I was sneaking into my mom’s closet to read true crime books before I hit the double digits. Polly Klaas was kidnapped when I was 9 years old. It was the first time that I learned that little girls could be taken into the night by monsters. It wasn’t long after that I started my closet raid, in hopes to understand why these things happened. I thought that if I read enough about it, I would one day understand the minds of monsters. I only learned that it didn’t matter if it was your birthday slumber party. It didn’t matter if you still had traces of Halloween makeup on your face. It didn’t matter that your friends were tied up or that your mom and brother slept near by. Monsters were real and they could get you at any time. As I grew up and read more books and more cases, I leaned that monsters could be your own family. Your own spouse. Your own friends. They didn’t have to be strangers.
They could be outwardly charming and handsome men. Like Ted Bundy. He was before my time and my mom tells me that my dad wouldn’t let me watch any news reports on his execution and always changed the channel to protect me from those kinds of things. Unlike Polly, I’ve only read about Bundy’s case. I watched Polly’s death unfold as Richard Allen Davis was caught and tried for murder and put on death row. When I was in high school, my mom gave me A Stranger Beside Me. All accounts I read talk about how Bundy was handsome. Good looking. All American guy. And oh how he was charming and sweet and smart. He was a young Republican, you know. My start and garters, he even worked for a suicide hotline.
I’ve always thought that if I’d met Bundy in real life, I would have known instantly that he was a monster. Appearances wouldn’t have fooled me. But when you look at everyone who came into contact with him, they didn’t know the utterly horrid things he was doing to young girls and young woman across the country. Would I really have been able to see what no one else could have? I’ll never know. Ted Bundy had a girlfriend through a lot of his killing years. Elizabeth Kloepfer. She wrote a book under the name Elizabeth Kendall. It’s called The Phantom Prince; My Life With Ted Bundy. I received this book as a gift for my birthday. It’s out of print and rather rare so I was thrilled to read it. And I’ve had the experience of reading it twice, at two very different points in my life.
The first time I read it, I was mesmerized. This was the woman that Bundy came home to after the things he did. Things being the raping and the murdering. And sometimes the going back to see his victims after they were dead to rape them or wash their hair or put makeup on them. Elizabeth, Liz as she’s called, met Ted Bundy in a bar one night. She took him home that night, even stopping to pick up her young daughter Tina. After that, the relationship took off. It seems as if Ted filled in the father shoes for young Tina. Although Liz admits others thought he was a bit hard on Tina. Once they went to the lake and Ted was in a raft, rowing and Tina was swimming behind and when they got to shore, Tina was exhausted and crying because Ted wouldn’t let her in the raft. It sort of mirrors when he snatched a young girl, took her to a motel, raped her and then drowned her.
The second time I read it, I was educated. I had two degrees and am in the middle of a Master’s in Forensic Psychology. I had a better idea of what to look for, how to read things she said. The first time, I was scared after reading it. The second I was disgusted at Liz for continuing to sleep with Ted even after she turned him in three separate times and knew the things he did. How could you tell your nine year old daughter that the man she knew growing up had raped and murdered girls? And then turn around and stay with him, support him through a trial? Ted burned a victim’s head in Liz’s fireplace. How could she not have had an inkling that this man was bad? She knew he stole everything he owned. He would blow up at her and then come crawling back and she would just take him back. He went on “hunting” trips for victims or repeat visits to his dumping grounds upwards of 260 miles away. How could he disappear so often and she not be suspicious?
At the end of the book, I realized that after she wrote that book, she still loved him. She still idealized their time together. She had inserts from his letters to her. The parts she chose to write about were always him professing his love for her. It was like she wanted to prove to the world that sure, he was a monster but he LOVED her. HER. Not Stephanie, not Kim and not Carole but HER. The title says it all. Phantom Prince. Prince…. After all he’d done, he was still her prince. Her white knight. Her outrage, clearly in that passage was about the lies about their relationship. Not the women who were raped and murdered by the man she loved.
I’ll be very clear, her own words stated that they had sex even after she knew about his crimes. I don’t care if you are an alcoholic, a drug addict or whatever but that is just insane. Insane. There’s no other words to describe it. She’d been the one who turned him in to TWO states. She’d even called her father to talk to someone to get the police to listen to her. And after all that, she took him to her parents house and declared that they were getting hitched. Her friends turned against her. The love of her life was a man who kidnapped a girl 30 feet from her sorority house. He kidnapped a woman who’s fiancé had seen her get onto an elevator and a colleague saw her get off. He snatched her between the time the colleague saw her get off the elevator and her room. Those two facts alone are beyond scary.
Even in the end, after Florida where he’d killed a twelve year old girl, she ignored the pleas of her current boyfriend and accepted calls from Bundy. And what did he do? He admitted the time he tried to kill her and Tina. Did she turn off her love for him then? Nope. Because even the end of the book fawns over his love for her. The beginning of the book says she wants to tell her story. There was very little about how she felt about her daughter’s life being in danger or her own life. No real musings on hind sight, what she should have seen. I really think that she looked back and just saw that Ted Bundy, Monster, loved her. How incredibly sad.
Her last words in this book were, “The tragedy is that this warm and loving man is driven to kill.” No, the tragedy is that countless women were kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered. Countless families weren’t able to bring their babies home because he hid them away. The tragedy was that a twelve year old, barely older than her own daughter Tina, had to have her life ended in such a brutal way. The tragedy is that Tina will always know the things her mother did with Ted Bundy because here it is, in print.
Liz, Tina, Carole Ann Boone and Rosa (I’ve read that’s what their daughter’s name was) are all living anonymous lives. Even with all the true crime shows and channels, none have been found although, I’m not sure anyone is looking for them. I wonder, like others, if Rosa even knows who her father is. Diane Downs’ daughter knows and she struggled for years with that information. A cruel boyfriend showed her the made for tv movie about her. I also wonder what Rosa thinks about Carole and her choices. Or Liz and her choices. I wonder if Rosa and Tina know each other. But I’m also glad they aren’t all over the news and the internet. The way every public person is scrutinized and every breath they take analyses. Not knowing who they are means I can imagine them with happy lives despite their mothers’ choices.
*Edited 5/20/2014—-Almost 2000 people have read this post. Years later, this is still a little mind blowing. An average of 13 people per day read this post. Thanks to all you snazzy readers! But if I can be a little pushy, I do have other posts. Other cases I’ve talked about. Don’t be afraid to pop on over and read them.
The biggest question I’m asked on here is if I’m posting the book. I still haven’t gotten an answer on if I can legally. Or if I’d just get a C&D and a slap on the wrist. I think this post being years old and you guys are still reading it says there’s an interest in the book. What do you guys think?*
Edit 7/6/2-14—— If you go to my newest post as of today, there’s something really interesting posted. It looks like it might be…chapter one 😉