to move around the courtroom. He moved to the window he later jumped from, but was interrupted by a newspaper reporter (identification unknown) who came into the courtroom to retrieve her purse. As the reporter left the room Bundy decided to give her time to exit the building and leave the area, allegedly to avoid landing upon her as he fell.
Finally everything was satisfactory and Bundy made his leap. When asked if the height of the window concerned him, Bundy replied, “It could have been six stories, I still would have done it.”
After landing Bundy said he jumped uninjured to his feet and vaulted over both fences at either side of the front approach walkway, passing between the Courthouse and the courthouse plaza building immediately adjacent to the east. He then ran down the alley and down to the river. He did not enter the river, but walked east along the bank until he arrived at the Neale Ave Bridge. Then he returned to the street, walking east a half-block to West End St. which he followed to its southern terminus, passing the Gant condominium complex. He then immediately climbed up the face of the mountain to its top, without a single stop, over 3,000 feet. The mountain top, which runs to the south, was followed to a point approximately two miles below the Castle Creek/Conundrum Creek intersection, but found his way blocked by a ridge and had to renegotiate the hill, this time coming down about one half to three-quarters of a mile below the intersection.
While traveling upstream he saw the cabin owned by Fritz Kaeser at Castle Creek Road and Conundrum Creek Road. While passing the cabin he determined it to be unoccupied, but did not stop at that time. Instead he went into the Conundrum Creek residential area, arriving at about 5:00 p.m. Bundy claims to have spent approximately four hours looking for the trailhead out of Conundrum.
At approximately 11:00 p.m., Bundy set out to follow the Conundrum Trail in the rain, which had begun earlier in the evening, still dressed as he had been at the time of the escape. Soaking wet and suffering from fatigue, he made only two to three miles in the next three or four hours as he kept losing his way and falling asleep. At approximately 3:30 a.m. on June 8, he decided he had to get out of the rain, and to get warm and dry he returned to the Kaeser cabin, arriving a half hour later. Bundy watched the cabin until 8:00 a.m., at which time he broke into the cabin through the back, after first breaking a front window and realizing he couldn’t enter that way. Inside the cabin Bundy thoroughly searched all rooms for useful items. He ate what food was available: tea, brown sugar, and tomato sauce, then slept for several hours. The escapee left the cabin shortly after midnight Thursday morning, taking what supplies he thought useful. These included a .22 caliber rifle, two boxes of ammunition, a jacket, shirts, and a small amount of first aid equipment.
After leaving the cabin he headed back up Conundrum Trail, stopping high up on the west side of the valley, and slept in a secluded aspen grove from dawn until 2 p.m., when he began to climb the side of the valley. He crossed the ridge over the top of Keefe Peak and dropped into the Maroon Creek Valley at about 9:30 p.m., when he stopped and built a fire. He rested there until 2:00 a.m. June 9, when he resumed his march to the valley floor, only to discover he was on East Maroon Creek.
Bundy describes this as his second emotional low, the first being when he had to return to the Kaeser cabin. Although he would not say so, I believe the indications are that he believed he was crossing the Continental Divide when he crossed the ridge summit, and did not realize it until he arrived at East Maroon Creek and found the water running in the wrong direction.
After leaving the stolen rifle somewhere on the Eastern Slope of the Ridge, he started traveling north to the junction of East and West Maroon Creeks. By 3 p.m., Bundy began experiencing pain in his right knee, so he stopped at the junction where he rested for the next 6 hours. Then he resumed his flight on the footpath along the east side of the creek. As he approached the vicinity of the T-Lazy-7 Ranch, Bundy’s right knee locked up and he was unable to bend it, as he still continued to cross the creek on the bridge at T-Lazy-7 and onto the pavement of Maroon Creek Road. Avoiding vehicular traffic by stepping off the road at the first sign of lights and using a flashlight he had obtained at the cabin, Bundy continued down the road and onto Castle Creek Road once more.
The escapee then headed back to the Kaeser cabin for rest and refuge while he reassessed his positioning in what he had come to feel as his sanctuary. Upon his arrival at the cabin at about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, he discovered that his previous entry had been detected, and was afraid to re-enter the cabin as he suspected it could be occupied.
This was the point Bundy describes as his third and worst emotional low. He walked back to the Conundrum parking lot and was resting when the search helicopter landed about 200 yards from him at approximately 8:00 a.m. Bundy became frightened and again climbed to the Aspen Mountain side of the canyon he had fled down four days earlier. Because of his weakened condition he headed back toward Aspen in hopes of solving his dilemma. During his ascent of the slope Sunday morning he encountered an Aspen citizen who identified himself as ‘Sinclair’ (probably Bruce) and said he was hunting for Bundy. Bundy identified himself as being from Pennsylvania and promised to “watch for Bundy.”
After gaining a high position on the mountain Bundy continued to the north toward town, passing through what he describes as the Aspen sewage plant and dropping down the west side of the mountain again into Castle Creek Canyon where, proceeding westward he crossed Colorado Highway 82 into the golf course at the Prince of Peace Chapel. Entering the golf course he fell in a very dense patch of brush, and because of his self-described state of exhaustion and emotion, fell down, where he remained for about an hour, unable to orient himself either spatially or temporally. Finally he regained his feet and entered the residential area around Cemetery Lane, where he walked around for several hours undetected before deciding to steal a car and make a final, all-out effort to escape.
The Cadillac he stole, and was later picked up in, was found in the Cemetery Lane area with the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition. Bundy first drove through town toward Independence Pass but turned around because of the highway department barricade closing the road. He decided he would attempt to run another roadblock he expected to encounter somewhere downvalley. If he was successful, he intended to trade the expensive camera in the car for gasoline. Bundy was headed back into town when he encountered Officers Gene Flatt and Maureen Higgins.
The Seattle Times
“Bundy could have outrun patrol car,” by Richard Larsen
June 15, 1977
Ted Bundy, who was driving a stolen Cadillac when he was captured Monday morning, could easily have outraced the patrol car of the two sheriff’s deputies who stopped and arrested him.
Officials said the sheriff’s car was in such bad mechanical shape it had a top speed of only 30 miles an hour. “It’s a good thing Bundy didn’t try to outrun them,” said a Pitkin County sheriff’s officer. In fact, all five sheriff’s cars which were on the road through the six-day search for Bundy were reportedly in bad shape.
Sheriff Dick Kienast said, however, that even if Bundy had driven away at high speed from the scene of his capture, he probably would have been stopped at one of the roadblocks that still were being manned. Bundy, a convicted kidnapper who is facing trial for murder, surrendered without resistance when two deputies stopped him…
Kienast said that the escape came at a bad time so far as the sheriff’s small fleet of cars was concerned. New cars were ordered early in the year, but had not been delivered.
The sheriff recalled that residents in a remote part of the county took steak dinners to deputies manning a mountain roadblock. “Near the end,” Kienast said, “the deputies were trying to get assigned up there.”
A physician visited Bundy in his cell yesterday and reported that the ex-Seattleite had a knee strain, blistered feet, and various abrasions. Bundy reportedly hurt his knee in a fall on some rocks on a mountain face Sunday.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation Report
Nature of Case: Burglary
Reporting Agent: Leo Konkel
Date: June 16, 1977
VICTIM: Fritz Kaeser, Tucson, Arizona
DATE OF CRIME: Between June 4, 1977 and June 11, 1977
PLACE OF CRIME: Vacation residence located approximately five miles south of Aspen on Highway 82, between the highway and Castle Creek.
ACCUSED: Theodore Robert Bundy, male Caucasian, 5’11”, 150 lbs, brown hair, blue eyes, in custody of Pitkin County Sheriff’s Dept.
METHOD OF OPERATION: Gained entry by breaking window.
PROPERTY STOLEN: .22 caliber rifle; food consumed.
MOTIVE: Seeking property and refuge.
DISCOVERED BY: Wayne I., Smuggler Trailer Court. Wayne takes care of the residence and periodically checks victim Kaeser’s property in his absence. He checked the property on June 4 and observed that everything was in order. He returned and checked the property on June 11 and observed evidence of attempted entry. Mr. I called the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Dept and discovered evidence of entry.
LIST OF EXHIBITS:
1. Seven latent fingerprint lifts, lifted from dishes in the residence by this agent. The prints were compared with known prints of the accused Theodore Bundy, by Aspen Police Officer David Garms. Officer Garms identified the lifted prints as those of Bundy.
2. A handwritten note found at the residence. The note appears to have similar handwriting characteristics of the accused Bundy.
STATEMENT OF ACCUSED: On June 13, 1977, accused Bundy was interviewed by Pitkin County Sheriff’s Sgt. D. Davis. Accused was also interviewed by reporting agent on June 14. In both interviews Bundy waived his rights and freely admitted that the had broken into the residence on June 8 and on June 12, 1977. The burglaries occurred during the time in which Bundy had escaped and was a fugitive. Bundy stated that the burglary was motivated by his seeking shelter, food, and refuge, and to take items which would further aid him in his escape. Bundy readily admitted to stealing a .22 caliber rifle from the residence.
ACTION TAKEN: On June 9, 1977, reporting agent was requested by Pitkin County Sheriff Dick Kienast in locating an escaped prisoner, Theodore Bundy. During the course of that assistance, reporting agent was advised of a burglary being reported on June 11. Reporting agent responded to the reported location along with Pitkin County Deputy Gary White and conducted a crime scene investigation. During the course of that investigation, reporting agent lifted seven latent fingerprints from dishes that were believed to have been handled by the suspect.
SUMMARY: On June 7, 1977, the accused, Theodore Bundy escaped from the custody of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Dept. On June 11, 1977, a burglary of an unoccupied residence was reported. Reporting agent aided in a crime scene investigation. Reporting agent lifted seven latent fingerprint lifts from dishes found in the residence. The lifted fingerprints were compared with those of the accused Bundy and found to be the same.
The Aspen Times
“Rape attempt leads to Bundy’s capture“
June 16, 1977
A 17-year-old student suffered an attempted sexual assault as she walked along West Hopkins Street at 1am June 13, in the incident that led to the capture of Theodore Bundy.
She reported to police that as she walked home early Monday morning, an unidentified assailant who had been following her grabbed her, knocked her down, kicked her and dragged her by the hair. She said she screamed and struggled until the assailant became frightened by the noise and ran away. The suspect was described as a white male, 19-28 years old, 5’10 tall, 165 pounds, clean shaven with dark blonde collar-length hair. He wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans.
The victim reported hearing a car drive away from the scene, so responding police officer Terry Quirk requested assistance from the sheriff. When deputies Maureen Higgins and Gene Flatt answered Quirk’s call, they pulled over a suspicious vehicle whose driver turned out to be Bundy.
According to police, the sexual assault suspect remains at-large.
Dept. of Police, City of Aspen Colorado
June 17, 1977
Name: Terry Quirk
Reason for Recommendation: Excellence for enforcement of duties
Officer Terry Quirk was asked for assistance from the Pitkin County Sheriff in locating a suspect in a possible sexual assault case. During that search, the Sheriff’s vehicle stopped a Cadillac that had been stolen and was being driven by escaped prisoner Theodore Bundy. The sheriff’s vehicle at this time radioed in and asked for assistance. Officer Quirk responded to the scene near Crestahaus Lodge.
Upon arrival he found two Pitkin County deputies with a party that looked a lot like Bundy. He also found that no deputy was in control of the situation. Although they should have known Bundy instantly, they did not know that the party they had stopped was in fact Bundy.
Officer Quirk recognized Bundy, took control of the situation, and put Mr. Bundy into custody. Officer Quirk’s actions alleviated a potentially dangerous situation due to the carelessness of the two sheriff’s deputies.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation Report
Type of Report: Intelligence
Nature of Case: Escape from Custody
Reporting Agent: Leo Konkel
On June 9, 1977, Sheriff Dick Kienast requested that Colorado Bureau of Investigation reporting agent Leo Konkel conduct an internal investigation into the circumstances of Theodore Bundy’s escape. He requested that the facts be sought and that conclusions be made so that he may be aided in discharging his duties, taking whatever corrective action he deemed appropriate.
On June 10, 1977, at 6:30 p.m., reporting agent interviewed Pitkin County Deputy Sheriff David Westerlund. Deputy Westerlund was a Deputy Sheriff in Minnesota for approximately 26 years, then joined the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office on July 1, 1976. Westerlund was the deputy directly in charge of Bundy’s security at the time of his escape. Deputy Westerlund stated that his first contact in an official capacity with subject Bundy was on April 11, 1977, when he and Deputy Carol Kempfert transported him from Pitkin County jail to Garfield County jail. Westerlund stated that the transportation was without incident. His next official contact was on the day of the escape. Deputy Westerlund gave the following account of the details as to Theodore Bundy’s escape:
On June 7, 1977, he came on duty at approximately 7:00 a.m. At the morning briefing, he was advised that he would probably aid in the security for the Bundy hearings. At approximately 9:00 a.m., Pitkin County Deputy Sgt. Kralicek and Deputy Murphy brought Bundy into the courtroom, directly to the counsel table. Deputy Murphy was off-duty and was discharged by Kralicek after Bundy was secured in the courtroom. He was not handcuffed nor restrained in any other manner. None of the deputies in the courtroom were armed, as is the understood policy of Judge Lohr’s courtroom.
At about 9:10 a.m, Westerlund sat down beside Sgt. Kralicek, who was seated on the second public bench, which is located near the door. The defendant was seated at the counsel table within the railed-in area normally reserved for attorneys and their clients who are parties to actions. Shortly after entering the courtroom, Kralicek said he had some matters to take care of downstairs in the Sheriff’s Office, and indicated that he, (Westerlund) was to watch Bundy. He was not given any special instructions. At approximately 10:30 a.m., Judge Lohr called a recess, and all of the people (with the exception of Bundy and Westerlund) left the courtroom. Bundy began pacing in and about the rail enclosed area and around the clerk’s office. Westerlund paced a few times with Bundy, and then just remained stationary.
At one point, Bundy had gone to the court clerk’s office to mail some letters. On another occasion, he approached Deputy Westerlund and commented that he needed some copies made. Deputy Westerlund made no recognition of the request for copies so Bundy returned to the counsel table and sat down. Westerlund then posted himself by the door just outside the courtroom where he could observe the defendant. Bundy was observed to periodically get up, pace the floor and return to the counsel table. Westerlund last remembers him standing in the area of the counsel table before his attention was temporarily diverted to activity he heard from downstairs.
His attention was diverted between 1.5-2 minutes, at which time a female reporter came running up the stairs and asked: “Is Bundy in there??” Westerlund replied: “I think so.” Numerous other people were coming up the stairway area and Westerlund was momentarily confused. He expected Bundy to be in the courtroom area, yet could not see him. (It should be noted that the rear portion of the court is devoted to a law library which has 6′ vertical bookshelves and is separated from the court by a 5′ divider.) Westerlund concluded that Bundy must be in the law library, so he ran around to the rear door and searched the area. Not seeing the prisoner, he then returned to the main courtroom. At that time, he heard someone say “Bundy is gone!” Westerlund then realized that the prisoner had escaped and broadcast that on his radio.
Deputy Westerlund states that he had never been given any instruction or policy regarding the handling of prisoners in the courtroom. It was his understanding that Bundy was not to be restrained in the courtroom. Further, it was his understanding that Judge Lohr did not allow deputies to wear guns in his courtroom. Westerlund acknowledges that he was aware of the serious charges against Bundy and that he was responsible for his custody.
On June 14, at 10:30 a.m., reporting agent and Pitkin County Undersheriff Ben Meyers inspected the physical lay out of the district court in the Pitkin County Courthouse, Aspen, Colorado. A diagram is attached to this report. We made the following observations:
The courtroom occupies the west portion of the second floor of the Pitkin County Courthouse, and is approximately 70’ north and south x 40’ east/west. The courtroom is divided into three sections. The south portion is devoted to a law library, the middle section is the public area, and the north area includes the Judge’s bench, counsel tables, jury box, and witness stand. There are three east side doors into the courtroom. The northeast door enters the court clerk and judge’s chambers, the east central door is the main public entry door, and the southeast door enters the law library. There are ten large windows (approximately 4′ by 8’) in the courtroom: three on the south side, six on the west side, and one on the north side. The bottom portion of the windows are approximately 30’ above ground level. The west window on the south side (in the law library portion of the courtroom) was previously identified by eyewitnesses and physical evidence as the window Bundy escaped from.
