1989 Ted Bundy Final Confession: Was it planned and rehearsed?

Laws need to change to hold detectives and officials liable to civil legal penalty if they hide, destroy, lie about, cover up and otherwise tamper with evidence….no immunity….even if they “retire”….their actions create ramifications that last years if not decades and impact more people than just the victims…the Bundy cases are an important example of how far-reaching the impact truly is….

Note: These actions of altering, denying, and destroying evidence are human, individual, flaws and they need to be recognized and dealt with as individual crimes and not broad institutional short comings.  The liability should rest squarely on those who commit the crimes during and after employment.  That recognition alone may help address the problem of internal loyalties.

The “final confession” is very suspicious of being something that had been talked about behind the scenes with Bundy before it went down…unlike Hansen, a serial killer in Alaska that the FBI apparently made a deal with NOT to discuss the cases in media, Bundy was hyped to the media with false scenarios and denial of evidence all the while building a “super cop” platform for Keppel [and talked about to Bundy in 1984 in audiotapes] and to promote the FBI BAU ability to predict and profile serial killers and how great a computer was at catching such killers [something the records do NOT show and also something which Bundy told Keppel in his interviews and letters that he felt the computer program had been retrofitted to create data rather than actually finding it].

It also played into the initial BAU public account that Bundy’s behavior was driven by trauma and that serial killers are driven by trauma when in fact nothing behind the scenes in the records or discussions with Bundy even hints at that:  Bundy stated to Keppel in 1984 and again in 1988 that killing was based on many things and that it was often possessive in nature.  In 1988 Bundy was discussing with Keppel how Keppel could structure the questionnaires related to [likely HITS or VICAP] analyzing multiple crimes and the limitations in computer programs in predicting behavior or even finding serial crimes accurately.  Keppel creatively edited the conversation and embellished it for his book and public release framing it in the context of Bundy “teaching” him how to interview serial killers when in reality Keppel took credit for the questionnaires and essentially misrepresented the entire context of the 1988 interview to the public.  All of this was done without Bundy attorneys being present at a time when he was in appeals on death row.  Is this even legal?  And I am not defending Bundy – but justice system principles. Very little in the Bundy cases from evidence handling to how officials treated him [like a celebrity] seems in keeping with what you would expect of a proper investigation.

A computer can only correlate information it is given [and which has to be assumed to be accurate by the person inputting it] and which has already happened [again assuming that the case specifics are correct and attributed correctly], it can’t with certainty predict human behavior with all of its inherent variables. Bundy told Keppel this but I am not defending Bundy – that’s just common sense.   A computer is only as good as its programmer.  Computers can be valuable aids in catching similarities in crimes occurring in multiple locations but not all serial crimes conveniently fall into the kinds of patterns that a computer would necessarily catch or that investigators would be aware of the smallest details that could connect cases – oftentimes they are not aware of these details.  Computers are a tool – in a whole arsenal of tools.  Not a singular solution – especially given that serial killers often embed in the “normal” fabric of society and are sometimes friendly with law enforcement [examples: Bundy, Hanson, Bianchi, etc].  Especially since, as in the Bundy’s case, a comment by a witness or survivor may contain the smallest seemingly insignificant detail at the time that turns out to be significant to a serial killer case in another location.  For example:  the use of a fake mustache by Bundy in some cases [Utah] where WA state had knowledge that he had one in his possession and had owned it since before he met Liz.  A computer wouldn’t catch it unless the detail had been noted as significant – dependent entirely on whether an investigator entering data in Wa/Utah would have known that the detail was important.

Phraseology can be different when entering information about a crime series even though two people are talking about the same thing:  a notation in one location by a detective who thinks something is important may not even be noted as important [this is very apparent in the Bundy records] and therefore not entered in another location; people bring their own interpretations of data based on their preexisting personalities into the mix as well.  In my opinion, after reviewing the Bundy files, the public is the singular most important source of information.  In my opinion, it may be that the addition of a position in data science, or evidence correlation, independent of a position caught up in the detective role or immediacy of the case, may help the most in complicated serial cases.  Data mining when done by hand by a person reviewing files is a long tedious process and not everyone has the aptitude to be able to do it. It’s a skill set.  I don’t know anything about how police training is centered for investigative skills and detectives but I do know after reviewing these pages and pages of files that many things were missed if not outright ignored or lied about and no one double checked the public accounting or if they knew the misrepresentations existed they chose to look the other way or perhaps even authorized those discrepancies.  Were officials hiding correlations between states and denying evidence because they didn’t want the public to know that Bundy had been working closely within their ranks in key positions and were therefore embarrassed?  Or were they trying to protect one of their own?

