Aug 6, 2011

Ted Bundy DNA a Key to Solve Cold Cases

Image: Reuters

Ted Bundy, a known serial killer, is suspected to be responsible in the abduction of 8-year-old Ann Marie Burr who disappeared from her North End Tacoma home in 1961.

Over the years, academics, police investigators and relatives of Bundy and Ann Marie have debated whether she was the first of his dozens of murder victims.

Soon, Tacoma police detectives could have a more concrete answer by working on Bundy’s DNA profile.

Officials in Florida are working to have the serial killer’s DNA profile uploaded into the FBI’s national database by mid-August. Tacoma detectives hope to compare it to evidence that was never analyzed in the Ann Marie case.

From a historical standpoint, there is this belief that Ted Bundy could be responsible,” said detective Gene Millerof the Tacoma Police Department’s cold case unit.

It’s a question that needs to be answered from a historical standpoint as well as an investigative standpoint.” Ann Marie’s family wants to know, too. Her parents have died but her siblings still don’t know what happened to their big sister.

It would help put some closure on it one way or another,” Julie Burr said Friday. “If we could learn anything to understand what happened or learn what happened, that would be our desire.”

Having Bundy’s DNA in the national database also could shed light on other unsolved cases in states, including Washington, where he preyed on young women and girls.

Before he was executed in 1989 in Florida, the 42-year-old Bundy confessed to killing 30 victims. Law enforcement investigators were not able to identify all the victims and suspected he killed dozens more.

He confessed to killing 11 women in Washington state. Investigators were able to identify eight of them. The other three victims remain a mystery.

Bundy’s killing spree and execution came before the creation of state and national databases that contain millions of DNA samples of convicted offenders. Law enforcement agencies use the databases to crack unsolved crimes, strengthen their evidence against suspects or to clear them.

The effort to get Bundy’s profile into the FBI database has spanned several years. It got a jolt of energy after Lindsey Wade became the latest in a long line of Tacoma homicide detectives to look again at Ann Marie’s disappearance.

As usual, Ted Bundy’s name came to mind. In January, she picked up the phone and called Florida, wondering if anybody still had a sample of the killer’s DNA.

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