1961 Disappearance—Did Ted Bundy Kidnap Little Ann Marie Burr?

Updated on January 10, 2017
kymp profile image

Kym L. Pasqualini is a freelance writer and founder of Nation's Missing Children Organization and National Center for Missing Adults.

Cold case: Ann Marie Burr was abducted from her bedroom in 1961.
Cold case: Ann Marie Burr was abducted from her bedroom in 1961. | Source

Ann Marie Burr: Serial Killer's First Victim?

In 1961, Ann Marie Burr was a beautiful eight-year-old girl with golden blonde hair, hazel eyes, and a smile that could light up a room. On August 31, 1961, Ann Marie vanished.

The Burr family had been living in a house near the 3000 block of North 14th Street in Tacoma, Washington, where Ann Marie shared her bedroom with her three-year-old sister Julie. Julie had recently injured her arm, so Ann Marie brought her to their parent’s room in the middle of the night to tell them the cast was bothering Julie's arm. Their parents told them to go back to their room. That was the last time anyone ever saw Ann Marie.

The following morning at approximately 5:30 a.m., Ann Marie’s mother went into the girls' room and found Ann Marie missing. There was no sign of a struggle. Although she had locked and chained the front door the night before, Ann Marie’s mother found the front door had been unlocked from the inside and left partly open. She also found the living room window open wide (a window the family left slightly ajar to accommodate a TV antennae wire) and the garden bench from the back yard moved in front of the open window.

Ann Marie’s parents had recalled the family dog barking that night but had dismissed any danger, thinking the heavy rainstorm had frightened the dog. Ann Marie’s two brothers slept in the basement but had not been awakened.

Ann Marie’s parents frantically searched their home, opening kitchen doors and looking under beds. They called police. When authorities arrived, they discovered a slight sneaker print outside the living room window, leading investigators to believe the kidnapper entered through the open window, abducted Ann Marie from her room, and left through the front door. Aside from the shoe print (which investigators believe was from a size 6 or 7 Keds sneaker), they also found a strand of red thread stuck in the window jamb. There was little evidence at the scene to go on.

The Burrs’ neighbors had reported seeing someone in their yard peeping into windows a couple days prior to Ann Marie’s disappearance. Ann Marie’s disappearance was classified a kidnapping from the outset but left police baffled. Investigators questioned known sex-offenders in the area but speculated she may have known her abductor. A month after her disappearance, on September 2, the Tacoma News Tribune reported intensive ongoing searches that included soldiers, police, and volunteers. Nearly 52 years later, Ann Marie remains missing.

Home where Ann Marie Burr vanished in 1961.
Home where Ann Marie Burr vanished in 1961.
No sign of struggle in Ann Marie Burr's bedroom.
No sign of struggle in Ann Marie Burr's bedroom.

Bundy: The Serial Killer Next Door

At age 14, notorious serial killer Ted Bundy lived only a few blocks away from Ann Marie. No one suspected the 14 year-old boy of anything then, and it would be another 14 years before the police would finally become suspicious of Bundy.

Around 1951, Bundy’s mother, Louise, had brought him with her to Tacoma to be closer to Bundy’s great-uncle Jack Cowell, a music professor. Cowell was also Ann Marie’s piano teacher. Bundy went to Mason Middle School and is said to have worked an early morning newspaper route at the time of Ann Marie’s disappearance. However, authorities did not consider the teen a person of interest in the case. A decade later, Ann Marie’s relatives would tell authorities that Bundy and Ann Marie did know each other and were friendly. She would not have feared him.

Bundy displayed disturbing behavior early on in his childhood; stories emerged about animal mutilation, violence, and incidents of sexual deviancy. One family story was that Bundy’s aunt had awoken from a nap to find that three-year-old Bundy had removed knives from the kitchen and placed them around her while she was sleeping. It was not until the 1970s arrest of Bundy that Tacoma police began taking a closer look at his potential involvement in Ann Marie’s kidnapping. In fact, there are many who believe Ann Marie was Bundy’s first victim.

