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Search Begins in Utah for Remains of Bundy Victim

January 27, 1989 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Searchers used metal detectors Friday to scour snow-covered sagebrush for the remains of a 15-year-old girl whose grave Ted Bundy pinpointed 45 minutes before he died in the electric chair.

The search for Sue Curtis, who vanished in 1975 from the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, was focused on three dirt roads about 10 miles southeast of the city of Price, said Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jerry Cowan.

Searchers used metal detectors because the victim wore braces and in case she was wearing jewelry.

The detectors picked up faint signals, said Joe Ward, a member of the search team, but the frozen ground covered with 10 inches of snow was too hard to dig.

″The search will continue until the remains are found, but until the snow melts it is doubtful we will have any success,″ said Sheriff Barry Bryner.

Ward also said he had remembered hunting in the area years ago - possibly around the time of Curtis’ disappearance - and finding a bloody pair of women’s underwear. He said he didn’t think much of it at the time, but recalled it Friday and led searchers to a spot about a quarter-mile from a dirt road.

In the days before his execution Tuesday for the murder of a 12-year-old Florida girl, Bundy confessed to at least 23 murders in Utah, Idaho, Washington and Colorado.

The FBI said Friday that law-enforcement agents are being invited to a meeting in Quantico, Va., in of clearing up murders Bundy is believe to have committed.

″It’s easier to answer if everybody is in one place so we can discuss the peculiarities in each case,″ said Terry Green, an FBI major case specialist.

Using a page torn from an atlas, Bundy directed investigators to look for Curtis’ grave between Price and Green River. ″About 200 yards in on the dirt road ... and to the left, maybe 50 yards, there’s the remains of a young woman who disappeared from Brigham Young University in June of 1975,″ he said.

In his tape-recorded, eleventh-hour confession, Bundy also said he dumped another body into the Colorado River, identifying the victim as Denise Oliverson, 24, who was last seen riding her bicycle in April 1975 near her home in Grand Junction, Colo.

Sgt. Greg Kuhn of the Grand Junction Police Department said that officials will listen to the tape and talk to the investigator who interviewed Bundy. Police probably will decide Monday whether to search for the body, he said.

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In Idaho, authorities said they do not have enough information to search for bodies in two killings Bundy said he committed.

Russ Reneau, the Idaho investigator who interviewed Bundy over the weekend in Florida, said Bundy confessed to killing Lynette Culver, 12, and throwing her body into a river but could not provide an exact location.

Reneau said Bundy also confessed that in 1974 he picked up a young woman at a freeway exit near Boise, killed her and threw the body into a river. The victim’s identity is unknown.

Meanwhile, authorities in Wayne County, Utah, planned to scout a site 10 miles east of Capital Reef National Park, where Bundy claimed to have buried the body of Nancy Wilcox, 17, of Holladay, who disappeared Oct. 2, 1974.

A rancher told authorities that in 1974, he saw a man in a suit standing along the road near the area Bundy detailed, and when he drove by the man turned his back.

The sheriff, the rancher and a few deputies were to check the site and decide whether to mount a full-scale search, said Chief Deputy Leeon Brinkerhoff.

Bundy also said he buried the body of Debi Kent, who vanished in 1974 from a Bountiful, Utah, high school parking lot, between Fairview and Mayfield. Bountiful Police Chief Larry Higgins said his officers would visit the area Saturday.

During an interview with a Utah detective last weekend, Bundy mentioned eight killings in Utah, but authorities have been able to link him to only five in the mid-1970s, when he was a University of Utah law student.

The Curtis girl had left a Mormon youth conference at the church-owned school to walk to her dormitory room June 28, 1975, and never was seen again.

″There were absolutely no leads as to where she was at,″ University Police Chief Robert Kelshaw said Friday.

In the hour before his death, Bundy apparently requested a tape recorder and a map from the Florida State Prison warden as he waited in the ″ready cell″ 30 feet from the electric chair and described the Curtis slaying.

″That’s a typical pattern of Bundy - unpredictable,″ said Salt Lake County Sheriff Pete Hayward. ″Something struck a note in him, I guess.″

Cowan said the girl’s parents live in Wellington, four miles from the search area, and were ″just as upset as when it first happened.″