Tonight, ABC News’ 20/20 will delve into the life of Ted Bundy, known for being one of the most prolific serial killers in the world.
As they interview former prosecutors, attorneys, and detectives, they will also speak to some of Bundy’s surviving victims, including Karen Chandler. What do we know about Karen Chandler? What is her story, and how did she narrowly escape death at the hands of Bundy?
Here’s what you should know.
On January 15, 1978, Chandler was asleep in her sorority house at Florida State University. Around 3 am, Bundy opened Chandler’s door and entered the room. By that time, he had already taken the lives of two other women in the sorority house: Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy.
Bundy attacked Chandler while simultaneously hitting her roommate, Kathy Kleiner. Rolling Stone writes, “The room was so small that Bundy was basically able to hit Kleiner with one side of the club, spin around, and hit Chandler with the other side.”
Then, as he was attacking the two roommates, a sorority sister was dropped off at the house by her boyfriend. The boyfriend’s car headlights exploded into the girls’ second-floor bedroom, leading Bundy to race downstairs. Kleiner tells Rolling Stone, “I guess he thought he was seen.”
According to a 1989 Associated Press article, Chandler was 22 at the tine, and a senior. She was the first to be found after the Chi Omega attack. The outlet writes, “She staggered down the hall, her jaw broken and four teeth knocked out. She also suffered a broken right arm and a crushed index finger.”
The sorority sister who had been dropped off by her boyfriend was telling another sister what she saw when they found Chandler “stumbling” out of her room.
Bundy was caught on February 15, one month after the Chi Omega attack. It was later discovered that just after leaving the sorority house, he broke into an apartment complex eight blocks away and attached a student named Cheryl Thomas. He dislocated her shoulder, and fractured her jaw and skull in five places.
In 1989, according to Rolling Stone, Chandler’s father told the AP that their family never discusses Bundy.
As of 1989, Chandler lived in Atlanta with her husband and their daughter. She told the outlet, “I don’t think it will be over for any of us until it is resolved one way or another.”
In June 1979, Bundy stood trial for the Chi Omega homicides and assaults. According to “The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy”, the trial was covered by 250 reporters from five continents. On July 24, 1979, the jury convicted Bundy of the Bowman and Levy murders, three counts of attempted first-degree murder (for Kleiner, Chandler, and Thomas’ attacks), and two counts of burglary. He received a death sentence from trial judge Edward Cowart for the deaths.