Lake Sammamish Murders

Beach

Sunday, July 14, 1974, was a beautiful day in Issaquah, WA, 20 miles east of Seattle. On that warm, summer day, hundreds of people gathered at the 512 acre Lake Sammamish state park to enjoy the beach, boating, or a picnic. One of those good-looking locals was a quiet, unassuming man who masked his devilish intentions behind a white tennis outfit and a cast around his arm. Witnesses said he introduced himself as “Ted.” Many of the young women who had been approached by him thought he affected a Canadian or a British accent. He was charming when he asked for help getting unhooking his boat from his tan VW Bug. Most of the young ladies refused for some reason or another, but petite, blonde Janice Ott eagerly accompanied the young man to his car. She was never seen again.

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Janice Ott… taken on June 16, 1974. In it, she is wearing the shorts she had on the day she disappeared. The top is different, though. She is standing next to her own car, a Volkswagen, oddly enough.

Four hours later, beautiful brunette Denise Naslund argued with her boyfriend then went off to use the park’s public restroom. Her friends, dog, and boyfriend waited for her until the park closed, then called the police when she didn’t return. Later, Denise’s mother was interviewed by the police and told them Denise was not in the habit of leaving on her own.

Naslund

For almost two months, the young women were missing despite exhaustive searches by family and friends. On September 6, 1974, skeletal remains were found two miles east of Lake Sammamish and were identified as belonging to Janice Ott and Denise Naslund.

Bundy was asked about these crimes while in prison in Florida. He told investigators that Ott was still alive when he kidnapped Naslund and one was forced to watch as he murdered the other. This scene is dramatized in the 2002 film Bundy, and it’s jarring to watch. On the day before his execution, Bundy recanted this confession and stated the women were not in the same area at the same time. Little else is known about the brutal crimes beyond what he told police and what was found at the body dump. Investigators are still boggled at his ability to kidnap and murder two women in one day and thankfully, there is no evidence he duplicated this crime.

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Tourist photo from “Lake Sam” on 7/14/74. Ted Bundy is thought to be in the VW bug shown to the left of the photo.

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