Not all serial killers are the same; not all approach killing the same way or for the same reasons.  There are too many variables to predict or profile accurately until the person is caught and to do that the public needs to be involved and aware and reporting.   In Bundy’s case, it is very clear that the public was giving authorities accurate descriptions of him and his vehicle and his approach and his whereabouts as early as the end of 1974 and the authorities simply ignored what the public was saying or discounted it. People in multiple locations, miles apart, were reporting essentially the same person, giving descriptions of the vehicle and the man, and doing so with a great deal of consistency overall and the police looked the other way and discounted what the public was saying.  It’s all there in the original street files that authorities have denied and hidden for years.  The correlation of all the evidence and the forensics has been neglected for decades for the pursuit of media hype and profit.  There were many critical pieces of hard evidence that were incriminating to Bundy that were never used to charge him – both at his WA state crime sites and taken from witnesses behind the scenes.  For example, a taped jack handle taken in by McChesney in WA State that was matched to Bundy by a witness and a statement, witness statements that saw pantyhose and handcuffs in his car in WA in 1973 and so on. They had him identified, they had forensic hard evidence as well as witness statements before he was ever transferred to Colorado and he should have been formally charged in WA State.

Robert Keppel, per emails to me from FOIA requests at the AG Office of WA State and per statements to me behind the scenes from that agency was given private ownership of some of the Bundy case files when he moved to the AG Office in 1981.  I was told by the AG Office when I requested files seeking documentation for my experiences that they had nothing and I needed to contact him.  The FOIA federal law was in effect from 1966 to the present time and I am questioning now whether this represents a violation of federal law. Files in private hands, such as those given to Keppel by the AG Office, would not be liable to FOIA laws so what were they protecting or who?   I would like a full inquiry into that time period and a full accounting of all the evidence that was given to Keppel for his private use [moving it out of any reach of public disclosure] and also a full accounting of all evidence that was destroyed in the orders of 1981, 1999 and designating it sealed for 75 years as well as who ordered those actions.  Just because Bundy was executed does not detract from the duty of officials to properly investigate the open cases that existed in WA State [over 50 at the time] or to ignore, deny and fail to investigate the full extent of his crimes in other states.  It was a travesty of justice that remains largely unrecognized and discussed publicly even to this day.

The 1989 confession does raise questions about its authenticity and intent:

