Bundy: Debra Kent (Confessed)

          Today’s installment in the Bundy series is the only one that has any concrete resolution – though not full resolution, as you will see. The case of Debra Kent is one of the most recent developments in Bundy’s long, long timeline. Let’s explore.

Who Was Debra?

          Debra Kent was born on March 12, 1957 to Belva and Harvey Kent. She had four younger siblings that she cared for deeply – she was even described as being a mother hen to her siblings. She was friendly and kind to all she met. When thinking of her future, she had dreams of being in a position that would help people. She’d mentioned possibly going into the social work field. An example given to demonstrate this helpfulness and kindness was that Debra would routinely put quarters into expired parking meters to save perfect strangers from tickets. She was always thinking of others. In 1974, Debra was 17 years old and living in Bountiful, Utah. She stood at about 5’1” tall and weighed around 110 lbs. 

(A photo of Debra Kent taken shortly before her disappearance.
via the Unidentified Wiki)

The Disappearance

          On the night of November 8, 1974, Debra was attending a play at Viewmont High School with her parents. At 10:10 PM, she left the school building, as her parents had asked her to pick up her brother from a local skating rink. One witness claimed to have heard screaming around the time Debra left the school building. Another claimed they saw a light colored Volkswagen drive away from the school. When her parents exited the building to see that Debra had not taken the car, they sounded the alarm and began the search for their daughter.

The Investigation

          Like so many other cases at the time, Debra was initially considered a runaway. Which, to be blunt, makes absolutely no sense. Why would anyone run away in the midst of an errand their parents sent them on? Besides, Debra had left everything she owned behind, including the car she had access too. The runaway theory should have never been seriously considered. As time wore on and no sign of Debra surfaced, police began to see similarities between crimes against women in the area – attempted abductions, missing persons, and murders. It seemed clear by that point that Debra had been abducted from the school parking lot – but by who, and why? The only lead came when a woman named Carol DaRonch was found with handcuffs around one wrist. She had escaped a kidnapping attempt in which her abductor had placed the handcuffs on her. The key matching those handcuffs had been found in the Viewmont High parking lot after Debra’s disappearance – but we’ll get into more detail on that key in a little bit.

The Bundy Connection

          This is by far the most concretely connected case we have examined so far. First and foremost, Bundy confessed to kidnapping and murdering Debra. In a death row interview, Bundy claimed to have abducted Debra from the Viewmont High School parking lot and taken her back to his home. This is the only known instance of Bundy taking a victim to his own home. Allegedly, Bundy kept her alive for 12 hours, killed her, and then waited another 12 hours before taking her remains to a mountainside and concealing them. He did not give any details regarding how he killed her or what happened during the period of time she was in his home. Based on what we know about Bundy’s depravity, we can guess.
          In this confession, Bundy used an atlas to point out the area in which he had placed Debra’s remains. Ten bags of bones were recovered by searchers, over a period of months. In those many bags, only a single bone was human. One single human patella bone to prove that Bundy had told the gruesome truth. In 1989, DNA testing was not commonplace and the bone was simply assumed to be Debra’s, and given to the family as a sign of closure. The family kept the bone, not knowing that the investigating agencies had not closed Debra’s case. Years later, in 2015, an officer going through missing persons cases would realize that Debra was still considered a missing person. In subsequent sleuthing, they would discover that Belva had never buried the patella presumed to belong to Debra. In an effort to close the case, DNA testing was conducted on the patella. And in 2015 the Kents got the definitive news that the bone belonged to Debra.
          The second aspect of this case that connects it to Bundy is a witness statement – a light-colored Volkswagen Bug was seen speeding away from Viewmont High School shortly after Debra was last seen. As you’re well aware by now, this matches the description of Bundy’s car. Third, a small handcuff key was found in the Viewmont parking lot in searches by police. The key was linked to a pair of handcuffs that were used in the attempted abduction of Carol DaRonch. Carol managed to escape and gave a detailed account of her abductor and his car, which matched the description of the car that a witness had seen speeding away from Fairmont the night of Debra’s disappearance. In August, 1975, Bundy would be arrested for evading arrest after a short chase. The arresting officer observed disturbing items in his car – rope, a crowbar, masks, gloves…and handcuffs. Two months after the arrest, Carol DaRonch would positively identify Bundy as the man who attempted to kidnap her, effectively linking him to Debra’s case as well.

Investigating Agencies

          Though we know for sure that Debra is deceased, the rest of her remains have gone undiscovered since her kneecap was discovered. So, if you believe you may have information regarding the rest of Debra Kent’s remains, please contact your local authorities.

Sources

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