Ted Bundy Through The Eyes of The People He Touched: Emotionally and Physically

Somewhere between “You know what? I am going to kill you” and “I was already planning the wedding and naming the kids” lies the true face of Ted Bundy. 

Ted Bundy long after his death, is still known today as the world’s most infamous serial killers with stories and documentaries about the killer resurfacing over the course of time. From the tales of his old beloved girlfriend, to the victims he left behind (some still holding on to their battle scars and others who were able to wiggle out just in the nick of time), to the 1980 tapes of his confession just before he died, the tapes of him helping the cops find other serial killers, and to movies, the impact Ted Bundy left amongst society and pop culture will continue to grow. 

Ted Bundy’s murder spree began in 1970 and would come to an end with 30 something homicides across seven states. Though the true number of victims is unknown, Bundy confessed to 30 murders. In 1975, Bundy was arrested in Utah when police found pantyhose, a ski mask, handcuffs, an ice pick and a crowbar in his iconographic Volkswagen Beetle. He was ultimately convicted of the kidnap and assault of a 12-year-old girl.

These are the stories of the brave people who came in contact with Ted Bundy and decided to share the times they spent with the serial killer Ted Bundy before he was executed on January 24, 1989: 

Ted Bundy Through The Eyes of The People He Touched: Emotionally and Physically

Ted Bundy’s Former Girlfriend: Elizabeth Kendall And Her Daughter 

Although a lot about Ted Bundy’s life has been discussed in true crime novels and even in the Netflix documentary “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes”,  it is Ted’s ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer and their relationship that can provide us with relevant context and what she saw each day was totally different to the face Ted’s victim saw. According to an ABC documentary, the reason Ted Bundy was a huge family man to his girlfriend and her daughter was because he wanted to cherish their relationship taking them public and it was because they were going out and letting the world watch them, 2 dead bodies where Bundy lived would point right to his path. 

Elizabeth Kendal’s relationship with Bundy has most recently been depicted in the Netflix-produced, Zac Efron-starring thriller, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. When they met she was just a 24-year-old secretary who had recently graduated from Utah State University. Kendall had recently gotten divorced and yet she had a daughter from the marriage so she decided to raise her two-year-old daughter by herself. Kendall became Ted Bundy’s girlfriend soon after meeting at a bar where she walked up to a very sharply dressed man sitting alone and having a drink. She asked him to dance and the rest was history. 

“The chemistry between us was incredible,” she wrote in her book. “I was already planning the wedding and naming the kids. He was telling me that he missed having a kitchen because he loved to cook. Perfect. My prince.”

In fact, the first night the couple spent together ended with Bundy cooking her and her 2 year old daughter breakfast the following morning. The thrilling new relationship would begin with a great start, with the pair taking a trip to Vancouver the following weekend. But knowing Ted Bundy you know this story doesn’t have a fairy tale ending. In her memoir, her stories contain numerous accounts of abuse she suffered thanks to Bundy. Though he didn’t physically assault her, his hurtful verbal abuse was serious and disconcerting. His coiled-up rage and sadistic mentality reared its true face when Kendall confronted him about his stealing, which seemed to have become a habit. 

PC: Netflix

As she kept noticing some strange items and behaviors, one of which was when she found women’s underwear and plaster of Paris( the infamous gag he used to fake an injury to lure victims to help him to his car) she said ‘what is this?’. And he said to her, ‘if you ever tell anyone this I’ll break your fucking neck”.  Although he threatened her life, it is common in many relationships to go through an intense rough patch, so she continued to date him. However Kendall was entirely unaware of her boyfriend’s nightly bloodlust — until she saw a composite drawing of the primary suspect in a local newspaper in 1974. The illustration included the name “Ted” as its only piece of information and immediately raised her suspicions.

Ted Bundy Survivors:

Sotria Kritsonis met Bundy while waiting for the bus: 

It was a snowy Seattle day when Sotria Kritsonis, only 22 years old met Ted Bundy while she was waiting for a bus. That day she accepted a ride from a man (dressed really nice, with wavy hair) in a Volkswagen bug on Rainier Avenue South in Seattle. She said the man who picked her up in winter 1972 was Ted Bundy, and the serial killer told her :“You’re not going to go to your school…Why did you take this ride? Why did you take this ride?”

Since they met in 1972, Kritsonis was able to escape Ted Bundy’s vicious killing spree. She claimed that the fact that he first noticed her with long brown her, like all of his other victims was why she was stalked. The second he noticed that she was wearing a cap with shorter hair, it threw him off so bad that Ted Bundy shoved her off her car. Of course, this was the same Volkswagen car that didn’t have a passenger seat handle. The only way out was through throwing Ted off. 

I Survived Ted Bundy: Rhonda Stapley 

PC: Goodreads

A woman who says she escaped serial killer Ted Bundy is now breaking her silence. Rhonda Stapley says she was a 21-year-old student in 1974 when Bundy offered her a ride in his tan Volkswagen. Stating that he was a law student along with a cute smile was enough to entice her into the car without a passenger seat handle. While the conversation about college life kept going, it would abruptly stop. 

Rhonda said Bundy drove her to a secluded area. “I thought he was going to kiss me,” she said. “Instead he leaned over very quietly and said ‘You know what? I am going to kill you.”’ He raped her and punched her, even strangling her unconscious. He was even able to revive the poor girl 5 times. “It was a game, he liked to watch me die”. 

