MIAMI — A vial of Ted Bundy's blood has been found in Florida, and investigators will use the newly discovered evidence to try to solve cases that went cold decades ago.
Before he was executed in 1989, Bundy confessed to more than 30 murders and was suspected of many more. A complete DNA profile couldn't be developed for the serial killer until the blood was found. The full profile will be uploaded to the FBI's national database Friday, giving authorities key evidence to possibly link Bundy to long-unsolved crimes.
The vial was discovered after Florida authorities received a call from a detective working a cold case in Tacoma, Wash. The blood had been taken in 1978 when Bundy was arrested in the death of a 12-year-old Florida girl, the News Tribune in Tacoma reported.
Despite an order to destroy much of the biological evidence in the Florida case, the vial was still on file, said David Coffman, chief of forensic services at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Tallahassee crime lab.
"We were really surprised," he said.
Coffman cautioned that it will be a challenge to find full DNA samples from so long ago, making a match unlikely. But if there is a match, authorities will know right away.
The Tacoma detective was investigating the 1961 disappearance of Ann Marie Burr, a 6-year-old who vanished from her home in the middle of the night. Bundy is among several possible suspects.
The detective said the department had letters Bundy had sent that might contain his DNA on the stamps or envelope and could be used to develop a forensic profile, and possibly discover if he was linked to the Burr case.
Coffman said the agency said it had some items to examine, too. There was a display case with evidence from Bundy's trial in their lab. Among the items: dental molds of Bundy's teeth and the wax impressions that had been used to make them.
"After hanging up with her, I went back to our display and looked at it," Coffman recalled. "I said, 'There's got to be something. DNA's gotten so sensitive now.' "
He decided to try the molds for traces of saliva, but there were a number of fingerprints on them, so it wasn't a great sample. About the same time, the Florida agency discovered the Columbia County clerk's office had an original blood sample taken from Bundy. It resulted in a complete forensic profile, with all 13 core markers used in tests against the DNA database.
A bulletin will be sent to law enforcement agencies across the country when the DNA is uploaded. Tacoma police are among those waiting. Detectives there are sending evidence to the state crime lab to see if there is still DNA on it 50 years later.
Bundy sexually assaulted and killed several young women in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Florida between 1974 and 1978. He was sentenced to death in 1979 for the murder of two Florida State University students and later for the rape and murder of the 12-year-old girl in Columbia County.