According to author Rebecca Morris, Bundy confessed to Ann Marie’s abduction and murder to a college professor who was researching serial killers and interviewed him in prison. For her book, Ted and Ann—The Mystery of a Missing Child and Her Neighbor Ted Bundy, Morris spent four years researching Bundy's potential connection to Ann Marie's disappearance. Throughout the years, investigators that spent time with the serial killer have said that Bundy would often talk in third person and speak hypothetically when discussing how serial killers operated. Those who interviewed him over the years are confident he was speaking about his own crimes, but Bundy believed communicating in third person shielded him from prosecution for crimes he had not directly admitted to.

Bundy is believed to be responsible for killing 30 to 36 women, but it was reported that Bundy once commented to police officer, “Add one digit to that and you’ll have it.” Based on Bundy’s own stories, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Bundy began actively killing in the 1960’s and not a decade later, as thought.

Bundy’s attorney, John Henry Browne, agrees. He reportedly wrote a memoir that details conversations with his client prior to Bundy's execution. Bundy had provided Browne, a Seattle criminal defense attorney, with a signed release of attorney-client privilege prior to his execution. Browne, who may have known Bundy better than anyone, claims Bundy told him he killed more than a hundred people, and not only women.

Searchers for little Ann Marie Burr gather on the front page of The Tacoma News Tribune.
Searchers for little Ann Marie Burr gather on the front page of The Tacoma News Tribune.

A Desperate Letter to Ted Bundy

In 1986, Ann Marie’s mother Beverly Ann Burr wrote Bundy a heartbreaking letter:

Dear Ted,

On August 31, 1961, just before school was to start for you and our children, there came a black rainy night with lots of heavy winds. You were 15 and had been wandering the streets late at night and peeping in windows and taking cars. I feel your FIRST MURDER WAS OUR ANN MARIE BURR. The bench from the back yard was used to climb in the living room; the orchard next door was a dark setting for a murder. What did you do with the tiny body? God can forgive you.

With all appeals likely to be refused and soon, there is nothing left for you in this world; there can STILL be everything good for you in the next.

Your life started going wrong somewhere when you were very young. There had to be a lot of bad things happen to make you have your strong feelings of hatred.

I came close to ruining my life because of my cruel actions and feeling no sorrow about them. A lot of strange circumstances brought help to me or I would not have found myself, even though I knew I needed help and my actions were getting out of control. You should have received that same help when you needed it.

God can still give the help to you – if you can gather together any strength you have left and try to feel a real sorrow inside for the horrors you have brought so many. You will face these horrors alone if there is no chance to be with God after you die.

You have NOTHING MORE TO LOSE IN THIS WORLD. By explaining your sickness, you will feel sorrow and gain everything in the next life, as God promised you and all of us. Please try. There isn’t much time. I am deeply sorry you did not get help when you needed it. I have not written until now because the end of life for you did not seem near until now.

Will you write back to me regarding Ann Marie?

Bundy replied in 1986 but never admitted to abducting the little girl. The Burrs adopted a daughter several years after Ann Marie’s disappearance, but both spent their lives haunted by questions. Ann Marie’s father died 2003, followed by her mother in 2008. Both died never knowing what happened to their precious child.

Preserved blood sample taken from Ted Bundy March 17, 1978.
Preserved blood sample taken from Ted Bundy March 17, 1978.

Still No Answer from Bundy

In 2011, fifty years after Ann Marie’s disappearance, authorities submitted evidence to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for DNA testing. Authorities had developed a DNA profile utilizing a vial of Bundy's blood preserved for decades. Several weeks later, they reported that the evidence gathered at the scene of Ann Marie’s disappearance did not contain enough measurable DNA to produce a complete DNA profile.

Mark Fulghum, public information officer for the Tacoma Police Department, told The Tacoma Herald, “This avenue hit a dead end, but the investigation itself is not over.”

