Carol Bundy was an American serial killer. Along with a man named Doug Clark, Carol Bundy became known as one of the Sunset Strip Killers, after being convicted of a series of murders in Los Angeles during the late spring and early summer of 1980. The victims were young sex workers or runaways.
The Early Life of Carol Bundy
Carol Bundy had a troubled childhood. Both of her parents were abusive alcoholics. Her mother died when she was young and her father sexually abused her starting at the age of 11. After Bundy’s father remarried, he put her in various foster homes. When she was 17 years old, she married a 56-year-old man.
By the time Carol Bundy met Doug Clark, at the age of 37, she had just escaped a third marriage to an abusive man, by whom she had two young sons. She had begun an affair with her apartment block manager, part-time country singer Jack Murray, and had attempted to bribe Murray’s wife into leaving him. After Murray’s wife compelled him to evict Carol Bundy from the block, Bundy continued to show up regularly to venues where he was singing. It was at one of these venues, a bar called Little Nashville, where Carol first met Doug Clark in 1980. Clark soon moved in with Carol and they discovered that they shared dark, sexual fantasies.
Carol Bundy and Doug
Although Carol realized that Doug was self absorbed and egotistical, and basically had no real interest in what she thought or said, she was not swayed from believing that he really cared for her and was happy when he came to her one evening telling her about an article he’d read about loving more truly. The article stated that true love should be expressed with the fulfillment of each lover’s fantasies. Doug assured Carol that he wanted to explore the idea with her. Carol Bundy was thrilled. Convinced that she had finally found true love, she was a more than willing participant.
Doug also willingly participated in Carol’s unquenchable sex drive and fantasies of bondage. While engrossed in these sexual acts of domination, humiliation and pain for Carol, Doug would express his fantasies for under aged girls, sex slaves, torture and murder. He told Carol that the woman who truly loved him would share in the fun of killing with him. That she would, in fact, be willing to kill for him. Carol was in whole hog and ready to satisfy his fantasies the way he satisfied hers.
Upping the Anti
Doug began disappearing for long periods of time. Each time he came back, he would up the anti a bit more on his desire of fulfilling his fantasies, now becoming more deviant and graphic. Carol was careful to keep an enthusiastic front, as he described the desired depravity of these fantasies, even when necrophilia was mentioned.
Doug had Carol buy a car and two small handguns. One afternoon, they took the guns and a phone book and went for a drive. They stopped at Balboa Park in Encino. While Carol Bundy stood outside of the car, about twenty feet away, Doug sat in the car and practiced firing the pistols into the phone book. When Doug asked Carol what it sounded like from where she stood, she said like popping balloons.
Doug again started to become distant from Carol, with long periods of unexplained absences. But the further he pulled away, the harder Carol worked at trying to make him happy. When Doug told her he wouldn’t have sex with her anymore because she was fat and ugly, rather than lose him, she would allow, and in fact, would accommodate him in picking up prostitutes. She would sit and wait quietly while the woman would perform oral sex on him. If it worked out well, all was good. Most times it would not.
Doug Clark was on a constant prowl for another woman, a new meal ticket. Whether Carol Bundy was aware of it or not, he dated at least a handful of women over the unexplained hours and days that he was away. In May, Doug finally met a woman at the Viking Bar. She was unattractive, fat and had very low self-esteem. Like Carol Bundy, she fell for Doug’s charm at once. But it didn’t work out the way Doug had planned and he was back at Carol’s place full time again.
In April of 1980, Doug came through the door, covered in blood. Carol feared that a fantasy had somehow become reality in Doug’s world. He told her he had been attacked and had barely escaped with his life. She didn’t really believe him. A week later, looking at the same scenario, she knew he was lying.
On June 11th, 1980, Cindy Marano, 15 and her sister Gina, 16 went missing.
On the same night, Carol Bundy went to a girlfriend’s of Doug’s intending to get her car from him in order to do some shopping. Using her own set of keys, she unlocked the car and saw a bag of dirty clothes. Opening the bag to check them out she realized the clothes were soaked in blood. There was also a blanket and some paper towels, all covered in blood. She took the clothes, a tank top and a little purple dress, to the laundry mat and washed them. She discarded the blanket and the towels.
Carol Bundy Confronts Doug
The next morning Carol confronted Doug and he told her everything.
He said that he’d been cruising down Sunset Strip when he came across two young girls sitting at a bus stop. He lured them into the car and took them to a deserted parking lot. He forced one to perform oral sex on him as he insisted the other turn away and not watch. As she turned away, he shot her in the head. When the other girl raised her head in fear, he shot her too. He then drove them to a garage he rented and, using the blanket, drug their bodies inside. He laid them out on a filthy mattress and stripped them of their clothes. He then raped and sodomized their corpses. He had then returned to the girlfriend’s house and got a camera, before driving back to the garage to take pictures of the girls. Once he was finished, he wrapped the girls in the blanket and put them back in the car. He dumped their bodies near the Disney studios.
Carol Bundy was happy that Doug had chosen her, rather than the other girlfriend, to confide in. She was his partner and that pleased her, knowing he cared more for her than the other.
The next evening, Doug arrived at Carol’s house and told her to flip on the news. The main story that evening was the discovery of a body in the trunk of a Rolls Royce. Doug told Carol Bundy that he had done it. He also told her about a prostitute he had killed earlier, but had never told her about. He said that he had kept her underpants as a trophy for himself and given the rest of her clothes to the eleven year old who lived across from them, and was oft times involved in their sick sex games. He had then dumped her naked body near the Foothill Boulevard.
First Prowl Together
In June, Carol Bundy and Doug, now obsessed with the whole idea of murder, went out on their first prowl for prey together. In Hollywood they spotted seventeen year old ‘Cathy’. Doug secured a $30 price tag for oral sex, while Carol sat in the back seat with a .25 caliber Raven, ready to fire when Doug gave the signal.
