DNA Evidence Confirms Remains Of Utah Bundy Victim

Mar 11, 2019, 10:57 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2019, 5:09 am

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — More than 40 years after the teen’s disappearance, DNA evidence confirmed the remains of one of serial killer Ted Bundy’s Utah victims.

Investigators from Bountiful City Police Department said Monday they were able to determine in 2015 that a patella initially found by search crews in Fairview Canyon in 1989 in fact belonged to Debra Kent.

Kent vanished after attending part of a play at Viewmont High School on Nov. 8, 1974.

Bundy later confessed to the killing and directed police where he left the body.

The patella had apparently sat inside the home of Kent’s parents until Det. Sgt. Shane Alexander, during a review of the department’s missing persons cases, noted a media report in which Kent’s mother, Belva, was interviewed.

“In the process of her interview, she pulled out a box that inside of it had a human patella,” Alexander said. “(She) said those were the remains of her daughter that she’s had.”

That was news to present day police, who now had the capability to seek DNA evidence from the remains.

“That was the new thing was learning that they had the patella and finding that information of how they got it.”

Alexander said he subsequently learned that searchers found the patella among numerous animal bones in an area where Bundy pointed them in 1989.

He said investigators at the time, for whatever reason, released the patella to the family, though he was still unsure why that happened without positive identification of the remains.

“I think it was just that it was, ‘this is the one piece that we have, we’re going to give it to the family, and at that time this is your closure that we can give you right now,’” Alexander shrugged.

Alexander said he also wanted to make sure the remains weren’t misidentified and belonged to someone else, so he obtained the patella as well as DNA samples from the family.

“(Belva) was very hesitant at first, but eventually she agreed, believing that it would be a good thing to know and have that confirmation,” Alexander said. “I sent the patella to the University of North Texas as well as the samples that were collected and then they were able to determine that the patella matched the family DNA that was collected.”

Alexander said the Kent family was grateful for the DNA confirmation.

The family, through police, emphatically underscored they did not want to be contacted by news media regarding the latest development.

The detective said he was grateful he was able to provide some definitive answers for them.

“That was probably one of the biggest moments of my career,” Alexander said. “To me, that just was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and knowing that I can help this family hopefully have closure and help them move on.”


KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(Salt Lake City Police Department)...
Madison Swenson

Two men with outstanding warrants arrested during SLC traffic stop

Two people were arrested this week after they were found to have outstanding warrants during a traffic stop. One of them also had a gun and illegal drugs on him at the time of the arrest.
12 hours ago
K-9 Zeke is the newest member of the Davis County Sheriff's Office. (Davis County Sheriff's Office/...
Madison Swenson

Davis County Sheriff’s Office welcomes K-9 Zeke to the team

K-9 Zeke is the newest member of the Davis County Sheriff's Office.
12 hours ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Karah Brackin

How to prepare for upcoming spring allergy season

If you are sneezing and wheezing, you are not alone. Spring allergy season is on its way. Here's how you can prepare for it.
12 hours ago
(Weber Fire District)...
Josh Ellis

Utah vacation home destroyed in fire, possible explosion

A vacation home near Powder Mountain burned down Friday morning, according to the Weber Fire District.
12 hours ago
(Mountain Green Fire Protection District/Facebook)...
Madison Swenson

Heavy snow causes garage roof to collapse in Mountain Green

A garage roof attached to a home in Mountain Green, Utah, collapsed Thursday night due to heavy snow. 
12 hours ago
(KSL TV)...
Josh Ellis

Alta Ski Area passes 800 inches of snow for first time ever

Alta Ski Area has obliterated its all-time snow record this season, and the resort passed the 800-inch mark for the first time on Friday.
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
DNA Evidence Confirms Remains Of Utah Bundy Victim