A new movie and docuseries about Ted Bundy have both gotten backlash for what critics say are sympathetic portrayals of Bundy and a lack of attention to his victims. Here, we’ve compiled remembrances of women from Washington state whom Bundy confessed to killing.
Forty-five years ago today, a University of Washington student named Lynda Ann Healy disappeared from her University District home. It would have been a “typical” missing-person case, but detectives noticed worrisome details:
Someone had neatly made her bed, which the 21-year-old never did. A small amount of blood was on the bedding and pillow. Her pink satin pillowcase was missing.
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The initial story about her disappearance was buried on the 35th page in The Seattle Times’ Feb. 4, 1974, edition. But her death, and her killer, would eventually become front-page news in Seattle and across the country.
Healy was the first known victim of Ted Bundy. Her remains were found a year later on Taylor Mountain, east of Issaquah. Bundy eventually confessed to more than two dozen murders and was executed in 1989 at age 42.
The serial killer is back in the public’s attention as Netflix released the docuseries “Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” in January, and the movie “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” starring Zac Efron as Bundy, premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival.
While Seattle Times journalists covered the disappearances, arrests and trials, they also told the stories of the victims: who they were, and who they left behind. Each woman would have been in her 60s if alive today.
Here, we’ve compiled pieces of those stories about the women Bundy confessed to killing in Washington state, based on what was reported in Seattle Times stories at the time. There are several other killings in Washington and other states that authorities believed Bundy committed, as well as several women who Bundy attempted to kill but who survived.
Lynda Ann Healy, 21: Healy was a UW senior majoring in psychology. She worked part-time for Western Ski Promotions and broadcast ski condition reports to 20 radio stations in Washington and Oregon. She concluded each 60-second spot with “This has been Lynda with your Cascade ski report …”
Donna Gail Manson, 19: Manson was an Evergreen State College freshman from Auburn. She was last seen waving goodbye to her roommates before heading to a jazz concert. She was a “better-than-average” student who played the flute and always had her camera with her.
Susan Elaine Rancourt, 18: Rancourt was a straight-A student at Central Washington University, where she studied biology. From the start, her parents believed she had been abducted. “She always knew what she wanted and always was a very logical person, very predictable,” her father said.
Brenda Carol Ball, 22: Ball graduated from Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines and had recently taken classes at Highline Community College. Her sister told reporters that her family hadn’t given up hope after she went missing: “We thought we were prepared for it, but we weren’t,” she said.
Georgann Hawkins, 18: Hawkins disappeared from Seattle’s University District after she left a party to return to Kappa Alpha Theta. She told her friends that she needed to study for a Spanish final. She graduated from Lakes High School in Lakewood and was a Puyallup Daffodil Festival princess. In Lakewood, her parents waited by the telephone for word of their daughter’s fate. “It doesn’t look very good,” her father said.
Janice Ann Ott, 23: Ott was one of two women who disappeared from Lake Sammamish State Park on the same day. She lived in Issaquah and worked as a caseworker at the Youth Services Center. Before she left on her yellow bicycle, she put a note on the door for her roommate to say she was going sunbathing, and drew a sun on the note. Her husband, James, was attending medical school in California. Two witnesses reported seeing her with a young man whose arm was in a cast.
Denise Marie Naslund, 18: Naslund also disappeared from Lake Sammamish State Park. She was with her boyfriend and another couple, and went missing after she went to the restroom. She lived in Seattle and was studying to become a computer programmer. Her mother said she had the kind of helpful nature that would place her in danger. Witnesses said they saw a young man in a cast later in the afternoon, when Naslund went missing.
Correction: The story has been updated to reflect that Janice Ott went missing in July 1974.