There are no security areas in the courtroom. While a 30 foot drop from a window may be considered somewhat prohibitive, there are no barriers in front of the ten courtroom windows. Not withstanding the window drop and including the three doors, there are thirteen possible courtroom exits.
At 11:00 a.m., reporting agent interviewed 9th Judicial District District Judge George Lohr in a conference area adjacent to his chambers in the Pitkin County Courthouse. Judge Lohr was asked that he explain his procedures as to prisoner security, firearms in the courtroom, and any other pertinent information that he might have regarding Theodore Bundy’s escape. The judge stated that he would attempt to answer any questions to the best of his recollection, however cautioned that the court record was more reliable than his memory.
Judge Lohr stated that it is his policy that defendants not be restrained in his courtroom, unless there’s evidence which would modify that policy. To best of his recollection, evidence was submitted in that matter by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office with a request to have Bundy handcuffed on his first appearance in his court.
Judge Lohr allowed Bundy to be handcuffed on his first appearance; however, he put the Sheriff’s Office on notice that the evidence was insufficient to make a continuing order, and that additional evidence must be brought forward if the Sheriff expected to continue their handcuff restraints. Judge Lohr does not recall any additional information brought forward showing that Bundy should be handcuffed and therefore was not. Judge Lohr remembered that on one occasion Bundy had requested that he not be handcuffed during transportation from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, but insufficient cause was shown and that request was not granted.
Judge Lohr commented that his policy of not allowing firearms in his court has always been flexible; however, in the absence of special request and some showing of cause, he did not permit them. To the best of his recollection, no one made a request to wear a firearm during the Bundy hearings.
Judge Lohr stated that he did not have any evidence regarding the actual escape. When he called a court recess, the defendant was in the courtroom. After the recess, he was advised that Bundy had escaped. Judge Lohr did not have any comments regarding Bundy’s security as provided by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department. He reminded this agent that if there was any conflict in his recollection that the court record should be consulted and that he would stand by that record.
At 11:45 a.m., reporting agent interviewed Sheriff Dick Kienast regarding the Bundy escape. It should be noted that Sheriff Kienast requested an internal investigation regarding the initial escape. It should further be noted that reporting agent was first requested on June 9, 1977, and that since that time has had numerous conversations with Sheriff Kienast. The request was made on June 9; however, all efforts were expended on the immediate problem of locating Bundy until the time of his capture on June 13. (Reporting agent has also had numerous conversations with the Sheriff after the June 14 interview prior to the writing of this report on June 16. Reporting agent will attempt to reflect pertinent information obtained from Sheriff Kienast regarding the initial escape, but not all necessarily obtained in the June 14 interview.)
Kienast has always been concerned that Bundy was a security problem and that’s why custody was transferred to Garfield County, because their physical jail facility is more secure.
Prior to Bundy making his first court appearance, Sheriff Kienast requested that Bundy be handcuffed in the court and testified before Judge Lohr regarding that matter. Judge Lohr granted that request, but stated in the absence of additional information the defendant would be uncuffed during future court appearances. Sheriff Kienast stated there just wasn’t any additional presentable evidence that Bundy would escape, even though the Sheriff’s Department felt he would try.
On June 1, Sheriff Kienast reorganized his department. Undersheriff Meyers was assigned to handling staff functions and Sheriff Kienast would take over operations. This change removed the Undersheriff from the chain of command in day to day operations, which included the responsibility of taking prisons to court. Sheriff Kienast did not give any special handling orders regarding Bundy. Kienast understood that Judge Lohr would not allow defendants to be handcuffed or deputies to wear firearms in his court unless prior arrangements were made. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office does not have a manual on policy and procedure.
At 1:00 p.m., reporting agent interviewed Pitkin County Undersheriff Ben Meyers. Undersheriff Meyers stated Theodore Bundy was first brought to Pitkin County Jail on January 29, 1977. Meyers stated that he understood that he was responsible for Bundy’s security. In all matters regarding that security, he either handled it personally or saw to it that it was taken care of. Meyers stated that he usually took Bundy to his court appearances, but in his absence he assigned two deputies to guard. He remembers only one occasion when he left the prisoner with only one deputy, and then it was for a short period of time in the courtroom, and District Attorney’s Investigator Mike Fisher was also present.
On June 1, Sheriff Kienast reorganized the office. Under the reorganization, Sheriff Kienast took over total responsibility for operations and Meyers’ responsibilities were restricted to staff. Meyers remained personally concerned regarding Bundy’s security, but he no longer had the responsibility nor authority in handling the matter.
On the day and time of the escape, he was in his office. He became aware of the escape within a few minutes and immediately took action in attempting to locate Bundy. Meyers stated that on the afternoon of the escape, he talked with Deputy Westerlund regarding the incident. At that time Deputy Westerlund was unsure exactly what had happened; he did not know which window Bundy had jumped from. Undersheriff Meyers believes that Bundy was gone from four to five minutes before Westerlund broadcasted on his radio that he had escaped.
At 2:00 p.m., reporting agent interviewed Pitkin County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Rick Kralicek. Sgt. Kralicek was the Day Sergeant on the day of Bundy’s escape. Kralicek gave the following account:
Sgt. Kralicek previously knew that Bundy was to appear in court on June 7 and took it upon himself to be responsible. He held Deputy Murphy over on his duty so Murphy could go to Glenwood Springs to get Bundy for his court appearance in Aspen. They arrived at the Garfield County Jail at approximately 7:30 a.m. Upon their arrival, Bundy was dressed in street clothes and ready for transportation. Kralicek personally searched Bundy for weapons, handcuffed him, and placed him in the patrol car. They drove to Aspen and went into the Sheriff’s Office, arriving at approximately 8:45 a.m. He then uncuffed Bundy and instructed him to carry his own box of legal papers. He and Deputy Murphy then escorted the prisoner upstairs and into the courtroom, and escorted him to the counsel table. Bundy then walked to the court clerk’s office and Sgt. Kralicek followed him closely. This happened approximately three times. Bundy’s appearance was similar to that which he had previously observed; he often showed intermittent moods of passiveness and extreme nervousness.
Court was called to session at approximately 9:00 a.m. At approximately 9:15 a.m., Sgt. Kralicek told Deputy Murphy that he was free to leave. Kralicek and Deputy Westerlund sat together on a bench near the door. After a few minutes, he told Westerlund he had to go downstairs to the office for a few minutes, and left. Sgt. Kralicek does not remember giving Westerlund any special instructions regarding Bundy; however, he presumed that Westerlund had sufficient experience to recognize that he was responsible for security.
Sgt. Kralicek returned to the court at approximately 9:30 a.m. and court was still in session. He spoke briefly with Deputy Westerlund and returned downstairs, intending to momentarily return, but got tied up with many unrelated problems and did not return to the courtroom. He was first made aware of the escape when he overheard someone at the front counter ask: “Is it normal to jump out of a second story window here?” Sgt. Kralicek then took action attempting to locate Bundy.
At 2:45 p.m., reporting agent interviewed escapee Theodore Bundy at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, and explained that he was conducting an internal investigation regarding the circumstances of his escape. He cautioned Bundy that while the intent and scope of the investigation was internal in nature, any statements made could and probably would be used against him in court. Bundy replied that he understood his rights and would freely discuss the circumstances of his escape. The subject appeared rested and in good physical shape. He stated: “What can I say? That I didn’t escape? There’s no use in making believe that that didn’t happen.”
Theodore Bundy said that escape had always been in his mind from the first time that he was taken into custody. He explained that he basically values his freedom and likes to converse with people. Additionally it is his experience that a common topic of conversation amongst incarcerated persons is how to escape. Bundy claims that he never seriously contemplated escape until he was transferred to the Garfield County Jail in April 1977. He explained that he couldn’t cope with the solitude in the Garfield County Jail. He mentioned that ever since he was first incarcerated in Utah, he had tried to keep physically fit, but in April 1977, he made a decision to escape and started preparing himself physically calisthenics and running in place.
Bundy set a target date for his escape for his May 23, 1977 hearing in the Pitkin County Courthouse, but abandoned that date because he wasn’t mentally prepared. He had studied all of the avenues of escape and made a time study of the time needed. He used his courtroom freedom to pace out distances and counted the seconds needed to reach distances. Bundy calculated that if he was given five seconds he could go out the courtroom window and get around the courthouse corners before an alarm was given, and given ten seconds he could make it down the stairs and flee the area. After calculating the risks involved in the two plans, he decided to abandon the stair plan.
Bundy closely watched each of his guards and counted out the seconds that their attention could be diverted. He related that he had firmly prepared himself both physically and mentally for the escape, and had firmly decided to escape on June 7 through the courtroom window at the first opportunity where he could predict the five second diversion of the guard. He stated that Kralicek’s attention was diverted from 4 to 6 seconds whenever the guard lit a cigarette. Bundy felt uneasy when Sgt. Kralicek left and he was being guarded by Deputy Westerlund. He didn’t consider Westerlund more or less attentive, but he’d never been guarded by him before and had not had time to study his attention diversion habits.
Bundy mentioned that the fact that deputies were not allowed to wear firearms in the court room did not play a significant role because of his confidence in his 5 second plan; however, it certainly made him “feel more comfortable.”
On June 7 at approximately 9:00 a.m. Bundy noted that there were numerous diversions being created by people coming into the courtroom, and he was sure that he could predict his necessary 5 second interval. However, he noted that outside traffic was very heavy from people going to work and decided to wait until the first recess when traffic was lighter.
When the recess was called he was uncomfortable because Deputy Westerlund kept close attention to him and didn’t seem to divert his attention. Bundy started pacing the floor. At first Westerlund started to pace with him, but Bundy purposefully would quickly change directions and bump into the officer, causing a somewhat awkward situation. After bumping into Westerlund a couple of times, the guard took up a stationary position by the door. Bundy then started to pace the floor, trying to calculate how many seconds he could get out of Westerlund’s direct line of sight. Bundy counted the seconds and noted that in the beginning Westerlund would only give him 1 to 2 seconds, but after approximately 5 minutes he had led Westerlund up to the 5 seconds that were needed. He last saw Westerlund at the courtroom’s main door, then ran to the back window in the law library area. The window was partially open and that he opened it further and sat on the ledge momentarily and jumped; the landing was without incident. He vaulted two low fences and ran through a back alley. Bundy’s plan was to walk across the mountains to the south of Aspen, cross the Continental Divide and come out in the Crested Butte – Gunnison area.
He said that his plans after that were pretty much determined by fate. He contemplated leaving the country if he was able to find money, but if fate did not provide money or transportation he planned to head west to Washington to be with “his people.”
Bundy said he was not sorry that he had made his escape; however, he was disappointed in himself and embarrassed that he didn’t make good on it. He said he’d failed to calculate the magnitude of the mountains and had not contemplated that physical discomforts and needs would cause him to lose his mental preparation. His physical needs physiologically dictated his actions, even though he knew his decisions were lessening his chance for a successful escape.
During the interview, Bundy told this agent of the details after his initial escape and until the time of his capture. He freely admitted breaking into the Fritz Kaeser cabin and stealing a .22 rifle. He also freely admitted stealing the vehicle in which he was stopped.
Reporting agent talked with numerous persons both officially and unofficially regarding the escape, but concluded that the other persons did not have any pertinent information as it would relate to this investigation.
There is basically no conflict in the facts of this case. The only discrepancy is in the length of time from which Bundy was last seen and when his absence was noticed.
Bundy himself states that he fled when he saw the opportunity to be out of Deputy Westerlund’s view for 5 seconds. Deputy Westerlund states that he lost sight of Bundy from 1.5-2 minutes before he realized he had fled. Undersheriff Meyers believes that Bundy was gone for 4 or 5 minutes before his absence was noted.
Reporting agent concludes that Theodore Bundy did escape custody and that at the time of his escape he was in the sole custody of Deputy Westerlund. Westerlund was negligent by his own admission in that he allowed Bundy to get out of his sight. In conducting this investigation, this agent was made aware of numerous factors which may also be considered. Reporting agent will list those factors; but will refrain from commenting as to what significance they may or may not have as contributing factors to Bundy’s escape.
1. The District Courtroom in the Pitkin County Courthouse fails to provide any measure of security in and of itself. There are no enclosed security areas. There are 3 exit doors and 10 windows large enough to provide an easy exit.
2. Bundy was determined mentally and physically conditioned to make an escape at his court appearance on June 7. He had devised a credible plan and calculated time spans down to seconds. He took advantage of his courtroom freedom and lack of court room security. His determination was so avid that the escape could have only been flaunted by physical restraint or barring any exits.
3. Judge Lohr’s courtroom policy was that defendants not be restrained and that deputies be unarmed.
4. Sheriff Kienast was well aware that Bundy was an escape risk; however, no special instruction or policies were issued regarding the handling of his security. By definition of “chain of command,” Sheriff Kienast was ultimately responsible for Bundy’s custody.
5. Sgt. Kralicek had physically transported Bundy to the courtroom and was well aware of the court security problem, the seriousness of Bundy’s charge, and that the prisoner was an escape risk. Kralicek left the courtroom and designated the security to a single deputy, Westerlund.
The Aspen Times
“Bundy gets phone credit card back”
July 7, 1977
Theodore Bundy got his telephone credit card back in District Court at a recent hearing. The telephone privileges were rescinded June 7 after Bundy jumped out of the courthouse window during a recess at a court hearing. He was recaptured June 13.
Bundy needs the card, he told Judge George Lohr, to conduct his own defense. “The card is not a privilege,” he said, “it is a right bound up in the right to self-defense. I am hamstrung without it.”
When Bundy first appeared, his ankles were chained and his green jail uniform torn. Pitkin County Sheriff Dick Kienast said Bundy ripped both shoulders of his jail jumpsuit he wore was torn out at both shoulders, exposing his naked torso.
Sheriff’s deputies said Bundy and two other prisoners at the Pitkin County Jail had been involved in a scuffle an hour earlier after Bundy was brought to to the courthouse from neighboring Glenwood Springs. Mace was used to stop the fracas, and Bundy was handcuffed. Further details of the incident were unavailable but it apparently involved a longstanding feud between Bundy and another man.
Judge Lohr ordered that Bundy change into a fresh suit before proceedings began.
Bundy said he intends to continue to “work vigorously for acquittal.” He said, “I am meticulous in my approach to the case and don’t think anyone can call me a hypocrite in that respect.”
Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office
Supplemental Report: Theodore Bundy Escape
Date: July 25, 1977
The following list was identified by Fritz Kaeser as his personal property, removed from his cabin on Castle Creek. Identification made on July 15, 1977.
1. Brown leather belt with yellow metal buckle
2. One Eveready flashlight in a plastic bag
3. Yellow tape holder – black tape
4. All contained in a clear plastic bag:
- Yellow toothbrush
- Black comb
- Dean’s Pills
- Wash n’ Dri
- Camay soap
- First aid cream
- Razor blade
- Bacitracin tube
5. a plastic bag of brown sugar
6. a piece of wool sweater
7. one brown wash cloth
8. one brown hat
9. one pair white wool socks
10. one white and tan patterned belt
11. one box “I want you” matches
12. one pajama bottom, wool, green
13. one box bandaids, plastic strips, mirror attached with black tape
14. one wood handled screwdriver
15. one blue, yellow, off-white checkered shirt
16. one brown Army jacket
On 25 July 1977, I contacted Agent Steve Sublicek, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, who is an expert on fingerprint identification. Sublicek stated that in his case number 77-1766 latent fingerprints lifts, lifted by Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Konkel at a burglary near Aspen, Colorado, were compared with rolled inked impressions of Theodore Bundy.
