Ted Bundy, the prolific serial killer who confessed to murdering at least 30 young women in the 1970s, could soon have more deaths added to his toll. Police in Florida have found a vial of his blood, allowing them to create for the first time a full DNA profile that may help solve a string of cases.
The vial was discovered in the Tallahassee Crime Laboratory, where it had been since 1978 when Bundy was arrested for the murder of a 12-year-old local girl.
Most biological evidence in the case was destroyed years ago.
Bundy went to the electric chair in 1989, aged 42, after being found guilty of three homicides.
Only 20 of his victims have been identified, but he has been linked to dozens of unsolved murders over a four-year period from 1974.
Some estimates put Bundy's potential list of victims at almost 100, across several American states.
Since most of the women he is known to have killed were violently attacked and then raped, it is probable that he left DNA evidence.
Linking Bundy to surviving evidence has been difficult. He was executed before the advent of DNA technology, and forensic experts have previously been unable obtain anything that might allow them to build a satisfactory profile.
Letters sent by Bundy were examined but found not to contain surviving saliva samples.
A dental mould of his teeth had been contaminated by excessive handling. A tissue sample taken from his body before he was cremated had deteriorated to the extent that only a partial profile could be created.
The blood sample was remarkably well preserved, allowing David Coffman, the laboratory's chief of forensic services, to extract "a beautiful profile".
It will be added to the FBI's national DNA database, allowing detectives pursuing cold cases from the time Bundy is believed to have been active to confirm his involvement in unsolved crimes or eliminate him from inquiries.
Among the first cases that it may help solve is the abduction of Anne-Marie Burr, 8, who disappeared from the bedroom of her home in Tacoma, near Seattle, in 1961. Bundy grew up nearby, and she is his first suspected victim.