Why Ted Bundy Is Actually A Hero To This One Family

In the '70s, Ted Bundy raped and killed dozens of women and girls across the United States (via Britannica). However, it is believed he committed many more murders than those he confessed to. He was caught due to a traffic violation in 1975, driving in the dark with his lights off and gear he used to kidnap a woman still in the car. On trial for murder, Bundy escaped twice, but was recaptured each time due to vehicle infractions, according to Refinery29. He was given the death penalty and executed in Florida in 1989.

In 1970, at age 24, Bundy was at Green Lake in Seattle, Washington. There an opportunity to do good presented itself, and Bundy seized it. Of course, an infinitude of kind acts could never make up for Bundy's horrific crimes. But, the story highlights why serial killers and rapists are often so difficult to spot, and why those who knew them always seem surprised when they find out. 

Did Ted Bundy save a Girl or Boy?

The story may also highlight the perils of historical inaccuracies, because there appear to be different accounts of the event. According to true crime author Jack Rosewood, Ted Bundy rescued a boy from drowning at the lake. History Collection, ListVerse, and other sources second this, with every indication that Bundy did not personally know the boy.

However, Biography claims Bundy saved a girl from drowning — in fact the niece of a friend. In "The Stranger Beside Me" by Ann Rule, someone who knew Bundy, the child at Green Lake was a girl as well. Author Joe Blake quotes Bundy's half-sister as saying it was a girl.

Given the quality of the sources, and the unlikelihood of Bundy saving two children at the same lake the same year, we're inclined to rule it was a girl. How this inaccuracy was born cannot be known, but one can imagine a report on the event saying a "child" was saved, with an accompanying "she" being misspelled or misread as "he." There are many possibilities.

Sources do not indicate who Bundy's friend was, nor the name of the girl. But, out there somewhere is a family that has one of America's worst serial killers to thank for saving a loved one.

The Intersection of Life and Death

Ted Bundy stood at the intersection of life and death in another way, too. Not only did he kill large numbers of people, and save a girl from drowning, but in college, he took a job helping people in turmoil. While Bundy studied psychology at the University of Washington, he worked at the ​​Suicide Hotline Crisis Center (via Yahoo). Psychologists say that while he may not have sought this out, the job could have given the psychopath a thrill, a rush from the perceived power over someone's life. It is possible Bundy felt the same when he saved the girl at Green Lake.

Bundy's appearance, intelligence, and public actions formed a veneer that protected him throughout his killing spree. According to author Joe Blake, Bundy's half-sister Linda used the rescue of the girl and other good deeds to prove Bundy "would never hurt anyone." It is well known that some women became obsessed with the charming Bundy during his murder trial (via Refinery29). Yet others learned the ultimate lesson of the Ted Bundy case: Serial killers can be attractive, well-adjusted, "good" people, too.