If Bundy was responsible for Ann Marie’s death and the deaths of approximately 70 other victims that have never been accounted for, then he took that answer to his grave. Bundy was executed on January 24, 1989, and Ann Marie’s four siblings still wait for answers.

Ted Bundy: The Making of a Serial Killer

Bundy's seemingly normal childhood.
Bundy's seemingly normal childhood.
Childhood photograph of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy.
Childhood photograph of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy.
Photograph from Woodrow Wilson High School where Ted Bundy graduated.
Photograph from Woodrow Wilson High School where Ted Bundy graduated.
Ted Bundy alluded to killing up to 100 women.
Ted Bundy alluded to killing up to 100 women.

© 2013 Kym L Pasqualini


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Suzan Atkinson-Haverty 

      2 weeks ago

      I lived on a country road in Westminster, MA in the early 1970's that was over 3 and 1/2 miles long. I used to walk this daily. It was nothing! So that theory of 3 miles away. Someone can run that in a heartbeat! Ted Bundy is more than likely the killer of this innocent little girl. So sad, but in our world today, we need to lock down our homes like Fort Knox every night before we go to bed. People do not realize the importance of owning and loving big dogs like German Shepherds, so many of these types of crimes will never happen with dogs like this in your home! I grew up with GS's and have had them for over 30 years married, and nobody comes near my home ever! Love my fur babies! They are loving and loyal, and will protect you to the death! Ted Bundy needed a run in with a dog like these! At three years old leaving knives around his Aunt when she was sleeping....says it all! He was born demented/evil! You look at his photo of him with his grandfather on the beach and you see someone you thin is innocent. It is what is going on in his mind, that we cannot know! That is what is scary! You never know who you are next to, who is the next Ted Bundy! I put money on Bundy as the killer of Anne Marie Burr. He was a sneak, and he got around a lot, and most people were very unaware that he was always watching them and theirs!

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      I found that it's interesting that a few guys that lived in the area and were about the same age as Ted have comments on here making sure people agree it's Ted, Maybe one of them know more then what they are saying. You never know.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Re: JimRockfish

      You might have done an "incredible amount of research", Jim, but apparently it was of exceedingly low quality. Ann Marie's parents did not know of or about Ted Bundy until his face was plastered all over the news in the mid 70's, and they admit as much in several media interviews which are still readily available on the internet today. I've never seen any source that any family member believed Ted and Ann Marie were acquainted in any way, and it is highly unlikely that they were. Ted did not live on that side of town. He did not deliver papers on that side of town. Ann Marie did not take piano lessons from Ted's uncle. She did not take piano lessons NEAR Ted's uncle's house.

      There isn't any evidence at all that Ted knew Ann Marie, anyone else in the Burr family, or that he spent any time in their neighborhood. The only reason to connect Ted to this is that he lived in the same city and later went on to become the most famous serial murderer, rapist, and necrophile in our nation's history. His shadowy, mysterious history, his evil, and his unrivaled media fame make it all too easy for frustrated detectives, lazy investigators, and internet parrots to pin every hard luck, unsolved case in the western hemisphere on Ted. It doesn't matter if he barely spent time in the area (i.e. Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders), it doesn't matter if dogged detectives and every local resident knows there's a much better suspect (i.e Carol Valenzuela), it doesn't even matter if it's already been proven that somebody else did it (i.e. Catherine Devine).

      In American culture, there are a pair of serial killers who represent something so important to us that we've mythologized them and granted them legendary status. We comically inflate their kill counts. We repeat the same lazy misconceptions, half-truths, and whole lies about that murderer's nature, demeanor, relationships, and crimes. We do it to fit the story we're trying to tell. We do it connect that killer with increasingly unlikely victims. We do it to feel like we're part of the discussion, without putting in the genuine effort to research the facts. We do it because we are prone to drama, gossip, exaggeration, and sensationalizing stories. Every time we do that, we're subtly disrespecting the memory of the victims. We are implying to them and their families "my narrative is more important than your suffering."

