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School Connected Bundy to Utah

By Katie Valentine

More than 30 years ago, a serial killer walked among students at the U. Although Ted Bundy was only convicted of two murders, both in Florida, investigators suspect that he was responsible for many more, including several in Utah.

Extracurricular activity

Theodore Bundy arrived at the S.J. Quinney Law School for the start of Fall Semester in 1974. Investigators suspect that while driving from Washington to Utah, he made a stop in Idaho to pick up a hitchhiker. Utah investigators suspect he killed her and dumped her body. Her name and whereabouts are unknown.

In 1972, about one college-age girl disappeared from the Washington area every month. Bundy later confessed to several of the Washington kidnappings, and investigators suspect he continued that pattern in Utah. They suspect Bundy later used his car to get women to come with him. According to Utah investigators, he would approach women using crutches or with his arm in a sling and ask for help to his car.

Utah investigators suspect Bundy kidnapped and killed Nancy Wilcox, 16, from Holladay on Oct. 2, 1974. Wilcox was last seen in a Volkswagen Beetle. Her body was never found.

On Oct. 18 of that year, Melissa Smith, 17, disappeared. She was the daughter of Midvale’s police chief. Smith was out with friends at a pizza parlor before she was kidnapped. Postmortem examination concluded that she was alive for five days after her kidnapping. Smith was found Oct. 27 in Summit Park in Parley’s Canyon. Investigators suspected Bundy was responsible, but he was never charged.

Laura Aimee, 17, was leaving a Halloween party in Lehi, and investigators suspect she was approached by Bundy. She was found by hikers on Thanksgiving in American Fork Canyon.

The 0ne who got away

Few of Bundy’s suspected victims survived to tell their story. The only one who got away in Utah was Carol DaRonch, 17. She was shopping at Fashion Place Mall in Murray when a man claiming to be Officer Roseland from the Murray Police Department approached her, according to charges.

“Officer Roseland” was Bundy, according to police. He told DaRonch someone was trying to break into her car and she would need to go with him to the police station. DaRonch agreed and went with Bundy. She didn’t buckle her seat belt.

According to the girl’s account, a few miles away from the mall, Bundy pulled over and tried to handcuff her. DaRonch and Bundy struggled, and the handcuffs ended up going on the same wrist. Bundy then tried to hit her in the head with a crowbar. DaRonch grabbed it with her hand to stop it from hitting her head. DaRonch opened her door and escaped, according to the charges.

Education interrupted

Bundy was arrested on kidnapping charges for DaRonch’s disappearance almost a year after starting school at the U on Aug. 16, 1975, during which time investigators suspected he was responsible for many of the other disappearances around Utah.

The same day DaRonch was kidnapped, Debby Kent disappeared from Viewmont High School in Bountiful. Eyewitnesses at the time said that Bundy had approached the theater teacher and another student during a school play, asking both of them to identify a car in the parking lot. They declined, but the teacher saw him later near the end of the play looking disheveled and breathing hard, according to charges.

Kent had left the play during intermission and was never seen again. A key was found in the parking lot that unlocked the handcuffs Bundy had put on DaRonch. Kent’s body was never found.

Investigators suspect Bundy next started killing in Colorado while still attending law school at the U.

Investigators suspect Bundy’s next Utah murder was a girl visiting BYU. Susan Curtis, 15, was attending a youth conference at BYU when she disappeared.

Bundy was arrested three years later in Florida. He was tried and found guilty of murder of two women in Florida.

Bundy confessed to Curtis’ murder a few minutes before he was executed in 1989. He said he buried her in Price, Utah, but her body has never been found.

Murder charges were never pursued in Utah.

[email protected]

The Lundington Daily News, Boca Raton News and The New York Times contributed to this article.

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