- Rhonda Stapley was waiting for a bus in Salt Lake City in October 1974
- A boy she thought was ‘cute’ then pulled over and offered her a lift
- The then 21-year-old University of Utah pharmacy happily climbed in
- She became nervous when he pulled over and shut off the engine
- He leaned closer, threatened her and put his hands around her throat
- She regained consciousness, fell in a nearby stream and floated to safety
- Kept the story secret until a work confrontation in 2012 triggered her PTSD
- Has now revealed how the attack changed her life in a book
- She explained her story to the FBI, who says her account of events and timeline match that of Bundy’s other crimes
A 62-year-old mother claims she managed to escape serial killer Ted Bundy after he used his charm and persuaded her to get in his car.
Rhonda Stapley was waiting at a bus stop in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 11, 1974 when a stranger she thought was ‘cute’ allegedly pulled over and offered her a ride in his Volkswagen Beetle.
The then 21-year-old University of Utah pharmacy student thought he had a ‘friendly and inviting smile’ with ‘boy next door’ looks so she climbed in.
But, according to Stapley, she suddenly became nervous when the kind-looking man – who dressed like a law student – pulled over, shut off the engine, and leaned close to her.
- She said was waiting at a bus stop in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 11, 1974 when a boy she thought was ‘cute’ pulled over and offered her a ride in his Volkswagen Beetle. The then 21-year-old University of Utah pharmacy student thought he had ‘boy next door’ looks
She was afraid he would try and kiss her, but the monster actually said: ‘Do you know what? I am going to kill you now.’
Bundy, who was executed by electric chair in 1989 for admitting to slaying at least 28 women, raped her and left her for dead outside the car.
After the attack she regained consciousness, waking up to find her pants around her ankles.
She recounted the alleged ordeal, and how she says it changed her life in her book: I Survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape & PTSD that changed my life.
Stapley reveals how she was so ashamed of herself, she wouldn’t tell anyone, not even her family.
The mother even kept the memories from her children and her husband until 2011, when a confrontation at work triggered flashbacks.
In an interview with People, she said: ‘He was the boy next door. He didn’t have fangs and he didn’t have black circles under his eyes. He was normal. He fit in with the community.
‘The crime doesn’t end when the attack ends,’ she continued. ‘I would like people who have experienced trauma, even if it’s different from mine, to find the courage to talk and begin their own healing.’
In a new extract also published in People, she wrote: ‘Ted looked like a typical university student. He had slightly curly dark brown hair, a nice complexion, and his smile was friendly and inviting.
‘He was polite, he didn’t talk much, but when he did, his voice was confident, his conversation articulate.
‘He turned off the engine, and we sat alone, isolated in his Volkswagen… I didn’t want to kiss him, but I didn’t know how to get out of the situation without embarrassing myself by making a fuss.
‘His face was inches from mine when he finally spoke. Very quietly he said: “Do you know what? I am going to kill.’
His hands, she says, then started squeezing her throat.
‘I was surprised to be alive,’ she continued. ‘My adrenaline pumping, I turned away from the light – away from the Volkswagen and my attacker.
‘I could not see a thing in front of me but fear propelled me forward into the night.’
TED BUNDY CONFESSED TO RAPING AND KILLING AT LEAST 28 WOMEN, BUT BRAGGED ABOUT SLAYING MORE THAN 100
Ted Bundy was executed in 1989 for his spate of horrific crimes in the 1970s. But some say his killing spree may have started even earlier
Before he was executed in 1989, Ted Bundy confessed to raping and killing at least 28 women.
He claimed, however, his victims numbered more than 100.
Past attorneys have said he confided in them and admitted he killed many more.
He was known as a charming man, who earned the trust of his victims before luring them to a secluded place to murder them.
He would also enter the rooms of sleeping college students and bludgeon them to death.
Traveling across state lines, he was known to prefer female victims with long, dark hair, parted down the middle.
At the height of his murder spree, female college students disappeared at a rate of one per month.
Since he killed before DNA analysis was readily available, it was difficult to match the murderer with his victims.
His thirst for blood as well as his ability to fool officials resulted in two escapes from official custody.
He has been implicated in murder sprees in California, Seattle and some say he may have even been the Zodiac killer.
Stapley then took a few steps and fell into a mountain stream that carried her away from the scene.
Three more girls went missing in the area, but Stapley still kept her story secret.
‘I felt with all my heart that it was my fault,’ she went on. ‘I believed that if I had come forward, the bad guy would have been warned.
‘I did not have the courage to speak up.’
It wasn’t until 2011 that she was finally able to tell the story after he family persuaded her to go to therapy.
‘As I gathered up the painful memories and prepared to release them, they became so vivid that it was the as if the specter of Ted Bundy was in that room. I tasted blood. I smelled his sweat.
‘I needed to remember that I had value. I am smart and strong and capable. And I survived.’
Ted Bundy’s body is taken away by the coroner following his execution by electric chair in Florida in 1989