On the recent 30th anniversary of Ted Bundy‘s execution in Florida’s electric chair, Netflix released the documentary Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Chock-full of compelling footage of the charming, diabolical killer who ultimately confessed to murdering 30 women (though authorities believe there are dozens more), the four-part series from filmmaker Joe Berlinger (who also made the upcoming Zac Efron-as-Bundy movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile) has sparked a renewed interest in the life and crimes of the notorious psychopath. “I thought [the tapes] were chilling, and … there was a new way to get into the mind of the killer, which is what the doc was about,” says Berlinger. “It spared no detail.”
Yet one part of the serial killer’s life has remained steeped in mystery: What ever happened to his only child, Rose? An obscure Florida law allowed Bundy to marry former co-worker Carole Ann Boone while he was representing himself in court in 1980 during the penalty phase of his second murder trial. They conceived their daughter during a death-row prison visit — while guards looked the other way — and Rose was born in 1981. Now, In Touch can reveal that Bundy’s daughter, who changed her name, fled the country to distance herself from her father’s horrific legacy. Upon tracking down the 37-year-old in a posh village in Europe, where she lives in a modest house with her husband and young family, an In Touch reporter asked if she was Bundy’s daughter, as all evidence suggests. “You mean the guy from the documentary?” the woman asked, laughing nervously. “Sorry, I’m not the person you are looking for.”
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Despite her denials — in a shaky local accent — that she is even from America, records connect her to Carole, who divorced Bundy in 1986 and moved back to Washington, where she’d first met him in the mid-’70s. Carole, also a mom to son James from a previous relationship, changed her name four times to blur her ties to the man she for years believed was innocent of assaulting, kidnapping and killing women and children. “Carole enjoyed knitting and watching soccer and nature programs,” a friend recently said of Bundy’s ex, who lived in a retirement community and was knitting a quilt for her grandkids in the months before she died of septic shock in 2018 at age 70. As for Rose, late true crime author Ann Rule, who knew Bundy and wrote The Stranger Beside Me about him, once said, “I have heard that Ted’s daughter is a kind and intelligent young woman.”
And in a small way, she may have inspired her father to help save lives. In the days before he was executed in 1989 at age 42, Bundy confessed details of his crimes to FBI agent Bill Hagmaier, which were used to profile other serial murderers. The psychopath who was considered incapable of feeling guilt or empathy revealed he was motivated by his soft spot for his daughter. “He was worried that somewhere in [her] life she would meet a Ted Bundy,” Hagmaier has said. “That’s why he told me, ‘You and others need to identify these people.'”
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