As we all know, Ted Bundy was a very enigmatic serial killer who radiated a lot of personality and charm. We well know his body count was into the 30s-though he admitted to only 26 or 27.
But, as I’ve said before, there’s plenty of evidence, in my opinion, that he started killing way before then. I said previously that I thought Bundy was a good suspect (or perhaps THE ideal suspect for the Santa Rosa hitchhiker killings)…because the killing spree matches his motives, his weapons, thrown with incredible strength into embankments, no clothing, and raped, or even strangled.
Some of the most intriguing evidence, however, tied me once again, back to the convoluted mess of the Zodiac case. Some, like George Hodel, actually seem like potential suspects, only to fall apart when you examine it closer (though I do believe he committed the murders of Short and the other women, Hodel exaggerated a little bit on the part of his dad being Zodiac: his father was too old to commit those crimes.) Kane seems probable but with brain damage, how much harm could he actually commit?
Allen doesn’t seem likely, and in the end, my eyes are always on Bruce Davis or Kane because both seem the most likely. I always suspected Manson and Zodiac were connected, anyway, the kooky beliefs Zodiac held seemed to tie in with Manson, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Manson had ordered more crimes beforehand.
But the case I want to examine is an odd one that doesn’t really fit in well with all the other Zodiac cases: that is of a nurse named Donna Ann Lass, who was working in Lake Tahoe in 1970.
Notably, her case doesn’t share much in common with Zodiac, except for a Christmas card sent to the detectives by “Zodiac”.
Now, Zodiac targeted only lone couples, not single women.
He did not make his victims disappear, he left them for dead. In that case, he’s more like a mass shooter than an actual serial killer, because most serial killers hide the bodies.
Zodiac’s crimes were just impulsive and randomly chosen.
Lass’s disappearance, however, speaks of the work of an intelligent, charming individual. One, who perhaps, assumed that he could get away with the murder of one of his very first victim (potentially his third, after those poor, sweet girls back in New Jersey a year previously.)
I’m talking about Ted Bundy here as a potential suspect in Donna Ann Lass’s disappearance. Now, before you go springing the “but he wasn’t in California” crap, I’ll tell you that yes, he was familiar with Cali, attended Stanford (I’m 99.9% certain he killed Arlis Perry), and admitted to killing at least one woman in California.
Now Bundy admitted to forgetting names and by this time, maybe he’d forgotten her name. However, there was another Donna among his victims, one by the name of Donna Gail Manson. She was not related to Charles Manson.
Donna was a pretty 25-year old nurse, born on November 3rd, 1944, coincidentally in the same month as her purported killer. At 5’4, she was a pretty blond with blue eyes and a very pretty woman. She would have presumably attracted a lot of male admirers.
One of these was purportedly Lawrence Kane, who worked with her and knew her well. He is also considered a suspect in her murder, though for this case, we will presume he is not involved and look at Ted as a potential suspect instead.
On September 6th, 1970, Lass was working in the Sahara Hotel Casino as an RN in the First Aid Station, for the last day of her life-though she couldn’t have possibly known that. Her final entry was at 1:50 AM.
Morning came and her coworkers noticed that her car was found parked near her apartment in Nevada, and she was not seen leaving the casino, leaving them puzzled.
Her concerned boss received a phone call from an unidentified male, stating that Donna would not be appearing at work, for a “family emergency” had arisen. After investigating, the boss found that no such thing existed. Perhaps the male voice had a slight “British accent” to it, although the idea of the suspect using a phone like this was a bit out of character for him, though perhaps he was bold and cocky early on.
Lass was never seen alive again, and despite police efforts, was never located. To this day, she is listed as a missing person.
Now here is where things get interesting.
You see, Ted Bundy had been stopped in Lake Tahoe, about a week previously, for a “bad license plate” and received a ticket. Normally, Bundy stayed for a week at least in certain areas, prowling about for victims.
It is only natural to assume that Bundy would’ve looked around for any women he could potentially ensnare, and it is around this time that he was still embittered and angry over his first girlfriend leaving him.
Although I am not quite sure of the circumstances, I can easily envision, in my mind, an image of the killer lurking outside the doors of the Sahara, waiting. Here is my take on the mind of serial killer Ted Bundy:
“He lurked outside, watching her through the windows. She was beautiful, and she would be his by the time the night was over. He watched her get up, and he hid, making sure he could not be seen. Night time was his preferred time, after all. He checked his watch, watching for her to leave. He saw her get up and go to walk out. Now was the time to act! Getting up, his arm in a sling, he moved toward the door and tried to get in, as she walked out, falling purposefully on the ground.
“Are you all right?” She exclaimed, concerned.
“I’m fine, just not used to this damned cast.” He said gruffly, getting back up. “You’re beautiful, Miss…?”
She laughed, before stating her name, and he gave his as simply, “Ted,” before offering to accompany her to her car, since it was “dangerous for women like herself to be out so late.” Laughing, she accepted and Ted accompanied Donna outside, before he immediately grabbed an unknown weapon, but presumably a tree branch or a heavy object, and whacked her over the head with it, knocking her unconscious and he dragged her into his car and drove away, leaving everyone completely bewildered.
No doubt, she awoke later and begged to know what was happening, but he silenced her with more blows to the head, and later bound her with handcuffs before raping and strangling her.
No doubt, Ted Bundy placed that call, smugly knowing they wouldn’t buy it. But they’d never find her, he thought smugly as he cut the corpse into pieces and buried her 10-15 feet deep, before placing rocks on over the grave. He’d chosen the woods like usual. They would never find her. He took her head as a trophy, before eventually discarding of it.
One of his first triumphant kills that hadn’t been found, his ego only grew.
A year later, perhaps, he’d strike again, killing a Washington University Student by stabbing her to death, and attacking another woman in Burlington, his birthplace, in July of that year, bludgeoning, strangling and finally raping her.
Two years later, he’d attempt more kidnappings and perhaps, commit the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders, before lying low for a bit and then striking in Oregon in 1973, and then again in 1974, as his name became well-known.
The only inconsistency is in the phone call, as Bundy never did that before. But perhaps he was drunk, as he often was when committing a murder, and just bragged into the receiver, knowing they’d never track him. He’d be out of Lake Tahoe by the time they found anything.
He secretly wondered if they’d compare him to the Zodiac. He was so much better than that one. He’d make sure his kills were never found.
Yes, he would truly make his name known.
If it were not for Carol DaRonch, Ted would have never been caught.
This is a theoretical post. There is very little evidence physically to link her to Bundy, however he fits the circumstances-and only Bundy could make women disappear and never be found again.
All of Zodiac’s victims were found. Lass has not, and neither have other Bundy victims, if she truly is one of his victims. But then again, she was young, vulnerable and pretty-his key targets.
We may never know, but I pray that her remains are found one day and that the sick fuck who took her life that day 48 years ago, Ted or not Ted, is caught and put in jail where he belongs.