Human remains ID'd as Seattle woman who vanished in '72

Human remains ID'd as Seattle woman who vanished in '72 »Play Video
Kerry M. May (Hardy) is seen in an undated photo.
RONALD, Wash. - Skeletal remains found last year in a shallow grave in Kittitas County have been identified as a Seattle woman who disappeared nearly 40 years ago, authorities said.

Now detectives are trying to determine whether or not she could possibly have been one of the first victims of the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy.

The woman, Kerry M. May, was 22 years old and married when she vanished without a trace in June 1972. She was last seen in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle, and her disappearance was reported to Seattle police by her mother.

Her remains were found Sept. 6, 2010, on the Suncadia Resort Property near Ronald in Kittitas County, about five miles off Interstate 90.

A backhoe operator found the bones as a crew was putting in a sprinkler system for a golf course. Police were notified, but the remains could not be immediately identified.

A bone sample was then sent to the Center for Human Remains in Texas for DNA testing. A composite sketch was generated from the remains by a forensic artist in conjunction with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Kerry May’s family contacted the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office after seeing the sketch in a media report because they believed it closely resembled Kerry May.

On Wednesday, the Center for Human Remains notified the Sheriff’s Office that the bone sample had been matched to a DNA sample of Kerry May’s mother collected in 2004 by King County Sheriff’s Detectives during the course of the Green River Killer investigation.

Kerry May's family said the 39 years that have elapsed since she disappeared have taken their toll.

"It was hell. It was a long time," says her brother-in-law, Rick Norwood.

"It's been tough, you always wonder," says Kerry's brother, Ed Olson. "Every time you hear something, you pay closer attention - every time somebody's found. So we don't have to do that anymore."

But there are still huge questions as the case is investigated by the Kittitas County authorities.

Kittitas County Undersheriff Clayton Meyers said the investigation has just begun and it's too early to say whether Kerry May was one of Ted Bundy's first victims.

"We'll look into everything," he said. "We'll be working with the Seattle and King County investigators who are responsible for those (Bundy) cases. We don't have anything at this point - its very early."

Ted Bundy assaulted and murdered at least 30 young women, and possibly many more, across the Northwest between 1974 and 1978. Anecdotal evidence suggests that he began his killing spree well before 1974.

All of his known victims were attractive young women and girls who usually had long, straight hair, parted in the middle - a description that matches Kerry May.

Bundy usually approached his victims in public places and gained their trust by feigning injuries or disabilities, or by impersonating an authority figure.

He also was known to dispose of victims in remote locations along the I-90 corridor.

Paul Eisenberg, vice president of Suncadia Resort, said the area where the remains were found was an isolated area in the 1970s.

"In 1972 this was forest land - no development," he says. "In fact in the '70s there was active logging going on in this area."

Investigators will begin searching for and reviewing the original reports and seeking friends and relatives who may remember the circumstances of the victim's disappearance. Detectives also are re-interviewing May's mother.

But for now the family is just content to have Kerry's remains.

"We can put her to rest in a peaceful spot. That helps the family a lot," says Norwood.

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If anyone has any information regarding Kerry May, whose maiden name is Hardy, they are asked to contact Detective Andrea Blume at 509-962-7069.