Sublicek stated that exhibit #1 had been marked as 1-B and consists of one latent fingerprint lift which was a partial but suitable for comparison. Sublicek stated that 1-B is identical to inked fingerprints of Theodore Bundy’s left index finger. Sublicek stated that exhibit #2 consists of 5 latent fingerprints lifts which are partials and marked as 2-A through 2-E. All prints were suitable for comparison. Sublicek further stated that latent fingerprints 2-A is identical with the right index finger of Theodore Bundy. 2-B is identical to the right index finger of Theodore Bundy; that 2-C is identical with the left index finger of Theodore Bundy; that 2-D is identical to the left index finger of Theodore Bundy; that 2-E is identical to the right thumb of Theodore Bundy.
The Aspen Times
“Who is Ted Bundy?” by Bill Rollins
August 4, 1977
…Sheriffs Deputy Donald Davis testified that Bundy’s alertness and observation was calculated. Davis said that Bundy told him after he was recaptured that he had timed the movements of his guards in anticipation of an escape.
Bundy told Davis he kept track of how long it took various guards to smoke a cigarette and so on, figuring when he would have the best opportunity to escape. “There is always a continuing adjustment to circumstances,” Bundy said last week. He was talking about life in jail, but the statement might be applied to his actions in general. The day of his escape he was clean-shaven and wore boots issued to him at Utah State Penitentiary instead of the loafers he had been wearing. He wore as many clothes as he could get away with and carried vitamins that he had been given to him to supplement his diet.
Bundy says he escaped because he couldn’t face the conditions at the Garfield County Jail any longer. In retrospect, he calls it “The Great Escape,” or “The Search and Rescue.” “I enjoyed reading about it,” he said. “I have no way of knowing if it was true or not, but it made good reading”…
A Phone Call from Bundy to Dr. Al Carlisle, his Psychiatrist at the Utah State Prison
Transcript from Carlisle’s Violent Mind: The 1976 Psychological Assessment of Ted Bundy
October 3, 1977
Bundy: This call is being taped because all the Sheriff’s Dept. calls are taped; it doesn’t bother me. I always figure they know everything anyway. How are you doing?
Carlisle: I’m doing alright Ted, how are you doing?
Bundy: Well, I’m hanging in there. I just got the bug last week and just wanted to chat with you briefly because obviously I’ve been away a long time.
Carlisle: Right. How are things going for you over there?
Bundy: Well quite well, quite frankly. I was just talking to someone the other day and the experience of coming over here is one of those, you know, good things, bad things experiences. If I hadn’t come here I probably wouldn’t be looking at a new trial in the Carol DaRonch case and a number of things have opened up and I suppose that if I had to spend several years behind bars, I might as well spend a little here, a little there. [laughs].
Carlisle: Get a little variety, huh. Are they treating you pretty good?
Bundy: Well… yeah, sure they are. They’ve developed this paranoia about me. They have this unrealistic fear that I’m going to escape or something.
Carlisle: I can’t imagine where they’re getting that. [laughs]
Bundy: Yeah, exactly. I just wanted to call you up, mainly… there’s a lot of things that’s been happening. My escape venture which has caused a great furor of activity around here and I guess some complicity over there and now we’re looking at what looks like a 95% chance of a new trial in the DaRonch case and this case over here gets curiouser and curiouser because they’ve added a couple of additional Utah transactions, alleged transactions, in their attempt to gain a conviction in the Colorado case. I don’t know… I’ve been so overwhelmed by work recently… you know, there’s just a lot to do. Way back when, I guess it was back in April when I decided to represent myself in this case I could just, [laughs]— I was just thinking to myself, I could hear Al Carlisle saying, “Yeah, I knew he’d try to do something like that.” [laughs]
Carlisle: Yeah, I assumed you would. [laughs]
Bundy: I remember one time you commented… I think it was something I read in one of your reports, quite frankly. Ah, how did you say it? That I can’t ‘delegate responsibility,’ or something to that effect, I don’t know. I don’t think that’s exactly the way you put it, but something more or less that I like to do things myself, and I have a hard time entrusting things to others.
Carlisle: Yeah, high achievement. Uh huh.
Bundy: I was wondering, I know you are really at arms length on this thing and we haven’t really talked personally obviously since the latter part of January. But I’ve been wondering if you’ve had any impression about all that you’ve been hearing about me… and, ah…
Carlisle: Ok, how do you mean?
Bundy: Well, like the escape and everything. I wonder what your impression of that was, again just from a party who knows me, but didn’t have an opportunity to speak to me either just before or after that happened.
[Commentary by Carlisle: The call reminded me of a boy who calls his father wanting to know what his father thought of the ball game on TV last night. Did he want my approval, or forgiveness? Did he want to know if I was angry at him? I was puzzled about what he wanted from me. I decided that rather than answering the question, I would take this opportunity to learn more about why he escaped. He was caught attempting to make a false ID when he was in prison in Utah, so it wasn’t surprising that he jumped at the opportunity to escape in Colorado.]
Carlisle: This would be something that would be fun to sit down, and chat with you for about an hour. Uh… I had mixed impressions. I was wondering if you were really getting uptight, and the pressure looked like it was on. And I wondering if it was getting to look like, in your mind, you were going to be convicted, so when the opportunity was there you just took it. I’d like to have been able to sit down with you before and after, just to see what was happening. In your own mind, what was happening?
Bundy: You know… I’ve given it a great deal of thought. I’d been moved from Aspen— I’d been in the Pitkin County Jail in Aspen from January 31 until April the 11th, which is 73 days. I have all this memorized [laughs]. In Aspen, it was an open affair. The jail is very small. It’s seven cells and all the doors are open all the time. The place had been built in 1887. I could come out, we could relate, talk to other prisoners in their cells. Something like the Utah State Prison, not like Max but the main line. And then they moved me down here— this is part of the escape, because I was a security risk. They put me in a six by twelve by eight foot high cell and ordered no one to speak to me. Quite frankly, that’s why I decided to represent myself [laughs]. You know, to get out to go to the library. Concrete, solid steel door with a little window and a food slot. Honestly Al, this was worse than the Hole, in Max. Because there you could at least talk to people and see people. It’s worse than Max because they hadn’t let me out for exercise except the six days I was out on escape since the 11th of April!
So this was building up and building up, and over the months I’d noticed a number of opportunities to just walk right out. Walk right out of the courthouse. But I didn’t know how to put it all together. I was very concerned about what people would think. People said, “weren’t you afraid someone would shoot you or something?” No, it was one of the lower fears in my hierarchy of fears.
But I don’t know, that day I came there, and I thought a great deal about escape. I didn’t know if I had the guts to do it, quite frankly. The guard went out for a smoke and there was not one person in the whole courtroom. You’d have to see the courthouse in Aspen to understand. The windows were open and the fresh air was blowing through and the sky was blue and I said, I’m ready to go! And I walked to the window and jumped out. [laughs] And I started chugging. I had no plan. I had nobody helping me. I had no money and no nothing. I just ran right up into the mountains.
But anyway, you know when I was recaptured and they brought me back in, I spoke very freely about my adventures during those six days. It was something I really couldn’t deny. But one of the investigators working on my case came into the room after I had been there for some time and said, ‘Well, would you like to talk about the Campbell case? Would you like to tell me all about it now, Ted?’ More or less ‘would you like to confess,’ and all this stuff. He had a twinkle in his eyes. He thought that I’d panicked and the gig was up and I was ready to bust open. And I told him, you know, ‘Mike [Fisher], listen, I just went out the window because I wanted to be free.’ Two years ago I could have walked out of the courthouse and no one would have charged me with any crime. No one would have even noticed. As far as I was concerned, I was just, regaining what belonged to me. It wasn’t a fear of conviction because I believed then and I believe more firmly now that I’ll be acquitted. And not only that, that I’ll get a new trial on DaRonch. The irony of it all, Al, is it’s probably the only solid conviction they will have on me, will be the escape. I told him, honest to God, I just got sick and tired of being locked up. Because way back then I knew that I had some new evidences on DaRonch although I hadn’t given it to anybody yet, I didn’t know what to do with it. And I knew that the case for me here was good, that the case they had was weak.
I kept saying to myself, Ted, in the event you’re acquitted here in Colorado and you go back to Utah and let’s say you got a new trial on DaRonch, which I estimate would take three years, because even if we won at the trial court level with a new trial, the state would appeal, and if the Supreme Court overturns we’ll have to go to federal court. The federal court takes years and years, and even if I got a new trial on DaRonch three years from now there’s a chance I could be convicted basically on just the publicity of the whole thing. I mean, I’m pretty notorious. And if I was acquitted three or four years from now on the DaRonch case, what would I have left?
Maybe unrealistically but I asked myself, could you go to law school? Could you go back to Liz? Would your friends be able to look you in the eye? Could you be Ted Bundy again? I figured, whether you’re free tomorrow or you’re free four years from now, you’re still going to have to make entirely a new life and really hide from the old life, whether legitimately or illegitimately. So those are the priorities.
I wasn’t up against a wall. Maybe it was something I could have done then, something I could have waited to do, but honestly I was just fed way up above my chin with being locked up. And, it was just one of those things.
I still have the scars and blisters on my feet. I’m sitting here barefooted [laughs], from running around in the mountains. It was an extraordinary experience because I had thought that I was a strong-willed person. But, believe it or not, it was the body that was strong and the mind that was weak. The morning after… well, I ran up like 4000 feet of a very steep hill, actually Aspen Mountain, and over the other side. They didn’t know where in the world I was, and I was feeling really good that evening, and I started hiking up and if I could have kept hiking I would have been long gone. But a very cold, sleet rainstorm hit me. I got very cold and I went into a state of shock. And I managed to find my way back to a cabin. There was no way to get into it and here I was shivering and hungry and cold and it was raining and blowing. And early the next morning, about 7 o’clock in the morning, I was just sitting there seriously considering giving myself up. It was just a complete mind blow for me to have longed for freedom for so long, and now like I was living my ultimate dream. All of a sudden, I was willing to throw it away because I was cold and hungry, and I said, ‘my Lord…’
But I got into the cabin and recuperated, believe it or not, and had a second chance at it. And then, I made the wrong turn and then I hurt my knee. Three or four days of high altitude and cold got to me, and again my mind got weak. That night I walked back into Aspen. No one knew me. People saw me, but no one could recognize me. I was totally disoriented. It’s an experience I’ve never known before. I just laid down like an animal, ready to die. It was just an incredible experience.
I was disoriented and quite frankly very foolishly just hopped in a car and drove. I knew I would get caught. I mean, I didn’t want to get caught, but I knew it would happen. But I was just so tired, and I said, well, let’s see what will happen. A fluke actually, they stopped me. When I got captured I just stood there.
Anyway, that was one of the more profound experiences of being over here. It certainly did cause a furor.
Carlisle: Sounds like it…
Excerpts from The Only Living Witness
by Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth
…Ever since he’d known he was going to Aspen, he’d been planning. He stepped up an exercise regimen he’d begun in Utah; and, he told me, “I got hold of an atlas which had maps of all the states, and I studied the area surrounding Aspen to the point where I thought I’d memorized all the roads, towns, and highway distances. “Based on a number of factors, I decided that it would be wisest to go toward a place called Crested Butte, then down to Gunnison, Colorado, and south to Durango and then make my way east toward some large city on the east coast. I had no reason for picking this particular way out, except that it just looked good.”
As spring came to the Rockies, Ted noticed something useful about the courtroom routine: on warm days, the second-story windows were left open. Back in his cell, he started jumping off the top bunk in an effort to steel his ankles for the impact of a leap from the courtroom window. He mentally measured the distance from the window to the corner of the courthouse and then to the alley in back and finally to the riverbank where he planned to change clothes. “Things,” he told me, “finally seemed to be coming together. I decided that I’d make the attempt on Tuesday, the seventh of June.”
The following Tuesday morning, it was with more than his usual care that Ted dressed for court. First, he tucked a bright red bandana into the pocket of his white tennis shorts, then he put a length of string, some matches, and a plastic bag with a supply of vitamins wrapped in tinfoil into the back pocket of his blue-jean cutoffs. He slipped the white shorts on over his underwear, then the cutoffs, then donned his brown corduroys. Over his T-shirt went a white long-john top, a yellow and then a brown turtleneck sweater — and finally a loose wraparound sweater to hide the bulk of his other garments. Last came a pair of heavy woolen hiking socks and leather boots. He slipped his $5 and a photograph of Liz and her daughter into an envelope.
The deputies who drove Ted down to Aspen that day apparently noticed nothing unusual about their bulkily clad prisoner. Nor did the officer who met the car and walked with Ted into Aspen’s Victorian courthouse. Inside, he unlocked Ted’s handcuffs and chains (“Ted doesn’t need the handcuffs today, He’s not going to try to get away from us” Bundy remembers him saying) and delivered his charge to the courtroom.
At midmorning, Judge Lohr called a recess and the courtroom quickly emptied. Ted sneaked a quick — but, he hoped, not final — look at his photo of Liz and Molly and then casually rose and walked to the back of the room where the law library was located. Deputy David Westerlund was watching him from the open courtroom door. He began to pace back and forth, closer and closer to the window. Westerlund paid little attention to him and finally, as was his habit, ambled out into the hallway for a smoke.
Now was the moment, but as he looked out the window he saw a female reporter walking below. “Damn!” he muttered to himself, and continued pacing. Westerlund might return at any instant. It seemed like ten minutes to Ted, but it wasn’t more than twenty seconds before he was back in front of the window. This time he knew he had to jump, no matter who might be down there. He perched on the ledge, righted himself, and pushed off.
“I can still feel the jolt of hitting the ground,” Ted told me. “I popped up and leaped across the steps in front of the courthouse and then zipped toward the prosecutor’s office. Went in back of that and then down to this six-foot-high wire fence. I didn’t climb it or anything. I just jumped over it and somersaulted on the other side. I ran like crazy down this alleyway in back of Main Street. These two guys in back of a
restaurant looked at me kinda strange because I was runnin’ full tilt right by ‘em! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!”
Ted ran another block and then ducked down into a gorge where the Roaring Fork River winds through Aspen. There he stripped down to his shorts and long-john top, tied the bandana around his head, and stuffed the rest of his gear into a makeshift pack fashioned from one of the turtlenecks. This Bundy threw over his back, then he casually ambled back up onto a gravel road and made straight for Aspen Mountain.
Two hundred yards past the last condominiums at the base of the mountain, Bundy turned right and headed straight up the slope. “I kept climbing and climbing,” he told me, “and I finally got to the point where I could look down and see almost the entirety of Aspen. I was really curious. I thought I would hear the sirens go off and I’d see red lights flashing all over the place. But it was just natural. It was just the natural buzz of activity that you’d expect to hear from that distance.”
At first, Judge Lohr’s court was too stunned to take action. Several people, including deputies, started shouting, “Bundy’s gone! Bundy’s escaped.” Taken completely by surprise, the courthouse full of lawyers and lawmen was a bedlam of yells and running feet for several minutes before calm was restored. By then, Ted was halfway up Aspen Mountain. In the midst of the din, Charles Dumas turned to Chuck Leidner at the defense table. “Never,” Dumas reportedly remarked, “have I ever had a client show so little faith in my argument.”
“At one point, I collapsed,” Ted continued. “Just lost my first wind about 500 feet up the mountain. But I had to keep going, going, going. And at some points I had to zip back and forth because it was just too steep, too rocky. There were rock slides that I had to cross, open areas where there were no trees and where I’d be visible to anyone with binoculars looking up the mountain from the town.”
He reached the top about 500 yards to the north of the main Aspen Mountain ski lodge. Bundy hopped across a dirt road from grass clump to grass clump, trying to avoid leaving footprints. Once safely over the summit, he rested. Ted had covered the approximately four miles from the bottom of the mountain to the top in a little more than an hour.
He had hoped that once he had negotiated the shorter southern face of Aspen Mountain he could pick up a trail or roadway that would lead him farther south. As it happened, Bundy ignored at least two dirt roadways on Aspen Mountain’s southern slope that would have taken him directly to Crested Butte.
“I wasn’t doing much thinking,” he remembered. “My mind was dominated by my physical exertion. But I did have these flashes about what was happening in Aspen or what the judge was thinking. There were also times when it was so peaceful and serene in this forest setting that I had these delusions that no one had missed me. That no one was looking for me. That I was just out there alone. ‘I’m not a fugitive. I’m not Ted Bundy.’”
