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Ted Bundy often invaded the privacy of his victims—breaking into their homes to viciously attack them in the middle of the night—but there was at least one victim that Bundy took to his own home, holding the teen for hours before killing her.
Bundy confessed to killing 17-year-old Debra Kent and keeping her “for a period of time” in a series of confessions he made in the final days before the notorious serial killer was put to death in 1989, according to the Investigation Discovery special “Ted Bundy: Mind of a Monster.”
The Utah teen had been attending a play with her parents at Viewpoint High School on Nov. 8 1974, when they asked her to go pick up her younger brother Bill from a skating rink.
But when her parents came out to the high school parking lot a short time later, they found Kent’s car still parked in the lot and no sign of the 17-year-old.
“They knew something was terribly amiss,” Bill Collard, a detective in Bountiful who worked the case, said in the special.
Her family was right. Years later, Bundy admitted he abducted the teen from the parking lot and then took her back to the place he was staying at the time.
“I did keep her there for a period of time,” Bundy said, estimating that it had been about 24-hours.
When the officer on the tape can be heard asking Bundy whether Kent was alive during that time, Bundy chillingly responds, “Let’s see, during half of it.”
Before Bundy would be put to death, he identified where he had hidden the remains by pointing to the area on a map that had been torn from an atlas, according to a 1989 article from The Associated Press.
During a three-month search, authorities were able to find ten bags of bones, but just one of those bones was found to be human remains. The human patella, or knee cap, was given to Kent’s family.
Her mother, Belva Kent, reportedly kept the bone in a box until 2015 when authorities asked to test the bone to confirm that it belonged to the missing teen through the use of DNA, KSL reports.
"(Belva Kent) was very hesitant at first, but eventually she agreed, believing that it would be a good thing to know and have that confirmation," Bountiful Police Sgt. Shane Alexander said.
Authorities were able to confirm the bone belonged to Kent.
“To me, that just was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment, knowing that I can help this family hopefully have closure and help them move on," Alexander said.
It’s believed that Bundy may have killed more than 100 women during his reign—although he has officially been linked to the murders of thirty people.
W. Kenneth Katsaris, who was the sheriff in Leon County, Florida when Bundy went on a bloody rampage at the Chi Omega sorority house in 1978, said in the recent Netflix docu-series “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” that the notorious serial killer hinted that he may have taken the lives of far more people than authorities ever suspected.
“I told Ted Bundy that we now have the evidence to charge him with both cases,” Karsaris recalled, referring to the Chi Omega murders and the slaying of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. “He looked at me and said, ‘When you find the person that committed these crimes that you think I committed, that person is going to be wanted for murders of women in the three digits in six states.’”
The details of Bundy’s brutal crimes were often disturbingly gruesome. Bundy confessed just before his death to FBI Special Agent Bill Hagmaier that he had often engaged in necrophilia—sometimes for days with his victims.
“When he said he was clearing his soul at the end, he wanted me to know that he practiced necrophilia,” Hagmaier said in Neflix docu-series. “That was something he never talked about even in the third person before that. You know, the truth is terrible.”
Bundy also confessed to severing the heads of “perhaps half a dozen” of his victims. Bundy sometimes admired the severed heads in his apartment before disposing of the body parts, according to SF Gate.
Forensic evidence found on another body suggested that Bundy may have kept one of his victims alive for days—repeatedly raping and strangling her, the paper reports.
The night he killed Kent—his initial target had been another woman who managed to escape from the serial killer.
Carol DaRonch had been shopping at the mall when Bundy approached her and pretended to be a police officer.
He told the 18-year-old that her car had been broken into and that he wanted her to come fill out a police report at a nearby police station.
But once in his car, Bundy’s true intentions were revealed, when he grabbed her and tried to put a pair of handcuff on her. The frantic DaRonch managed to flee from the car and flag down a passing motorist.
“I knew he was going to kill me. His face and the way he was acting. He was just crazy. He turned into a monster,” DaRonch recalled in “Ted Bundy: Mind of a Monster.”
Two hours later, he’d abduct Kent.
More than four decades later, DaRonch continues to struggle with survivor’s guilt knowing that while she got away, another teen that night was not so lucky.
“I think he was just enraged by the time he got to her,” she said.
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