Have you ever heard or read about a murder case where the victim is declared both dead and missing at the same time? OF COURSE NOT. Millions of people die each year, but only a handful of those cases make the news headlines. The case of Georgann Hawkins is a case that has left people wondering and confused. The real story behind this murder or disappearance is still unknown after almost half a century, and it is still listed as missing persons’ case. Despite the confession from the serial killer Ted Bundy, the disappearance of Hawkins is still a mystery.
Ted Bundy was probably the most notorious American serial killer who raped, murdered and kidnapped dozens of young women in the 70s. The serial killings of Ted Bundy rocked the United States and made headlines for months. The disappearance of Georgann Hawkins is probably one of the greatest mysteries in American history.
About the victim
Georgann Hawkins was an 18-year-old young woman from Tacoma, Washington. She went missing between the 10-11 June 1974. She disappeared on her way back to her sorority on the morning of 11 June 1974. She was last seen leaving her boyfriend’s place and was never seen again, neither dead nor alive. She was last seen wearing a backless white t-shirt and navy blue bell-bottom pants. Neither she nor her clothes have been found till date.
The reaction of Law enforcement authorities
Hawkins’ roommate reported her missing to the housemother around 3 am. Police arrived early in the morning because there were similar cases of the disappearance of young women. Despite the immediate response and highlighting of the case, the case was quickly overshadowed by similar cases.
Similar cases of abductions in the area
After few weeks of Hawkins’ disappearance, two other women also disappeared from the Lake Sammamish area. On 14 July 1974, two women disappeared from the area four hours apart. Both women disappeared in broad daylight. First was 23-year-old woman Janice Ann Ott who worked as a probation caseworker. The second was Denise Naslund, a 19-year-old computer programming student. According to nearby people, Janice was approached by a handsome man wearing a white t-shirt and tennis shorts. The picnickers overheard their conversation where the guy had his arm in a sling and asked Janice for help in putting his sailboat on his car.
After their disappearance, several young women aged between 18-25 contacted authorities, claiming that they were approached by a guy named Ted with his arm in a sling. One witness claimed that she even walked to his car with him which was a metallic brown Volkswagen Bug, but did not get in.
Bundy’s confession before execution
In 1989, before his execution, Ted Bundy claimed to have abducted and murdered Hawkins. He claimed to kidnap Hawkins from the alleyway after tricking her by limping on crutches pretending to be injured. Bundy dropped his briefcase and asked Hawkins to help it put into his car.
When Hawkins tried to help him, he hit her with a crowbar and knocked her out. He put her in the car and fled the scene. According to Bundy, Hawkins regained consciousness on the way and garbled about the Spanish test she had in the morning. Poor Hawkins believed that Bundy had taken her to tutor her for the Spanish test. The heartless killer knocked her unconscious again. After reaching the destination, he strangled her to death, before decapitating her.
Bundy also told authorities that he went back to the crime scene in the morning on his bike where the law enforcement was sealing off the area. He claimed that he recovered Hawkins’ earrings that fell off when he hit her with the crowbar. Ted also claimed to have taken her shoe from the same parking lot. Bundy also mentioned that he observed the authorities from a distance in the parking lot.
He told the officers that he buried Hawkins’ body and head in separate places, few yards away from the road on the rocky hillside. However, his claims were never confirmed, and there is still no official confirmation of Hawkins’ death.
Claims of the discovery of her remains
On 6 September 1974, human skeletal remains were discovered by two hunters in Issaquah, 17 miles away from Seattle, near the Lake Sammamish. The authorities cordoned off the area and a detailed search was conducted for three days. During the investigation, two sets of skulls along with other remains of blonde and dark-haired women were found.
Investigators were led to believe that bodies were naked at the time they were thrown there because no jewelry or clothing pieces were found near them. Bodies were unrecognizable due to decomposition. Further investigations through dental and hair records revealed that those remains belonged to Denise Naslund and Janice Ott.
A third set of remains was also discovered in that area, which was believed to be Hawkins’ remains. There were several vertebrae and the femur bone, which Bundy claimed to be Hawkins. There is no official confirmation because authorities were unable to identify those remains. After all, it took Bundy 15 more years to confess to this murder.
In the media
The case of Georgann Hawkins became famous and was referenced in media including:
- The Deliberate Stranger (1986 TV film)
- The Stranger Beside Me (A Book by Ann Rule)
- Murder Made Me Famous (TV Series 2015)
- Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer (TV series 2020)