SEATTLE -- Eighty-year-old Sheila Olson thought she would never find out what happened to the daughter who disappeared in Seattle nearly 40 years ago.
Then last week, a detective came to Olson's Ballard home with the news that human remains found in a shallow grave last year on the golf course at the Suncadia Resort in Kittitas County had been matched through DNA to Olson's daughter, Kerry May, who was 22 when she vanished in 1972.
Olson, whose first name is pronounced "shy-lah," said she was "almost ecstatic" to learn her daughter had been found.
"I don't care if they find who did it or not. My daughter is going to be home by the end of the week and that's all I care for," Olson said Thursday, referring to the expected release Friday of the remains to her family.
Olson said she is content to let law-enforcement investigators find out more about her daughter's death, which has led to speculation about serial killer Ted Bundy, the former University of Washington student who is known to have begun killing young women in the Northwest in 1974.
But that is just one of many potential explanations.
As Olson recalled, her daughter disappeared during "strange times," when a missing woman was "not that big of deal" during the counterculture period of the 1960s and 1970s.
May was a "free spirit" who grew up on Seattle's Capitol Hill, dropped out of Lincoln High School her senior year and "knew all these people and they knew her," Olson said.
Olson said she was amazed one time when, walking down the street, her daughter stopped to talk at length to a woman in a mink coat and then to a hippie down the block.Her daughter got married in May 1971 to James G. May, at Central Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill, Olson said.
Her daughter's last name before she got married was Hardy, after her father, who had been married for a few years to Olson before the couple divorced. Olson later remarried. Both husbands died more than 10 years ago.
Olson said she didn't know James May very well.
"He wasn't a very outgoing person," said Olson, remembering he was studying to be a court transcriber.
"I just know she was very much in love," Olson said.
James May, who might be living in Hawaii, couldn't be reached by The Seattle Times.
The couple had been married just over a year when Kerry May disappeared in June 1972.
May had stayed overnight at a friend's house in the Woodland Park area and left a note saying she was going to another friend's house on Beacon Hill, Olson said.
Olson said her daughter's regular phone calls and visits stopped -- a week before Olson and other family members were to travel to Minnesota on a vacation.
Olson said she kept calling home during the trip to see if anyone had heard from her daughter.
When she returned, Olson said, she tried to report her daughter missing to the Seattle police, but was told her husband would have to report. When he made the report, Olson said, she followed with one of her own.
But nothing came of the police report and over the years, no information emerged to explain the disappearance and she lost contact with James May.
"I knew she was dead," Olson said. "She would have called."
Olson said she was "a mess" the first year after her daughter vanished but then realized she needed to be a mother to May's siblings.
Olson said she never thought during the time after her daughter's disappearance that it could be connected to Bundy, the serial killer believed responsible for dozens of slayings of young women in the Northwest, Utah, Colorado and Florida between 1974 and 1978 before he was executed in Florida in 1989. Bundy left many victims in remote locations, much like the heavily wooded area that existed in 1972 where Suncadia now sits.
Although Bundy is believed to have begun killing in February 1974 in Seattle, law-enforcement officials have not ruled out that he began earlier, in part because of hints that Bundy gave. Olson doesn't think Bundy killed her daughter.
"I just don't -- a mother's feeling," she said.
But Olson has provided investigators with an intriguing piece of information: Her daughter told her in about 1970 that she was living upstairs from a crisis clinic.
Olson said she believed her daughter said it was in the University District, although Olson said she isn't certain.
Bundy worked during that time at the Crisis Clinic, first at an office near Seattle University and then in an old Victorian house on Capitol Hill, fielding phone calls from emotionally troubled and suicidal people.
But there were no other tenants in the house or office, said Ann Rule, the true-crime author who worked with Bundy at the clinic during that period and later wrote a book about him called "The Stranger Beside Me," and Bruce Cummins, who was a night supervisor at the time.
Cummins said there were no residences in the first building and that others would not been allowed to come and go at the house given the confidential nature of the work and presence of records kept under lock and key.
Whether May lived somewhere in proximity to the clinic is still under investigation.
Andrea Blume, the Kittitas County sheriff's detective investigating the case, said she is looking at all possibilities.
Even before May's remains were identified, May's family contacted the Sheriff's Office after seeing a media release of a forensic sketch that closely resembled her.
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