Forensics For Dummies
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Between 1969 and 1975, a series of brutal sexual homicides swept through the Pacific Northwest, Utah, and Colorado. The victims were strikingly similar in that each had dark hair that was parted down the middle.

The suspected killer, a male, often wore a fake cast and feigned an injury, thus seeking his victims' help with some task. After the unsuspecting women stepped into his tiny Volkswagen bug, the killer overpowered them and took them to a remote area where he tortured, raped, and murdered them.

As police in various jurisdictions worked their respective cases, one name kept appearing: Theodore Bundy. On November 8, 1974, Carol DeRonch, an 18-year-old woman, found herself inside Bundy's VW. When he attempted to handcuff and bludgeon her, she fought him off and escaped.

Nearly a year later, on August 16, 1975, police stopped the driver of a VW for suspicious behavior. They found handcuffs and a crowbar in the car and identified the driver as Ted Bundy. Carol DeRonch fingered him, and he was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison.

Bundy then was extradited to Colorado to face a murder charge. In June 1977, he escaped but was apprehended only eight days later. He again escaped on December 30, 1977, but this time, he headed to Florida.

In the dead of night on January 15, 1978, Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee. He assaulted and raped four coeds, killing Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman. Less than two hours later another student was attacked. She survived.

A month later, police arrested Chris Hagen for driving a stolen vehicle. They soon found out that the person they thought was Hagen actually was Ted Bundy, who was wanted for murder in several states.

Unfortunately for prosecutors, Bundy left little evidence at the sorority house. They found no fingerprints, and none of the surviving victims could identify their assailant. When the police dusted Bundy's apartment for prints, they found none.

The only piece of evidence that police had to work with was a bite mark on the buttocks of Lisa Levy. Bundy at first refused to give an impression of his teeth, but a court order soon forced him to comply. Bundy's teeth were misaligned and chipped, and they matched the bite-mark bruises found on Lisa Levy perfectly.

On July 23, 1978, Bundy was convicted of murder, a crime for which he was put to death January 24, 1989, in Florida's electric chair.

About This Article

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D.P. Lyle, MD, is the award-winning author of many nonfiction books and works of fiction. He is the co-host of Crime and Science Radio, and has worked as a forensics consultant with the writers of popular television shows such as> Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Monk, Judging Amy, House, and Pretty Little Liars. Find him online at

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