On the early morning of January 15, 1978, serial killer Ted Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Going from room to room, he beat and sexually assaulted four women, and two of them died as a result of the attacks. Bundy then left the bloody crime scene with his weapon — a wood log — and made his way to the apartment of 21-year-old dance student Cheryl Thomas a few blocks away. Piers Morgan sits down with some lesser known but equally terrifying offenders in the series "Serial Killer with Piers Morgan," premiering July 16 at 7/6c on Oxygen.
In Oxygen’s two-hour special “Snapped Notorious: Ted Bundy,” Thomas and her two housemates, Debbie Ciccarelli and Nancy Young, opened up about the grisly assault that took place just one hour after the Chi Omega murders.
The night of the attack, Thomas, Ciccarelli and Young had gone disco dancing at a local bar. Thomas left around midnight, and Ciccarelli and Young returned to their shared duplex at 2 AM. They noticed Thomas’ light was off and assumed she was asleep, so they went to bed as well.
At about 4 AM, Cicarelli was awoken by a “very loud noise” coming from Thomas’ apartment. She then woke up Young, and the two heard more “knocking around” through the duplex walls.
“We had no clue what was going on at Chi O [...], but I just had this sick feeling that there was something not right,” Ciccarelli told producers.
After Ciccarelli called Young’s apartment and no one picked up, she dialed 911.
“We could hear the phone [ringing] because the wall was so thin, and we could hear her whimpering,” said Ciccarelli.
When police arrived, they kicked down Thomas’ door and found her severely beaten, but alive. According to court documents, Thomas had been asleep at the time of her assault and was unable to identify her attacker. A knotted pair of pantyhose was also found in the room, and holes had been cut into the material to create a mask. Detectives later determined Thomas had been beaten with the same log he used at the Chi Omega house.
Emergency responders rushed Thomas to the hospital, where she recovered from a broken jaw and a severed nerve connected to her left ear. In the days following her hospitalization, both Young and Ciccarelli visited her bedside.
“It was shocking to see her injuries and all the bruising that comes from those injuries and stuff, I mean, she was hardly recognizable,” remembered Young.
“She had dark brown, wavy hair down to the middle of her back, and it was all full of blood so it literally stood out like this all full of blood,” explained Ciccarelli, motioning in the shape of a halo.
To this day, Thomas does not have any memory of the brutal assault.
“I can’t remember being attacked at all. To wake up in a room that you don’t recognize was quite baffling,” said Thomas. “And they didn’t want to describe right away how I was hurt, but my mother told me I was very upset every time a male nurse came into my room. [...] Why did Ted Bundy choose me? I still have no idea why. I can’t remember it happening to me.”
To hear more about the hunt for Bundy and his survivors, watch “Snapped Notorious: Ted Bundy” on Oxygen.