Who was Ted Bundy’s first victim?

Ted Bundy’s first confirmed victim was 18-year-old university student Karen Sparks.

In the early hours of January 4th, 1974, Bundy broke into the basement room that Sparks was sleeping in. Then, using a piece of metal rebar, he proceeded to savagely beat her and sexually assault her.

ted bundy's first victim

Karen Sparks is Bundy’s first confirmed victim. However, there may have been many victims before her.

Despite her horrific injuries, Sparks somehow managed to survive the attack. However, the assault was brutal and it left her with permanent brain damage, hearing loss and sight issues. She also suffered from seizures and had to learn how to walk again.

Although Sparks is Bundy’s first confirmed victim, it is possible that he struck before this.

Lisa Wick and Lonnie Trumbull.

On June 23rd, 1966, flight attendants Lisa Wick and Lonnie Trumbull were viciously attacked while they slept in their basement apartment in Queen Anne, Seattle.

Lisa Wick and Lonnie Trumbull

Lonnie Trumbull and Lisa Wick were brutally attacked at 2415 8th Ave N in Seattle.

Both of the women received multiple head injuries from a 3×18 inch piece of wood.

Wick managed to survive the assault following a successful operation to relieve pressure on her brain. Sadly, her friend Lonnie Trumbull was less fortunate, as doctors pronounced her dead upon arrival.

Although there has been speculation about Bundy’s involvement in this case, there is no solid evidence linking him to the crime.

A quick summary of the case.

  • At the time of this attack, Ted Bundy was 19 years old.
  • Wikipedia states that he was working at a nearby grocery store at the time when the attack took place. A store that the two women regularly visited. However, according to the FBI, he did not start working there until April of 1968. That was nearly two years later.
  • According to the police, there were no signs of sexual assault.
  • Investigators failed to link any of the fingerprints found at the scene to Bundy.
  • Wick and Trumbull’s apartment was exactly 39.5 miles away from where Bundy was living at the time. It would have taken him about 45-60 minutes to drive the route.
  • Shortly before his execution, Bundy denied any involvement in the attack.

Is it possible that Bundy was behind the attack on Lisa Wick and Lonnie Trumbull?

Of course it’s possible.

However, the evidence does seem to point away from him. Furthermore, the one piece of circumstantial “evidence” that supposedly links him to the crime is inaccurate.

According to a multi-agency report, Bundy did not start working at Safeway until April 12th, 1968. He finished working at the grocery store a few months later.

Ann Marie Burr.

When Ted Bundy was 14 years old, a young girl called Ann Marie Burr went missing from her parent’s home in the North End area of Tacoma.

On August 31st, 1961, 8-year-old Ann Marie vanished during the middle of the night. Since then, there has been no trace of the missing girl.

Ann Marie Burr

Ann Marie Burr disappeared from her house at 3009 N 14th Street in Tacoma.

A quick summary of the case.

  • During the investigation, detectives discovered a footprint outside of the house. This footprint was created by a size 6 or 7 shoe.
  • A size 6-7 shoe fits the profile of a teenage boy.
  • Bundy reportedly worked as a paperboy in the area. However, Ann Marie’s mother has no recollection of seeing him deliver their newspaper.
  • In 1986, Bundy wrote to the Burr family and denied any involvement.
  • At the time of Ann Marie’s disappearance, he lived roughly five miles away.
  • Reports that the missing girl took piano lessons at a house next door to Bundy’s uncle are untrue.
  • The original investigating officers are adamant that he was not involved. Instead, they believe that the perpetrator knew the family and the layout of the house.
  • The original prime suspect was a 17-year-old boy who lived three doors away. According to Ann Marie’s mother, the 17-year-old had an “unusual interest” in her daughter.

Although it is possible that Bundy was involved in the disappearance of Ann Marie Burr, the evidence isn’t convincing. Especially seeing as there is another strong suspect in the case.

Ted Bundy’s first victim.

It is unlikely that we will ever find out who Ted Bundy’s first victim was.

The most probable scenario here is that his first victim was a woman who he attacked but did not seriously injure.

Like many serial killers, Bundy evolved over time. During his teen years, he started off by prowling his neighborhood and rummaging through people’s trash looking for discarded detective magazines and pornography.

