This week’s “let’s talk about it” case is the abduction of eight-year-old Ann Marie Burr from her home in Tacoma, Washington on August 31, 1961.
WHAT happened is clear enough. This is an “every parent’s nightmare” scenario: a child taken from her own home in the middle of the night, never to be seen or heard from again. The mystery here is WHO DID IT. Because there are a lot of people who believe, with very good reason, that little Ann Marie was a then-teenage Ted Bundy’s first victim.
Ted knew Ann and her family and lived just blocks from their home. He was only fourteen years old at the time of her abduction, but it’s not unheard of for a serial killer to begin at that age, and Ted was extraordinary even by serial killer standards. Independent evidence — the size of the footprint outside the Burr family’s living room window — suggests whoever took Ann was young.
Ann Rule herself, Bundy’s biographer and onetime friend, believed Ted was involved. In her book — if I recall correctly, I read it several years ago and no longer have a copy — she said someone had contacted her once claiming they had been a high school classmate of Ted’s and at one point Ted invited to take this person “to see a body.”
The whole “did he or didn’t he?” question has occupied the minds of Bundy hobbyists since his serial murder career exploded onto the national news in the 1970s and 1980s. I don’t really have a strong opinion on the subject and I don’t pretend to be an expert on Bundy.
Rebecca Morris published a book about it, Ted and Ann, in 2013. I read it and thought it was excellent, and it’s got 4 of 5 stars on Amazon with 251 reviews. I highly recommend the book; if you’ve got a Kindle it costs just $4.99.
So do you guys think Ted Bundy took Ann, or do you believe it was someone else entirely? Let’s talk about it.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Ann Marie Burr, missing from Tacoma, Washington since August 31, 1961, when she was eight years old. She was apparently abducted in the night, either lured out of or just plain taken from her house. Whatever happened, happened without waking Ann’s younger sister who shared a room with her.
Ann’s case is quite famous because of its possible connection with Ted Bundy. He lived in the area and knew her, and in spite of his youth (he was only fourteen when she disappeared) many Bundy scholars believe she was his first victim. The “did he or didn’t he?” is a pretty big topic for debate among Bundy hobbyists.
I think it’s unlikely we’ll ever know what happened. But in the unlikely event that she is still alive, Ann Marie would be 62 today.
On request, the new missing person of the week is Rita Lorraine Jolly, who disappeared from Oregon at the age of 17, back in 1973.
She’s considered a possible victim of Ted Bundy, but I don’t believe he ever confessed to her murder, and it’s possible that something else happened to her. After all, everybody thought he killed Katherine Merry Devine in spite of his repeated denials, and then it turned out Ted was innocent and DNA proved another man had murdered her. Rita’s case is apparently still open, as it’s listed as an unsolved homicide with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
(And if you’re wondering how I was able to do a missing person of the week without having my own computer and Charley Project files with me, an explanation: it is not physically impossible to update Charley without having my files on whatever computer I’m using, it’s just extremely cumbersome. I would have to download and install my photo editing software, go to my host’s file manager, download whichever files I’m working on, edit them, and re-post them and the updates page onto the file manager one at a time. Then, once I got my computer back I would have to make sure to get all the updated files to put on it. It all would take a lot longer for me to do and I’d rather just not bother with it. But as this particular MP of the week was requested weeks ago, I decided to make an exception and make the effort to post it.)
Some time ago I mentioned a book coming out called Ted and Ann, about Ted Bundy and his possible connection to the unsolved 1961 disappearance of Ann Marie Burr. A lot of people in a position to know what they’re talking about believe Ann was Ted’s first victim. He was only fourteen years old when she was taken.
Well, I finally read the book in Kindle edition. (I don’t own a Kindle but I have Kindle for PC. I don’t use it much, but this book was a bargain in Kindle edition, at seven bucks compared to twelve for the paperback.)
I must say I am very impressed with it. The author interviewed so many different people and included information about the case, and about Bundy, that I’d never seen before. I knew he had weird things going on in him and in his family when he was a kid but I had no idea it was THAT weird. And I feel so sorry for Ann’s family. Her younger sister, who shared a room with her, started showing signs of emotional problems when she was about twelve and she developed schizophrenia later on in life. That’s a biologically based illness, but you have to wonder about the trauma of what happened to her family when she was just three years old, and how much that contributed to her sorry mental state.
Ted was executed in the 1980s. Ann Marie Burr’s parents both died several years ago. Most of the original investigators in the case are also deceased. It’s been fifty years since Ann vanished from her bedroom. She’s probably buried close by her home but I doubt they’ll ever find her.
I just found out that coming out sometime this fall, is a book called Ted and Ann by Rebecca Morris. It’s about the 1961 disappearance of Ann Marie Burr and also about Ted Bundy and what, if any, role he played in Ann’s apparent kidnapping. The book’s website has an excerpt and also pictures — finally, a decent quality photo of Ann Marie!
[UPDATE: Holy cow, another good photo!]
I don’t see a precise date of release. The book is self-published, so I don’t know if it’ll be available through Amazon, but it looks like you will be able to buy it off the website anyway.