Ted Bundy certainly had a lot of women in his life. From his mother to his fiancée and later, his wife, they were a big part of his life. Why then, would Bundy want to kill so many females and did he really care for the women he didn’t kill? To answer that question, we must look at Ted’s formative years and his relationship with his mother.
Ted was an illegitimate child during the 1940’s and he may have been a child of incest (theories are that his grandfather was his father). His mother, Louise Cowell, bore him and left him at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont for 3 months. Theories suggest that she intended to leave him there, but she eventually returned to get him. One thing he lacked was the bonding that children do during those early days after birth. When Bundy returned home to live with his grandparents and mother, he was treated as Louise’s brother instead of her son. From the beginning, his relationship with Louise was muddled. When Ted was about four years old, his mother and he moved to Washington state to be near Louise’s brother and to get away from the violence of her own father. Bundy later said that he never had a close connection with his mother. Though she was very intelligent, he claimed she always asked him about the weather and things of little consequence, instead of really asking how he was doing.
Attending the University of Washington in 1967, Bundy met beautiful co-ed, Stephanie Brooks. She was from a wealthy California family and she was very ambitious. She was looking for someone who was ambitious as well. Ted describes this time as a very happy time of his life. However, when Ted dropped out of college in 1968, she broke off the relationship. He was crushed and it is thought that shortly thereafter, he started his killing spree.
By the time Bundy met Liz Kloepfer in 1969, he was in his early 20’s and admittedly had no idea how relationships worked. He shared a stormy six year relationship with Liz, who was unaware of his relationships with other women during those years. Liz was a very insecure woman who had recently divorced and was looking for a father figure for her six-year old daughter. Bundy promised her marriage and when he picked up the marriage certificate, he tore it up in her face. He was constantly away from his rented room and Liz only saw and heard from him sporadically (he was usually killing or dating other women during this time). Liz stayed with Ted well into his trial for kidnapping Carole DaRonch and even after turning him into Washington police three times as a suspect in the “Ted killings.”
While Bundy was on trial for the murder of 2 women in Florida in 1978, he had started a romance with a woman named Carole Boone. They had known each other when he lived in Washington and she moved to Florida to be near him and support him. When Bundy put Carole on the stand as a character witness, he asked her to marry him and she accepted. At the time, there was an old law on the books that said if a marriage proposal is made in court, it was legal. Bundy was legally married shortly before he was convicted of murder during the trial. He fathered a daughter with Carole (named either Rose or Rosa) and Carole stayed with Ted until 1986 when she moved to parts unknown.
Whether Ted really loved any of these women is something we’ll never truly know, but based on what we know of psychopaths, they don’t experience love the way we do. They aren’t able to feel deep feelings of love, which explains why they can kill so easily. Ted was a murder addict and it’s safe to say the only reason he didn’t kill the women around him was so he wouldn’t be caught. He admitted to Liz that he had tried to kill her and her daughter at one point but was able to stop himself. He both needed women and was repulsed by them. He hated them and relied on them. No matter what we think, Ted Bundy was a dangerous man who would have eventually killed any woman who got in his way. Luckily, the law prevented any further killings with his death in 1989.
I would love it if there was a “where are they now” article or television episode dedicated to the ones who got away, past lovers and his daughter. In a way, to me, it feels like a story untold. Yes, Ted Bundy’s story ended in 1989, but there are so so many unanswered questions. I read an article of yours regarding his real birth father and your theories of who the man was. Very intriguing.
Ted didn’t need to kill his girlfriends or his children (both his biological daughter and Liz’s daughter) because in his mind he already “possessed” them. He was totally in control of his relationships with them…he didn’t even kill the original girlfriend who spurned him because he regained control over her by courting her and then breaking up with her.
Ted was all about control and image. He had lots of debt but wanted expensive things…so he stole them. He wanted the attention of women, so he slept around and killed the ones he didn’t feel he could sleep with (while they were alive, at least). When they were dead, he raped their corpses…again, as a means of controlling and possessing them.
I disagree about your last sentences. He could have dated his victims if he wanted..he did not even try.
Actually he dated at least one or two for a night before killing them.
I think he could not kill his girlfriends because he knew them as human-beings, as person..He did not know the girls he killed, they were not really people for him.
If Ted’s personality had been commensurate with his looks, he could have dated the women he killed. However, as his personality was dysfunctional, he was intimidated by pretty women. This was reflected in his relationship with his long-time girlfriend, Liz. He wasn’t nearly as attracted to her as he was to his ex, Stephanie, & did not see Liz as marriage material, even telling this to his friend Ann Rule. However, Liz was devoted to him & Bundy used that devotion to get what he wanted. He also admitted to staying away from Liz when his desire to kill became too much to conceal. That is telling in itself, indicating he felt tempted to murder her despite his relationship with her.
He tried to kill his longtime girlfriend on several occasions. She writes about it in her book.