  1.  Evidence.  The “final confession” contradicted known evidence police had in their hands before the interview was done and Keppel, rather than challenging Bundy on it, went along with the scenario even putting Bundy’s final statements out as “fact” to the public. Evidence such as the bodies of girls found and not just heads as Keppel claimed for decades [the original ME confirmed heads with bodies in the original street files – contradicting Bundy’s claim he decapitated victims as well as Keppel’s public claims]; evidence that both Issaquah and Taylor/Tiger mountain contained similar types of articles such as jewelry, clothing, underwear, possible drugging and bondage items.  Items that were catalogued for superior court [contradicting claims Bundy dumped things out his car window or in other places].  There was evidence of unknown victims in addition to the ones known to have been found and at least 2 victims that were outside the jurisidiction of King County with one out of state.  The actual evidence, over 300 pieces, was ordered destroyed in part in 1981, 1999 and moved to a sealed area per email in 2011-2012 and/or “lost”.  Keppel focused on Hawkins primarily and spent a ridiculous amount of time in small talk when there were critical elements of the Bundy case he should have been asking about and did not.  It wasn’t a brilliant interview – it was a failure of his responsibility to the position he held at the AG Office and a failure of the trust the public placed in him.  Nothing was ever accomplished from it – forensics were never brought into play.
  2. Set up.  Bundy did not confess to only one man nor did he only want to talk to Keppel:  Keppel asked to get in touch with Bundy in 1980 after Keppel was working behind the scenes with Rule and Michaud and Aynesworth sharing information with them. Keppel has marketed that “final confession” for his own profit for decades at the expense of cases that were open, hyping it to the media immediately after Bundy’s death and repackaging it in different ways over and over. In 1981, he moved to the AG Office where he gained personal ownership of some of the case files per statements behind the scenes to me by officials and also by his own comments of “personal files”.  In November of 1984, Bundy never asked for Keppel and in fact did not want to talk to him but rather to Reichert and the Green River killer task force but Keppel stepped in per the actual records and correspondence.  In March of 1984, “Bundy bones” were moved to the ME without paperwork and marked only as “Taylor Mountain” [which were later confirmed by DNA to be at least 3 girls found on Taylor Mountain in 1975] – the “Bundy bones” were moved to the ME at the same time period Keppel took over the Green River task force.  This time frame was prior to the first attempt of Bundy to reach out to the task force which happened in November.  In the 1984 talks in prison with Bundy, Keppel discussed the “super cop” scenario with Bundy, asking him if he’d confess to one cop.  Bundy told Keppel he wasn’t ready yet. Keppel also told Bundy at one point that Bundy should know how “this was going to go down.” In 1988 Keppel had Bundy help him with the questionnaires that appear to be the HITS or VICAP computer program [its development].  Keppel told Bundy in a letter that he would “sneak over” to talk about it with him. The FBI facilitated some of these communications as documented in the correspondence of Bundy and Keppel.  Bundy warned Keppel if his attorneys were going to be there on the same day so that Keppel could reschedule accordingly if needed.  Then, the 1989 “confession” which skirted critical crime scene assessments and rather focused on sensationalism and which Keppel marketed to media as “he’d only talk to one cop” – the super cop scenario almost immediately after Bundy’s execution.  Bundy talked to several investigators before he was executed not just Keppel.  Keppel was present for pre-execution interviews only as an official representative of the AG Office and he was at the time a public servant not an independent author.  Any information he gathered in his position should have been held as public information.  The cases of Bundy should have been protected for evidence and were not.  Keppel not only published for profit “Riverman” before he left the employ of the AG Office as a public servant; but he also published and aligned with Rule and Michaud for years afterward, developing media contacts and perpetuating a false narrative that he’d written in “Riverman”.  Keppel’s narrative on the “final confession” is fraudulent on several levels.  He continues to control the Bundy narrative to the public even today as evidenced in “documentaries” which only repeat the storyline he contrived years ago and “updates” on his book do nothing to correct the deliberate embellishment and misinformation that was done in the original.
  3. Focus on outlier information overlooking core forensics.  The final confession focused on a case [Ott] where much was already known [and Ott’s body found] when at least 3 girls found at Bundy kill sites were never identified and Keppel knew that multiple bodies had been found at both the Taylor/Tiger mountain site and the Issaquah site [if Tiger Mountain was not in fact Issaquah].  It focused on Ott’s bicycle when a bicycle cable was found at Issaquah and they had witness statements that placed Bundy with Ott.  It focused on Hawkins scenario instead of just an outright admission and when Hawkins per the original records had also been found along with Ott and Naslund at Tiger Mountain.  Several documents state she was found at the Tiger Mountain location. Bones which could have identified her [tibia and fibula] were moved to the ME in March of 1984 in a box of elk bones unmarked and several detectives were requisitioning leg xrays of missing girls immediately after the discovery of Taylor/Tiger Mountain [these bones could have identified Hawkins].  Coincidentally, March of 1984 is when Keppel stepped in to take over the Green River Killer task force.  Bundy specifically started with Hawkins and requested that Keppel go back and revisit the case and Keppel never did.  According to the records, Hawkins was found on Tiger Mountain south of I-90 yet Keppel led a task force search [and didn’t stay] in an area after Bundy’s execution that was north of I-90.  The search found nothing – Keppel didn’t stay – an ME report at the time of the Taylor/Tiger Mountain discovery clearly stated that no decapitation had been present in the girls’ found there – bodies were with the heads and there was presence of animal activity scattering remains. This is documented in detective notes of that time period including Keppel’s.  There is also a detective note of Keppel’s dated 8-1-1975 about 2 weeks before Bundy was picked up in Utah which was back dated to March of 1975 time period of the discovery of Taylor Mountain which asks a different ME [other than the one who actually worked the remains initially found at Taylor Mountain] what would be needed to find that decapitation had taken place.  This wasn’t a finding – it was an asking of what would be needed to declare that.
