Ted Bundy was a killer who hid in plain sight. That is how one of Bundy's former girlfriends has today described the man with whom she had a relations
Ted Bundy was a killer who hid in plain sight. That is how one of Bundy’s former girlfriends has today described the man with whom she had a relationship at the peak of the spree of violence that would see him become one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
Speaking for the first time, after more than 40 years of silence, she did not wish to be named but hoped that by speaking out she might loosen the hold of the memories that have haunted her down through the years.
Now in an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV, she has recalled how she met the good-looking law student when he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in the summer of 1974 and how he remained in contact, though their relationship had long since cooled, after he was in prison for the 1975 kidnapping of Utah teenager Carol DaRonch.
In an extraordinary glimpse into Bundy’s seemingly normal life, she tells of the dinners he would cook for her as they watched the nightly news report on the killings he had committed.
A killer in plain sight: One of Ted Bundy’s former girlfriends has opened up about her relationship with the serial killer, more than 40 years after they dated
The woman (pictured) now 71, did not wish to be named but told DailyMailTV how she met the good-looking law student when he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in the summer of 1974
She recalled how she rode alongside him in the passenger seat of his Volkswagen Beetle and how she wondered at the fact that it was never properly fixed in place and would rock forward when he braked.
And, perhaps most chilling of all, she revealed that he stopped by her apartment on the very night that he committed one of his murders – Halloween 1974.
Now, age 71, she doubts that she will ever be able to put Bundy firmly in her past.
Her interview comes shortly after a new film on the killer starring Zac Efron premiered at Sundance and shortly after a Netflix documentary began streaming on the 30th anniversary of Bundy’s execution.
‘Who would have thought I’d be reading about Ted in the news again after all these years? All of a sudden I’ll hear the name and it seems so weird to realize just how long ago it all was because it seems to have not gone away,’ she told DailyMail.com.
She has no desire to watch the documentary or movie about Bundy’s life and admits it took her ‘a couple of years’ to get over learning the truth about the man she thought she knew.
‘It had an impact. For a couple of years. I found it hard to trust people, if I was out I would be fearful, I’d have another drink to deal with it,’ she said.
When Bundy was unmasked nothing was ever the same for her again, she explained.
‘I was very naïve when I met him. But once you’ve lost that innocence, once it’s gone, you can never get it back.’
Though they shared a bed more than once and lived in the same building, she would not discuss how intimate she and Bundy ultimately were.
Bundy is one of the world’s most notorious serial killers having murdered more than 30 people between 1974 and 1978. His ex-girlfriend revealed he had been ‘pleasant to be around’
Bundy and the woman dated for several months in 1974, but unbeknownst to her, he had been conducting his killings and abductions during this time. He is pictured at Leon County jail in 1978
They dated for several months but she described herself as ‘innocent’ and at the time of his arrest in Utah any romantic relationship was over and they were, she said, just friends.
One of the elements of his crimes that has long haunted her is, she admitted, the fact that he must have got a sexual ‘thrill’ out of killing.
She said: ‘It must have turned him on.’
Looking back, she realized that Bundy actually shared very little of himself. She said: ‘I never saw him cry. His laugh was forced. He never talked about his mother or his family or anything like that. He was very neat. He never hurt me. He was pleasant to be around.’
She doesn’t know what – if anything – she meant to Bundy. But she doubts that there was any sincere feeling or fondness. She reflected, ‘He played the part really well.
‘I think that I was a respectable front [for him]. As long as he was with me he was alright because I looked nice, my family was nice.
‘I guess you can never know somebody for sure because who knows what’s in somebody’s head?’
She added: ‘He could hide in plain sight in any room. And these little innocent girls have no chance, no chance at all.’
‘If he came into this room right now he would sit down and be interested in you and what you were doing. And it was always like that when he was with people [he thought to be on his level] he enjoyed discussing things.’
