CJ MOD 170
Bundy was born Theodore Robert Cowell at the Elizabeth Lund Home For Unwed Mothers (now the Lund Family Center) in Burlington, Vermont on November 24, 1946 to Eleanor Louise Cowell (known for most of her life as Louise). The identity of his father has never been determined with certainty. His birth certificate assigns paternity to a salesman and Air Force veteran named Lloyd Marshall,but Louise later claimed that she was seduced by "a sailor" whose name may have been Jack Worthington. (Years later, investigators would find no record of anyone by that name in Navy or Merchant Marine archives.) Some family members expressed suspicions that the father might actually have been Louise's own violent, abusive father, Samuel Cowell, though there was no direct evidence to support such speculation.
For the first three years of his life Bundy lived in the Philadelphia home of his maternal grandparents, Samuel and Eleanor Cowell, who raised him as their son to avoid the social stigma that accompanied illegitimate birth at the time. Family, friends, and even young Ted were told that his grandparents were his parents and that his mother was his older sister. Eventually he discovered the truth, but how and when is not clear. He told his girlfriend that a cousin showed him a copy of his birth certificate after calling him a "bastard", but he told biographers Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth that he found the certificate himself. Biographer and true crime writer Ann Rule, who knew Bundy personally, believes that he tracked down his original birth record in Vermont in 1969. Bundy expressed a lifelong resentment toward his mother for lying about his true parentage and leaving him to discover it for himself.
While Bundy spoke warmly of his grandparents in some interviews and told Ann Rule that he "identified with", "respected", and "clung to" his grandfather, he and other family members told attorneys in 1987 that Samuel Cowell was a tyrannical bully and a bigot who hated blacks, Italians, Catholics, and Jews, beat his wife and the family dog, and swung neighborhood cats by their tails. He once threw Louise's younger sister Julia down a flight of stairs for oversleeping. He sometimes spoke aloud to unseen presences, and at least once he flew into a violent rage when the question of Ted's paternity was raised. Bundy described his grandmother as a timid and obedient woman who periodically underwent electroconvulsive therapy for depression and feared leaving their house toward the end of her life. Ted occasionally exhibited disturbing behavior, even at that early age. Julia recalled awakening one day from a nap to find herself surrounded by knives from the Cowell kitchen; her three-year-old nephew was standing by the bed, smiling.
In 1950 Louise changed her surname from Cowell to Nelson, dropped her first name Eleanor, and at the urging of multiple family members, left Philadelphia with her son to live with cousins Alan and Jane Scott in Tacoma, Washington. In 1951 Louise met Johnny Culpepper Bundy, a hospital cook, at an adult singles night at Tacoma's First Methodist Church. They married later that year and Johnny Bundy formally adopted Ted. Johnny and Louise conceived four children of their own, and though Johnny tried to include his stepson in camping trips and other family activities, Ted remained distant from his stepfather. He later complained to his girlfriend that Johnny wasn't his real father, "wasn't very bright", and "didn't make much money.
Bundy was arrested in August 1975 by a Utah Highway Patrol officer in Granger, a Salt Lake City suburb near Murray, after he failed to pull over for a routine traffic stop. The officer, noting that the Volkswagen's front passenger seat was missing, searched his car; he found a ski mask, a second mask fashioned from pantyhose, a crowbar, handcuffs, trash bags, a coil of rope, an ice pick, and other items initially assumed to be…