  4. Information withheld from other jurisdictions trying to solve cases. The final confession neglected entirely the fact that Taylor Mountain had evidence that Bundy was traveling the I-5 corridor to abduct and kill girls.  Both Rancourt and Parks were outside King County jurisdiction and per findings in 2008 DNA they were proven to be skeletal remains and not just heads. Keppel knew skeletal remains were found on site and that these two victims were outside of King County jurisdiction.  Now I see there have been subtle claims that Donna Manson’s remains were also found there.  If that is true then that would make at least 3 victims outside of the King County jurisdiction.  Keppel never addressed the fact that the bodies of Rancourt and Parks should have triggered an FBI interstate investigation and that other jurisdictions should have been called in to collaborate.  Instead, King County maintained control of the case and Keppel claimed nothing was found but heads and jawbones and no evidence that would tie Bundy to missing girls was found even though in 1984 he and Bundy discussed Green River killer possibly traveling the I-5 corridor… and even though Keppel knew that some of the clothing evidence found at Bundy’s WA state crimes scenes did in fact match by description what the girls were wearing. It was marked as “Superior Court”. None of it was discussed or probed in that final confession. Why weren’t the other jurisdictions notified and why the fraudulent story put out to the public for decades about nothing found?  Why did King County purchase the tract of land that included Bundy’s kill sites and who owned the small section of land within it that had a shed or structure on site?  This is in the public records. Why wasn’t the FBI and other jurisdictions besides King County included in the task force when bodies and so much evidence was found at Bundy’s multiple WA kill sites?  The clothing that did not match known victims and the items found should have been preserved as it could have been evidence of other,unknown, victims from areas all over WA State as well as possibly Oregon and California.  Instead the clothing and other items found at Bundy kill sites in WA were essentially dismissed as not important.
  5. Dissemination of falsehoods as public facts.  It accepted Bundy’s claim that he was throwing clothes and items out of the window of his car and just dumping things when in reality Keppel knew that clothing and 158 pieces of evidence had been found at Taylor Mountain.  Similar types of evidence [>100] were found at the Issaquah site. Keppel never interrogates Bundy about the Issaquah site in depth, the Taylor Mountain site in depth, or  correlation of both sites and spends an enormous amount of precious time in minor discussions. Kathleen McChesney took in a taped jack handle that was identified as Bundy’s long before his execution as well as two other items associated to him that should also have been questioned as one item correlated directly to two of his victims in Utah.  This taped jack handle was identified as his in the evidence report and it was also in a witness statement that curiously was attempted to be blacked out [just the taped axe handle] and redacted from the witness statement.  Why would the police black out a key piece of evidence while denying all the connections between Utah and WA State to Bundy?  She, like Keppel, has remained silent all these years and in a documentary even went so far as to call Bundy “mysterious”.  No, he wasn’t.  McChesney had a career with the FBI.
  6. Focus only on 1974 forward when case files showed earlier activity. The final interview accomplishes very little in terms of clarifying how long Bundy had been building the sites of Issaquah and Taylor/Tiger mountains and whether any other sites had been developed earlier.  Keppel glosses over Bundy’s response that his first killing was in 1972 and doesn’t react until Bundy provides the 1974 response.  It is very well documented by multiple witnesses and evidence that Bundy was more than likely quite active in 1971, 1972, 1973 – even Bundy’s own statements corrobate his earlier activity in behind the scenes notes. Bundy stated he had started acting on his “sickness” in 1971, 1972, 1973 and that it was taking up a lot of his time.  This implies many abductions, kills, rapes occurred during those years.  One witness who stated Bundy was in the Taylor Mountain area at the entrance to it in 1972 was called by subpoena to testify.  What was said? Why the subpoena if Bundy was never charged in WA State?  In 1973 two separate witnesses reported to police that they saw Bundy with handcuffs in his car and another witness stated there were pantyhose in his glove compartment [all elements of his killing kit].  Bundy was reported for rape in 1972 and police didn’t believe her because she was imbibed [part of his MO] similar to what they did to me in telling me it was “consensual” and that my memory being shattered made me unbelievable – when it is documented that Bundy was drugging and imbibing victims.  Why were Bundy’s work records subpoenaed and given to McChesney and Keppel?  Both worked with FBI afterwards.
  7. Earlier FBI involvement than publicly stated. Hagmaier sat in on the “final confession” and Hagmaier like Keppel knew of all the evidence that had been found at Taylor/Tiger mountain and Issaquah as the FBI was involved before 1977 [they state 1977 on their site but they were taking in evidence per records at least as far back as 1974] and both men knew there had been a victim left alive who had been assaulted multiple times.  This survivor [me] was mentioned in a report put out by the FBI in 1992. The FBI took in hair samples at one point from WA State and they also took in a handcuff key that matched the handcuffs on DaRonch from a girl who had escaped at a high school in Bountiful.  The composite drawing of that attacker nearly matched identically the composite drawing of Issaquah in WA with the exception of a mustache but Bundy was known and reported to WA police as having a fake mustache that he always carried since before he met Liz in 1969.
