The Survivors is a four-hour documentary airing in two parts on REELZ. Episode 1, “Eyes of Evil” airs Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 8 p.m. Eastern time and Pacific time. Episode 2, “Ending Evil,” airs Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 8 p.m. Eastern time and Pacific.
At Least 7 Women Escaped Ted Bundy & Survived. One Was Rhonda Stapley
Rhonda Stapley was one of seven women to survive serial killer Ted Bundy, according to REELZ. She was a student at the University of Utah in 1974, and encountered Bundy and his Volkswagon Beetle right after she missed her bus, she says in a trailer of the documentary. Read more about her and her life today here.
“Just as it passed me, it stopped and he put it in reverse and backed up,” Stapley recalled. “He rolled down the passenger window and he says, ‘Hey where are you going?'”
She told him she was going up to the university. He said he was too, and offered her a ride.
“This didn’t feel like hitchhiking, what I did. This felt like a friendly college student helping another college student, and that seemed normal and not out of place,” she said.
But then, he turned in a different direction from the typical route to the university.
“He turned a way that wasn’t the normal route to the university. You could get there that way, but it wasn’t the normal route and I questioned him about that,” Stapley said on the documentary. “I said, ‘Where are we going?’And that was when the ride started to become strange. He just had both hands firmly on the steering wheel and was just driving. He turns in his seat so he’s almost facing me in the car, and leans in really close, and then, very, very quietly, he says, ‘I’m going to kill you.'”
Later in Stapley’s harrowing escape, she ran away from Bundy and fell into a stream.
“As soon as I jumped up and started to run, I fell into a fast-moving mountain stream, which is probably what saved my life,” she says on the documentary.
“The real heroes are the victims,” she continued.
Bundy confessed to killing 30 women between 1974 and 1978, although investigators believe there were more victims. He faced the death penalty, and was executed in 1989 by electric chair. The REELZ documentary is one of the first to focus on Bundy’s survivors. Stapley told her story on the four-hour documentary, along with other women who survived him.
“He charmed, kidnapped, and killed more than thirty young and beautiful women,” the REELZ page on the documentary says. “His reign of terror inspired countless movies including American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and most recently Zac Efron’s Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile. But for all the women who were murdered there were a surprising number who somehow, through luck, cunning or sheer will power, survived. In this ground-breaking four-hour documentary we meet and relive the story of the women who can say, ‘I Survived Ted Bundy.'”