Later when turned to get something from his car, she stumbled into a nearby raging river. She floated downstream before she got out. 

A Son’s Story About His Mom Being Followed by Bundy

Chris shares his mother, her sister and their friends’ terrifying story. Set in the Southwest, in the 1970’s, his mom experienced a run-in with a man having all the characteristics of Bundy that was deeply unsettling.

Kathy Kleiner Tells Her Escape Story

One of Ted’s survivors was just 20 when she nearly lost her life to notorious serial killer Ted Bundy in 1978 when he broke into her Florida sorority house.  Kathy Kleiner was at the Chi Omega sorority house, and shares about the scene of the crime. She reflects on the lives of her friends Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy, who were killed by Ted Bundy the night of the attack. When he attacked Kathy, her jaw was shattered, and she was saved by a car that pulled up at a parking spot. The car’s headlights were able to light up the room so brightly, Ted Bundy had to get out of there before he got caught. 

Like most serial killers, one of the aspects they all share is peeping tom behaviours. They fantasize entering the room, and plan everything out so methodically including the type of weapon they use and where they will inflict injuries. If you watch the Mindhunter on Netflix, it can shine a better light on this type of behaviour or you can also watch how the BTK used to pick his victims. 

The fact that these women had their curtains drawn out, may have allowed Ted to peer into their rooms, stalk these girls, calculate his entry and exit points and study their routine as well. In the end it was the same public access of the room with the curtains open that allowed this survivor to tell the story of how vicious Ted Bundy’s killing techniques were. Let’s not forget that he took down not 1 but 3 girls. 

Ted Bundy’s Wife: 

PC: Netflix, Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tape

Ted Bundy wasn’t only able to charm the media during his infamous trial for the murder of 3 women, he was able able to charm the women of the 1970s. He found himself a wife during the middle of his trial. Carole Ann Boone fell in love with the criminal and the two of them even managed to conceive a child while Bundy was locked up and acting as his own defense attorney for the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. They sustained a relationship until divorcing in 1986, three years before his death by electric chair, on January 24th 1989.

While it would appear strange for someone to take so quickly and affectionately to a mass-murdering criminal like Ted Bundy, it’s important to keep his sociopathic charm in mind and the fact that they were friends at an office. They met in the Department of Emergency Services in Olympia, Washington.

Bundy kept the women in his life — those he didn’t kill — at a distance, as to not blur the lines between his nightly bloodlust and his friendly political personality during work hours. The was even able to convince his former girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall that all the money she made had to go towards supporting his “tuition to become a lawyer”. As with Elizabeth, Bundy playing father figure to her daughter and his qualities as a potential partner seemed to steer them away from any suspicions. Women felt that there was something mysterious yet tangible to him that was unspoken. 

“He struck me as a rather shy person with a lot more going on under the surface than what was on the surface,” Boone explained. “He certainly was more dignified and restrained than the more certifiable types around the office. He would participate in the silliness parkway. But remember, he was a Republican.” According to his statements in the Netflix documentary, Ted Bundy was vehemently opposed to the hippie and anti-Vietnam movements of the time and appeared socially conservative in contrast to many of his peers. This made him look more older although he leered many women in by saying he was just a college student. Perhaps this, an image of respectability drew Boone into his life.

According to Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth’s The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy, Boone was a “lusty-tempered free spirit” who was going through her second divorce when she met Ted. Though both were still in relationships when they met, Bundy expressed a desire to date her — which Boone refused at first in favor of a platonic friendship she began to cherish dearly. “I guess I was closer to him than other people at the agency,” said Boone. “I liked Ted immediately. We hit it off well.” She didn’t know that Bundy was already kidnapping, raping and murdering young women.

Only a few years before his death by execution in 1989 would Ted Bundy’s wife come to terms with the reality of her marriage. They divorced and she moved out of Florida with her two children, Jayme and Rose, but has presumably maintained as low visibility to the media and frenzied public as possible.

Bundy’s Defence Lawyer Talks About Their Rocky Relationships

Ted Bundy strikes as a wave of fear swept across Seattle as the skeletal remains of Denise Naslund and Janice Anne Ott were found. Other women who matched their same hair: long, brown and straight were also reported going missing. Many witnesses overhear the women say someone named “TED” who drove a Volkswagen Bug was the last person to be seen with them.  

At the same time, a 29 year old lawyer suffers from the loss of a girlfriend who is just murdered. She appeared in a dream and asked him to pursue her long time quest for the abolishment of the death penalty. The same lawyer would go on to become Ted Bundy’s defense lawyer. His charming personality would soon wear off as the defense lawyer sees through his psychopathic tendencies and lies. 

Ted Bundy would also go against the advice of his lawyers, having immense faith in his charisma to charm anybody,even the judge and jury. Of all the people that tried to get into the mind and lifestyle of the serial killer, his defense team had some of the most personal relationships with Ted Bundy simply because he was finally seen for what he really is. They watched Ted Bundy put up his hands to say that he was innocent, but unlike the loved ones in Ted’s life, the court also saw a tremendous shift when evidence and the truth started coming out. The real Ted Bundy could finally truly open up to them. 

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