As a college student in 1974, Rhonda Stapley accepted a ride from a stranger, whom she says looked like a nicely dressed "college student."
That stranger would turn out to be Ted Bundy, and Rhonda barely escaped with her life.
After a few wrong turns away from campus, Rhonda says Bundy pulled his tan Volkswagen into a parking space off the side of the road in a canyon, where he brutally attacked her and choked her until she passed out. When she awoke, Rhonda says she found herself on a picnic table about 30 feet away from the car.
"I woke up and he was slapping my face like they do in the movies when they want to wake somebody up from being drunk or something," she recalls. "And then he pulled me off the picnic table and was slugging me in the stomach. I was doubled over on the ground and begging him to stop ... I was begging for my life."
Rhonda says Bundy continued to attack her while she was on the ground and then started to choke her until she passed out again.
"He sort of enjoyed just watching me die. He would do that over and over," she says, speculating he cut off her air until she passed out five or six times. "I think it was a game.
"The last time as I was coming from unconsciousness to consciousness lying on the picnic table, he was slapping my face again, trying to wake me up again. He said, 'Good girl, good girl. You don't want to die yet. Don't die on me yet, because you would miss the best part.' And then he grabbed me by my boots at the end of the picnic table, pulled my pants down and raped me."
Rhonda says after he raped her, Bundy choked her until she was unconscious again. When she came to, she was on the ground and saw that Bundy was near the vehicle, approximately 30 feet away.
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Ted Bundy, Convicted American Serial Killer. Undated File Photo. (AP-PHOTO/HO)
Jim Simone of the Carbon County Search and Rescue team sets out near Price, Utah, Jan. 28, 1989, in search of the remains of 15-year-old Sue Curtis, whose grave Ted Bundy described less than an hour before he was executed Tuesday. Ms. Curtis disappeared from Brigham Young University in 1975 and is believed to be one of at least 23 murders Bundy confessed to in Utah, Idaho, Washington and Colorado. (AP Photo/George Frey)
Joe Ruden, from the Carbon County Search and Rescue team uses a metal detector to search for the burial site of Sue Curtis, who disappeared the summer of 1975, Jan. 27, 1989. Ted Bundy confessed to killing the girl less than an hour before he was executed today in Florida. The seachers were looking in an area that Bundy described, 10 miles south east of Price, Utah. (AP Photo/George Frey)
FILE - In this file photo of Jan. 24, 1989, the body of mass murderer Ted Bundy arrives at the medical examiner's office after he was executed at the Florida State Prison in Gainesville. Whether it's a genocidal dictator or a gunman behind a mass shooting, debate often flares over where the notorious should be laid to rest. Bundy's body was cremated. There was no public funeral. (AP Photo/Mark Foley, File)
Demonstrators rejoice as Theodore Bundy is executed in Florida's electric chair, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1989, Starke, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark Foley)
Television crews gather equipment in anticipation of Ted Bundy's execution, Jan. 23, 1989 in Starke, Florida. The media area is directly across from the prison. (AP Photo/Mark Foley)
With Florida State Prison in the background, Florida Dept. of Corrections spokesman Bob Macmasters, right at microphones, fields questions from the media, Monday, Jan. 23, 1989, Starke, Fla. Ted Bundy is scheduled to die in Floridas electric chair Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/Mark Foley)
A tearful Ted Bundy discusses his views of violence and sex during a taped interview with Dr. James Dobson in Florida, Jan. 23, 1989. Bundy is to be executed tomorrow morning. (AP Photo/Mark Foley)
George Johnson from Jacksonville, Fla., hawks tee shirts outside the gate of Florida State Prison, Jan. 23, 1989 in Starke, Fla., in anticipation of the execution of Ted Bundy, scheduled for early Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/Mark Foley)
Theodore Bundy, right, listens intently with public defender Lynn Thompson, left, during examination of prospective jurors, Nov. 6, 1979 in Live Oak, Fla. Bundy is accused of murdering 12-year-old Kimberly Leach who was abducted from her school in Lake City, Fla. in February of 1978. (AP Photo)
Carol DaRonch testifies at a pre-sentencing hearing for convicted murder Ted Bundy as Judge Edward Cowart listens, July 28, 1979, in Miami. Bundy was convicted of kidnapping DaRonch from a Salt Lake City suburb in 1974. (AP Photo/Pool)
Judge Edward Cowart reads the sentence to Theodore Bundy and his defense attorney Margaret Good, backs to camera, July 31, 1979, in Miami. Bundy was sentenced to death in the electric chair for the murders of two Chi Omega sorority sisters in 1978. (AP Photo)
Members of the jury file past Theodore Bundy, seated right, at the defense table, after they returned a guilty verdict for Bundy in the slayings of two Chi Omega sorority sisters, July 24, 1979 in Miami. The jury, after deliberating 6 1/2 hours found Bundy guilty on all seven counts against him. (AP Photo)
Theodore Bundy gestures as he cross examines witnesses for the prosecution while members of the jury look on in the Miami courtroom, July 9, 1979, where Bundy is on trial for the murders of two Chi Omega sorority sisters. Bundy is a second year law student is assisting in his own defense. (AP Photo)
Nancy Dowdy, a Chi Omega sorority girl who roomed with Nita Neary, took the witness stand, July 3, 1979 in the Miami courtroom where Theodore Bundy is on trial for the murder of two of Ms. Dowdy's sorority sisters. Dowdy said her roommate said she had seen a man with a "protruding nose" leave the sorority house the right the two women were found slain. (AP Photo)
Assistant public defender Margaret Good, left, accused murderer Theodore Bundy, center, and analytical hypnotist Dr. Emil Spillman share similar postures as prospective jurors are interviewed during jury selection in the Ted Bundy murder trial, July 3, 1979 in Miami. A preliminary jury of 12 persons was selected, pending final approval by both sides in the case. (AP Photo)
Accused murderer Theodore Bundy stares out at the photographer during the second day of jury selection in his murder trial in Miami, Fla., on June 27, 1979. Bundy is accused in the bludgeoning deaths of two Chi Omega sorority sisters in Tallahassee, Jan. 15, 1978. (AP Photo)
Theodore Bundy gestures as he presents a motion before Circuit Judge Edward Cowart, as Bundy's murder trial got under way in Miami on Monday, June 25, 1979. Bundy's motion complained that he could not work on his defense in a 9 by 7-foot punishment cell. Bundy is charged with clubbing two young women to death in a sorority house in Tallahassee. All others in photo are unidentified. (AP Photo)
Police and trained scent dogs search the outlying areas for traces of escaped kidnaper Theodore Bundy, Wednesday, June 9, 1977, Aspen, Colo. Aspen residents leave been described as "some what miffed" as the escape and resulting search, and some have described the lax security around the accused murderer as "patently naive, and bordering on the criminally stupid. (AP Photo/SF)
"I didn't really plan anything like a great escape, but adrenaline was running and I just jumped and ran," Rhonda says. "I didn't run very far because my pants were in a wad around my ankles. I tripped after one or two steps."
It was at that moment where Rhonda says it was fate, luck or "intervention from above" that took over.
"I fell into a fast moving mountain river that swept me away from my attacker and probably saved my life," she says.
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