killer lake

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Photographs of serial killer Leonard Lake’s remote ranch in Calaveras county, California, where he settled after skipping bail for a firearms violation . It was here that him and his partner in crime, Charles Ng, would take the people that they abducted, and where they would torture, sexually assault, rape and murder them.

It was on the grounds of this ranch that police managed to exhume 12 bodies, which consisted of at least two whole families. The women of these families had been tortured and sexually assaulted before their murders, while their husbands and children had been disposed of immediately. The police also found bodies of men that the pair had lured to the ranch and robbed, before murdering them.

Leonard Lake never faced a trial for these horrific crimes as he completed suicide shortly after he was apprehended, biting down on a cyanide pill that he brought with him to the police station.

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Top row - L: Janice Ott, the first of two young women abducted by Ted Bundy at Lake Sammamish State Park. R: Janice’s husband, Jim Ott, posts bulletins asking for information on the disappearance of his wife. 
Bottom row - L: Memorabilia burried inside the casket of Denise Naslund. R: Denise Naslund, the second young woman abducted from Lake Sammamish.

On the morning of July 14, 1974, Ted Bundy made an unexpected appearance at girlfriend Liz Kloepfer’s house. The couple had been going through a rough patch, both exhibiting erratic and temperamental behavior towards the other. In her memoir, “The Phantom Prince,” Kloepfer narrates her interactions with Ted on the day of his Lake Sammamish murders:

Ted wanted to know my plans for the day. I planned to go to church and then to a beach, but I hadn’t decided which beach. He pressed me to tell him. Maybe he’ll join me later, I thought, to make up.

Needless to say, Ted did not join Liz that afternoon. Instead, he was preoccupied with his own nefarious desires and the subsequent murders of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund. The Lake Sammamish incident is presumed to be the first time Bundy performed more than one murder within a short period of time. During an interview with Stephen Michaud, Bundy theorizes the double murder as either a result of accumulated frustration or a desire to veer from his usual modus operandi. The first victim, Janice Ott, was taken to a secluded area to be assaulted by Bundy. She was left alive while he returned to Lake Sammamish to abduct his next victim, Denise Naslund. Bundy reveals that, before murdering both girls, he sexually assaulted Naslund within view of the fully-conscious Ott: 

SM: Would the second victim see the first victim?

TB: Oh, yeah, probably. In all probability.

SM: Would the other individual still be alive, or not?

TB: Well, had he been cautious, he would’ve probably killed the first individual before leaving to get the second girl. But in this instance, since we’ve agreed he wasn’t acting cautiously, he hadn’t killed the first girl when he abducted the second.

[…] SM: What happens then?

TB: He follows the same pattern with the second girl as the first.

SM: In view of the other girl?

TB: In all probability, yes

Only hours after murdering Janice and Denise, Ted called Liz to go out for hamburgers. Liz recalls spending time with Ted that evening:

He had a cold that seemed so much worse than it had been that morning. He was so stuffed up he could hardly talk, and he looked tired. I asked him what he’d been doing. He’d just cleaned his car, he said, and helped his landlord with yardwork.

The rules on the bunker door of serial killers Leonard Lake and Charles Ng’s cabin where they took victims to rape, torture, and murder.

It reads:

“I must always be ready to service my master. I must be clean, brushed, and made-up with my cell neat.

I must never speak unless spoken to. Unless in bed, I must never look my master in the eye, but must keep my eyes downcast.

I must never show my disrespect, either verbally or silent. I must never cross my arms or legs in front of my body, or clench my fists, and unless eating, must always keep lips sealed.

I must be obedient completely and in all things. I must obey and without question or comment.

I must always be quiet when locked in my cell.

I must remember and obey any additional rules told to me. I must understand that disobedience, any pain, trouble, or annoyance caused by me to my master will be grounds for punishment.”

Leonard Lake committed suicide as soon as the pair were arrested and Charles Ng was convicted of 11 murders and remains on Death Row in San Quentin.