Doug, however, was unable to get an erection and so indicated that Carol was not to shoot Cathy. Instead he indicated that the she should hand him the gun. He then shot the girl in the head. Carol Bundy sat calmly in the back seat watching.
Carol Bundy then climbed into the front seat and rested the girls bleeding head in her lap. While Doug drove them out near Magic Mountain amusement park. Carol worked at getting the girl’s clothes off. Doug finally pulled over on a gravel road and the two drug Cathy’s body up next to some bushes. And there they dumped her, neither stopping long enough to be sure she was even dead.
A Head In The Freezer
A few days later, Doug would go to Carol Bundy and tell her a tale. He told her that he had come across three prostitutes and that, at first, none would go with him. But after returning to where he had first seen them together, he now found one alone. She went with him and while she was performing oral sex, he shot her in the head. She bit down on him as she was dying and it pissed him off. He drug her from the car, stripped her and cut off her head. He put it in a plastic bag and threw it in the back seat of the car, leaving her naked headless body right there in the parking lot behind the Studio City Sizzler. He said that he feared the other two girls could identify him, so he went back around again and found another who was alone. She went with him and he drove her out near Burbank Studios. He shot her in the head, stole her cash and quickly pushed her body from the car. He could not find the third girl, so he headed to Carol’s. He put the head of the prostitute in her freezer.
Doug and Carol Bundy later played with the head, swinging it by the hair and sitting it around the apartment. Doug took it to the shower with him and used it for oral sex. Carol, who had purchased a box to dispose the head in, started to put make up on the face but then realized that they may have left fingerprints on it. Carol scrubbed the head in detergent and then wrapped in up in plastic bags, before putting it in the box. They drove the box to an alley behind Hoffman street. Carol Bundy slipped on some gloves and removed the head from the plastic. Without waiting on Doug’s command, she threw the head from the window of the yet moving car and Doug ran over it. He was so pissed off that he screamed the rest of the night about Carol’s incompetency and berated her for being useless even as a murderer.
After that, the relationship became a constant battle and the only time that Doug would stay even remotely close to Carol Bundy was when the little eleven year old from next door came over to join in a sex game. (Doug had started molesting the little girl months before the murders began and she, having been molested most of her young life, had learn to use it in her favor to gain gifts and money.) But, to Doug, she was simply a way to pass time. He was always on the prowl now for something much more.
But cruising for willing prostitutes was becoming difficult, as the police were now warning all of the ‘working girls’ about the Sun Set Strip Slayers. So the ladies of the night rarely walked alone or left with a John if they didn’t all go together.
Everything was going to shit and Carol Bundy was having an extremely hard time coping. She attempted suicide by taking a bunch of pills, but not before she wrote a note to Doug and called into work to say she would not be in the next day because she was going to kill herself. Doug called an ambulance and Carol was taken to the hospital. When she was released she called her ex, Jack Murray, to come get her. Doug Clark was busy shooting another prostitute.
Enter Jack Murray
Carol Bundy went to the Little Nashville bar and asked Jack to meet her in the parking lot. She needed to talk to him. He agreed. After the bar closed, Jack said goodbye to a lady friend he had been drinking with and she watched Carol get into Jack’s van. Jack immediately undid his pants so that Carol could give him oral sex. He then told Carol they would only have real sex if she brought along her eleven year old friend so he could have sex with her.
Well, that was the final blow to Carol’s nearly non-existent self esteem. She asked him to lay back, so she could get at it, and as he did, she pulled out her gun and shot him in the head. She then pulled out a knife and stabbed him repeatedly. Then she cut off his head. Driving home, with head in hand, she called Doug.
Six days later, Jack’s headless body was found. And so were the shell casings from the gun that was used. But the body had no bullet wounds. The police headed to the Little Nashville to question everybody.
The next afternoon they were banging on Doug and Carol’s door. Carol Bundy was questioned. She admitted to seeing Jack earlier in the day they assumed he was killed. She admitted to owning a gun but said she had sold it.
The woman who had been drinking that evening with Jack was questioned and told about leaving him in the parking lot alone with Carol Bundy.
Someone Called the Police
Doug blamed Carol for everything and told her that he was leaving her. And she didn’t get it. After all, she was fulfilling his fantasies and that was suppose to earn her his true love. Carol Bundy became depressed, She called an ex boyfriend and told him everything. He told her to stay the hell away from him.
Carol arrived late at work and was obviously losing it. By 10 am, she was over the edge. She walked into the lounge where her supervisor and another nurse were taking a break and started spilling her guts. The two women, growing more and more terrified, listened silently as Carol continued to spew out the disgusting details of the murders she and Doug had committed. Then, she just left the room. The nurses immediately called the police.
Carol stopped to tell Doug that she was turning herself in and offered him money so that he could run. He decided to call the law instead and turned the tables saying he had lied for Carol about her being out on the night of Jack’s murder. His girlfriend could testify that he was actually at home with her.
The police arrived at Carol’s apartment. She was ready. With every piece of incriminating evidence she had. She admitted to killing Jack.
The End of Sun Set Strip Slayers
At the station, Carol Bundy described, in gory detail, the shootings, the sex, the eleven year old, Doug’s fantasies, and the fact that she did enjoy the killings.
Carol Bundy was booked into Sybil Brand Institute for women.
Doug Clark was interrogated and basically blamed everything on Carol, saying that she was crazy. He gave consent to search their apartment. They found everything they would need to book both Carol and Doug on murder charges and announced them as the Sun Set Strip Slayers.
Carol was sentenced to life. She died while in prison. Doug was sentenced to death. He still fights to be freed California’s death row.