On one such occasion she remembered Bundy telling her, ‘there’s no difference between right and wrong.’
‘I said: “Ted you’re in law school. How can you say that if you are in a profession that is always evaluating things for what’s right and what’s wrong?” He never really answered me but that just stuck out in my mind and that memory comes up year after year.’
This is the Salt Lake City, Utah home in which Ted Bundy lived in 1974 – 1975 during which time police believe he killed as many as eight women
More than 40 years later, Bundy’s former lover is still haunted by the fact that she dated a notorious serial killer. She
She and Bundy lived in the same building and, she recalled: ‘We didn’t go out because we didn’t have a lot of money but he would make a nice hamburger and we would sit in his kitchen with a little TV on the table and he would like to make hamburgers and we would listen to the news about all of the girls that were being murdered and disappeared.’
According to her, Bundy displayed no emotion when the stories aired. She said: ‘He wouldn’t make any reaction.
‘I said to him one time, “If a man ever approached me, I wouldn’t let him touch me.”
‘And he said, “You don’t have to worry about that.” And I did think about that later.
As well as those low-key dinners she said: ‘We would go play pool and I would sit as a passenger in his VW bug.
‘I would sit in the seat that would rock forward when he would come to a stop sign or a stoplight. And I would think anything of it.’
Bundy removed that seat to conceal the bodies of his victims. ‘What was interesting to me [after],’ she said, ‘was that I never saw any blood. I don’t know how he did it because the human body is full of blood.’
One who knew Bundy at that time told police that he spent hours cleaning his car – a task that confused the witness given the vehicle’s generally poor condition.
But Bundy, according to his ex, was ‘a clean freak.’
She also remembered that he had a collection of sharp kitchen knives of which he was very proud.
‘He would talk about his collection of knives and apparently that’s what he would use [on the women],’ she said.
‘I’ll never forget one night I stayed overnight and I woke up in the middle of the night and I said: “Ted, where are you? What are you doing?” And he was through in the kitchen and he said, “Oh just looking at my knives.”
‘I thought about that later and I thought, “Wow, I just escaped being killed. Except that he knew better than to do it in his own apartment.”‘
Survivors: Kathy Kleiner (left) and Carol DaRonch (pictured right testifying in Bundy’s pre-sentencing hearing in 1979) were two of Bundy’s few survivors. By the time he was on trial for DaRonch’s kidnapping, Bundy and his ex-girlfriend’s relationship had fizzled
Over the decades she has tried and failed to reconcile the pleasant façade that Ted presented to her with the murderous rage that saw him slaughter so many young women.
She said: ‘There was a girl who disappeared on Halloween night and was killed. And on Halloween night he came to my apartment when I was asleep because my door was partially opened because the rug was preventing it from closing.
‘I was in bed and he came in and said, “I want to tell you that your door is opened and unlocked.” He woke me up. And I said, “Oh thanks Ted,” you know.
‘He did a good deed and he also killed someone that night and I didn’t notice a thing.’
There was one occasion though that she believes she saw a flash of the real Bundy.
She said: ‘One night I parked my car in the driveway and if he had wanted to get out it would have stopped him so I told went to tell him I wasn’t going to be there long.
‘So I knocked on the door and he answered and he was holding a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
‘And he had this grin that was plastered, I would say, across his face. He wasn’t drunk. It was forced convivial. And I just wanted to get out of there.
‘Later I wondered if that was how he looked when he worked himself into a murderous rage.’
But as much as she could not detect anything sinister about Bundy at the time, she admitted, that when all of the hideous allegations tumbled out she knew in her heart that they were true. By this time, she said, she and Bundy were just friends.
Bundy was arrested in May 1975 when a state trooper took a wrong turn and wound up in front of a neighbor’s home. He knew they were away on vacation but that their three teenage daughters had stayed home.
A VW bug was parked outside the house and when he went to approach it Bundy fled.
