One of the most (or least, depending on how you look at it) shocking details about serial killer Ted Bundy is that he had what seemed to be a real love in his life. His then-girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall, now 73, stayed quiet for almost 40 years about her life with the notorious murderer, but it looks like we will get some firsthand knowledge from the woman who has maintained an air of mystery all this time when Amazon releases their new docuseries, Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer, in 2020.
But you may be curious about Elizabeth herself — we definitely are. So, we rounded up a few fast facts about Ted’s greatest love … and ultimate undoing.
Who was Elizabeth before Ted came into her life?
Elizabeth was 24-years-old when she met Ted for the first time, living life as a recently divorced, single mother with a 2-year-old daughter. At the time, she was working as a secretary at the University of Washington medical department after moving from Ogden, Utah to Seattle following the demise of her relationship.
She graduated from Utah State with a degree in Business and Family Life.
How did she meet Ted?
Elizabeth met the would-be killer at a bar called the Sandpiper Tavern in Seattle in October 1969. She noticed him from across the room and the chemistry was instant. The interaction at the bar led to a sleepover at her house but it was platonic — though the relationship became romantic soon after.
What was their relationship like?
Within months of dating, Elizabeth had already met Ted’s parents, and the couple even got a marriage license in February 1970, which Ted destroyed in a fight days later. Ultimately, their romantic life was peppered with deep love and fights galore — an emotionally abusive cycle.
“I loved her so much it was destabilizing,” the killer told journalist Stephen G. Michaud about Elizabeth in a recently released interview as part of the Netflix docuseries, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. “I felt such a strong love for her but we didn’t have a lot of interests in common like politics or something, I don’t think we had in common. She liked to read a lot. I wasn’t into reading.”
What role did Elizabeth play in Ted’s final apprehension?
In 1974, she started to suspect something wasn’t right about her boyfriend when Elizabeth started reading reports of local murders and rapes, where police had ID’ed the suspect with only the first name “Ted,” and that he had driven a Volkswagon similar to the one Ted drove. Even the police sketch bore a striking resemblance to him.
The reports had also noted the suspect had a cast on his arm, which wasn’t characteristic of Ted. However, Elizabeth did see plaster of Paris in his desk drawer, which he told her he took when he worked at a medical supply house. She later found a hatchet in Ted’s car, which he excused as a tool for wood chopping.
On August 8, 1974, Elizabeth called the Seattle police department to explain she felt her boyfriend matched the description of the suspect, who had used crutches to attack one of the latest victims. She told them she found crutches in her boyfriend’s room. They were dismissive of her call.
Two months later, kidnappings and similar crimes began occurring in Utah, shortly after Ted had moved there. When she called Utah police to report it, they told her they had already looked into and cleared Ted as a suspect.
Has she spoken out about Ted and his crimes before?
After corresponding with and visiting Ted in prison — and, for a time, not believing he was guilty based on his word — Elizabeth published a memoir about her life with the killer in 1981. The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy was released under the pseudonym Elizabeth Kendall, only slightly different from her given name, Elizabeth Kloepfer.
The tell-all dive into who Ted was at home, away from his horrible crimes, became the inspiration for the 2018 film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, starring Zac Efron as Ted and Lily Collins as Elizabeth.
What can we expect from Elizabeth in this new Amazon docuseries?
The series, which currently has a mysterious release timeframe of 2020 but no official date, is said to be looking at Ted’s crimes from a “female perspective.” The five-parter will explore the “disturbing and profound way in which Bundy’s pathological hatred of women collided with the culture wars and feminist movement of the 1970s, culminating in what is perhaps the most infamous true crime saga of our time.”
40 years after the release of her memoir, Elizabeth and her daughter, Molly, will be revealing “new, unsettling details about Bundy, the inconceivable pull he had on women, and an abundant archive of never-before-seen family photos.”
Several other would-be victims are expected to come forward to shape the story and share their own “chilling accounts that will forever change the Bundy narrative and provoke a discussion around gender politics that hauntingly resonates today.”
Additionally, Elizabeth’s memoir will be updated and expanded, featuring a new introduction and afterword by the author, never-before-seen photos, and an entirely new chapter from daughter Molly. The revised edition is now available for pre-order and will be released to coincide with the docuseries’ release.
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