The Justice Files: The victims of Ted Bundy

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It’s been 30 years since Ted Bundy was executed.

But in 2019, a slew of Ted Bundy movies, documentaries and news stories have brought him to life.

Bundy was executed in January 1989 for the murders of two Florida young women and a 13-year-old girl. 

In Utah, he murdered five women and was suspected of others that today remain unsolved.

The only person who survived a Bundy attack was Carol Daronch. She appeared in a Netflix documentary “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.”

Daronch said she was at a mall in Murray when a strange came up to her.

“A man approached me, he said he was a police officer,” Daronch said.

He claimed someone has burglarized her car and asked that she come outside to identify the vehicle.

She did but Bundy told her she needs to come to the police station to file a complaint. Daronch noticed his vehicle was a yellow Volkswagon.

“I thought he was undercover,” she said.

Once inside, Bundy tried to handcuff Daronch.

“He grabbed my arm and he got one handcuff on and he didn’t get the other one on,” she said.  “One was just dangling.  I had never been so frightened in my entire life.”

After struggling with him, she managed to get out of his car and escape.

Later that night, Debra Kent disappeared after leaving a play at Viewmont High school.  Kent was never found.

Bundy was living in Salt Lake City in 1974, attending law school at the University of Utah.

That October, young women started disappearing. 16-year-old Nancy Wilcox was the first.  She left her home in Holladay and never returned.

Then, Melissa Smith, the Midvale police chief’s daughter vanished.  Her nude body was later found in the mountains. 

17-year-old Laura Aime also disappeared in October.  Her body was found in the mountains.

23-year-old Nancy Baird of Layton disappeared. Her body was never found.

But it was Daronch’s escape that sealed the fate of Bundy. He was arrested in West Valley after fleeing from police late at night. 

A search of his Volkswagon produced rope, a crowbar, tape, gloves and other items associated with burglary tools.  

Daronch identified him during a police photo lineup. He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison.  But there was never enough evidence to charge Bundy with the murders of Utah’s women.

But by then authorities in Colorado and Washington state suspected Bundy may be the same man murdering women in their state.  It was while he was in Colorado awaiting trial that he escaped.  But he was later arrested in Florida and executed for murdering two young women and a 13-year-old girl.

While on death row, Bundy told a Utah detective about where he buried his victims.  
Authorities were led to a site east of Farview and found a small bone. It was believed to be Debra Kent.
In 2015, Belva Kent told ABC4 she keeps it in her bedroom.

“I just feel bad that she had to suffer the last part of her life,” said Belva Kent.  “You know where she was kidnapped and was I’m sure frightened and whatever, and then to be tortured and die the way she did, that hurts me, that she died a terrible death.”

Despite efforts to find the remains of other victims,  authorities were never able to find a trace of Nancy Baird or Nancy Wilcox.

Watch our three part series on Bundy’s reign of terror from 2015:

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