On the surface, Ted Kaczynski appeared to be destined for greatness at a young age. He was a math prodigy with an off-the-charts IQ and was accepted to Harvard University at 16, after which he went on to earn his PhD and become a mathematician. Ted's loving family never could have predicted that this gifted individual would also grow up to become a serial murderer who would lead the authorities on the longest FBI manhunt in history.
It was a case that plagued investigators and frightened the nation for nearly 18 years. From 1978 to 1995, an anonymous individual planted and mailed homemade bombs to people and targets across the country. He was dubbed the Unabomber, and his bombs killed three people and injured another 23. No one knew that Ted was the man behind the heinous acts -- until Ted unintentionally gave himself away.
In 1995, Ted wrote a lengthy manifesto outlining his plan for a worldwide revolution against technology, demanding that major media outlets publish his 50-plus-page essay verbatim. In turn, he promised to end his bombing campaign. Both The Washington Post and The New York Times printed the 35,000-word manifesto.
That's when Ted's younger brother, David, read the manifesto. David's wife, Linda, is actually the one who urged him to read the piece, fearing that it was Ted's work. David didn't believe that his own brother would be involved in such acts of terror, but agreed to take a look at the writings in an effort to calm his wife.
"I thought it would be a way to allay Linda's fears," David tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" in the above video. "I thought I'd read that thing, I'd tell her it's not Ted."
As he began to read, however, David got a sinking feeling.
"I realized that the voice there was so much like Ted's," he says. "There was a particular phrase where he had called modern philosophers 'cool-headed logicians,' and I had recalled a similar phrase in a letter he had once sent me..."
At that point, David had to admit that Ted could indeed be the notorious Unabomber. "I said to Linda, 'Hon, I think it's a 50/50 chance,'" he says.
Realizing that the blood of more innocent people could be on his hands if he didn't turn Ted in, David ultimately contacted the FBI through an attorney. Ted was arrested in 1996 and subsequently sentenced to serve eight life sentences without the possibility of parole.
David explains how his life has been since that shocking discovery on this weekend's "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", airing Saturday, May 16, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more