Whatever Happened To Ted Bundy Survivor Carol DaRonch?

Ted Bundy's murderous crime spree left at least 30 women dead in five states from 1974 until he was captured in 1978 (via ABC News). Bundy's arrest by Pensacola, Florida police finally took the serial killer and rapist off of the streets for good, and his January 1989 execution by the chair ensured that he would never cause harm to anyone ever again (per A&E). 

Though most of the women and girls Bundy victimized never lived to tell their horrible tales, several of them were able to escape from the clutches of one of the United States' most notorious serial murderers. And though he later escaped police custody, one such survivor was responsible for putting Bundy behind bars in Utah in 1974, albeit for a short period. The victim, Carol DaRonch, nearly lost her life to Bundy on a November evening in 1974. DaRonch's story of her abduction, attempted murder, and escape is one that was heard during Bundy's 1976 trial, earning him a conviction that kept him behind bars at least long enough for authorities to tie him to the murders of several women in Utah, Washington, and Oregon (per History). 

DaRonch's nightmarish experience started when she was leaving a shopping mall and was approached by a man who identified himself as a police officer.

She made a narrow escape from Bundy in 1974

The man approached Carol DaRonch and identified himself as a police detective. He told her that someone had broken into her car and that she needed to check if any items were missing. After accompanying the stranger to her vehicle, she noticed nothing out of the ordinary but began to feel uneasy about the encounter. She asked for identification, and the man flashed a police badge at her. He then suggested that she ride in his car, a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle (per Car and Driver), and ride to the police station so she could file a report. As soon as DaRonch was settled in the man's car, he drove away, and she refused his suggestion to fasten her seatbelt. This was a move that might have saved her life.

Armed with a crowbar and a handgun, the man attempted to subdue DaRonch. He managed to handcuff one of her wrists, but her fight against him made him unable to secure her in any way. People reports that DaRonch leaped from the vehicle, and the man pursued her and tried to beat her into submission with his crowbar. An approaching vehicle helped to complete DaRonch's escape. DaRonch ran toward the oncoming car with the pair of handcuffs still secured to one of her wrists. She did not know it at the time, but DaRonch has just managed to escape from a man who would later that evening kidnap another young woman and be successful in eliminating his prey. The man was eventually identified as Ted Bundy.

She testified against Bundy in multiple trials

Carol DaRonch was able to give an accurate description of her attacker and his vehicle. When Ted Bundy was arrested the following year, the arresting officer pieced together that the man he apprehended, Ted Bundy, was similar to the description that DaRonch had given of her unidentified attacker (via History). When approached by police to try to pick her would-be assailant out of a lineup, she obliged and easily selected Bundy (via Oxygen). 

After testifying against Bundy in court, DaRonch was not finished with him. She testified against Bundy on several other occasions, including at his pre-sentencing hearing in Florida in 1979 (per the New York Post). She told People: "This monster tried to murder me, and he might be out in two years. I will go and help them get a murder conviction and have him put away. So, I never felt that I wouldn't testify. I thought it was really important that I do."

DaRonch's harrowing story was nearly 50 years ago and is one that has branded her as "the one who got away." Though much time has passed, the recent release of the Netflix docuseries "The Ted Bundy Tapes" has put her back into the spotlight once more as she retells her nightmarish experience to a new generation (per the Daily Express). In the years that have passed since her abduction by Bundy, DaRonch has openly discussed her ordeal with the media on multiple occasions, including revealing what her life was like in the aftermath of her run-in with Bundy.

DaRonch didn't let her experience with Bundy hold her back

In early 2019, Carol DaRonch sat down for an interview with People and recounted her near-death experience at the hands of Bundy. Now in her 60s, DaRonch told the publication that though she had survived a horrible ordeal, she didn't let it stop her from continuing with her life. Nineteen at the time of Bundy's attack, DaRonch insisted that her life went on afterward and wasn't impeded by her assault. And aside from taking time out to aid in his prosecution and sentencing at several trials, DaRonch was able to live a life that was largely unaffected by her encounter with Bundy.

DaRonch told People that aside from one incident where she was approached by someone selling magazines in a store parking lot shortly after her kidnapping, she had no lingering terror regarding Bundy and never suffered nightmares stemming from the incident. The experience did leave DaRonch more conscientious about strangers, however, and she admits that it also has caused her to pay better attention to her surroundings. But, as DaRonch explained to People, "I was able to detach myself from an event that could have ruined my life. It may not be a reasonable solution for everyone, but it is how I have been able to move on."

Her son encouraged her to appear on The Ted Bundy Tapes

Carol DaRonch told People that she was busy with night school classes at the time she was testifying against Ted Bundy. She eventually graduated with a degree in business management, married, and had children. After graduating, DaRonch began a long career in telecommunications. It was in this vocation that she met Michael, the man she would eventually marry and have a family with. The two made a home in the Salt Lake City area, not far from where she once lived with her parents. 

DaRonch told People that she golfs regularly and enjoys living in close proximity to the many ski resorts in the area. And though she does like her privacy, DaRonch knows that she has an important story to tell, prompting her to appear on "The Ted Bundy Tapes." She says it was her adult son, Levi, who urged her to sit down with the producers of the Netflix docuseries. Those who have watched her on the show probably agree that she leaves a powerful impact.

She now runs a Facebook page about Bundy's victims

Aside from an occasional interview, Carol DaRonch insists to People that she leads a normal adult life. After "The Ted Bundy Tapes" debuted in January 2019, DaRonch pointed out that she was met with a very positive response about her appearance in the series. She stated that she has been reached out to by numerous strangers online about the show, which led to her starting a Facebook page largely dedicated to other less fortunate victims of Bundy. Though the page highlights Bundy, LaRonch also uses it to promote news stories about victims of other criminals and share Netflix posts for their other docuseries. 

Even though DaRonch has been able to freely speak of her experiences, there is one facet of Bundy's life that she struggles to talk about. "It is still hard for me to talk about his victims and their families," she told People in 2019. "Bundy destroyed a lot of lives, and I came so close."