News of a missing child in a town about ninety miles east arrived three weeks after the vicious attacks on five students at Florida State University in January 1978, which claimed the lives of two sorority sisters and seriously injured three more. The Tallahassee authorities were midway through their probe.
On February 9, 1978, Kimberly Leach, a seventh-grader in Lake City, Florida, vanished during the course of the school day.
“It was a very gloomy day, raining and drizzled,” recalled classmate and childhood friend Lisa Little. “I went to our designated spot to meet up to go to our class together and she wasn’t there.”
Police in Lake City did not find Kimberly during their search. The public was asked by the authorities to come forward with any information.
“We were aware of a problem. Kim was not a student who was known to skip class or walk off campus, according to fellow student Sheri Roberts McKinley. “We were, like, twelve.” She was also quite bashful.”
Pensacola police arrested Ted Bundy, a fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, a notorious convicted kidnapper, and a possible mur*derer, while Kimberly’s whereabouts remained unknown. In 1977, he had escaped from the police twice in Colorado: once by jumping out of a courtroom window and another time by breaking out of a jail cell.
About two months after Kimberly vanished, in April 1978, her body was found. Her body was discovered in a little shed in a wooded area behind the Suwannee River State Park. She had been brutally attacked and mur*dered.
McKinley said, “I can’t stand to think of her as scared and afraid. The horror of it all is difficult to absorb, especially when you remember that she was only a 12-year-old classmate who was defenceless and innocent. I didn’t truly comprehend the seriousness of what had occurred or the extent of the horrors they had to endure until I was older.”
Ted Bundy was officially charged with Margaret Bowman’s and Lisa Levy’s m*urders at the Chi Omega sorority in July 1978. Two counts of first-degree mu*rder and three counts of attempted mur*der were included in the indictment against him in connection with the assaults on Kathy Kleiner, Karen Chandler, and Cheryl Thomas, a nearby university student.
In July 1979, he was found guilty and given the dea*th penalty.
Regarding Bundy, McKinley stated, “He was a monster here on Earth.”
Bundy was put on trial in Orlando in 1980 for Kimberly’s abduction and mu*rder. Bob Dekle, the lead prosecutor in the Kimberly Leach trial, stated that the evidence against Bundy in that case included fibres, eyewitness accounts, and hotel receipts from Lake City.
According to Dekle, a firefighter had seen a man carrying a small girl by the arm as he crossed the school’s campus. The 12-year-old and the man were observed by the firefighter, who was returning home, making their way towards a white van that was parked in the middle of the street, according to Dekle.
According to Dekle, the firefighter believed the two were a father and daughter.
“He also assumed that she’d gotten in trouble at school and he was taking her home,” Dekle stated.
Bundy was found guilty and given the de*ath penalty once more.
Little, a close friend of Kimberly’s, stated that she was speaking out because she didn’t want Ted Bundy—the monster who briefly entered our lives but left a lasting impression—to get all the attention. I want everyone to never forget the angel that was Kimberly Leach. She shared her life, her smiles, her hopes, and her dreams with all of us. I want people to keep in mind that she, not he, is the one who deserves to be remembered.”
In 1978, Kimberly Dianne Leach was twelve years old when Ted Bundy kidnapped and ki*lled her.
According to ABC News, Kimberly’s close friend Ruby Bedenbaugh wished for people to remember her as a “beautiful, young girl that would have done great things had she not crossed paths with a monster.”
“There is and will always be a void. Where might Kim be right now?” stated Bedenbaugh. “The world missed out on a great soul.”
Bundy was put to d*eath in the electric chair at Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989, for the mu*rder of Kimberly.
Days before he was put to de*ath, Bundy admitted to authorities over tape that he had ki*lled thirty people between 1973 and 1978 in Florida, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. Authorities believe he may have ki*lled up to 100 more people.
Kimberly was presumably his last victim.
“In all the TV shows, all the films, very little has been said about the mu*rder of Kim Leach, the mur*der of a 12-year-old,” Dekle stated. “If you consider that most recent mu*rder, you cannot have a glamorous serial k*iller. He is a monster, nothing more.”