As we move along in this series, we get into murkier waters. We’re also jumping forward five years from the last post. There isn’t a lot of information available about Joyce LePage out there. If it were not for her brother’s determination to find out what truly happened to his sister and apprehend her killer, there would be even less information available. So let’s add our voice to the chorus – what happened to Joyce LePage, and was Ted Bundy involved? Let’s explore.
Who Was Joyce?
Again, we’re left with the bare bones when it comes to what Joyce’s life was like before her death. Joyce LePage was born in 1949 in Pullman, Washington. Her father was named Walter and he was an agriculturist. He also was a “civic leader” in Pasco Heights, Washington. He also taught accounting at Washington State University. Her mother was named Florence LePage. Joyce had three brothers and one sister. She loved to write. She made friends easily and her brother Bruce described her as friendly and outgoing. And that’s all we really know about who Joyce was before she disappeared.
The Murder & Investigation
On Thursday July 22, 1971 Joyce was dropped off at her apartment by a few friends around 10 PM. This was the last time anyone saw Joyce alive. She was attending summer classes at Washington State University at the time and was living away from home. Joyce’s parents expected her to visit them the following weekend, and her father reported her missing when she missed that visit. Very few clues were found in the beginning stages of the investigation. Joyce’s car was located a few blocks away from her apartment, with all of her belongings accounted for – including her shoes.
The other clue was a piece of carpet that went missing from Stevens Hall, a university building that was only a short walk away from Joyce’s apartment. Police noted that the piece of carpet was missing, but I can’t find anything to say whether they linked it to Joyce’s disappearance at the time of it being reported. It should be noted that Stevens Halls was undergoing renovations in July, 1971, and Joyce enjoyed sneaking into the building to explore. It seems she spent much of her free time in Stevens Hall – friends claimed she would write letters and play the piano on her explorations. The fact that a piece of carpet from the Hall would be linked to her disappearance was not so far out of left field – but neither Joyce nor the carpet would be seen again for nine months.
In April of 1972, a high school student was hiking in Wawawai Canyon when he spotted something unusual in the growth at the bottom of a ravine. Upon further investigation, he found that the unusual heap he’d spotted was skeletal remains wrapped in a piece of carpet. Examination of the remains showed several slicing or knick-like wounds on her right-side ribs. The working theory (and only theory I’ve come across) is that Joyce had once again snuck into Stevens Hall on the night of July 22. She either happened upon someone already inside the building, been followed into the building, or ran into someone on her way out. This person then stabbed her inside of Stevens Hall and took the bloodstained piece of carpet with them when attempting to hide Joyce’s body.
Investigators have kept track of two main suspects in this case. One has remained unnamed, though investigators have continued to keep track of this suspect. The only thing that has been released publicly about this person is that they currently live in Las Vegas. Retired Police Sergeant Don Maupin, who worked on Joyce’s case prior to retirement, has stated that he does not believe this offender would reoffend, and that Joyce’s murder was an isolated incident if this person was the perpetrator.
The second suspect, of course, is Ted Bundy.
The Bundy Connection
The Bundy connection to the case here is, to put it bluntly, very tenuous. The MO doesn’t exactly match up – Bundy typically bludgeoned or strangled his victims, and there isn’t a confirmed case of Bundy stabbing a victim to death. Bundy was in the state at the time, but he lived about five hours away from Washington State University. Apparently, a few witnesses saw someone that looked like Bundy near the University in the days leading up, but this is extraordinarily weak circumstantial evidence – after all, Bundy was known for his clean-cut, all American looks. He was commonplace. That’s how he blended in. The final piece that led investigators to consider Bundy a possible suspect was his victim profile – young, tall, slender women with brown hair. Joyce matched up with that quote well. Overall, I don’t think Bundy is a strong suspect here without seeing more to tie him to the crime – that could be more concrete sightings in the area surfacing, students who he may have known or been visiting coming forward, or something else. But right now, it feels like a stretch.
Regardless of whether Ted Bundy was involved in the murder of Joyce LePage, she and her family deserve justice. Joyce’s parents have passed away, but her siblings are still investigating and actively seeking the truth. And, above all, Joyce deserves to have her full story told. She deserves to rest easy. If you or someone you know has any information, please speak up. As with the last case, there isn’t a contact person or agency easily available for this case. However, because Joyce is presumed to have been killed in Stevens Hall, that would put the case in Whitman County, which is covered by Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest. You can visit their website to submit an anonymous tip.