On June 3, 2022, I was saddened to learn that former Pitkin County (Colorado) sheriff, Bob Braudis, died in his sleep at the age of seventy-seven years old. In fact, when my coauthor, Fabien Richard, and I were discussing writing a book about those affected by Ted Bundy’s actions, Braudis’s name naturally came up in our conversation. Though I reached out to the former lawman for a comment and didn’t hear back, I was pleased when he added me as a Facebook friend. When I learned the news of Braudis’s death, I naturally visited his Facebook page. I noted the many kind words offered by various people throughout Colorado and beyond about this six-foot-six giant of a man.
Braudis had been a deputy sheriff in Pitkin County for only three months when he was assigned to transport Ted to and from the courthouse for court appearances in June of 1975. Bundy was charged in the murder of 23-year-old Caryn Campbell in nearby Snowmass. Standing eight inches taller than his charge and terrifically strong, Braudis struck a bargain with Ted, telling him, “Theodore, the judge doesn’t allow sidearms in his courtroom. The courthouse was built in 1890, it’s not secure, ergo, if you get more than three feet away from me, I’m going to rip your head off.” At a mere five-foot-ten, Ted got the message and stuck with Braudis during their trips back and forth between the courthouse and the jail.
After Bundy’s courthouse escape on June 7, 1977, for which Braudis was not responsible, he was one of the officers assigned to search for the escapee during the eight days he was missing. When Bundy was later caught and moved to the jail in Glenwood Springs for safe keeping, Braudis often had to drive the almost hour-long trip to retrieve him for his continuing court appearances in Aspen. All of that ended when Bundy escaped from the Garfield County jail on December 30, 1977 and later murdered three women in Florida. From that point on, Colorado no longer had custody of Bundy. He was tried and convicted of three Florida murders and later put to death. Ted was never tried for his Colorado murders, despite eventually confessing to killing three women in the Centennial State.
As people involved in the investigations of Bundy’s crimes begin to succumb to old age and natural causes, the documenting of their stories becomes more and more dire. It leaves us rushing to determine if there are other individuals who have more to say about their part in the bringing him to justice. I’ve had the good fortune to speak with several people involved in Bundy’s criminal investigations and prosecution and their stories are fascinating. The details these individuals have provided give us a better understanding of some of the decisions made throughout Bundy’s investigations and his two murder trials.* Some of their stories answer remaining questions and shine a light on the actual motivations of the killer.
If the loss of Bob Braudis and various other participants involved in “the World of Ted” can teach us anything, it’s that we must continue probing and inviting investigators to tell us their stories so that we may preserve the facts as they know them. Otherwise, what’s to stop some from embellishing the truth and making erroneous presumptions about what really happened. Without knowledge of the direct experiences and interactions with Ted, his persona becomes easier to mythologize, easier to hide behind smoke and mirrors of time passed.
*Some of their stories will be featured in my upcoming book, “Ted Bundy: Memories of the Beast.” The publication date is coming soon.
Denver Channel 7
“Former Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis discusses interactions with Ted Bundy”
February 15, 2019