Marcel Elfers is a Trial Run Master Profiler™ through handwriting and statement analysis providing forgery and deception detection as well as character trait analysis.
Ted Bundy (Nov 24, 1946 – Jan 24, 1989) was one of the most prolific serial killers. He was convicted and sentenced to death. Just prior to his execution he confessed to 30+ homicides. After his execution, two agonizing questions remain:
1. Were there more victims?
2. Did he take his first victim in 1974 like he admitted or was it earlier than that?
It has been speculated that 8 year old Ann Marie Burr, who went missing in 1961, was his victim and Ted Bundy was only 14 years old.
Rebecca Morris , a Seattle based author, has written a book “Ted and Ann. The Mystery of a Missing Girl and Her Neighbor Ted Bundy.” Now available at book stores and Dog Ear Publishing.
Rebecca spent countless hours with Beverly Burr who is Ann Marie’s mother. Rebecca and I met to discuss and evaluate a letter that Ted Bundy wrote to Beverly Burr. Ted Bundy denied involvement in his letter dated 1986. Handwriting and statement analysis shows he most likely knows far more than he led Beverly to believe.
In general, people who willfully mislead will not outright lie because it creates enormous stress and anxiety which is visible in behaviors (fidgeting, nose touching e.g.) or, in this case, “his writing behavior”.
Anxiety and stress change the quality of your penmanship. For instance, hesitation is a consequence of intrusive thoughts. This can be shown through slower writing and increased spacing. Tension is visible in reduced fluidity, increased pressure and reduced spacing. Emotionally sensitive issues can show in smaller and/or tighter writing whereas elation/excitement opens writing up. Such changes away from the baseline are emotionally sensitive issues to the writer. When placed within context deceptive tendencies can be spotted.
In the first paragraph we see the writing slow down in an emotionally sensitive word . Generally, Ted places his i dot close and to the right of the stem. He literally does not take time to move back far enough. That is consistent, except in the word “misled” which has it’s i dot much higher and to the left of the stem , implying a distracting and intrusive thought. This i dot is not slashed or curved as we see elsewhere. This suggests deception.
Ted's denial shows changes in his handwriting that are also consistent with deception. The sudden volatile baseline implies anxiety. He took more time to move to the left as the name “Ann” is to the left of the normal left margin, as well as the reduced fluidity in the name “Ann”. The word "with" is very slow and shows to be rounded and has a circular i dot. Note that "do" has an unusual short initial stroke (lost his drive) and increased ink deposits (muddiness) .
The word “nothing" has significant changes away from his baseline implying deception. The very small “i” in “nothing is only small because everywhere else it is bigger. See sample above to compare.
1. The tic mark (left green circle) is reversed from his normal tic mark (slowing down).
2. The t (red horizontals) does not come down to the baseline (lost his drive).
3. The t - h combination is disconnected whereas all his other writing is connected (hesitation).
4. The body of the h is higher than usual (red box – attempts to convince).
5. The "i" (blue box) is considerably smaller (reduction in ego).
6. Muddiness (green circle) in the body of the g (intrusive thoughts).
7. The g down stroke lost it’s fluidity (anxiety).
Ted Bundy’s letter shows many more signs of deception through his handwriting changes as well as his word selection. In this case it means only one thing: 8 year old Ann Marie was most likely his victim.
The crime also seems to fit Ted’s MO. Selecting younger and inexperienced victims, smaller in size than himself. Using lures and planning might very well have happened with Ann Marie. She knew him and she would have followed him had he asked.
Ted Bundy was a master at disguise. Luring was his MO early in his criminal career. Just like the words that are not legible out of context, you never knew what Ted was up to. Can’t read these words? That is my point!
Ted also knew that he was not normal at age 14. First, he felt the need to tell Beverly “he was normal” which implies he had to weigh whether he was normal or not before he wrote it. Secondly, the spacing before the word “normal” increased dramatically as he was thinking about how to describe himself. This slowing down implies deception. Note that the O in normal contains the “deception loop” not seen in the other O’s.
Ted Bundy admitted to committing his first homicide in 1974 at age 27.This letter strongly suggests it was 13 years earlier.Ann Marie’s body was never recovered and implies an ability to plan and stay calm enough to do what needs to be done in order to cover up his crime. That is worry some, as such qualities come with experience and even Ann Marie Burr might not have been his first victim.