Ted Bundy: The local monster that won't die


    Ted Bundy: The local monster that won't die (FILE)

    Some monsters simply refuse to die.

    Ted Bundy is one such monster.

    Ted Bundy's evil consumed the Pacific Northwest and it continues to haunt the region to this day.

    Interest in the case is peaking again with a Netflix documentary, a movie starring Zac Efron and a 20/20 special.

    "If it's not you talking to me it's somebody else,” said Bob Keppel, formerly a homicide detective that help track Bundy’s spree of death. “Maybe once every three months or so somebody will call and want me to talk about Ted Bundy.”

    Bundy went to Woodrow Wilson High School in Tacoma.

    His atrocities occurred in places that we know; like Lake Sammamish State Park, Green Row in the U-District.

    When he escaped from jail, he went to a bar in Ann Arbor to watch his Huskies play in the Rose Bowl.

    In the courtroom, preening smugly, he wore a Seattle Mariners T-shirt under a jacket.

    He had a mother who lived in Tacoma, like so many other mothers.

    "Complete and utter shock. We don't believe it. It just can't be. I keep shaking my head,” his mother said.

    In the end, he asked that his ashes be spread over the Cascade Mountains.

    In between all those things, he took lives, changed lives and caused inconceivable pain.

    And, Ted Bundy may have changed the way the Pacific Northwest saw itself.

    "It was just a much quieter, much more naive town back then,” said Cloyd Steiger, a retired Seattle Police officer.

    There was fear in Seattle; in Washington; where there had not been fear before.

    Police would say, “we just want to caution the young women of our community to be overly cautious.”

    All the missing girls were white college girls 18-21 years of age.

    "Everything, even law enforcement, was more naive back then and didn't really know how to deal with and handle serial killers,” Steiger said. “There was not even the term serial killer when he started, that was something coined later."

    He’s the serial killer that haunts us, because he was “of” us.

    Some have used the word charming to describe him, Steiger isn’t one of them.

    "I keep hearing that Ted Bundy was a charmer,” Steiger said. “Ted Bundy wasn't a charmer. He was an animal that destroyed lives in his wake. He left a trail of destruction of all the victims’ families and friends that are still alive... thousands of them, of the cases we know for sure he did."

    Thirty years after he was electrocuted, Ted Bundy still haunts and torments the Pacific Northwest.

    "Oh, I hate him, I hate him,” Keppel said. “I knew enough to never let that get through to him.”

    He bludgeoned and beat beautiful young lives until they existed no more. If there ever was innocence in the Pacific Northwest, Ted Bundy was the end of it.

    “I can’t get him out of my head,” Keppel said. “He’s always there.”

    Some monsters, especially the ones in our own backyard, simply refuse to die.

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