Meanwhile down the mountain the cops established roadblocks, began searching Aspen — deciding by consensus he’d probably headed north; the opposite direction from the one he’d actually taken. They hauled out the tracking dogs, which were given bits of one of Bundy’s sweaters so they could pick up his scent, only to discover later that the dogs were far more fascinated with the trail of the female deputy who had brought them Bundy’s sweater. They promptly led the searchers to her home.
“It was already starting to get dim when I got to the bottom,” Ted went on, “and I came upon what apparently had been a campsite. There were some old boards nailed to trees and a couple of dilapidated camp tables. This was about fifty yards from the roadway. “I put my clothes on again because it was starting to get cool. I began to daydream a little about what was happening. What was my mother thinking? What was Liz thinking? What kind of search was being mounted? It was almost hard for me to grasp the reality of being hunted, because it was so peaceful there. I was faintly amused, too, because I knew that they didn’t know where I was.”
Ted had no maps, no flashlight, no real sense of direction. And it was getting brutally cold. He recalled stumbling along a riverbed for about 200 yards until he spied the dim silhouette of a log cabin. He moved on. “It was so dark I couldn’t see my feet,” he said. “I was disoriented and totally lost. I couldn’t even make out the outlines of the valley, I tried a road, followed it for a while until it became rockier and rockier… and the rain came. The wind picked up. I was getting even colder. I’d lose the road and find myself up to my knees in grass. I’d have to get down on my hands and knees to retrace my steps. I was losing it mentally,” he went on. “Going into a state of extreme exhaustion. I just didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew I didn’t want to travel in the daylight. Yet it seemed clear I couldn’t travel at night. I also knew I didn’t have it in me physically to go much farther. I’d only come maybe two miles and it must have taken me four hours.”
Ted spent the night in misery under a large fir tree. He built a small fire, but it only kept his hands warm. With first light, he took stock of his situation and decided that survival depended upon finding shelter fast. His first thought was of the cabin he’d seen along the river the night before. He found his way back. The cabin was unoccupied, but every window save one was fitted with three-quarter-inch plywood frames, and the one window that wasn’t backed with plywood was covered with a heavy wire mesh screen. Days later a caretaker would surmise that it took “superhuman strength” to wrench the wire away with bare fingers.
“I cannot describe to you the comfort, the serenity and relief I felt when I walked inside that cabin,” he recalled. “I immediately shed all of my clothes. It was one of those homey old bona fide cabins. As I went through the double doors, to the left was a wall full of books, all kinds of neat books by Thoreau and on the flora and fauna of Colorado. Lots of Sunset magazines, books on music. No goddamn maps, though.”
Ted was too tired to even look for something to eat. He headed straight for the master bedroom, threw off the plastic sheet covering one of the beds, and promptly fell asleep. Around four in the afternoon he awoke, famished. “So I headed to the kitchen. I found some stale saltines, a couple of boxes of brown sugar, some tins of Polish bacon, stewed tomatoes, ravioli, such things. The larder was not well stocked.”
Then he remembered the broken window and worried that someone might see it. On a scrap of paper he wrote, “Tom- Sorry I broke the window while I was putting in the plywood – Amos,” and attached it to a plywood pane.
The next morning, Thursday, Ted found a long flashlight and a supply of batteries, some Band-Aids, gauze and wool blankets. These, together with the food, some books, two large garbage bags and some other items he stuffed into a plastic-mesh shopping bag he had fashioned into a backpack.
“I went to bed as soon as darkness fell on Thursday. By this time I’d found this .22 Remington automatic. I debated over that rifle for hours. I knew that if they found the cabin and the rifle missing it would make them more nervous. I knew I didn’t want the rifle for a shoot-out. But I didn’t know if I’d want it for small game or self-protection. I didn’t know anything about wild animals or that kinda shit.”
Bundy at last decided to take the rifle with him. “I was really feeling chipper. I’d had a lot of rest and was fairly well nourished. I also had the flashlight this time. Put some tinfoil over the lens and left just a little slit so I could see the rocks in the roadway. It may have been cold, but I didn’t notice it. I had taken this warm coat and gloves from the cabin. “I headed back down the same roadway I’d taken Tuesday evening and then back early Wednesday morning. I walked along with no problem for four or five miles. Stopped and ate some Saltines and drank from the river. I felt like I had it together now.”
Bundy had hiked maybe seven miles south from the cabin when gathering daylight forced off the trail and up under the cover of the forest. Below him, Ted could see the smoke from campfires on the valley floor and far in the distance he could see a lone hiker heading south on the main trail. Had he taken the same route, Bundy would have been to Crested Butte in a matter of hours. But from his vantage it seemed impossible for the trail to lead anywhere but to a dead end at the foot of the mountains up ahead. The only way around them, he reckoned, was to climb higher up the valley side and then pick his way southward along game trails he’d noticed earlier that morning. “My theory,” he said, “was to follow these elk paths, because, for some unknown reason, I figured they’d go up and over and on down to Crested Butte. I reasoned that they wouldn’t just go over to this other valley, which was right next door. I don’t know. I don’t know a thing about goddamn elk. I mean, I was tryin’ to think like an elk!”
After several hours — “desperate hours,” he recalled — he zigzagged to the top of the peak, only to find that agony’s reward was the taste of ashes. For there he viewed the Maroon Bells, a formation of reddish stone monoliths that even the most casual visitor to Aspen would recognize. Ted’s whole day’s trek had taken him in almost the exact opposite direction from Crested Butte. “I didn’t cry, but I knew I’d made a serious, serious error. This was no joke. At first light I packed my gear and began moving down. There was no water in this area. No stream. No springs, no nothing. This was Saturday morning, and I really hadn’t slept since Wednesday night. I knew I’d fucked up, blown my wad.”
Bundy’s scheme, a desperate one, was to make his way back north to the cabin once again. His left knee began to trouble him. It and the lack of forest cover forced him to stop in a glade south of Aspen, where he rested and waited for nightfall. Ted was ravenous, and on the edge of delirium. He discarded the rifle and with darkness began to move again. Hobbling, sometimes dragging his useless left leg, he picked his way along a circuitous route back through town.
“Now it’s a race against time. It’s almost four in the morning and I knew that first light wasn’t but ninety minutes away. I had five miles to cover and I could barely walk. Still carrying this pack full of all this nonsense. No more detours. I just had to go for it. Right up the road, you know. I walked and walked and walked, looking over my shoulder for cars, expecting one to appear at any moment. I didn’t know if I was going to run into a roadblock or people just lyin’ around waiting, looking out their front windows for Ted Bundy to pass by. I was in such a mental state that I actually began to hallucinate, seeing things like cars parked off in the distance. I was pushing myself to the absolute limit. Then I could see the cabin, about a quarter mile in the distance. Rather than approaching it directly, I went off into this thick foliage on the right side of the road and set down my pack. Then I slowly approached the cabin, very, very cautiously. Stealthily. Of course, the thought had crossed my mind that someone may have discovered it had been broken into. Still, I just felt, Gee! Finally I made it. I crouched and crawled toward the back side of the cabin, just along the ridge of the embankment looking down into the creek. There’s a lot of loose, dry soil there, and I’d left a lot of footprints. I figured it’d be the first place to look to see if anyone else had been there.”
What Ted found were hundreds of boot prints, only a few of them his. “It would be hard for me to describe the sheer and utter panic I felt when I saw those prints,” he said. The caretaker had discovered Ted’s break-in the previous morning, and fingerprints confirmed that Bundy was the burglar. Now, Sunday, the plan was to put dogs on his trail at first light.
Not a half hour after Ted had returned to the cabin from his night-long hike the first helicopter carrying tracking hounds descended. The fugitive was lying no more than 200 yards away. “I couldn’t figure out what was happening,” Ted recalled. “I didn’t know if I’d been spotted. I was tired and confused, so I decided to sit there and wait and see. Just about then I heard these twigs snapping in the brush on the mountain just below me, ever so slowly and lightly. I just froze. I’d been reaching the point of not caring anymore, but then the old juices started flowing again. I knew I didn’t want to be recaptured. I tried to figure out how I’d beat a retreat, because the sounds were coming from several different directions, and they were advancing up the hill, toward me. Stealthily as I could, I sneaked up the hill and down a ravine. I heard some more snaps off to my right. I looked, and there were half-a-dozen mule deer. Then I saw some more. They were all grazing up the hill toward me.”
The double shock of the helicopter and the encounter with the deer acted on Ted like a jolt of amphetamines. His weariness evaporated. His mind cleared.
“I came up with a plan,” Bundy said. “I figured they’d know I’d been at the cabin and they’d track me south, up the valley. They wouldn’t think I was dumb enough to take the route I’d actually taken, so I thought I had ’em bamboozled. Maybe they’d taken down the roadblocks and I could find an easy way out of Aspen. I started traversing back down the valley, toward Aspen. I finally reached the point where I’d crossed into the valley on the first day. I found an old roadway, almost obscured by grass, and followed it north to a point maybe two miles below the cabin. This is broad daylight, getting pretty close to noon. I was flirting with danger, and the thought occurred to me that I was getting a bit too brazen. Just then I looked down the road, and a very tall man with a huge red beard and long red hair rounded the corner. He immediately stopped, and pulled from a huge holster an enormous pistol. It was a .44. He pointed it right at me and said, ‘Hey you. Get down here.’
I said, ‘Oh, hey. Hi!’ Waved my stick at him. ‘How ya doin’? What’s going on?’
He says, ‘Get down here!’ He’s pointin’ this full-fledged .44 at me. He says, ‘We’re lookin’ for Bundy.’
I say, ‘You’re lookin’ for who?’
He says, ‘Bundy. This guy’s escaped and it’s dangerous for you to be up here.’
I say, ‘For God’s sake! I didn’t know that.’
He says, ‘Now who are you again?’
I’d given him a name and this whole business about being a dentist. He’s still not convinced. And he’s pointing this gun at me. I said, ‘I’ve got a wife and kids. Please don’t point that gun at me.’ And he says, ‘Oh, okay. But you shouldn’t be on my land. We’re lookin’ for this guy and he’s dangerous and you shouldn’t be up here. I’m tellin’ ya to get your tail off my property and back down the road the way you came.’
So I started slowly down the road, stopping every once in a while and picking a flower. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him walk on, then turn around and begin to walk toward me, behind me, maybe three hundred yards back. Well, I didn’t pick up my pace. I’d walk maybe ten yards off the road and pick a couple more flowers. By this time I had a genuine bouquet. I didn’t want to appear to be in any hurry.”
By nightfall he’d made it to the main road at the city limits.
“When there was a break in the traffic, I dashed across the road and onto this golf course. Then, without warning, my leg went boink! So I’m playing Chester from Gunsmoke on the golf course. My plan had been to reach the railhead of an old railroad track that ended somewhere near the outskirts of Aspen. I didn’t know exactly where, but I knew it went all the way down the valley to Glenwood Springs. I thought I’d just stick along this track and walk my way out. By now my leg was gone, and I knew I was going to have a hell of a time. Then, almost without warning, I got to the end of the golf course and tumbled down into a ravine. I don’t know how long I lay there, probably about three hours. For the longest time I didn’t know where I was. I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t make myself get up. I really had lost it there.”
Around eleven that night Bundy finally pulled himself out of the ravine and stumbled out in search of a bicycle.
“There were a couple bicycles on the porch of this house. I picked one up and just started motorin’ along. There were cars passing me. I’ve got this growth of beard, wearin’ funny-lookin’ clothes. And I’m pedaling around midnight on this bicycle that is obviously too small for me. My leg couldn’t take it. So I pulled up at the bottom of this long descent. I’d gone about a mile and a half. And I said, ‘Fuck it! I’m going to get a car. This bicycle thing isn’t making it.’
I ditched the bike and started looking for cars. My first choice was going to be a Volkswagen. I tried three cars and then came to a house with three vehicles in front of it. One was a 1966 Cadillac, and lo and behold, there were keys in it. I said, ‘Lord almighty! Here we are!’
I hopped in and cranked it up. It was beautiful. Turned on the stereo and backed out. Then I thought, Which way shall I go? The roadblocks might still be up down valley. Why don’t I try heading up to the pass? So I drove out to the main road, crossed a bridge or two, and went right into Aspen. I drove right down Main Street. Stopped at the traffic light almost in front of the courthouse I’d jumped out of six days before. I continued a couple more miles and saw a blinking amber light ahead. I wasn’t thinking really clearly, but it flashed to me that this might be a roadblock.”
Had he continued on, he could’ve passed the amber lights — where the road was partially closed by a landslide — and driven right out of town. But once again late at night, Bundy called needless attention to himself. He swerved the stolen car and drove back into town. At the same time two deputies, racing in the opposite direction to investigate a reported rape, noticed Bundy’s Cadillac, headlights dimmed, weaving back and forth as it approached their squad car.
“The moment they passed me they switched on their lights and made a quick U-turn, and zoomed right up in back of me. I pulled the old Cadillac over. I’m composed enough to say, ‘Okay, it’s time to be Joe Cool again.’ Then up walks my old friend from the jail, Gene Flatt. He says, ‘You alright, mister?’
Now, I’m wearing a pair of glasses I found in the car, and this old seaman’s hat, and the coat. I’m looking pretty scruffy. I say, ‘Yeah, I’m alright.’
He says, ‘Well. I thought you were having a little of trouble here. Can I see your identification, please?’
I say, ‘Okay, just a second. I’ll look for it.’ All I’m doing is buying time now, on the outside chance he’ll let me go.
So I’m fishing around in the glove compartment and Gene gets jumpy. He says, ‘Out! Now!’ He’s got his fuckin’ gun out. He’s pointing it at me. ‘Out of the car now!’
The female deputy with him was Maureen Higgins, a redhead. Good looking girl and a nice person. She says, ‘Just wait a minute, Gene. He’s looking for his I.D.’
So I say, ‘Okay,’ and I get out of the car. He’s looking at me. Shining his flashlight in my eyes. Trying to determine if I’m drunk or not. Then Gene starts to get suspicious. He’s still got his Colt Python out and he’s wiggling it at me. I’m too tired to care anymore. But I thought, Aw shit! What a way to go.
He calls to Maureen, ‘Come over here. Who does this guy look like?’
She says, ‘I don’t know, Gene. Who does it look like?’
Now this is Gene Flatt who for seventy days as a Pitkin County deputy served me my breakfast every morning. Constantly there. Took me to court on a dozen different occasions. So much for eyewitness identifications.
Now I’m not saying a word. I’ve dummied up. Then he says, ‘Okay, take off your glasses.’
Took off my glasses. He shines the light in my eyes. He says, ‘Maureen, I don’t know. But he still looks like Ted Bundy.’
She says, ‘Well, why don’t you call Sergeant Davis and ask him to come up here. He knows what he looks like.’
Sergeant Don Davis, the imposing, physically powerful jailer who’d intimidated Bundy since he first arrived in Aspen, drove out to the scene of the arrest and quickly confirmed that it was indeed Ted Bundy whom deputies Flatt and Higgins had stopped. According to Ted, the roadside scene took on the air of a block party as more and more officers arrived. Passersby would shout, “Hey! What’s going on?” and the cops would answer back, ‘We think we’ve got Bundy!”
They searched him and found half a pound of sugar, half a dozen vitamin pills still wrapped in tinfoil, his $5 bill and the photo of Liz and Molly. Not until he was back in the Pitkin County jail did Ted finally admit his identity.
It was 2 a.m., Monday, June 13. Ted had covered almost 50 miles on foot during his 133 hours as a fugitive. And he’d lost 30 pounds…
Excerpts from the Florida Police Interview Tapes
Feb. 20, 1978 12:47 AM
[Five days after recapture]
Bodiford: …Let’s do something else. A story that was absolutely fascinating to me, the other night, that you told me. You seemed to be pretty well at ease with how you got out of that damn jail. Would you run that by me again?
Bundy: I will, because I enjoy talking about it… Okay I’ll tell it to you, if you think it’s going to be valuable.