  8.  Denial of a living victim of multiple abductions.  This should have been explored and not only because that victim was me.  A discussion about the living victim was in the behind the scenes interagency meetings after Bundy’s death and also in the 1992 FBI report.  That living victim was me and the records hidden and my memory fragments that match the hidden documents are irrefutable proof of that.  Bundy told Keppel to go back over the crime scene area of Hawkins, which was literally outside of my apartment at the time where he’d been stalking me as “someone” might have seen him and Keppel completely ignored the connection and focused on his own interpretation and theory which allowed him to control the case for decades.  I knew Georgann Hawkins and my experiences with Bundy that included stalking, surveillence, being bound and raped and nearly killed, spanned four years and dated his activity back to 1970.  There are ties to my experiences all over the original records that confirm my survival as a victim. Yet for years, decades, they have denied my existence while putting forward a scenario that is NOT supported by the actual case files. For years, their silence has empowered others to belittle me, defame me and ridicule me for trying to come forward.  I came forward in good faith to testify and ask them to evaluate the case as it was directly related to some other cases which remained unsolved.  I was actually even threatened that if I ever dared to speak publicly I would be “refuted” as “consensual”.  That’s intimidation.  I complained about it to authorities and all of this is documented.  For years they have aggressively and methodically silenced me and prevented me from coming forward into the public eye even blocking attorneys who were going to help me – it is direct interference with my rights as a citizen and as a victim and no one [not even in DOJ where I complained multiple times] stood up for me by initiating an investigation.  Instead, they believed Bundy’s assertion [if indeed it was him and not Keppel trying to control the story] that I wasn’t a victim but consensual – something nothing in the records supports].  I never made such a statement, nor did I ever say anything other than he had stalked me, raped me, frightened me, controlled me and a “relationship” which later I knew to be captivity related trauma.  Even Bundy stated behind the scenes he was “releasing” the female.  That is a term that implies captivity and not consensual action.  “Dry run” is a term he also used in reference to the surviving female and dry run by every definition is a target – it matches where I lived when Hawkins was taken [behind the Theta house] and it also matches his request for Keppel to go back and revisit the Hawkins case [which Keppel never did].  Surveillance records show Bundy returning time and time again to my exact locations at the time and yet officials still deny the connections and persist with their false stories.  Bundy even stated he was following a sorority girl and that sorority girl was me.   The public story about Bundy for years has been essentially fraudulent and not at all reflective of the evidence held behind the scenes.  Keppel and McChesney had careers with FBI and FBI BAU and all of them have benefitted from the fraudulent scenario.  Keppel has created a financial stream for himself with a fasle scenario that has been at the expense of the case and the victims including myself. The FBI BAU has participated in the false presentation of the case to the public.  Neither entity has had the moral fiber to set the record straight on a public level.  They put out a huge release of Bundy “documentaries” in 2019-2020 that essentially did nothing but espouse the same falsehoods and glorify and self-promote their own roles.  They are using the media and exposure to create “truth” rather than actually disseminating truth.
  9. Evidence withheld that cast doubts on some of the facts put forward in Keppel’s friends books.  In the unaltered records, Keppel in 1980 received a 33 page single spaced critique of Ann Rule’s book about Bundy “Stranger Beside Me” that Bundy wrote in prison and gave to Michaud and Aynesworth when they were there taping him.  Keppel never appears to have investigated any of the complaints related to that document instead giving it to the department psychiatrist – a move that to me seems counterproductive to the investigation and protective of his friend and ally, Rule.  In 1984 in prison giving Keppel and Reichert consulting on Green River, Bundy tells Keppel that he had an agreement with Michaud and Aynesworth on the hours of taping that he was giving them and that they never followed through on the deal and that much of what he gave to them was in his words, “fiction, done to pander to a reading audience”.  I don’t think all of it was fiction but again, given that there were relationships behind the scenes with Michaud, Rule and that Keppel put forward a false storyline with Bundy and his WA State kill sites and misrepresented large amounts of the case facts and files, the whole relationship between these people and alliances over the years needs to be independently investigated as they all participated in the manipulation of my memories and the silencing of me as a victim.  The wagons were circled very tightly around a certain Bundy story and only that theory/story was put forward for years in spite of the actual original street files showing a very different truth.   The false confession is just one aspect of a presentation to the public of Bundy years that was deceptive to the public and not truthful to the records.

What was discussed between Bundy and officials in the times the tapes were shut down in this interview and in the others?  What was discussed between Keppel and Bundy during the years Keppel got private ownership of the case 1981 to 1984?  Why was Keppel given private ownership of case files during that time when there remained open criminal cases of missing girls and against Bundy possibly and when Keppel was still under color of law and employed?  Why did the AG office allow him to go public with a graphic “confession” in 1989 immediately upon Bundy’s death when they knew behind the scenes that the details of that confession did not line up to the actual  evidence and when so many cases of young girls missing and murdered in a three county area around Seattle remained unsolved.  Bundy makes a comment upon his arrest in Florida to the police there [in that interview which is in the files released to me] that he has powerful friends ….I’ll let that statement stand on its own. (less)