Ted Bundy's DNA Could Help Solve Cold Cases

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Ted Bundy DNA Could Crack Cold Cases

It is hard to overestimate the fear and revulsion Bundy inspired in the early 1970s. In 1974, a string of beautiful young co-eds began disappearing in the Pacific Northwest, gripping the region in panic. A short time later, women began disappearing in Utah and Idaho as well. But it wasn't until a string of murders at a sorority house at Florida State University that Bundy's crime spree came to an end.

"Ted was one of the first attractive, charismatic seemingly successful serial killers. He tended to gravitate towards pretty women with long hair parted in the middle," said crime author Ann Rule, who wrote a national bestseller about Bundy called "The Stranger Beside Me" and called him the "poster boy" for serial murder.

According to Rule, Bundy's preferred method of killing was to bludgeon his victims.

"He was left-handed. Most of his victims had severe damage to the left side of their heads. He would take a log or a tire iron and hit them from behind and then strangle them…there were no stabbings or shootings, but there were gruesome sexual assaults and worse," said Rule.

Rule said that just before Bundy's execution, officials asked him how many women he killed. "They said 36. And he said, 'add one digit.' We'll never know if that 136 or 361, or if he was telling the truth at all," said Rule.

Rule believes Bundy's DNA will be useful in solving some cold cases. "I think it will probably be a domino effect. There's a case in Vermont, they just came up with a possible case in California. I think it will solve a lot of crimes," she said.

But it could take some time. In the case of Ann Marie Burr, it might take a few months for the state crime lab in Washington to develop a forensic profile from the 50-year-old evidence. State crime labs tend to be overwhelmed with processing evidence from current crimes, never mind cold cases.

Miller said he gets asks all the time, why all the fuss over some decades old case and long-dead killer.

"I'm never going to put bracelets on anybody, but we look at it from the standpoint that there is good to be done. We can give the family some closure and try to answer some questions for them and for the community."

And that's why his office has applied for a National Institute of Justice grant to be able to devote more resources to solving cold cases through DNA -- like that of Ann Marie Burr.

Bundy's full DNA profile will be available for matching this weekend.

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