Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, rapist, kidnapper, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered many young women between 1974 and 1978. After more than a decade of denials he confessed to 30 homicides shortly before his execution; the true total remains unknown, and could be much higher.
Bundy was handsome and charismatic, traits he exploited in winning the confidence of his young, attractive female victims. He typically approached them in public places and feigned injury or disability, or impersonated an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them at a more secluded location. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes for hours at a time, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least four victims and kept the severed heads in his apartment for a period of time as mementos. On a few occasions he simply broke into dwellings in the dead of night and bludgeoned victims as they slept.
Initially charged in Utah in 1975 and convicted of aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault, Bundy became linked to a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in six states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes, and committed at least three additional murders and several other violent assaults in Florida before his ultimate recapture in 1977. He received three death sentences in two separate trials for the three known Florida homicides.