Bodiford: What I’m think is, you obviously enjoy that. It was a masterpiece, it was something I enjoyed listening to and may it’ll all set us a little more at ease.
Bundy: You know, perhaps a more valuable story, along the same line, I haven’t told before. And like, it’s an insight, uh, I mean really. Would be the, the story about my first escape, from Aspen. You see, the first one, from Aspen was the one that reinforced my hope.
Bodiford: Is this the one from the courthouse?
Bundy: Uh huh. And that, that made me a believe in things. I was only out for six days.
Bodiford: How’d it go down?
Bundy: Well I’d been in Colorado since the end of January of ’77 and I’d, first I’d d been up at the, the Aspen Jail. I was there for maybe, uh, seventy one days. I don’t remember how many days was up there. It was a terrible jail. It, it was in the basement of the courthouse in Aspen. I didn’t get along at all with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. It, it was a young group. A young crew and it was a screwed up department, tiny little department, maybe a dozen officers. It was a mess. A couple of cocky investigators and I couldn’t deal with it. But they finally transferred me to Glenwood Springs because they didn’t, you know, they were just so nervous about me. But they’d have to transport me from Glenwood Springs to Aspen where Judge Lohr’s court was. It’s about fifty miles. And time passed and time passed, and of course, during this period of time I started defending myself. And uh, spring time came and it was really kind of gorgeous in, in the Rockies. It’s gorgeous everywhere, but it seemed particularly gorgeous that year. Last year. I decided I’d figure out a way to go and it looked like the best way to do it was just, they were getting kinda lax with me. I mean, they picked me up, Aspen would have to come down and pick me up in Glenwood Springs and bring me back. They put on a pair of handcuffs just like this and I’d sit in the front seat of the car. Two officers. One in the front, the driver, and one in the back. And I didn’t think, I don’t know, I wasn’t going to jump out of the car, but I knew that was indicative, the, the way they were treating me. There’d be one officer with me in the courtroom. And this is an old courthouse and the courtroom was, like here and the windows all the way around here. And this is the entrance and there’s a law library at the back of the courtroom. And big old, old style windows. Uh, I thought about another way, just walking down the stairs is one, by going out the back door of the library. So I, I ruminated over it, and planned it. I knew sometimes my attorney, the officer would maybe go into the Clerk’s Office to get a, a copy of a paper for me and leave me alone for per, for perhaps sixty seconds, come back and I’ve never really, I mean, I’ve never taken advantage of the situation, cause, you know, the, the thought of escape is, it’s an important decision. Really, a very important decision. I wasn’t worried about being killed or anything. I was worried about not making it. Not, not being successful at it, anyway. So I, I planned it out. I decided where I would go, more or less the two ways I could do it in the court room. And that was out, by going out the back door and walking down, just walking down the stairs and going out the front, cause it’s not a very busy little courthouse. Or by jumping out the window.
Bodiford: How big is Aspen? It really sounds like a pretty small place.
Bundy: Oh, it was very, very small. I can’t think of… I know, it’s got about two hundred bars and about three thousand people live in the city. It’s a, it’s a resort town. It’s uh, unlike any town in this country. I, I mean in that respect. And I was in the same courtroom with the same judge in the same city where Claudine Longet was tried. For shooting her lover.
Bodiford: Spider Sabich.
Bundy: Spider Sabich. You know the thing. Yeah. The day I was arraigned, she was sentenced, kind of thing. Celebrity kind of town. Uh, so what I did was I, I accumulated a, a number of such clothing… [inaudible] … I was wearing my, I had a pair of loafers, but I had a pair of prison boots too. And I got two sets of socks, thick, wool socks, so I wore those. I had to wear a pair of shorts, cut-off jeans, long john top, and two turtlenecks, and a big sweater and a pair of jean slacks. I don’t mean jean slacks, corduroy slacks, and so, right. It was part of a plan and then I’d have to tuck into the pockets of my shorts a bandana, a envelope with a few little trinkets I thought’d be valuable for survival, plastic bag and a map of uh, well not a map, but what it was, was an aerial photograph of the uh, mountains around Aspen that they used in ski brochures.
Patchen: You got all that in jail?
Bundy: Yeah. I could’ve gotten more, but I didn’t, I didn’t want to use any friends. See, I didn’t even try to use anybody else, but…
Bodiford: And you brought the, I mean they knew that you were bringing all this stuff in?
Bundy: Uh huh. They, they didn’t know I was wearing those, but they knew I had it.
Bodiford: That’s what I mean. They knew that you had these available to you?
Bundy: Yeah, but they didn’t know about, well I, the ski brochure maps, the ski brochure I got simply during the course of, because I was doing pro se. We got ski brochures of Snowmass, where this girl disappeared from. And part of that was just, the aerial photographs of Snowmass in Aspen. So I knew, first of all I figured out where I wanted to go. I looked at the, these maps. I saw, well, I knew where I wanted to go. I wanted to go to a place called Crested Butte, which is in, the other side of the Elk, Elk Mountain Range. The Elk Mountains that are the sub-range, the, part of the Colorado Rockies, where Aspen is. I wanted to go over the top and down into Crested Butte, then I’d get a car and then I’d go, I didn’t know where I was gonna go. I knew I wasn’t gonna go west. But I’d just try to get away as far as I could. So I, I knew where Crested Butte was on the map and I knew which the direction. I knew what, you know canyons I, I knew which canyon to get to and, and I knew, thought I’d, first I’d get far away and then I’d get in one of the empty resort cabins and stay in one of the cabins for a while. But, but I knew there was gonna be a, you know, a big difference…
[Note: here the hidden bug tape recording picks up; unfortunately this tape was much less audible for transcription]
…And I always worried about not making it because there was always that possibility that I actually did it, but I kept thinking about it and then I knew when I got back to my cell and that door slammed on me— I hate to get locked up. I wasn’t afraid of being convicted but I hated to get locked up. I always think about being free, you know…
Now, the courthouse is right on Main Street in front of the— the end of the courtroom is on Main Street. All I needed was 45 seconds, I figured. I counted to myself how far I was going to run. So, I was nervous, oh God, I was nervous. The Deputy who was watching me was standing out having a cigarette. I knew I could do it if I wanted to.
So finally I walked up to that window, looked around, he walked in there and I had case in my hand. Window was open, sitting there open, and Main Street and grass below. First I crawled out there on the ledge, and zip, popped right out there, and boom, down… Popped up and hurtled the iron fence they have around the corner. Oh boy, oh boy, nobody was there! I was always afraid somebody would be coming out of the courthouse. I ran down the alley and down to the river. There it was just like it was in the photograph.
I dove out of view, I knew I needed to be out of view of the street before I stopped. I took off the top two layers, brown shirt, yellow turtleneck. Took off my pants— oh by the way, I had two sharpened pencils in my pocket when I jumped and fortunately when I jumped they went right through the pocket. I rolled up the pants, took the bandana out of my pocket, put the bandana on my head, put a bandage on my nose. Started walking up the road, and I was about half way up when I heard the helicopter. They were on the other side of the valley, down the other side and I knew I was home free. It was a beautiful warm day like the Fourth of July.
So what was happening back at the courthouse, it was nearly 10 minutes before, well, what was happening was… [inaudible] jumped out… sheriff’s office… “jumped out of the courthouse window!” HA HA… and she said, “well, he’s in the courtroom”… looked for me and they took another… across the bridge in the direction I’d gone… secretaries brought it down to the sheriff’s office they thought [laughter]…
I started climbing up the hill, rough country, climb and climb and climb. I finally got to the road. Later that day, I found the road I wanted to be on. So I sort of laid down and rested across the road and started crossing the river and under the creek. It was still early in the evening then, nobody around. Like you would do, keep on going just keep on going all night long. I didn’t know the area, and I was just following… the highway went one way and another went another just following the river. And then it started to rain, got real cold, real cold, and then all these [inaudible] started hitting me and I was shivering. I didn’t even know where I was there for awhile. Morning came and I didn’t know where I was. I could retrace my steps and head back.
First light came and I finally got back [to the cabin]… porch… So I sat there. It was eight o’clock in the morning, traffic was going down the highway… I busted the window with my foot and I went through it and I broke the window there. All kinds of food in there. That’s it. Packed it up with food and all kinds of clothing, medical supplies and things. Sat there on the porch and watched the river, beautiful…
They were still looking for me. They didn’t have the [faintest idea] where I was. Second day at midnight, all packed up and warmly dressed and dried out and ready to go again. I took a rifle… by the way I think it was a .22.
Started walking up the road the same way I had done before. I walked from midnight until 6:30 in the morning. I stayed off the main trail…You just can’t believe how beautiful that country is. 500,000 feet above Florida and maybe five miles up into this canyon and white clouds blowing a breath of wind. Great fishing country, fantastic trout. I was just doing great and I moved all day long higher and higher… I followed the trail and got real high that day. There were a lot of snow storms going over to my right. All the animals followed the trail. Well, I followed them over, climbing straight up on rock. That’s how huge old elk go up… I mean I looked down, one dip and it would have been 2 or 3,000 feet before I stopped falling. I don’t like heights. Big rifle in one hand and holding onto rocks with the other. God damn it was steep. You know when I started up that summit about 5:00 I knew I had to get over before darkness at that height. I got up there and I thought it was… got to the top and looked over the edge to the valley on the other side. I had several problems. 2,000 feet, I had to slide on shale. It was the worst time in my life.
Tree line…damn cold… I knew I’d fucked up. They didn’t know where I was but still… Got dark. No water. I should have kept going on. It was about 3 in the morning and it was so cold. I started a fire. The Lone Ranger would never have started a fire [laughter]. So I started a fire. I don’t know… I didn’t want to get caught. 4 or 5,000 feet straight up. Elk trails. It was a terrible exertion at that altitude and got way down and saw that road and I stayed above it til darkness. Dirt road and straight across. It got worse and worse. The dirt road turned into a rock trail. Rocks all over and a horse trail, cursing myself, I couldn’t go very fast. About two in the morning I got over to the highway and I said “Shit, great.” I started walking along the road… road blocks all over the place. A car came along and I had to jump. But I walked and walked down at the bottom of the valley. Big ski area down at the bottom and a car came around a bend. So I jumped and hung on to the guard rail… had trouble holding onto the rifle so I threw it away. I hung onto the guard rail until the car went by about 100 feet down to the bottom of the creek and I just jumped right over that sucker.
I still had my flashlight and held on— I didn’t want to lose that. I was in the outskirts of Aspen, right back where I started. But you know, 4 in the morning I knew I had to… I couldn’t walk because of my leg I was all stiff legged. So I was going through back yards… I knew the road blocks were still…
There was only one way out, and that was down a two-lane highway. Anybody who knew the area probably knew there were a dozen ways. I could have taken a dirt road but I didn’t know that. Walked back up and went to underneath the deck you know, where I’d walked two days before. Oh shit, and there was a dog barking and I took off again and went up. I figured out what they were doing up in the canyon. The dogs were tracking me up that canyon two days before. There was a team of dogs in there… they were using helicopters. The helicopter did not land, it hovered a few feet off the ground. They came right up to the cabin I was in…
The sun came up and I still didn’t know where the fuck I was. They think I’m up there, maybe now the dogs will take them up there. I’ll go back to Aspen. At least I know where they think I am. I’m going to go right down there… about fifteen miles… critically painful… went down there and my leg was just as strong as it’d ever been, I don’t know what it was but I began to sprint. I crossed the roadway… went on the other side, and here’s where I was walking along and beautiful, beautiful woods, gorgeous woods.
…And I said “hey, how’s it going there?” Told him my name, told him I’d been down to Aspen.
Q: You told them your name?
A: Yeah, that’s right. And he said, “don’t move.” …he was finally satisfied I was who I was supposed to be. And then he said he was looking for something. And I said, “wait, I’ll come with you!” [laughter]…
One side was sheer rock cliff, maybe a hundred yards away was a highway and all of a sudden this huge [inaudible] barbecue pit and kids and… he was there singing and everybody was you know, back and forth watching…. the strangest feeling…
All the traffic, it was just [inaudible] as hell. All these houses. I didn’t give a shit if anybody saw me— I was walking around on the road… it was a populated suburban area…
What I was trying to do, I was just going to walk down some railroad tracks. I saw some railroad tracks back down… But after this guy looked right at me, though he’d seen my picture in the papers for days… people never look like their pictures… beard on my face, walked right at him. I didn’t want to hurt anybody, all I wanted to do was get away. I got down to the main highway going west… walked across the highway, walked into a populated suburban area around a golf course and I was right in the middle of a barbeque. And uh, I tried to get around the house. I fell over this thing and stumbled… laid there for at least two hours. I didn’t know where I was, and I couldn’t walk… too weak.
So I finally came to and I got up and I started walking out trying to figure out what to do. First I took a bicycle. I couldn’t ride it and it was really cold. I couldn’t ride the damn thing…
I drove the car out to the highway and I drove straight through Aspen. I thought I might try it, drove into Aspen… Goddamn police car… U-turn on red and pulled me over. I should have run. I could have gotten away, but I knew I should [inaudible]. If I had known he was deputy I’d have kept moving… He pulled me over, he said “Do you have trouble driving Mister?” Now this is the only, of everybody on the roadblock this is the only car in Pitkin County that… girl… she was heading back. He says “hurry up and get out of the car!” Gene’s really excited [laughter]. I had some glasses on I found in the car. “Get out of the car!” I got out. I had a hat on that I’d picked up in the cabin. “Take off your glasses!” So I took off my glasses. He looked at me. “You sure look like somebody.” They decided to call Don Davis who’s in charge. Maureen is trying to calm Gene down. 28 or 29 years old, very young people. They still didn’t know who I was. And the consensus of opinion… “you don’t look like Bundy.”
They got me back there mainly after they figured out who I was, I wasn’t saying anything. Don Davis put me in his office. He’s 6 feet, 240 pounds. He said, “No prisoner’s ever escaped from me.” He’d never been [inaudible] before, I didn’t want to tell him what happened [laughter]. So Davis says to me, and I told him the whole story. And then, of course, Mike Fisher, an investigator for the County Sheriff’s Office…. So I got locked back up and you know the next day at the court house people were hanging up on the rafters…
I’d jumped feet first out of that window. I climbed thousands and thousands of feet and walked many many miles before the [inaudible] several days later.
Q: How far were you from the courthouse when they caught you?
A: Maybe a half mile.
Q: That is unreal.
A: Well you know what happened they had a roadblock up and if they’d taken it down and I could have driven over the pass.
Q: You could have just kept truckin?
A: Right. it’s always been 2:00 in the morning, every time… I was charged with theft, car theft and burglary. It was a misdemeanor, it was a theft of the rifle.
Q: They didn’t charge you with possession of a firearm by convicted felon?
A: Well, they never found it, I didn’t have it one me. They didn’t care.
Q: Where’d you leave it?
A: Way up in the mountains. So okay, that’s the story. But you know, that’s only six days. Escaped on Tuesday and they catch you on Monday, early Monday morning. And so, I didn’t have a chance really ever to relax. I didn’t drink a beer or anything, you know. That cabin didn’t have any booze in it. I was never really free. I mean, I was always moving, but never really away.
Q: But, everything you do like escape from both jails, everything was fully planned, you were fully prepared for what you were going to do.
A: No I wasn’t…
Q: Is this maybe why you didn’t haul ass…
A: That’s probably part of it but you know I really had a chance… Not much of a fall from the second story… See, here I’d been free and I did all right but I had to be free and I never thought about doing anything.
Q: You never had a chance to.
A: I didn’t but I didn’t think that made any difference…
Q: You were preoccupied with other things, mainly trying to get away. That made you believe you could handle the problem?
A: I said, hey, you know everybody’s excited about Theodore Bundy… schools were closed and all this stuff and I couldn’t believe it. I’m not dangerous.
Q: Did you believe it yourself?
