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Cross and W Streets
Today Looking South
Shortly after 1 a.m on February 15, 1978, Pensacola, Florida police
officer David Lee spotted a suspicious looking car parked in the
dark alley behind Oscars Restaurant, located on West Cervantes
Street. Lee patrolled this area enough that he knew the cars driven
by Oscar's employees and this was not one he recognized. Lee radioed
the dispatcher with the license plate number of the suspicious vehicle
to learn that the vehicle was reported stolen. The car left the
alley and headed west on Cervantes Street. Lee turned around and
followed the car as it turned north on W Street. As the car approached
Cross Street, Lee turned on his flashing lights and pulled the man
Lee ordered the man out of the Volkswagen and had him lie on the
ground while he searched the vehicle. Much to Lee's surprise, the
man began to struggle with him. He broke away and tried to flee
on foot. Lee raised his pistol and fired; the man fell. Again, as
Lee approached him, he began to fight, but this time Lee succeeded
in getting handcuffs on him. He had not been wounded. As he sat
in Lee's car, he stated that he wished the officer had killed him!
The driver's license was that of Kenneth Misner. Mister Misner was
taken to jail.
Officer Lee then returned to his duties. He didn't consider the
incident with Kenneth Misner to be terribly unusual. Nobody actually
wanted to go to jail for stealing an automobile and some would fight
to avoid it. When his shift ended, Lee went home, considering the
night to have been fairly routine. It would not be until the next
day that he would learn the full truth about the man he'd arrested.
The driver's license used by Mister Misner had been stolen. In
reality, the man in the stolen orange Volkswagen was the infamous
serial killer, Ted Bundy, who had only a month before brutally attacked
four female college students at Florida State University's Chi Omega
Sorority House in Tallahassee, killing two! Additionally, he had
viciously attacked another young lady who lived about 8 blocks from
the Chi Omega Sorority House.
Ted Bundy was bornTheodore Robert Cowell at the Elizabeth Lund
Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont on November 24, 1946.
His mother was Eleanor Louise Cowell. Shortly after his birth, Louise
returned to her parents home in Philadelphia to raise her
son. Ted was led to believe that his grandparents, Samuel and Eleanor
Cowell, were his real parents and his mother was his older sister.
This was done to avoid the stigma associated with unwed mothers
at that time. He would not learn the truth for many years. In time,
young Ted greatly admired his grandfather, who was described by
family members as a violent, wife-beating bully who hated Blacks,
Italians, Jews and Catholics. Some family members even suspected
that Samuel Cowell was Ted's real father.
In 1950, Louise changed her last name to Nelson and dropped her
first name, Eleanor. With the encouragement of family members, she
and Ted moved to Tacoma, Washington to live with her cousins, Alan
and Jane Scott. While attending a singles night at Tacomas
First Methodist Church in 1951, Louise met Johnny Culpepper Bundy,
a cook for a local hospital. The two were married later in the year.
Bundy adopted young Ted, changing his last name.