      We can't always be right. I wish we could temper that by not making over the top, definitive proclamations. Our hunches won't always pan out. If we could just avoid repeating bullshit, nonsense, and lies, we could all help each other understand these cases a lot better than we ultimately do.

    • profile image

      Jeffrey K. Tesch 

      7 months ago

      For the record, Bundy lived three miles away from the Burr house. Different part of town, different schools. There were better suspects who lived much closer...

    • profile image

      Susanna Apsell 

      10 months ago

      This guy is a sick person to do something like this to a child or even anyone.If I saw him I would beat theFUCK OUT OF HIM

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      In the letter Ann Marie Burr's mom sent to Bundy she said "he had nothing left to lose in the World" and what I'm about to say is true for most serial killers, mostly the sexual sadists, rapists, and kidnappers. They do have things left to lose, the people they take, that's the ultimate form of theft, those people were made theirs when they took them. It's sad, but it's true he never gave up the others because the pure joy was too overwhelming to pass up and give to grieving people who he got off on knowing would never know themselves.

    • profile image

      Jim Rockfish 

      15 months ago

      Having done an incredible amount of research on Bundy for a screenplay,I have found Ann Marie is almost definitively his first murder.Bundy began fantasizing at age 10 of murdering by his own admissions,was known to Ann Marie according to her own family,was both a peeping tom and stealing cars left open with the keys inside since 12,something much more possible in 1961 and awoke very early due to a paper route.He probably discovered the unlockable window while peeping another night,awoke a couple of hours early after stealing a car,and took Ann Marie under false pretenses where he enacted his fantasy for real the first time and disposed of the small body.Bundy committed another murder in 1966 in which the victim was found,bearing the tell tale bashed in skull and strangulation,along with being raped,while another victim survived and always believed it was Bundy,who was in the area as well.The odds Bundy began killing in 1974 are 0% and he was known to disappear many many times by those closest to him.

    • profile image

      Jim Rockfish 

      15 months ago

      Bundy killed many women who were never found and was already taking open cars with the keys left in when he was 14,a year before this murder.He was also a peeping tom and known to Ann Marie according to her family.I think Bundy found the open window one night doing his peeping tom thing and having been fantasizing about murder since age 10,comitted his first one,disposing of the body early evening before his paper route.Bundy never admitted to killing children,even Kimberly Leach,because he felt pedophilia was despicable,even though he was a necrophiliac.The odds Bundy was the offender are very,very high,95%.

    • profile image

      Kent Evans 

      15 months ago

      Unfortunately, some articles make it appear that Ted Bundy lived a couple blocks away. The neighbor I am talking about never worked and had some mental issues. He did show an interest in the girl and would have been, if I remember correctly, closer to the correct age to have done such a thing. Now Ted Bundy was quite strong and maybe was in good shape so he could have done it.

    • profile image

      Kent Evans 

      15 months ago

      I believe King 5 News did a story on Evening Magazine sometime in the early to mid 90's. The family believed Ted Bundy lived too far away to be involved. There was a neighbor Mrs. Burr was suspicious of. This makes more sense to me. I am not sure this segment can still be located.

    • profile image

      Brian Moser 

      16 months ago

      It is sad, but I think we all know Ted did this. It just makes you wonder how many others there were before his first confirmed.

    • profile image

      Aleta Ashlock 

      19 months ago

      I lived on 68th and J street when this happened. I used to have a reoccurring dream that Ann's body was in a garbage dumpster. I know this sounds strange but I used to have dreams and then my dreams would actually happen just as I had dreamed them. I always believed that Ann was Ted Bundy's first victim. I was only 11 years old when this happened but I still have the same dream. Does anyone else suspect the garbage dumpster?

