The Justice Files: Circumstantial evidence linked Nancy Baird & Ted Bundy

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Nancy Baird’s disappearance has long been linked to serial killer Ted Bundy.

But law enforcement has yet to offer details about the connection until now.

A former Davis County sheriff who was in charge of the Baird investigation offered ABC4 details about what he learned in the 1970’s.

It was the 4th of July, 1975 when Baird suddenly vanished.  She was working at a Fina gas station in east Layton, near Highway 89.

She left behind her purse, the keys to her car and the car remained in the parking lot.

To date, Baird’s whereabouts remain unknown.

It happened during former sheriff William “Dub” Lawrence’s watch.

“When a police officer does this for years you develop a sixth sense,” he said. “You feel it. (Bundy) was the worst of the worst criminals and it took its toll on most of us.”

After she disappeared, authorities questioned possible persons of interest.  The FBI also assisted.  But after six weeks they had no clues and it left authorities puzzled.

But something was happening during that time period.  Beginning in late 1974 and through the summer of 1975 several young women were missing in Utah.  Nancy Baird was one of those.

“We had five missing women at one time,” Lawrence said.  “Half we found part of the bodies, some of them.”

But in August 1975 they got their first clue of a possible suspect.

A yellow Volkswagon was stopped by an alert police officer in West Valley.  A search of the vehicle produced tools often used for burglaries.  But there were also handcuffs, panty hose and a rope.

They belonged to Ted Bundy who was taken into custody.  Over the next decade, authorities in multiple states learned that Bundy was a serial killer, murdering young women throughout the country, including Utah.  In 1989 he was executed in Florida after he was convicted for murdering a 12-year-old and a young woman.

But after Bundy was first arrested in Utah, Lawrence’s team of investigators set out to prove it was Bundy who killed Baird.

“We had him in Rock Springs, Wyoming which put him on Interstate-80 coming back from Colorado,” Lawrence said.

From Rock Springs, Lawrence claimed Bundy headed west into Utah and chose to return to Salt Lake using Interstate-84. 

“We don’t have any gas receipts that he stopped in the area,” Lawrence said.  

Lawrence theorized that Bundy headed south on Highway 89.  The Fina gas station in Layton was located along the highway.

“There’s no women missing (along I-80),” Lawrence said. “There was no abduction on 80-coming in.”

Lawrence believes Bundy killed Baird and then buried her body in lambs canyon.

“Ted Bundy was tired, he had driven all day,” Lawrence surmised.  “I believe he went to some where that was close.  It was handy it was safe, it was secure.” 

He said Bundy was familiar with the area.  The body of one of his victims Melissa Smith was found in Parleys Canyon.

“It’s what we call the law of probability,” Lawrence said.  “It’s not provable but if you work back by process of elimination you come up with the most logical scenario.”

But prior to his execution Bundy told a Salt Lake county sheriff investigator he didn’t kill Baird.

According to Bundy’s audio confessions obtained by ABC4 he said: “Nancy Baird, who is that?  I’m not sure who you are talking about.  No. I didn’t have anything to do with that.”

Lawrence doesn’t believe him.

“He admitted that he had some of the heads of his victims in Utah at his apartment,” Lawrence said.  “He mentioned Lamb’s Canyon.”

Nancy Baird’s in-laws also believed Bundy was responsible for her murder.  Wally Baird said Bundy’s denial may have been a coverup.

“He may have been that way because he didn’t know at the time that she had kids, a child and had been married,” said Baird.  “That was something that was contrary to his MO (method of operation).”

Baird’s body has never been found and it still haunts the former sheriff.  He said there were other major homicide cases happening during that time period.

“Nancy’s fell through the cracks in my judgement and I felt guilty about it,” said Lawrence.

In the end, Nancy Baird’s link to Ted Bundy was a theory, circumstantial evidence according to Lawrence.  

He said it wasn’t enough for prosecutors to file charges against the notorious serial killer.

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