The killings, known as the "Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders," were carried out in 1972 and 1973, when Bundy was in his mid-20s and dating a woman in the San Francisco area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Bundy, who was executed in Florida in 1989, did not confess to any killings earlier than 1974 but said shortly before he died in the electric chair that he had been responsible for 27 killings in western states in addition to those linked to him in Washington, Oregon, Utah and Colorado.
Lt. Steve Brown of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department told the Chronicle he believes the killer was someone from the area, possibly a utility worker or letter carrier. But sources told the newspaper investigators are trying to determine if Bundy's DNA matches any evidence found on the victims.
The Santa Rosa victims were teenagers and young women. Six were found months after they disappeared, while the seventh is presumed dead.
"Bundy is definitely a good suspect," said Robert Keppel, a retired Seattle police detective who interviewed Bundy many times. "The killings in Santa Rosa would fit his methods, he spent time in the area, and I'm sure he started killing well before 1974. It was an open market for Bundy."
Bundy escaped from a Colorado jail where he was awaiting trial in late 1977. He was arrested in Florida a few months later and convicted of killing two college students and a 12-year-old girl.