Utah teenager Carol DaRonch's car had stalled in the mall parking lot after a day of shopping in the fall of 1974. The first person to show up and help was an off-duty police officer – or so he said.
"I was starting to feel a little uneasy and thought I could smell alcohol. That's when he promptly pulled out his wallet and showed me a badge," DaRonch shared in Netflix's new four-part docuseries Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which premieres Thursday.
DaRonch, 18, thought it was odd that the man who identified himself as Ted Bundy drove a VW bug, but he had an officer's badge, so it should be okay to hop in his car and head to the police station as he suggested, right? It wasn't.
"He headed down a side street and suddenly pulled over by the curb of an elementary school. That's when I started freaking out," she said.
Her instincts were dead on. Bundy had already conned her and smoothly persuaded her to get into his car. His next step was to murder her. Bundy grabbed her arm and snapped one handcuff onto her wrist.
"I had never been so frightened in my entire life," DaRonch said in the film. "I thought, 'My God my parents are never going to know what happened to me.'"The teen managed to fight Bundy off. Sadly, Bundy left the botched attempted with DaRonch to find another teen and murder her that same day, 17-year-old Debra Jean Kent. Before the attack on DaRonch, Bundy had already murdered countless women before, females who were walking through parking lots alone, one leaving a bar, another right outside her sorority house, and even two in broad daylight in a busy park.
DaRonch became one of Bundy's few survivors, but the first to be able to identify him and testify against him in court, which led to his first conviction from his years-long spree of kidnappings, sexual assaults, and murders, People reported.
Her gut-wrenching tale and those of other victims are included in the Netflix series. Interviews with investigators, prosecutors, and others involved in the case also are featured in this harrowing series. There also are approximately 100 hours of never-before-heard audio recorded during death row interviews he provided while awaiting execution in a Florida prison.
Capturing Bundy was a problem in and of itself. He escaped twice from police custody. While on trial, he repeatedly emphasized he was innocent and represented himself; after all, he was a law school student.
Docuseries director Joe Berlinger, who also is releasing a fictionalized account of Bundy's crimes in a film starring Zac Efron, told People it's that "incongruity about Bundy's character that he wanted to explore."
"Why is Bundy considered the serial killer that everybody seems to know something about and why he is a source of endless fascination?" Berlinger said.
After listening to Bundy's prison interviews on audio, he was left with a chilled feeling and insight that he thought others would be interested in hearing.
"I wasn't sure until I started listening to the [tapes] and listening to the stuff, it burned and deepened some of the troubling aspects of Bundy's story that I felt were worth putting on screen which I hadn't yet seen before, which is this deep dive into the mind of a killer and the personality of a killer," he said. "Because I think the thing that's most chilling, interesting, fascinating to me about Bundy is that he defied many of the stereotypes of the serial killer.