Ted Bundy took the lives of at least 30 women during a reign of terror that gripped the Northwest, but shockingly, there was another, more domestic, side to the notorious serial killer.
Bundy also craved a normal family life — something he felt had eluded him during his own childhood —and often played the role of doting boyfriend to his long-time love Elizabeth “Liz” Kloepfer, nearly becoming a father with her child years before his arrest.
During the height of their relationship, Klopefer realized she was pregnant, but the pair would ultimately decide the timing wasn’t right to start a family together, according to the book “The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy,” written by Kloepfer under the pen name Elizabeth Kendall.
Oxygen.com recently got a copy of the rare, out-of-print book which also served as the basis of the Netflix Ted Bundy biopic “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” starring Zac Efron as the killer and Lily Collins as Kloepfer, which is directed by Joe Berlinger. (Berlinger also directed "Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes," a Netflix docu-series about Bundy.) The film screens at Tribeca Film Festival Thursday, and starts streaming on Netflix on Friday, May 3.
The book, published in 1981, reveals intimate details about the life Kloepfer shared with the notorious serial killer from when they met in 1969 to his final arrest for the murder of multiple women at a Florida sorority house in 1978. It focuses on the relationship from her point of view, exposing each of their vulnerabilities and insecurities, and the deep bond the two appeared to share throughout the years.
Bundy and Kloepfer began dating in October 1969 when the two met in a bar shortly after she had moved to Seattle from Utah, with her young daughter in tow. She had been trying to escape a “creep” at the bar when she spotted a “sandy haired man sitting by himself, looking sad,” and went to introduce herself.
The man, who turned out to be Bundy, told her he had just moved to the area, too.
“Sitting across the table from him I was surprised at how easy he was to talk to and how easily we laughed together,” she wrote in the book. “He had a smile that made me smile back and beautiful clear blue eyes that lit up when he smiled.”
As the two chatted, she described their chemistry as incredible and already began to see a life with him.
“As I watched his handsome face while he went on about places to go and things to see, I was already planning the wedding and naming the kids,” she wrote. “He was telling me that he missed having a kitchen because he loved to cook. Perfect. My Prince.”
They went home together that night, even stopping to pick up her young daughter from the babysitter, before heading to her apartment, where she confided that she had too much to drink and was unable to drive him home.
“I was so sick, all I could do was take my shoes off and fall into bed,” she wrote. “Ted, still dressed, lying down next to me, then the room turning wildly.”
The next morning, Ted would fix breakfast for Kloepfer and her daughter. He quickly became a regular fixture in her life, driving her to work, whisking her away on weekend vacations, and helping care for her young daughter.
“I was amazed and pleased at how much Ted like our domestic scene,” she wrote, describing trips to the public market and the nearby university district. “He seemed hungry for family life.”
The trio would take outings to the zoo or the lake to feed the ducks. On Saturday mornings, Bundy let Kloepfer sleep in and watched cartoons with her young daughter, their favorite being "Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties."
He helped Kloepfer shop for a new apartment and the pair began to discuss marriage, even getting a marriage license.
The marriage plans would be derailed, however, after Liz suggested they move his clothes out of her closet before her parents came to visit. The suggestion angered Bundy, who told her she was being childish.
“You’re a grown woman, Liz. You have a daughter of your own and a life of your own. For God's sake, grow up!” she said he told her before taking the marriage license out of his briefcase and tearing it up.
But the pair would soon make up and Kloepfer said the incident only made her “realize how very, very much” she loved him.
Bundy made plans to attend law school and took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in the hopes of gaining admission to a prestigious law school.
But early in 1972, the couple would have some unexpected news. Kloepfer had stopped taking her birth control pills after being encouraged to give her body a rest from her doctor. Although he had suggested finding an alternate form of birth control, the couple just decided to be very careful and track her cycle.
Before long, she was pregnant.
“Both of us knew it would be impossible to have a baby now,” she wrote. “He was going to start law school in the fall, and I needed to be able to work to put him through.”
Although she said she was “distraught,” the pair decided she’d get an abortion.
“It was awful,” she wrote. “Ted took me home and put me to bed. He lay down beside me and talked about the day when I wouldn’t have to work and we would have lots of kids. He fixed me food which I couldn’t eat and did all he could to comfort me.”
But the fantasy of a quiet domestic life filled with kids would never be realized. Instead, Bundy would be arrested in 1975 and later convicted of kidnapping Carol DaRonch. From there, a series of prison escapes, murders, and an eventual death sentence would follow.
He’d ultimately be linked to killing at least 30 women and would live out the rest of his life behind bars before he was executed in 1989. He later did become a father to his daughter, Rose (sometimes called Rosa), who he conceived in prison with his wife, Carol Ann Boone.
Bundy and Kloepfer would continue a relationship with one another for years after his initial arrest, with her even visiting him several times in prison before she finally cut off communication.
“In spite of all the destruction he has caused around him, I still care what happens to Ted,” she wrote. “I have come to accept that a part of me will always love a part of him.”
Searching for the best true crime podcasts? Subscribe to Martinis & Murder and join hosts Daryn Carp and John Thrasher as they chat about creepy crimes and unsolved mysteries... while sipping on killer drinks from our murderous mixologist Matt the Bartender. Each episode will focus on a new true crime, with all the gory details, and a cocktail recipe to get you through.