He also roamed around looking for things to steal.

From 1964 onward, he “graduated” to voyeurism. In other words, he became a Peeping Tom who liked to watch women through open windows.

His journey towards violence started in the late 1960s.

In 1968, Bundy’s rape fantasies started to evolve. By that stage, he had been fantasizing about rape for about 5-7 years. However, by 1968, he was beginning to fantasize about himself being the “main actor” in the crime.

During the late 1960s, Bundy started to become violent. In one of his confessions, he admitted to “crossing the line” during this period. For example, he planned on carrying out a rape at a hotel in New York City in 1969. However, he didn’t have a specific target in mind and nothing happened in the end.

In one of his third-person “confessions”, Bundy spoke about an ‘early attack’ in which he struck a woman from behind with a piece of wood as she attempted to enter her car. However, he ran away after she fell to the ground and started screaming.

Although we will never know for sure whether or not this event took place, it is possible that his first attack was a similar half-baked attempt that largely went unnoticed by the police and local media. It is also possible that his first victim never reported the crime.

He attempted his first kidnapping at Ocean City in 1969.

According to Bundy, his first kidnap attempt took place at Ocean City in the Spring of 1969. At the time, he was living at his aunt’s house in Philadelphia and attending Temple University.

During a day trip to the resort town of Ocean City, Bundy spotted a young woman walking by herself and decided to act on his violent fantasies.

ocean city bundy

Bundy made a number of day trips to Ocean City in 1969.

Although he approached this woman, talked to her and attempted to abduct her, she was able to escape.

Bundy stated that this failed kidnapping attempt made him realize that he did not have the ability to commit such a crime and get away with it. In other words, he didn’t have the competence to do what he wanted to do.

As a result, he decided not to make any similar attempts “for a long time”.

When did Bundy commit his first murder?

He committed his first confirmed murder on February 1st, 1974.

On that night, he savagely beat 21-year-old Lynda Ann Healy as she lay sleeping in her house and then abducted her.

Although Lynda Ann Healy is Bundy’s first confirmed murder victim, it is possible that he started his killing spree before this.

The main problem here is that Bundy often changed his story. He also spoke in third person while giving his pseudo-confessions.

As a result, it can be difficult to take him at his word.

  • He told his defense attorney Polly Nelson that he murdered his first victim in Seattle in 1971.
  • Bundy admitted to psychologist Art Norman that he killed two women in Atlantic City in 1969. This has led to speculation that he may have been behind the killings of Susan Margarite Davis and Elizabeth Perry.
  • While speaking with detective Robert D. Keppel, he admitted to murdering a woman in Burlington, Vermont in 1971 and another woman Seattle in 1972.
  • In his final confessions with Bill Hagmaier and Robert D. Keppel, he stated that his first victim was a hitchhiker near Tumwater in May of 1973.

As you can see, there may have been multiple victims before Lynda Ann Healy.

If all of these confessions were 100% true, then it would mean that Bundy murdered six or seven women before 1974.

However, I personally think that this is unlikely.

Tumwater victim.

Bundy’s final confessions in the days before his execution were far more honest than his earlier ones. We know this because he gave investigators a number of details that ultimately turned out to be true.

As the day of his execution grew closer, Ted realized that coming clean was the only card he had left to play. By that stage, he had already exhausted all of his other options.

Credit card receipts also support this confession. A multi-agency report by the FBI shows that Bundy was extremely active in the Tumwater and Olympia area between April and August of 1973. For example, he purchased gas in Tumwater at least ten times during this period.

If we take all of this into account, then it means that Ted Bundy’s first victim was probably an unidentified hitchhiker who he happened across in Tumwater in May of 1973.

bundy tumwater

An excerpt from his 1989 confession about the Tumwater victim.

If this is true, then it is possible that the woman in question is currently listed as a missing person. She might have parents or siblings who are still wondering where she went or what happened to her.

Sadly, the fact that she was hitchhiking complicates matters. This is because we have no way of knowing where she came from.

For all we know, Ted Bundy’s first victim traveled for hundreds of miles before she was unfortunate enough to cross paths with him.