Year
1974

Ted Bundy botches an abduction attempt

Salt Lake City, Utah, resident Carol DaRonch narrowly escapes being abducted by serial killer Ted Bundy. DaRonch had been shopping at a mall when a man claiming to be a police detective told her that there was an attempted theft of her car and she needed to file a police report. Despite her misgivings, DaRonch accompanied the man to his Volkswagen and got into the car. Once inside, he placed a handcuff on her and attempted to hit her with a crowbar, but DaRonch fought back and jumped out of the car to safety.

DaRonch’s attempted abduction was of special interest to the Utah authorities at the time, who were trying to figure out what had happened to several young women who disappeared earlier in the fall of 1974. Simultaneously, Seattle area officials were looking for a young man named Ted who was the suspected culprit in many murder cases.

On August 16, 1975, an officer noticed a suspicious Volkswagen driving around his patrol area. After pulling the vehicle over, he found handcuffs in the back of the automobile and arrested the driver–Ted Bundy. Following his arrest, Bundy was identified as the man who tried to kidnap DaRonch. In March 1976, he was convicted ofaggravated kidnapping, which put him behind bars while investigators tried to connect him to the many unsolved murders in Washington, Colorado, and Utah.

On December 30, 1977, Bundy managed to escape from jail. A few months later, he was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List, and on February 15, 1978, he was finally captured. He eventually confessed to the murders of 28 women, and was executed in Florida on January 24, 1989.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Beer Hall Putsch begins

Adolf Hitler, president of the far-right Nazi Party, launches the Beer Hall Putsch, his first attempt at seizing control of the German government. After World War I, the victorious allies demanded billions of dollars in war reparations from Germany. Efforts by Germany’s ...read more

The Republican Revolution

For the first time in 40 years, the Republican Party wins control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in midterm congressional elections. Led by Representative Newt Gingrich of Georgia, who subsequently replaced Democrat Tom Foley of Washington as speaker of ...read more

German scientist discovers X-rays

On this day in 1895, physicist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen (1845-1923) becomes the first person to observe X-rays, a significant scientific advancement that would ultimately benefit a variety of fields, most of all medicine, by making the invisible visible. Rontgen’s discovery ...read more

Lawrence Joel earns Medal of Honor

For action this day in the Iron Triangle northwest of Saigon, Specialist Five Lawrence Joel, a medic with the 1st Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade earns the Medal of Honor, becoming the first living African American since the Spanish-American War to ...read more

Yogi Berra is the AL MVP

On November 8, 1951, Yankees catcher Yogi Berra is voted the American League’s most valuable player for the first time in his career. St. Louis Browns’ ace pitcher and slugger Ned Garver almost won the award–in fact, a representative from the Baseball Writers Association of ...read more

Doc Holliday dies of tuberculosis

On this day, Doc Holliday–gunslinger, gambler, and occasional dentist–dies from tuberculosis. Though he was perhaps most famous for his participation in the shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, John Henry “Doc” Holliday earned his bad reputation well before that ...read more

Margaret Mitchell is born

On this day in 1900, Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind (1936), is born in Atlanta, Georgia. Mitchell worked as a journalist for the Atlanta Journal for six years. She quit after an ankle injury limited her mobility, and she devoted herself to her novel about the ...read more

Dracula creator Bram Stoker born

On this day in 1847, Bram Stoker, author of the horror novel “Dracula,” is born in Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland. Stoker’s villainous, blood-sucking creation, the vampire Count Dracula, became a pop-culture icon and has been featured in hundreds of movies, books, plays and other ...read more

Hurricane Gordon is born

The storm that would become Hurricane Gordon forms in the Gulf of Mexico east of Costa Rica on this day in 1994. Although it spent far more time as a tropical storm than as a hurricane, Gordon went on to kill as many as a thousand people in Central America, the Caribbean and ...read more

John F. Kennedy elected president

John F. Kennedy becomes the youngest man ever to be elected president of the United States, narrowly beating Republican Vice President Richard Nixon. He was also the first Catholic to become president.The campaign was hard fought and bitter. For the first time, presidential ...read more

Lincoln reelected

On this day in 1864, Northern voters overwhelmingly endorse the leadership and policies of President Abraham Lincoln when they elect him to a second term. With his re-election, any hope for a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy vanished. In 1864, Lincoln faced many ...read more

Sun sets on the Ford Rotunda

On this day in 1962, the famous Ford Rotunda stands in Dearborn, Michigan for the last time: the next day, it is destroyed in a massive fire. Some 1.5 million people visited the Rotunda each year, making it the fifth most popular tourist attraction in the U.S. (behind Niagara ...read more

Hitler survives assassination attempt

On this day in 1939, on the 16th anniversary of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, a bomb explodes just after Hitler has finished giving a speech. He was unharmed. Hitler had made an annual ritual on the anniversary of his infamous 1923 coup attempt, (Hitler’s first grab at power that ...read more