There were no well-wishes for the happy couple from the Unabomber — instead, Ted Kaczynski sent his brother David a series of scathing letters before his impending nuptials criticizing the bride-to-be, whom he had never even met. But was the notorious bomber's antipathy for David's wife Linda Patrik the reason he cut off contact with his family?
“He didn’t like me. He didn’t want David to marry me, he was really furious I guess about the wedding and of course he didn’t come,” Patrik said in the Netflix docu-series “The Unabomber-In His Own Words.”
Patrik said she had never met Ted — and has still never spoken to him — but for some reason her presence in David Kaczynski’s life led to a deep rift between the brothers.
“He wrote a letter that was very, very aggressive. Oh, it was really awful,” Patrik recalled in the series. “I had never met the guy and nobody could understand why Ted was threatening to break connection with Dave.”
Legal analyst Lis Wiehl, author of the upcoming book “Hunting the Unabomber: The FBI, Ted Kaczynski, and the Capture of America’s Most Notorious Domestic Terrorist,” told Oxygen.com that Ted believed his brother was betraying him by getting married and was even angry at him for having a sexual relationship with Patrik.
“David had in his possession these letters from Ted just excoriating him for getting married to Linda and just saying that he, you know, it was the ultimate betrayal and it was all about him betraying him for a woman and it was clear that part of the betrayal was the virginity,” Wiehl said.
Although Ted had always been “strange” and “isolated” while the pair were growing up, Wiehl noted David had always cared deeply for his big brother.
“It was seen as a total abandonment of the brotherhood and that was really hard on the younger Kaczynski, who looked up to his older brother,” she said.
Ted was “jealous” of the relationship his brother had formed with Patrik, Wiehl said.
Ted’s aggressive and unexpected reaction to the nuptials could also be pointing to relationship issues that Ted has with women at large — especially his own mother, filmmakers behind the docu-series told Oxygen.com
“If you have issues with women, if you can’t connect with women, if you can’t have a personal relationship then you are going to begin to have feelings of anger towards your mother,” Elizabeth Trojian, chief creative officer at Yap Films told Oxygen.com.
Trojian went on to say that she didn’t believe it was a “far stretch” to think that Ted thought, “'I can’t have a relationship with women, my brother whom I love is going to get married. All women are the seed of problems for me.’”
The letters and Ted’s subsequent decision to cut his family out of his life signaled to Patrik that Ted may have some mental health issues.
“Linda was the first one to tell me, hearing some of my brother’s letters, hearing family conversations, she says ‘David, your brother’s mentally ill. You know that don’t you?,’” David told the docu-series.
David initially wanted to believe that his brother was just “different” and a “genius” but later began to see that Ted might be struggling with mental health issues.
“Ted has a sense of abandonment for whatever reason and David was the only one he thought he could count on who was similar, so it doesn’t make sense to mentally healthy people but for Ted, I could see that he could feel abandoned or betrayed,” Trojian told Oxygen.com.
Ted himself would later say in interviews that he felt his brother had changed after meeting Patrik.
“My brother’s attitudes radically changed when he married. After he got married, his wife completely converted him to a conventional, middle-class point of view,” Ted said in the docu-series, which used audio clips of the notorious Unabomber to help tell the story.
It ultimately would prove to be Patrik who would first begin to suspect that Ted could be the Unabomber.
“In the summer of 1995, almost every day or every other day there was a little article describing the Unabomber and what his interests were and all these different theories about what we should do. We don’t want any kind of technology, we don’t want all of this, we have to go back to the natural way of life you know without machines and without phones and all of that,” she said in the docu-series. “It was churning up in my head quite a bit and I thought ‘gosh, that sounds like Dave’s brother.’”
Her suspicions deepened after the Unabomber’s manifesto was published in The Washington Post. Patrik recognized similar wording and phrases from the angry letters they had once received and made the connection to Ted.
David and Patrik decided to bring their concerns to the FBI — eventually leading to Ted’s arrest.
But while David knew he had to turn his brother in to protect the lives of others, it was a difficult time for his family especially after Ted’s attorneys told him that investigators had found him with the help of his brother.
“I heard this third-hand, but Ted had said ‘no, that’s not possible. David loves me, he’d never do that.’ I don’t know if it was at that point or at some point, he told his attorneys that he would never, ever have anything to do with his family again. That as far as he was concerned, I was no brother,” David said in the docu-series.
David would go on to advocate against the death penalty in his brother’s case and stood in court along with his mother and Patrik when Ted opted to plead guilty to the 13 charges against him following his arrest for maiming and killing people across the country during a nearly two-decade long bombing spree. Ted never addressed his family in court, despite the fact that they were present.
“He doesn’t even look back,” Wiehl told Oxygen.com of Ted’s behavior in the court room. “He doesn’t even acknowledge them.”
Additional reporting by Gina Tron.
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