Today’s case moves us to not only a new state, but also new territory altogether. Bundy confessed to killing a twelve year old girl in Idaho in 1975, his first (confessed) child victim. If you’re sensitive to violence against children, maybe skip this one. Let’s explore.
Who Was Lynette?
Lynette was born on July 31, 1962 in Renton, Washington. I can’t find her mother’s name, but we know her father was named Edward. Lynette was the youngest of three children, though one of the children passed away before Lynette was born. The Culver family moved to Idaho in 1967, when Lynette was only five years old. By all accounts, she was a happy child who had no known issues. She was a little shy until she was comfortable with someone. She had a good relationship with her parents and her older sister. In 1975, she stood at around 5’2” and weighed about 110 lbs. She had brown hair and hazel eyes. She was in the 7th grade at Alameda Junior High, where maintained good grades and had a budding social life. The only negative thing I’ve come across in my research about Lynette is that she had a small habit of skipping school.
On May 5, 1975, Lynette left Alameda Junior High during her lunch break. She had not mentioned any plans to leave school to anyone that we know of, though this is not necessarily strange as Lynette had a habit of cutting class. It is not known where she went that afternoon, but a few hours later, she was seen getting on a bus at Hawthorne Junior High. The two middle schools are just over a mile away from each other, for reference. The bus was headed to Fort Hall, roughly ten miles north of Pocatello. It is unknown why Lynette would have been headed to Fort Hall. This is the last substantiated sighting of Lynette. She was last seen wearing a burgundy jacket with a fur hood, a red checkered shirt, and jeans.
The investigators initially, and this will come as a shock to precisely no one, considered Lynette a runaway. They had an unsubstantiated report that Lynette was last seen at a local Indian Reservation. Other cryptic tips reinforced the idea that Lynette had run away from home for unspecified reasons. But not a single one of these tips were backed up with evidence. They seemed to be coming from people that just wanted the attention from being involved in an investigation (seriously check out this newspaper article specifically for some quotes). But as time wore on and the Culver family did not hear from Lynette, the idea that foul play was involved in her disappearance became more and more probable.
Her family knew that Lynette would not, could not have stayed gone for so long without contacting them. Even as the case grew cold, the family did not lose hope. Lynette’s father would fly to the location of any reported sighting of Lynette to investigate the area himself. Lynette’s grandfather would return to Alameda Junior High again and again to search for clues that would shed even the slightest light onto what happened to her. They never, ever gave up hope.
The Bundy Connection
So the one thing connecting Bundy to the disappearance of Lynette Culver is his confession. He claimed he drove to Pocatello, Idaho with the intention of finding a young woman to murder. He came across Lynette at some point and abducted her. He then claimed to have taken her to a hotel room, where he raped her and drowned her. He then drove to the nearby Snake River, where he disposed of her body. While Bundy did not know his victim’s name, Lynette’s missing persons case was the only one from Pocatello that fit Bundy’s description. He claimed to have known that his victim’s family had recently moved across Pocatello, which is not something that someone who hadn’t spoken to Lynette or her family would have known, unless they had been observing the Culvers for an extended period of time. Which doesn’t seem possible, based on the established movements of Bundy at the time. Of course, the case was moderately publicized, so it is perhaps possible that Bundy had familiarized himself with the case to…mess with the police? Inflict harm? I’m not entirely sure why Bundy would lie about murdering a twelve year old girl, but I certainly would not put it past him.
Even though Bundy confessed to Lynette’s abduction and murder, the case is far from wrapped up. No sign of Lynette has ever been found, and her family struggles to find closure without concrete proof of her moving on. The Pocatello Police Department encourages anyone with information about the day Lynette went missing to contact them at 208-234-6100, even if you think what you know seems innocuous or unimportant. You should also reach out if you believe you have information regarding the whereabouts of Lynette’s remains. Her family deserves any sort of closure they can get, and Lynette deserves a proper final resting place. The Pocatello PD case number is 70920. The National Crime Information Center case number is M741629371. The NamUs Case Number is 9765. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is 666695. Speak up.