Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy escaped from jail twice—but after his arrest in Florida, authorities made sure he never had the opportunity to try for a third.
Any time Bundy was transported from the Leon County jail to the courthouse, he was shackled and driven in a deputy’s vehicle—with a K-9 unit following behind the car and a helicopter flying overhead, former Leon County deputy Cedric L. Alexander recalled to Oxygen.com.
“I remember when they brought him out of the jail to put him in my backseat, how eerie a feeling it was,” Alexander said. “To look at the guy, he looked like a common, everyday guy.”
But while Bundy may have appeared like a handsome, charismatic everyman, Alexander said his patrol captain at the time had some cautionary words for the young rookie.
“(He) said to me, ‘Cedric, you be careful with him, because he will kill you dead.’ Those were his exact words,” Alexander said.
The warning only heightened Alexander’s anxiety.
Alexander was just a 23-year-old rookie in the department when he crossed paths with Bundy—transporting the prolific killer two or three times from the jail to courthouse in Leon County where he stood trial for killing two sorority girls at the Chi Omega sorority house and savagely beating two others.
He would later be found guilty and sentenced to death.
Authorities believe Bundy killed at least 30 women across the country during his killing spree.
“As I am transporting him, I remember the captain telling me, ‘Don’t say anything to him. If he tries to talk to you, don’t talk to him,’ so he got him in the back seat and once he was back there, I would glance at him through my rear view mirror and he would glance up and see me looking at him and I didn’t say not one word to him and I don’t ever recall him every saying anything to me,” Alexander said.
Alexander said the department took the task of transporting Bundy “very seriously” and would have done whatever was necessary to protect the community from the killer, who was also later convicted of killing 12-year-old Kimberly Leach in Lake City, Florida.
“Had he tried to do anything out of the way while he was with me, anything, I promise you, it would not have ended well for him,” Alexander said.
Alexander was not on duty when Bundy snuck into the sorority house at Florida State University around 3 a.m. on Jan. 15, 1978 and viciously attacked four of the young women inside with some type of wooden club, according to ABC News. Two of the women, Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy, died from the attack.
Just blocks away, Bundy also broke into student Cheryl Thomas’ home and viciously beat the dance major. The woman who lived on the other side of the duplex heard loud pounding and Thomas’ whimpering and called the police, likely saving Thomas’ life.
“If I did not have my neighbors right next door to hear something. ... I don't think I would have survived. It was that close,” Thomas told ABC News.
Bundy went on the bloody rampage after escaping from the Garfield County jail in Colorado, where he was awaiting trial for murder, and making his way to Florida.
Alexander was off-duty the day of the attacks but remembers talking with a fellow deputy on patrol that afternoon after running into him on the street.
“We pulled over and chatted,” Alexander told Oxygen.com. “I said, ‘Where you headed to?’ and he said, ‘We got a report of someone running around Florida State campus with a club.’”
Alexander said he “didn’t think much of it” until he learned the gruesome details of the crimes at roll call the next day.
Bundy fled the area—later abducting and killing 12-year-old Leach from her middle school in Lake City on Feb. 9, 1978.
Several days later, he was arrested in Pensacola after police officer David Lee spotted him driving a stolen vehicle without his headlights on. Bundy initially gave Pensacola Police a fake name.
Bundy eventually agreed to reveal his identity after being allowed to telephone his long-standing love Elizabeth Kendall and was sent back to Leon County, where he’d cross paths with Alexander.
Alexander went on to have a 40-year career in law enforcement, serving as the chief of police for DeKalb County in Georgia and chief of the Rochester Police Department in New York. He also got his doctorate degree in clinical psychology and worked as a practicing psychologist.
Earlier this year, Alexander—who was once a CNN law enforcement analyst—released the book “In Defense of Public Service: How 22 Million Government Workers Will Save our Republic.”
But despite his distinguished career, Alexander says decades later he still remembers his “eerie” encounters with one of the nation’s most infamous serial killers.
“I think a lot of it was because at that time he was certainly public enemy number one and also I was a young deputy and when you have that kind of experience, it is one that never leaves you throughout the course of your career,” he said.
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