The officer chased Bundy to a gas station where he finally stopped. Bundy claimed he got lost on the way home from watching Towering Inferno. But the movie wasn’t playing that night and a search of his car turned up a ski mask, pantyhose, ice pick, crowbar and handcuffs.
The woman admits that as much as she could not detect anything sinister about Bundy at the time, she knew the hideous allegations were true when they finally tumbled out
Bundy’s most well-known girlfriend is Elizabeth Kloepfer (pictured in a still from the Netflix series Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes)
The police questioned his former girlfriend, she recalled, and bit-by-bit the awful truth fell into place.
‘The officer sat me down and pointed out all these coincidences. He wanted to know if I heard anything because Ted could actually leave our house, jumping off the fire escape and driving out the driveway so I wouldn’t even know it.
‘I could hear him coming down the stairs which were old and creaky and so he could hide his movements a lot by coming out that way.
‘Then the police would ask me if I knew he left town on certain weekends and I did because he would tell me when he went to Colorado.’
Between January and April 1975 Bundy shifted much of his criminal activity eastwards to Colorado where he killed three women.
Following his arrest, Utah cops could only gather enough evidence to charge him with the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch.
By the time he went on trial for that crime, not even a friendship existed between him and his former girlfriend. She admitted she was afraid of the man with whom she had once enjoyed those cozy TV dinners.
Bundy had been released on bail to await trial and, she said, that same week he came to visit her where she worked. She recalled that all the girls she worked with were taken by the handsome stranger who asked to speak to her in private.
‘I just, you know [by then] I just couldn’t relate to it. We went out into the hall to talk and while we were there he said to me, “Do you really think I could do all the things that they’re saying I did?” And I said, ‘” can’t believe any friend of mine could do that.”
‘And that was that. But he knew I think. And I knew [that I did].’
After that, she said, she saw less and less of Bundy who immersed himself in the Mormon community that had embraced him and championed his innocence.
Her interview comes shortly after a new film on the killer starring Zac Efron (pictured playing Bundy) premiered at Sundance. She expressed she has no desire to watch the movie
She said: ‘He gravitated towards his friends in the LDS church because they supported him one hundred percent and felt like he was innocent of all charges and he could not have done what they said he did.
‘Whereas I felt that he was guilty of all charges.’
And for the first time she was truly frightened of Bundy and of the thinly-veiled threats he made against her when he visited her at home during that same period.
‘I had a chandelier that had some [sharp] points on it and Ted said to me, “Have you ever hit your head on that?” And I said, “No.” That was when he became pretty hostile,’ she said.
‘I had a macramé rope hanger – this was the 70s – hanging over the door and in my dining room and [that same night] he said to me, “That looks like a strong rope.”
To her they were ‘terrifying comments.’
After Bundy left that night she called her parents, locked up her apartment and fled.
‘I never saw him again really to talk to him or anything. I just followed his exploits around the country. You never knew if he might come back.
‘Where I was I would just lock up and be watchful.’
Bundy had been sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of 15 for DaRonch’s abduction. But cops in Colorado wanted him for three murders and so, in January 1977 he was transferred to Aspen to face the more serious charges.
During his time in Colorado he managed to escape twice. The first time he lasted just six days before being caught.
The second time he was on the run for two months during which his reign of terror escalated and culminated in Florida where he committed one of his most high profile homicidal rampages.
In one night he killed three members of Chi Omega sorority – breaking into their home and killing them in their beds. He almost killed two others and that same night bludgeoned another victim almost to death.
The following month, in February 1978 he claimed his final victim – 12-year-old Kimberly Leach.
Today his ex admitted: ‘I am opposed to the death penalty but I remember when I woke one morning to hear that Ted Bundy was in Florida and was facing the death penalty and that they had finally made the decision to kill him I was glad.
‘I had never said that about the death penalty before. But Ted was such a menace to society and he could hide it.
‘It was a relief to know that he was no longer on this earth.’