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      He was On an episode of killer kids

    • profile image

      Bob clark 

      2 years ago

      One big problem with blaming Ted for this one. Where's the body???? He was 14, he must have used a bike to cover the 3 miles to her house. You can't drag a body off on a bike. The body would have been disposed of somewhere very close to the house if he did the crime. Yet no body ever found. Maybe because someone drove it away and hid it very well, something 14 year old Bundy couldn't do. A kid that age committing his first murder is simply not going to make a body disappear.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      I was born and raised in Tacoma and, like billybuc, I remember this so very well--the terror I felt (thinking perhaps I would be the next victim). Years later I was terrified once again, as "Ted" was snatching and murdering pretty young girls with long hair.

      Thank you for a well-written hub, and welcome to the community.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      he surely did this.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I just saw a show about Ted Bundy last night. Naturally I had to google Ann Marie Burr and found this thread.

      I have lived in Tacoma since 1954 and I was ten when Ann Marie Burr was abducted. In 1961 I clearly recall this sad case. I remember thinking at the time that Ann Marie Burr was just slightly younger than myself and if this happened to her it could happen to me!

      I added, "God don't let me be kidnapped, murdered or anything else bad happen to me" to my bedtime prayers shortly after this incident happened. I kept that phtase

      Bundy went to the same H.S. (Wilson) as I did but a year or two ahead

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      well, now we have too much fear Polly. (mean reason I stopped watching unrealistic fear mongering local TV news years ago. from TV news you'd like every other neighbor is a rapist/etc.) from one extreme to the other. as for ted, maybe, but 14 is a little young for serial killing. 18+ for all the other 20 or so I know of.

    • mactavers profile image


      4 years ago

      This is a great Hub. In 1951, we kids used to sleep out in the back yard during the summer months, by ourselves without any thought of bad happenings.

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      4 years ago from US

      Very interesting. I read all about Bundy years ago and it was so scary because he was so normal looking; even handsome you might say. He easily fooled girls into going to his car and who knows how many more dozens of times it happened? We can never be too careful with our little ones but way back then many people had no fear of open windows or even unlocked doors.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thank you for this article...

    • kymp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kym L Pasqualini 

      4 years ago from Carefree, AZ

      Thank you so much Sparrowlet! I have spent 20-years in this field but happened upon her story and just had to write about it. To think we put Bundy to death with all of his secrets.

    • Sparrowlet profile image

      Katharine L Sparrow 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Oh wow, this was eerie and heartbreaking! It does seem like there are too many coincidences in this case for it not to have been Ted Bundy who did it. I never knew about this before this chilling hub. Good job.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Maybe his grandfather did it.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I always wondered if Bundy actually killed this little girl. If he did, how did he manage to do it at that age and what did he do with the body ? What was Bundy's reaction after the girl vanished ?

    • kymp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kym L Pasqualini 

      5 years ago from Carefree, AZ

      Thank you so much Billy. I read your awesome article today so this means a lot coming from you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Welcome to my world. I lived four blocks from the Burr's when this happened, and Bundy was our paperboy. It was huge news at the time and still remains with me all of these years later.

      Well done and welcome to HubPages!

    • kymp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kym L Pasqualini 

      5 years ago from Carefree, AZ

      Thank you so much To Start Again! We can only hope for answers for her family and so many others. So many questions unanswered.

    • To Start Again profile image

      Selina Kyle 

      5 years ago

      wow. riveting-I couldn't stop reading. I've never heard of this case before. It's scary to think how easily this little girl was taken from her family, whatever the reason. Sure makes you want to squeeze your babies tight and tell them how much you love them! Thanks for sharing this and hopefully it leads to some answers.

    • kymp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kym L Pasqualini 

      5 years ago from Carefree, AZ

      Thank you so much Lilly. Sadly, Ann Marie's case represents so many other families of missing persons throughout this country. When there seems there is nothing left, there is still hope.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you for your good work. I hope you get answers for this old case.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)