The Justice Files: New theory emerges in disappearance of Nancy Baird

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Maybe Ted Bundy was getting too much credit in Utah.

For years, law enforcement linked the 1975 disappearance of Nancy Baird to Bundy. But a new theory has emerged. Baird is presumed dead after she was vanished while working at a gas station in East Layton.

It was former Davis County Sheriff William “Dub” Lawrence who said it was his “gut instinct” that Bundy murdered Baird.  But Lawrence produced only circumstantial evidence and not enough for prosecutors to file charges against Bundy.

Prior to his execution in 1989, Bundy denied he murdered Baird.

After 45-years Lawrence still has misgiving about their investigation.

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

At the time Lawrence said they had many high-profile cases that tasked his detectives.  For a month after Baird disappeared, they questioned persons of interest but could not come up with a suspect.  Then, Bundy entered the picture in August 1975.

“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 the Utah Cold Case Coalition has been investigating Baird’s disappearance and noticed that Baird’s investigation stopped after Bundy came into the picture.

“A lot of the investigation stopped there.” said Karra Porter, co-founder of the coalition.  “So we talked to quite a few people that were never interviewed.”

Some of those people who were interviewed include former law enforcement from that time period.  They’ve been able to put together a possible theory.

“We have an additional theory,” she said.  “(Retired law enforcement) are pointing us in a different direction.”

At the time, Baird was a single parent and divorced from her husband.  Floyd Baird was out of state when Baird disappeared.  But he was cleared by authorities in 1975.  Porter also agreed with that finding.

But they’ve come across two possible persons of interest, one who was trying to court Baird.  Porter said the feeling wasn’t mutual.

“One of the names we’ve been given by former law enforcement does have a subsequent history of sex offenses and a criminal record and so that at least adds to the red flag,” Porter said.

And she said witnesses who were never interviewed told of a pickup truck leaving the scene about the time Baird was taken.

“What we’ve learned so far is that one of the two suspects would be consistent with potentially having a pickup like that,” she said.

Of the two people they are investigating, Porter said one stands out more than the other.  His criminal history landed him in prison.  The coalition is attempting to interview him but COVID-19 is preventing that from happening. 

“We’re not ruling out Bundy,” she said.  “This is just an additional theory.”

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