A: Yeah, I believed it. It should have dawned on me…
Excerpts from Bundy’s self narrated tapes, recorded for Stephen Michaud
Orange County Jail; January, 1980
…So let me return to my discussion about the Pitkin County Jail. Over the course of the months I was there, I made several attempts to enlist the support of inmates who were on work release to bring in the implements necessary to escape, principally hacksaw blades. I wasn’t sophisticated enough to think of anything else at the time. The only way I could think of to get out of the jail was to cut out, especially during the evening hours when all the deputies were on the road and the courthouse was virtually deserted. But I never once found a willing accomplice as it were. Understandably enough, as most of them were only facing minor charges for petty offenses, they were not willing to risk a more serious charge of aiding me escaping from the jail, if it even could be done. There was always a question in my mind of whether it could be done. As a matter of fact, the Pitkin County Jail, I believe, given its construction, would be one of the most difficult jails to escape from. Surprising considering the age of the structure. Very difficult.
Of course, that’s assuming one has no friends. All it would take to get out of that jail in reality would be one good friend. And all that would be necessary would be for that friend to knock on the door in the back of the sheriff’s office in the evening, accost the lone female receptionist in that office, march her back to the cell area, cut the small master padlock which secured the control panel to the outside doors of the cell block, pull down the levers, open the doors, and exit the building. It would be several hours before anyone would discover that there had been an escape from the jail. But not having that kind of outside help, of course it was something I had never seriously considered.
There was one individual who was in the jail for awhile on a drunk driving charge, and had spent some time in prison. A very nice fella who actually was able to smuggle me in a tension lock pick, because I thought there might be another way out, by opening some locked panels that were inside the bathroom. Later on turned out it could not be done. He volunteered that if I was ever able to get out, he would be more than happy to hide me, get me out of the area. As nice as this man was, as trustworthy as I really do think he was, even if I had gotten out under the circumstances where I needed local help I wouldn’t have sought it out because of the very simple reason that really one can’t, any escapee, can’t trust anyone he knows, or anyone who might know he is an escapee, when he’s on the run. The real dilemma of being on escape, it’s a terrible temptation to contact someone you know; a loved one, a girlfriend, a family member. But in every case, in every story I’ve heard where an escapee has been apprehended… well nearly almost every case, let us say 99/100, the person is apprehended because he has made contact with a person out of his past.
I remember the great apprehension I had when I found out I was being moved from the Pitkin County Jail to the Garfield County Jail. I was sure that I was being moved to an even more secure facility. In fact this was the justification for moving me from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. The real reason was not because the jail in Aspen had been condemned, but because they thought that the jail in Glenwood Springs was more secure. Oddly enough that was not true, and is not true. The jail in Glenwood Springs was, and probably still is, far less secure than the steel box they have for a jail in Pitkin County. But not knowing that, it was very disturbing for me to face a change of residences at that time. I thought that all hope of escape had vanished when I was moved in April 1977.
And certainly in the beginning, the Garfield County Jail looked just as impenetrable as the Pitkin County Jail, although I can remember on one occasion shortly after they had moved me, it was a Saturday and the trustees virtually had the run of the place that day. The cooks were out, the people who ran the jail were out, and the trustees were preparing lunch. I was just down the hall from the kitchen. The steel door of the kitchen was open. The food slot to my cell was open, and one of the trustees who had been a cellmate of mine in Aspen came up to my cell and dangled in front of me an extra set of keys that were kept in the kitchen, that could open all the doors to the jail, in front of my face, and said “We can’t do it now, but we’ll wait until later to do it.” Didn’t have the guts to do it, in fact this is the one I told you about earlier. Kellum was his last name… what was his first name, David Kellum? That’s close. He was quite a character, quite a character. Very untrustworthy as it were. Had spent a lot of time in prisons in California and Colorado. Not withstanding the fact that my one time bosom buddy from Aspen now had a set of keys dangling from his hand. I knew enough about him that I knew he would never use them to aid me in getting out of that jail.
So I began to look for another way [to escape]. Rather than breaking out of jail, I began to look at other ways. And the advent of Spring gave me an entirely new point of view on a way of getting away. Every time I was transported from Garfield County to Aspen for a court appearance, I would be looking closely at the surrounding mountains, and waiting anxiously for enough of the snow in the high country to melt. Because I knew that only when the snow in the high country melted would I have a chance of actually getting around the mountains, from Point A to Point B, from Aspen to some point where I could safely get transportation out of the state. And as the snow began to melt, I began to look for things around me in Aspen… look for opportunities in Aspen, outside of the jail, that I could take advantage of, in making good my escape.
Of course over the months I had become well acquainted with all of the deputies in Pitkin County, became very well acquainted with their habits. Knew the layout of the courtroom, which is on the second floor of the Pitkin County courthouse. I became a model prisoner in that I always did what I was told, and never made any movements that I was not supposed to make. I never attempted any rough stuff, was always very polite and personable. And much of this was genuine, it was not contrived necessarily. But as the Spring of 1977 wore on, I began to notice that many of my guardians from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office who overlooked me, or watched over me while I was in court were, how should I say it, losing interest? Not exactly on their toes. Whereas they used to have three or four officers with me in the courtroom, the continent dropped to two and then sometimes one. I also noticed that on occasion I was left alone in the courtroom. This had happened several times during the winter months, but of course I was not about to make an attempt during the winter, for reasons I described earlier. There was really no point in escaping in the dead of winter when there was only one way out of town, a way that would quickly be blocked. Once the snow melted, there were an infinite number of ways out of Aspen. And since Aspen is so small, it would take but a very few minutes to be out of the town and into the timbers, so to speak.
Finally I formulated the rough outline of what I wanted to do. By gathering the ski brochures that had been given to me by my investigator, I got an idea of the general topography of the mountains surrounding Aspen. I didn’t want to ask for any more details than Aspen, because I was afraid of arousing anyone’s interest. Although looking back on it now, I’m not sure I would have aroused any interest or suspicion had I had those details. In fact I’m almost certain I would have made my objective of Crested Butte very very easily. My investigator had given me those brochures as a part of the investigation of the Snowmass area, and other things related to the investigation into the Caryn Campbell case. In fact I had not even asked him to, but as a part of these promotional brochures, they had the aerial type photographs, sketches of the mountains and valleys in the ski areas surrounding Aspen. These and general type road maps of that part of Colorado I used to try and sketch out the route I would take to Crested Butte.
Still things didn’t seem right. It just didn’t seem right. Even though on several occasions in the early spring of 1977, I had the occasion to go, everything wasn’t in place. One thing you’ll find about me, you’ll discover about me, is that when I do something, as risky as escaping is, I want to succeed. I don’t want to fail. I want everything to be right. It has to feel right. And I won’t commit myself in any way to do it, unless there’s a high probability of success. Unless I’d practiced, and worked it out, and worked out every kink in it until I’m almost certain that it cannot fail. This is how it had to be in Aspen.
Then leading into the early spring of ’77 there were several occasions when I was left alone in the courtroom. And I may have made some of those good, on those occasions I had extra clothing on, but it didn’t feel right. Everything wasn’t together; it wasn’t right. Perhaps I guess one would have to call me a perfectionist, but the feeling wasn’t right. But I knew the opportunity was there, and that was the most encouraging thing. I had a feeling that the opportunity would continue to be there, although I can remember on several occasions after returning to Glenwood Springs, just mentally flogging myself for missing an opportunity. Asking myself over and over again, “Why didn’t you go? Why didn’t you go? You had the time, you had the time! They left you alone, why didn’t you go?” But it wasn’t right; it wasn’t right. And on these occasions I’d come back thinking it would never happen again. But in a way, I think that intellectually I did know that it would happen again. That I would be left alone, periodically. I could almost plan on it. And when I went up to court in Aspen, all I had to do was put a few more pieces together.
During this period I was working out strenuously in my cell, doing pushups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and jogging. And basically I was planning one of two exits, from the Pitkin County courthouse. The primary exit in the initial planning stages was that I would walk to the rear of the courtroom, go out an entrance at the rear of the courtroom on the left, which goes down to the stairs and merges with the main stairs, and simply walk out the front door hoping nobody would see me. This sounds rather unrealistic but if you notice the traffic patterns of the courthouse you’ll understand there’s very little traffic inside going into the courthouse at any given time of day and therefore it was fairly likely that nobody would see me. However, especially during recesses, there’s certainly a greater likelihood that someone would see me. Coming down the stairs you’ll realize that the door I’m talking about is the door that goes into the library, which is at the rear of the courtroom. My plan was to exit that door, go down the stairs, and I figured all I needed was between 15-45 seconds before they noticed I was gone, to make my plan successful.
The second plan was simply to jump out a window. And, uh, that was a dubious approach although I figured it would certainly be more convenient than walking brazenly down the main stairwell of the Pitkin County courthouse…
Excerpt from the Agent Bill Hagmaier FBI Interview Tapes
Florida State Prison
Date: February 13, 1986
“This was the myth people created, that I was the ‘master of disguise.’ …People believe that when somebody sneaks around, goes around doing these things, they just assume that they disguise themselves, in some way. What they don’t understand, is no one has to disguise themselves, really. Because… people’s minds… you know what I think about eyewitness identification? It is the worst form of evidence in court. It is also the worst form of information, in my opinion, that a police officer can get, because it can be so misleading, and I’ve seen it happen over the years. But I know that I could walk up to somebody, under ordinary circumstances, and they won’t remember me, a day, or five days, or a month later. I mean, under ordinary circumstances.
I also know that when I escaped in Aspen, I was seen– and I never left that area– I escaped in Aspen, and I went up into the mountains, and I wasn’t equipped mentally or physically to handle being up at 10,000 feet, even in the summertime, not knowing how to live off the land. It kinda wore me down. Nevertheless, I was just outside of Aspen, in the mountains, and I was being seen at truck stops in Wyoming, and Seattle, and San Francisco, and Australia. And if I’d been in Australia, they would have said, ‘well, you see, that eyewitness who saw him was right.’ I’ve seen this happen over and over again. So I’m saying, I know that I’ve seen people who just never remembered seeing me. And I didn’t have to hide. I didn’t have to disguise myself. I just had to be unobtrusive.
…[here in Florida] I was in their custody for two or three days, and I was on the Ten Most Wanted list, and I had to tell them who I was, and they didn’t believe me when I told them. My opinion is… and I’ll be quite frank with you, I’m not trying to be negative, but I don’t think y’all catch anybody, really. There are exceptions, ok sure, but I think generally guys on the run catch themselves.
…I never wanted to get caught, I can tell you that, no doubt in my mind. …I was never worried about FBI posters, because again my knowledge of how the human mind works told me that you know, unless I just stood there in the post office next to it, grinning stupidly [laughs]… I never feared being identified based upon a photograph, because I know that photographs versus reality, distort. And if you just act normal, people are not going to say– if you act weird, then they’re going to say ‘I wonder what’s wrong with him’ and then you’re going to stand out. But being on the run, I wasn’t worried about being caught. Certainly, a fugitive such as I was, believe me I wasn’t oblivious as to my status, and the fact that I had to be concerned.
…[but] if you fall into that trap you create your own stress, and the more paranoid you become the more likely it is you get caught, because you start acting differently. But if you realize, that person in that picture is not me. That’s not me. My name is THIS, and I’m acting okay. And people are only going to think that I’m the person on that poster if I start acting in ways that make them think that I should be on that poster.”
The Aspen State Teacher’s College was a fictitious school which put out a humorous newsletter called “Clean Sweep” in the style of The Onion. The June 1977 issue was heavily laced with Bundy escape jokes. While the business advertisements were genuine; the content wasn’t. These images are courtesy/copyright Marc Demmon, who ran the “College” at the time and wrote the newsletter. He said Aspen in the 70s was like a hippie college town but without the college, so he made one up. In our interview, Demmon recalled that at the time of Bundy’s first escape, many of the townsfolk didn’t know much about Bundy’s widespread murder suspicions. They just knew that Ted was being prosecuted for the Campbell murder, and it was generally thought to be a weak case. Bundy himself seemed good looking, smart, and irreverent, so he became a ‘folk hero’ of sorts in the town. “The gravity of the situation didn’t sink in until later.”
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Bundy Becomes Part of Folklore,” by Larry McCarten
June 10, 1977
ASPEN– Ted Bundy’s dramatic escape from an antique courthouse has made him part of the folklore of this summer and winter Rocky Mountain playground.
T-shirts sprouted out around town with inscriptions about the convicted kidnapper and accused murderer. One says “Bundy is in Booth D.” It alludes to a national magazine article that said if you sit in Booth D in a certain Aspen disco, you will be served cocaine, the “drug of the elite.”
One of Aspen’s campy eateries has a “Bundy burger;” open it and discover the meat has fled.
A bar is serving a ‘Bundy Cocktail’– tequila, rum, and two Mexican jumping beans.
Revelers at counter-culture meccas or disco-hopping the streets at night yell out slogans such as ‘Bundy Lives– On a Rocky Mountain High,” referring to a favorite number of singer John Denver.
Another slogan: “Bundy’s Free– You can bet your Aspen on it.”
Hitchhikers have been seen in the area wearing signs: “I’m not Bundy!”
The escapee is talked of as rivaling famed Seattle jet hijacker D.B. Cooper in Western folklore. But there are many who think this is sick, because Cooper was never charged with killing or kidnapping women.
It remains to be seen whether the Bundy lore will rival or surpass the publicity generated here by showgirl Claudine Longet’s accidental slaying of her pro-skier Spider Sabich last fall.
The maudlin fun over Bundy’s escape contrasts starkly with the serious aspects of his being at large– and the fact he is suspect in deaths of 18 women in three states including eight in King County.
Sheriff’s officers, red-faced about Bundy escaping from lax security, try to discount any panic among the people. But fear stalks Aspen’s storied streets. This reporter, for example, was turned in to the sheriff’s office as a possible Bundy suspect, after talking to three women in a cafe garden to get their reactions to the escape. They turned the writer in even though he showed press card and other identification. The only result was razzing from sheriff’s officers and fellow news people.
The controversy continued about lax security that allowed Bundy to bail out of a second floor window in the courthouse here. Pitkin County Sheriff Dick Kienast was asked, “Sheriff, do you wish you’d never heard of Ted Bundy?”
“Yes,” he replied.
The Aspen Times
“‘Dick Dove’ leaves legacy on local law enforcement,” by Scott Condon
March 29, 2004
Dick Kienast, the former Pitkin County sheriff whose department was known as “Dick Dove and the Deputies of Love,” died Saturday from complications that occurred during heart bypass surgery.
Kienast was legendary for ushering out a traditional small-town, red-necked law enforcement style in the mid-1970s and replacing it with one of the more liberal approaches in the country. He gained national attention about 25 years ago when “60 Minutes,” the CBS television news magazine, did a piece on his refusal to work with federal undercover drug agents.
He was elected in a landslide in a six-candidate special election held in 1976 because the previous sheriff was removed from office. He won re-election in 1978 by a much narrower margin after drastically overhauling the sheriff’s department, then won again in 1982.
Although there were no mass firings of deputies, Kienast instituted a “humanistic” approach that immediately forced turnover in the department. Shotgun-toting muscular men with crew cuts and quasi-military uniforms were steadily replaced by “a bunch of longhaired, ski bum freaks,” according to current Sheriff Bob Braudis.
Braudis was one of those freaks. He was hired on March 3, 1977. He knew nothing about law enforcement but quickly embraced the approach promoted by his highly educated, humanitarian, “New Agey” leader. Kienast personally oversaw hiring in the department. He wanted people from all walks of life rather than career law enforcement officers.
“He never capitulated. He never backed down,” said Braudis. “He basically rang the bell and said ‘There’s a new sheriff in town.’”
His theory was that the police would be more like “peace keepers” who were known in the community and who could be approached by citizens to help solve problems. Blue jeans were welcomed. Taxpayer dollars in the department’s training budget paid entry fees to John Denver’s feel-good “Choices for the Future” symposiums.
Shortly after Kienast moved to Aspen in 1968, he befriended Hunter S. Thompson and shared a disdain for the good-old-boy network that ran the politics. They plotted overthrow with Thompson’s bid for sheriff in 1970. “When Hunter ran for sheriff, if he would have been elected Dick was going to be his undersheriff,” said Christie Kienast, Dick’s ex-wife.
