It’s hard to imagine there was once a time when women trusted serial killer Ted Bundy to take care of their children—but that’s exactly what happened in the summer of 1975. In June of that year, while attending the University of Utah School of Law, Bundy started dating Leslie Knutson, a pretty, young divorcée with a 7-year-old son, Josh. For a short time that summer, Bundy even lived at Knutson’s home at 1460 Redondo Avenue in Salt Lake City and was around Josh regularly.
Josh was friends with another young boy, Larry Bardole, who lived down the street. Bundy would sometimes take the two boys places. In turn, Francine Bardole, Larry’s mother, would agree to watch Josh on occasion, so that Bundy and Knutson could have time alone.
In the excerpt below, which is based on interviews with Francine and Larry Bardone on their interactions with Bundy, Kevin Sullivan, author of Ted Bundy’s Murderous Mysteries: The Many Victims of America’s Most Infamous Serial Killer, submerges readers into the infamous killer’s dark and secretive world.
On at least two occasions, Bundy took [Larry and Josh] to the Redwood Drive-In, located at 3688 Redwood Road, and Larry freely admits it was fun, having gone with him. He also remembered the time when Ted told the boys to wait in the car, while he headed in the direction of the concession stand and restrooms. All of that seemed quite normal to them, of course. However, when he failed to return in what the boys believed was a reasonable amount of time, they went looking for him.
Oddly, they found him standing close to the women’s restroom, and he was watching the women who, one after another, were entering or exiting the restroom. This, of course, brings [victim] Denise Naslund to mind, and how Bundy stopped her as she was leaving the restroom at Lake Sammamish and he convinced her to go with him.
What would Bundy have been thinking about at that moment? Killing one of them, perhaps, regretful that he had two kids with him. Bundy was not in control as to when that genie of murder began to rise, and what the boys saw that evening was most likely the beginning of that rising. The longer he stood at the restroom entrance watching his “prey” coming and going, the more forceful the desire and inclination became. However, the arrival of the boys brought any chance for him to act out on his murderous salivating to an abrupt end. One thing we don’t know is, did Bundy take the boys home and then go back out into the night seeking a victim?
…One of the things Leslie also mentioned to authorities is how Ted would take Josh and his friends to the pool, and while I had no knowledge as to what pool they frequented, Larry Bardole explained the pool was (and perhaps is) located within the grounds of old Fort Douglas. As such, it may well have been a private pool, and Larry believes one needed a special pass to get into it. If this is the case, Larry believed, Bundy’s U of Utah student ID was probably all that was needed to gain entrance. And, as can be expected whenever Bundy was involved in something, it had its negative aspect as well.
One day after returning from swimming, Larry told his mother that he didn’t want to go back to the pool with Ted. When she inquired as to why he would say this, Larry said Bundy liked playing a game called “shark” and that he didn’t like it at all. Not only would Ted swim around the pool and pull them under (keep in mind, these were very young kids of eight or ten), but he would also “bite” them.
Whatever emotion Bundy meant to elicit with the pulling of the kids under the water, and the mimicking of a shark bite, it’s clear that he found it funny to frighten them; much like he had done with his girlfriend (and other women, as well) when he’d suddenly jump out from behind a bush and startle them. Whatever Bundy’s true motivations might have been in playing “shark,” Larry didn’t like it at all.
Larry also related the story of a time when Josh asked Larry to come to his house one morning, and when he arrived, a very tired Bundy answered the door to let him in. With that, Bundy retreated back into the bedroom and shut the door.
For the rest of the day, Bundy stayed in the room, and Larry noticed a food tray outside the bedroom door where Leslie had obviously brought him something to eat, and once he was finished, he simply placed the tray outside the door. Apparently, Bundy had been out all night, and then spent that day catching up on some much-needed sleep. This, of course, was nothing unusual, as Bundy the killer was a very nocturnal hunter of women. Sleeping during the day was very routine for him, and it was something that had been noticed by many others, including his girlfriend Liz.
Except from “Ted Bundy’s Murderous Mysteries” reprinted with permission from WildBlue Press.