Police Close Decades-Old Case on Victim of a Serial Killer

By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2019 6:16 PM CDT
Colorado Police Close Case on a Serial Killer's Victim
Ted Bundy listens in court during jury selection in his murder trial in Miami in 1979.   (AP Photo/File)

Denise Oliverson had been missing for more than 40 years when police in Grand Junction, Colorado, decided to take another look at her case earlier this year. They knew of reports that serial killer Ted Bundy had confessed to her slaying just before he was executed in Florida in 1989. The detectives studied tapes of Bundy's confessions, the reports, the Coloradoan reports, and talked to investigators who interviewed him on death row. Gas receipts had shown Bundy to be in Grand Junction on April 6, 1975, when Oliverson vanished. In May, police reclassified the case from a missing person to a homicide. And they closed the case.

"At the initial time we started the investigation, we didn't believe that she was anything other than a missing person," a detective said. Oliverson, 24, got on her bicycle that day and rode away from her home. She apparently made it one block. The next day, her sandals and bike were found under a railroad bridge near her home, two blocks from the police station, per the Denver Post. Oliverson's remains weren't found; Bundy reportedly confessed to throwing her body into the Colorado River. A high school friend of Oliverson's said she remembers being told she was missing. "I was just in shock," Linda Pantuso said. "She was just a really great person." (Read more Ted Bundy stories.)

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