Kienast lost his first bid, in 1974, but won election with nearly four times as many votes as his nearest competitor in 1976. The year that Kienast took office, the sheriff’s office suffered the embarrassment of serial killer Ted Bundy’s escape when he jumped from a second-story window in the courthouse. He was caught after Aspen sat in terror for eight days.
Right-wingers fueled a campaign to unseat Kienast in the November 1978 election. Critics hung the “Dick Dove and the Deputies of Love” label on the department, but his disciples and his supporters embraced what was supposed to be an insult. Kienast prevailed by a vote of 2,010 to 1,711…
The Aspen Times
“Saddle Sore” by Tony Vagneur
October 24, 2009
For me, it started out innocently enough. Headed to Carbondale to replenish feed for the T-Lazy-7 horse herd, I suddenly found myself pulled up short in a long line of vehicles at the Old Snowmass Conoco. Soon enough, the solemn-looking law officers manning the site left no doubt they were serious about something, as they looked in trunks, pried open hoods and peered behind seats with an efficiency seldom seen in local enforcement. Such aberrations always put me in a bad mood ’cause I figure if someone hadn’t screwed up somewhere along the line, we wouldn’t need the hassle of a road block.
Up until then, rapist and serial murderer Ted Bundy’s presence in our local jail hadn’t made much of an impression on me, but his escape that morning and the sudden realization that my wife, Caroline, was home alone on the ranch (which was along a possible flight route), parched my mouth and cranked up my pulse rate. Over the phone, I instructed her to keep my lever-action .30-.30 close at hand and to be extremely suspicious of anyone coming by. “Finish your errands,” she’d said, and had I been “Terrible Ted,” I’d have made a wide swath around her, she was so confident.
Which is exactly what he did, shortly after my telephone call. He went up the far side of Maroon Creek, directly across from our house, not a hundred yards away. We didn’t know this until days later, when a sheriff’s deputy thought such information might be welcome. It made me cuss, I remember that.
Later that afternoon, we drove up the road to see what kind of big deal the manhunt had created. At the lower end of Henry Stein’s meadow, near the mouth of East Maroon, we spotted a roaring fire, stoked up for a pep rally it seemed, surrounded by beefy, squint-eyed men in wool shirts, jeans and leather boots who amateurishly spit tobacco, stroked their high-powered rifles as they might rub morning erections, and slurped on cans of beer.
The fact that I’d walked the couple hundred feet down to the gathering, rather than bouncing a big four-wheel-drive vehicle into their midst, marked me as one of the unwashed, but when I told ’em they were on private property (looking out for Henry’s better interests, I was, thinking they were a bunch of nut cases from over the Divide), they looked at me like I’d lost my mind. They had been “deputized,” the story went, and were gonna catch Ted Bundy that night, or soon thereafter, and I’d best not interfere. Turning on my tall-heeled boots, I offered that if they built a bigger fire, Ol’ Ted might be drawn to the flames, like a killer moth.
Bundy, who once said, “So what’s one less? What’s one less person on the face of the planet,” and who couldn’t drive around the block without screwing up, was arrested six days later when he drew attention to himself near the Aspen Grove subdivision in a stolen Cadillac.
Only in this civilized world is it possible, but he went on to kill at least two more women and another 12-year-old girl. Those clowns with the big bonfire should have caught him first.
Special to the Aspen Times Weekly
“Fritz Kaeser- Roch and Rocks” by Tim Willoughby
July 28, 2010
…Fritz Kaeser (1920-1989) was the grandson of one of the Swiss immigrant families that founded the evaporated milk company that became Pet Milk. Fritz began his college studies as an artist at the Art Institute of Chicago, switched to photography, and then honed his skills as an assistant to Hollywood portrait photographer William Mortensen.
Fritz and his wife, Milly, fell in love with Aspen during their first visit to ski in the 1930s. They immediately bought land and built a summer log cabin in 1939, at the junction of Conundrum and Castle creeks (the one Ted Bundy hid in after his escape from Pitkin County jail). During the early years of their Aspen residence, Fritz developed as one of the early ski photographers, winning the Grafex World Wide Photo Contest for a picture he took of Andre Roch turning through powder.
…[The Kaesers’] interest in the arts made them fans and supporters of Aspen’s summer, but cold winters sent them to the snow-free south. In 1950 they built one of the first homes east of Tucson, at the edge of the saguaro forest, and settled into spending winters in Tucson and summers in Aspen.
Fritz’s Pet Milk inheritance enabled him to pursue a lifetime devoted to his hobbies. In addition to his fine art photography, he became a desert rock hound. He opened his rock shop in the Aspen Grove building just after it was built.
…The rock shop closed after Fritz’s interest waned. He left us with a life’s work of photography, mostly shots of Aspen and the surrounding area. Like most photographers who were drawn to the area, he photographed the Maroon Bells in every season and from all angles. His collection can be viewed in the Snite Museum at Notre Dame University.
The Glenwood Springs Post Independent
“Eerie past resurfaces as Glenwood safe cracked,” by Ryan Summerlin
April 11, 2017
Glenwood Springs Post Independent employees for decades have been walking by an old Glenwood Post safe at the paper’s office, its combination long forgotten and its surface more recently used as a decorative table. The thought that this safe might hold something consequential didn’t keep anyone awake at night. But when a local locksmith eyed the old safe and volunteered to take a crack at it, we hadn’t imagined the record of a disturbing era of Roaring Fork Valley history we’d find…
…Once inside, the Post Independent found a lot more than expected. In numerous envelopes were dozens of photo negatives from the late ’70s, and most of these were of pretty typical news events, from New Year’s babies to fatal car crashes. But most interesting were a series of photos from June 1977, during one of the most surreal weeks in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Among the labels on one envelope was “Bundy Capture:’ Holding the roll of negatives against the light, you could clearly see the wide grin of the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy being hauled in by law enforcement…
Bundy was on the lam for nearly a week, being recaptured by authorities in Pitkin County on June 13 after wandering the mountains for six days. The Post’s long-concealed photos captured Bundy being hauled in by law enforcement and grinning for the camera. These negatives also showed the efforts of the manhunt shotgun-wielding police officers searching vehicles at roadblocks, tracking dogs sniffing Bundy’s shirt – even a hitchhiker holding a sign reassuring drivers that “I AM NOT BUNDY.” He was taken to the Garfield County jail, where about six months later he would escape custody again by sawing a hole in the ceiling of his cell. This time, he wouldn’t be found for about another two months in Florida…
The Glenwood Springs Post Independent
“Bundy tales come out of the woodwork,” by Ryan Summerlin
April 18, 2017
Photo negatives from Glenwood Springs safe invokes stories of infamous serial killer– After the Glenwood Springs Post Independent ran a story about finding 1977 photo negatives of Ted Bundy in its long-locked safe, the story spread around the globe. The out-of-date photo medium got a big boost from the viral effect of the digital age…
Such is human fascination with the macabre, which also prompted an outpouring of strange new stories surrounding Bundy’s escapes from the Pitkin and Garfield County jails before his capture in Florida and execution in 1989.
Another strange web of this story started years before Bundy, who would confess to murdering 30 women, was a household name.
In 1974, Ross Dolan, about 29 or 30 years old at the time, was living in Aspen, working odd jobs to keep afloat in the mountain town. One of those jobs was driving for the Quicksilver Cab Company. One day, shortly after Christmas, he was driving a man to the airport. His passenger leaned forward and showed him a photograph of a woman and asked if he’d seen her. It was his fiance, and she’d gone missing in Aspen. Unfortunately, Dolan couldn’t be of any help that day; he didn’t recognize the woman. But about two weeks later in a snowbank, Caryn Campbell’s naked body would be found in Snowmass. And Ted Bundy would eventually be on trial for her murder.
In 1977, while that trial was upcoming, Bundy would escape from the Pitkin County courthouse by leaping from a second-story window. And after a weeklong manhunt that turned the town upside down, when law enforcement was finally hauling Bundy back in at the courthouse, it was the former cab driver Dolan who captured Bundy’s infamous smile in a photograph.
On Thursday, Dolan recalled these events for the Post Independent. He’d been working for the Glenwood Post for only a few months when he got the Bundy shot. There was a buzz of excitement in the air in Aspen; Bundy’s escape just added to the already circus-like atmosphere of Aspen in the ’70s, Dolan said. “I don’t think anyone took him as seriously as they needed to. He was a dangerous, vicious person,” he said.
Lee Caughman commented on the story that someone created a Bundy wanted poster that identified the wanted man as “Aspen’s foremost jumper and cross-country specialist.” Caughman added that he had an uncle who was locked up with Bundy in the Garfield County jail. The uncle told him that young women would come to the jail and leave Bundy candy and cigarettes.
It seems plenty of people who were around at the time have their own piece of the Bundy story to tell. A Colorado Mountain College student at the time said law enforcement flooded the campus when Bundy escaped, knowing that their suspect had an inclination for colleges. Shannon Lukens posted that the uniformed officer in the Bundy photos is former Pitkin County Sheriff Don Davis.
“In Bundy’s book, he said that the only person who ever scared him was Don Davis,” Lukens wrote. “I asked Mr. Davis what he said to scare Ted Bundy so much. He simply replied, ‘That’s only for me and Mr. Bundy to know.’”
Dolan, now 72 years old, is modest about the photos he took at the courthouse. “There’s nothing extraordinary about the shot. I was just another working stiff with a camera,” he said. There were plenty of other photographers there getting very similar shots. But Dolan’s photo caught that split second that seemed to show Bundy’s character — that smile that Dolan called an “evil sneer.”
True to his reputation, Bundy was very personable and cunning, he said. “He looked like a regular yup at the time, a very clean-cut guy. He wasn’t ugly, I guess. When you’re out doing the daily news, you don’t think that you’re writing history, but you are,” Dolan said.
The Post Independent’s recent find of Dolan’s Bundy negatives was actually the second time they’d been discovered, he said. The Glenwood Post’s photo chief, Casey Cass, found them in 1999 collecting dust in a bin in the back of the paper’s darkroom. The photos got some significant media play at that time, too. It being the turn of the century, they were selected for an AP online “Photos of the Century” collection — one out of 570 selected photos.
According to a Glenwood Post story from Sept. 30, 1999, after Cass found the negatives and submitted the photo to the AP, he secured them in the paper’s safe — secured for so long actually that they outlasted any employees who knew they were there…
Excerpt from Those Were the Days: Memories of an Aspen Hippie Chick
by Jill Scheeley
…That summer in ’77, I was a hostess at one of the brand-new Aspen Club Condos. I’d wait for realtors to bring by prospective clients and then I’d give them the detailed tour. It was a Sunday afternoon and Ted Bundy was still missing. I had given four tours that morning, but by 2 pm, I hadn’t seen anyone for a couple of hours so I sat outside on the sunny deck reading a book about Charles Manson. True fact.
The managers of the condos lived on the property but were in Denver for the weekend. They had two huge Newfoundland dogs that were very quiet most of the time. It was peaceful there, in spite of my book’s subject, with the river running behind the condos and the birds chirping. Suddenly, the dogs started barking like wild animals. I was gripped with fear. Their barking was so out of the norm. I could only assume there was either a bear or a human trespasser.
I ran into the condo and locked all the doors and closed all the windows. I could hear the dogs and their high-pitched, never-take-a-breath barking for more than an hour. I had walked to work, a mile from town. There was no phone in the condo. My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it. The place had no curtains over the windows. I just knew it was Bundy and that he had scoped me out. I fit the description [of his “type”]. I knew Bundy was hiding out until he could tear down the door and murder me. So I did what any young terrified girl would do if she thought these were her last hours on earth: I grabbed a heavy fireplace iron and hid under the master bed. There were no knives in the kitchen (it was just a model condo). I waited and waited. I prayed.
No one came to my rescue. True, I wasn’t late in returning home so no alarms went off in [my boyfriend’s] mind. Finally the dogs quit barking and eventually I crawled out from under the bed and waited until my gut told me I was safe. I hurried home to tell my harrowing tale to anyone who would listen.
And still, they didn’t find Bundy. The police set up a roadblock and searched everyone’s cars and trunks as people exited town. Can you imagine? I’m sure many in the courthouse (including the judge) that day had their heads rolling. After all, they weren’t dealing with a drug dealer– no, it was Bundy. How could he have possibly escaped so easily? The question was on all of our minds.
My boyfriend and I lived on one side of a duplex on the golf course with another couple. We owned a ’71 Porsche 911 that we had bought from a friend who needed to sell it immediately for cash. We got such a good deal, we couldn’t refuse. We’d always wanted a little sports car. The friend taught us how to shift gears, as it was tricky, and taught us all its other idiosyncrasies.
Several days after my Aspen Club scare, we were exhausted after a long hike and were sound asleep when our dogs barked briefly. My boyfriend got up and looked around, but soon went back to sleep.
The next morning we heard it on the news: Bundy was captured up Independence Pass in a stolen car. Wow, what a relief. I went outside and looked at our Porsche and realized something was wrong. First, it was further down the driveway from where we had left it, and second, it was in neutral. We always left it in gear, as the emergency brake was unreliable. Third, it wouldn’t start. The battery was dead because not only had the lights been left on, but the key was in the ignition in the ‘on’ position. This was weird because we hadn’t driven it that night. I was running into the house when our neighbor came up to me and said that Bundy had stolen their car. It was their Cadillac he was driving when the cops stopped him driving up Independence Pass…
Meanwhile, heart-thumping panic set in when I realized our car was parked next to our neighbors’. Ted Bundy, the escapee, serial murderer had been at our house, in our car, and he had tried to steal our car but couldn’t figure out how to get it into reverse (one of the trickiest parts of the stick shift).
I ran inside to tell my boyfriend and our roommates. I was about ready to call the police and see if they wanted to fingerprint our car, but he calmly said that since they caught Bundy red-handed they’d have a lot more on their plates than coming over to our house…
I have told my near-miss story many times whenever anyone brings up Ted Bundy at a dinner or cocktail party. Poor Caryn Campbell haunted many of my dreams. Women slept better after Bundy’s death. The mountains sang a song of solace to us the day he died…
Interview with Bob Braudis, Pitkin County Sheriff
February 15, 2019
“So three months after I started as a deputy, we rotated through jail duty, and my boss asked me to take Theodore Bundy up to the court for a hearing, early upon his arrival here from Utah. And I knew he was an escape risk. I’d read his psychological reports. I held him by the bicep climbing three flights of stairs. And then I took him aside, and I said “Theodore, the judge doesn’t allow sidearms in his court room. The courthouse was built in 1890, it’s not secure. Ergo, if you get more than three feet away from me, I’m going to rip your head off.” And I think I got his attention. So I was often escorting him from the jail to court. And then after he escaped from the courtroom, and was incarcerated at Glenwood Springs, I often had to go there, pick him up, bring him up here for a court appearance, and then take him back. So I spent way more time with Theodore Bundy than I ever thought I would…
I was on the job for three months, and after working an all night graveyard shift, I went home, worked out playing racquetball, and I got to sleep about 9 in the morning. Sometime after 10, my phone rang. It was the office, and they said “Bob, get your gun, get into the office. Bundy jumped out of the courtroom window.” So that started a weeklong manhunt.
I had done by research about Bundy. We didn’t have any more than one homicide case here, but the rumors… the investigators, when they were here networking, they thought at that time that he might be a serial killer. So I started looking at that end of the spectrum. If he has the incentive to escape, he will. There was no way I was going to shoot him dead in the court room. Even if the judge had allowed me to bring a pistol in there. I just never would have let him get into the law library, which was on the back of the courtroom, next to the windows. I would have been with him, between him and the window, guarding him. There were two guys guarding him that day. Really. What a lapse of poise. They should have been on him.
That led us to road blocks all over the county. I was put in a helicopter, with a high powered rifle, and told by the undersheriff, Ben Meyers, “Bob, all we want is your story.” And I said, “what do you mean?”. And he said, “if you get Bundy in your crosshairs, kill him. And you tell us your story.” Ok, I didn’t like the thought of that, but we knew Bundy was armed, because the first night he was an escapee, he broke into a cabin here. The next day we dusted it for fingerprints. He’d been there, and the owner told us a rifle was missing. So we knew now that Bundy was armed. So was I, but I was never in Vietnam, I wasn’t a combat kind of guy. I checked all of the high county passes, there were no footprints, no evidence that he had tracked over the normal routes. But we kept the roadblocks up, we checked every car, in case he was holding the driver hostage. I bugged the sheriff after six nights, 24/7, “I think we ought to call off the roadblocks.” He insisted we keep them up. On the last night Bundy was free, two deputies were patrolling. Bundy was in a stolen car, he’d made a big loop over a week, and ended up right back here. He was light 20 pounds, he had a scruffy, one week beard, scratches and gnarly gashes from running through the briars and brambles. He was disoriented. And he made a huge circle. He stole a car and was heading over Independence Pass, in June. There was a sign that said CLOSED- ROCK SLIDE. He did a U-turn. Two deputies thought he was a drunk driver. They pulled him over, and realized after a short period of time, “holy crap! It’s Bundy!”…
There was a wave of panic. There was a drugstore here, “Crossroads Drugs– and Guns.” The police chief, a day or two after Bundy’s escape, suspended transactions in hand guns. There were dozens of women lined up at the gun store to go in and buy a pistol. At the same time, I had a 8×10 glossy of Bundy, and I’d go door to door, asking if the residents had seen him. And a lot of the women I showed the photo to said, “Oh he’s good lookin, I’d go home with him!” Well, some would go home with him, others would’ve bought a gun.
Just by luck and happenstance did we recapture him. Then lo and behold, on New Year’s Eve 1977, he escaped from the Garfield County Jail, got to Tallahassee, and murdered four more coeds…
I tried to make the most of [my time in the car with him] by learning more about him. If I came back in another life, I’d like to be a journalist. I have friends who are journalists, most of them say this one thing: “I never learned a thing while I was talking.” So I did a lot of listening. And some of his requests were totally arcane. He wanted me to go to the library, and get him a copy of Harry Houdini’s biography. Harry Houdini was an escape artist in the 30s. He wanted me to get him topographic maps of this area. I said you know as a First Amendment freak, you have a right to the press, but no way am I going to get you Houdini’s life story to take to your cell, and maps on how to get out of here. And I think he giggled. He tried, and I said no way.
We never talked about any of his criminal allegations. I tried, he wouldn’t talk about anything. I mention, “it sounds like you are famous for putting a fake sling on your arm, and asking some girl to help you load your kayak, or your surfboard, or your water skis on your car, and they’re never seen again.”…
He never should have escaped from a jail. He didn’t escape from my jail. He escaped from our courtroom. He escaped from a jail in Garfield County…
If I were guarding him that morning when he jumped out of the courthouse window, he wouldn’t have got to that window. I grew up in a gangster neighborhood and I turned gangster on him. I showed him the city side of Deputy Bob. And I’m pretty sure he took me seriously. He never tried anything with me for the time I had access to him. After we put him in the Garfield County Jail, I had to go down early in the morning often, pick him up and bring him to the Pitkin County court room by 8:30 or 9 am, then after a day of hearings or whatever, take him back to the Garfield County Jail. I won’t say we were friends. But we did have a dialogue on topics that had nothing to do with crime. And he was a very shrewd conman. And I think he was in law school when he got arrested for kidnapping. He was doing 15 years for kidnapping, and that’s where I got all the reports from the Utah Penitentiary psychiatrists.
As a road warrior deputy, all we really had to do was look good, drive fast, and save lives. At four in the morning, there’s nothing going on here. So I went through the Bundy files. And one thing stood out in my consciousness. The shrinks in Utah wrote up a report that said Ted Bundy was caught masturbating by his mother, and punished by her when he was 11 or 12. Most of his alleged victims were brunettes with their hair parted in the middle, identical to his mother’s hairstyle. So some of these shrinks speculated that that might have been his first step down the serial killer sidewalk. It’s speculation. But I did look at a lot of photos of women who could have been his victims, and they were all brunettes with middle parts. It was largely boiler plate stuff they’d write up about every inmate. There was nothing earth shaking or new to me, other than that speculative assumption I made about his victims.
When he escaped from the Garfield County Jail I was disappointed. After the coeds were identified as his victims, we all got more deeply depressed. He should not have been allowed to escape from a jail. He wouldn’t have escaped from my old jail.
The reaction in Aspen when he escaped from the Garfield County Jail was somewhat tempered by the fact that it wasn’t our fault. We took a lot of criticism, the whole department, for letting him jump out the window. As I said the two guys guarding him in that photo were terminated shortly after that. And it was during a sea change in the sheriff’s office. We were going from old school, redneck, dumb sheriff, to a progressive intellectual who attended the naval academy, Notre Dame, Duke. He had a master’s in theology, and he was a city cop who if Hunter Thompson had been elected sheriff, he was going to make Dick Kienast his undersheriff. Under Colorado law, you have to have a chief deputy if you’re the sheriff. Hunter Thompson identified Dick Kienast as his undersheriff, if he’d been successful. Well Dick Kienast was great guy, and he ran for sheriff in the off year of [’76] and got elected… it was a wild period for Aspen, but we still had a very low violent crime rate…
Seeing myself on roadblocks in 1977 brings back laughter. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we checked every car, we knocked on every door. The time that I devoted to the manhunt, the helicopter hunt with the big game rifle, and the recapture, that fills my consciousness. I really have no need to see what Netflix does with it. But I still have curiosity. I’m surprised it got this much attention…
I want [viewers] to understand that he jumped out of a second floor window in a hundred year old building that had no bars or barriers between freedom and the inside of the courtroom. I want people to know that it was negligence on the part of the two deputies that were assigned to him. The whole department got smeared by the critics, but 85% of the new department would never have allowed that. The fact that he escaped by breaking spot welds in the Garfield County Jail, which was much newer, and more well built than our old jail, surprised the hell out of us. And then when they pinned him through dental impressions on the coeds in Tallahassee, we knew that we went from Glenwood Springs to Florida. I think some of my peers and colleagues felt guilt for even giving him the chance to jump out of our window, but that all ended, in my head, when we recaptured him. “The manhunt’s over. He’s now in a better jail.” I wish they’d had better welds on their light fixtures.
I think the most important lesson learned is that when you’re charged with certain responsibilities, like security, you don’t suffer any lapses of poise. You do it right. You don’t let Ted Bundy wander through stacks of law books while you sit on your ass in the courtroom pews, and he jumps out a window. It was intolerable by my standards. How did it happen? Two guys had a lapse of poise, and eventually were terminated. I was asked to go in with my gun on day one [of the escape], so I threw on blue jeans, a blue and white striped rugby shirt, and my Colt Python pistol. I get to the office, and one of my supervisors said “go door to door on these streets. Knock on every house to make sure he’s not hiding out or has a hostage.” So I go up a mile east to town. I had my radio, my walkie talkie. They call me on my walkie talkie and they say “where are you?”
I said “66 Lupine Drive.”
“Well the lady who lives there said Ted Bundy is outside her window. And he’s in a blue and white striped rugby shirt.”
I said, “That’s me!”
And they said, “Get your ass back into the office and put on a uniform.”
The lady was Nancy Dick, she was a state senator. And she saw me with a gun, and heard on the radio saying he was wearing a blue and white rugby shirt. So I had to go change…
So I guess the message is, when you’re dealing with a psychopath, be fully prepared. Don’t be the sucker that gets conned. I was young, strong, and intimidating. That was the message I gave to Ted Bundy.”
Memories of Bundy’s First Escape by Aspenites in the “Friends of Aspen” Facebook group:
I used to attend the weekly sheriff’s press conference in the basement of the courthouse. Showed up one day and Bundy was loose as a goose, all alone, wandering around the area behind the counter. “Where’s (Sgt.) Kralicek,” says I. “Oh, he’s cleaning my cell,” says Bundy. We had a short conversation with me the only thing between Ted and the door. Wasn’t highly surprised when he escaped a couple of weeks later.
My brother Bruce lived at lower cow camp at the time, better known to most of you where the Eagles and Elks had their parties. Bruce was the official ‘go through your house’ person to make sure Bundy wasn’t in it for lower Castle Creek. He ended up chasing Bundy through the upper pasture until he went off in the trees. Bruce called Pitkin CO Sheriff to report him. Dept didn’t believe him when he described Bundy with a hat on and a Bandaid across his nose. Guess what? That’s what he had on when they caught him. In the one and only book Bundy interviewed with he states that he was chased into the woods by this guy who had the biggest gun he ever saw. So I’m thinking that might have been my brother Bruce.
We at Aspen Typesetting were at “Sears Tower,” later home of The Glass Company, virtually next door to the courthouse, when he jumped out the window. With the swarming cops on East Bleeker and announcements on the radio about the escape we were afraid to go out. That evening the bars were packed with guys and girls, all pretty afraid to go home to a dark house. I got someone to go with me to scout out my house near Smuggler Racquet Club, but don’t remember where I slept that first night. After reading all these accounts, I feel lucky to be here to write this. Wild time.
I remember driving around in July 1977 and hearing a radio interview with Bundy. I heard townies thought he couldn’t be guilty cause he was smart and looked good. I just remember thinking this guy sounded ominous and Aspenites can be naïve and superficial.
I remember that day when he jumped out the window at the courthouse and we stayed in our work office above the Crystal Palace, listening to local radio telling us to go home and lock our doors. There was a police car down below slowly driving around with a loud speaker gizmo warning everyone of his escape. I had no idea what he looked like or what he was wearing when he escaped.
My friend had a girlfriend who resembled the type of girl that Bundy preyed on. She went along with this as she was tied to the front of a pickup on the day Bundy escaped and used as bait as there were six fellows with shotguns riding in the back of the pickup. Probably a stupid trick, but it was the kind of craziness of Aspen at the time…
During his trial in Aspen, he asked me for a cigarette. I told him no but that he would be smoking soon enough. True story. I was covering his trial that day for our regular news person who was down with a cold. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs as I passed by heading back to the KSPN studio. He just looked at me and smiled. It was creepy.
I remember the traffic stops. But I also know people who put out milk and cookies and a note to Bundy asking to be passed by…
From my understanding he went up Aspen Mountain then down the backside. He broke into Fritz Kaeser’s cabin up Castle Creek near Conundrum. I know this because I lived on the mining easement of the Highland Mine near there. The caretaker said Bundy spent a few days there. Ate canned goods, left the kitchen a mess, something about a Pendleton blanket, changed his bloody socks and dirty clothes for some of Fritz’s stuff. Milly was pretty upset about the mess he left. I think they were in Arizona at the time.
We lived up the Midnight Mine Road. After school we were headed home. Police barricaded Castle Creek Rd. Asked all the right questions. Then said ”do you have any guns at home in case you need them?”
I remember walking home from work with my roommates the day Ted escaped. When we arrived at our condo we made sure by checking every room, as a group, searching each closet and under beds, to make sure Ted wasn’t hiding inside. Once we felt we had checked every possible hiding place we gathered in the living room and drank beer together. We were still scared.
The one person Bundy ever admitted to being afraid of was Pitkin deputy Don Davis. Don left town after running against Braudis and being defeated.
I found him very interesting and a good man. He seemed to enjoy bursting the bubbles of stud muffins. I saw three Army soldiers pass out cold from one thing he did. Another time I saw several Mountain Rescue members turn away and turn green after Don surprised them with another thing he did on purpose for shock effect. He was one tough dude. Bundy was right to be afraid.
That night he actually came through our garage on Cemetery lane… stole our neighbor’s car.. which was the first car he stole.
Mom’s first interaction with Aspen police was at like 3:00AM, knock on the door … ma’am did you hear anything… well I heard some deer fumbling in the garage… um no ma’am that was Ted Bundy… welcome to Aspen!
I got arrested for trespassing and went to jail for 10 days. He was in there. Would have been like May ’77. Played checkers with him bunch and talked a little. Didn’t know who he was yet and he seemed so normal. Craig H. was in jail with Bundy too. He would not have anyone say a bad word about him. Said Bundy was a “great” guy.
Our road is circular and the Pitkin sheriff would drive around several times a day to make sure all was well. A friend and I thought he was kind of cute and would joke we’d like him to come on over and hang out with us. I don’t remember being very nervous about him (had no clue what was going to happen later) but really really happy he didn’t come over.
I was in court with Judge Wendt presiding when Bundy escaped from the law library upstairs. The courtroom was deserted and Judge Wendt threw out my reckless driving violation. Thanks, Ted!
My dear friend Karen was sent off to Glenwood Jail for having too much champagne on her birthday. (Judge Wendt was on the warpath for drinking and driving.) Karen was in the cell next to Bundy for 30 days, then he escaped. Poor Karen! Bundy was on the phone nonstop!
Yes I was next to Bundy, they put me in solitary right next to him as there weren’t any cells for females, I was such a criminal! But he was good looking!
I was peeling potatoes in the kitchen at Freddie’s Main Street Cafe and saw him running down the alley. Shortly after that a couple of cops came running by. I had no idea what was going on!
Mary Beth R.
The same week he escaped, an article came out in the Times that Aspen had a cocaine problem and that one restaurant in town was known to sell it. All you had to do was ask for Booth D and the hostess knew to bring you a gram and add it to your bill. No one in town seemed to have a clue where Booth D was and no one knew where Ted Bundy was, so good old Chris Cassett drew a cartoon up that said “Ted Bundy is hiding in Booth D.” Then one of the T-shirt companies picked up on that and did T-shirts with his cartoon on it. So like Aspen.
I knew the two deputies who caught him …in a Cadillac on Independence Pass. Gene Flatt and Maureen Higgins. Gene said he just about peed his pants when they realized who he was!
Gary E. told me that when he was a deputy, he was to escort Bundy to each court appearance. Bundy always seemed to be fucking with him; one time he tried to walk Gary into the second floor stairwell railing…
Bundy was caught on Highway 82, about 100 yards from my house. My wife was nine months pregnant. I had a shotgun ready under the bed. Having lived just below the Altobelli house on Cielo drive when Manson’s people paid a visit, I wasn’t going to give Bundy a chance.
Solheim told me he was sitting in the dark in his kitchen off 82 that night; Bundy turned the handle of the back door (kitchen), but for some reason returned to his car and drove off (toward mine). Solheim, like me, was armed.
I remember Pat M., news director of KSPN had a crush on him…
I’ve hiked from Aspen to Crested Butte many times, and once was the day Ted Bundy escaped. We passed him on the trail; he was in a trench coat and street shoes. My friend and I commented on how he was dressed. We were in the Conundrum hot springs when an Army helicopter landed and three huge German Shepards jumped out. We had had a hit of acid and were pretty high when we watched the Huey come up the valley, butt ass naked in Conundrum hot springs, and these cops approach us in vests with assault rifles.
So three military types approach the hot springs. By now I am not enjoying the high! They pull out a picture of Bundy and ask us if we have seen him. That’s when we learned who he was… They stayed less than a minute asked us “how long ago”? They got back in the Army helicopter and flew up the pass. In 10 minutes the peace of the Rockies returned.
I remember we were sent home from school when he escaped. I was a freshman I think. Pitkin County police officers came to the school to give a demonstration on what to do if we were approached by a man with “malintentions” (clearly they meant sexual). It basically went like this:
They instructed us (girls) to ‘pretend to be interested’. Then act like you are going in to kiss him by putting your hands on both side of his face, as if to pull him towards you. Then, with your thumbs, press firmly in on his eyeballs, pushing them as far as you can into the eye sockets. “That will kill him INSTANTLY!” they said.
They next explained how to “smash his balls with your hands”, adding, “it’s just the same as smashing plums.” This ‘plum smashing’ method was to be used as a last measure only, just in case you failed at killing him with the first ‘sexual persuasion’ method attempt… and those were the only two options of defense they instructed us to use!
Special thanks to Vince Lahey, Marc Demmon, Richard Duffus, Stephen Michaud, Jill Scheeley, David Wood, Josie Thompson, Chris Mortensen, Jill Von Flotnow, the Hayward family, The Aspen Historical Society, The Aspen Times, The Glenwood Springs Post Independent, the Friends of Aspen Facebook group, Denver7 News, KUTV News, KOAA News, Garfield County, the Florida State Archives, King County Archives, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.