Much is known about the man who killed young women and little girls, but what about his daughter? Here's everything we know about Rose Bundy.
Ted Bundy’s infamous rampage against at least 30 women and children in the 1970s has been analyzed for decades. With a renewed interest, largely sparked by the The Ted Bundy Tapes documentary series on Netflix and an upcoming comedy starring Zac Efron as the renowned sociopath, comes a renewed opportunity to focus on those forgotten in the frantic obsession with the man himself: namely Ted Bundy’s daughter, Rose Bundy, who was conceived on death row.
It is still not entirely clear just how many people Ted Bundy killed. Some speculate that number has reached triple digits, regardless, the man who killed several children eventually had a daughter of his own.
Unconventional Parents And Conception
Ted Bundy and his wife Carole Ann Boone had an interesting relationship. They met as colleagues at the Department of Emergency Services in Olympia, Wash. in 1974. According to Hugh Aynesworth and Stephen G. Michaud’s The Only Living Witness, Carole was drawn to him immediately, and though Bundy expressed an interest in dating her, the relationship remained strictly platonic at first.
Boone attended Bundy’s 1980 Orlando trial for the killing of Chi Omega sorority girls Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy, where the serial killer acted as his own defense attorney. Bundy even called Boone to the stand as a character witness. The soon-to-be mother of Rose Bundy had even recently moved to Gainesville to be nearer Ted, about 40 miles from the prison.
Boone not only managed conjugal visits with Bundy but also allegedly smuggled drugs and money into the jail for him. Eventually, while Boone took the stand in Bundy’s defense, the killer proposed to her.
As the true crime author Ann Rule explained in her Bundy biography, The Stranger Beside Me, an old Florida law stated that a declaration of marriage in court in front of a judge is considered a binding agreement. Since the pair couldn’t find a minister to oversee their vows, and officials at the Orange County jail prohibited that they use the facility’s chapel, the law student Bundy discovered the loophole.
As Rule alarmingly points out, the second anniversary of Bundy’s brutal kidnapping and murder of young Kimberly Leach — a 12-year old girl — marked Boone and Bundy’s first wedding anniversary. It would not be long before the pair had a daughter of their own: Rose Bundy.
A Family On Death Row
Because Bundy wasn’t permitted conjugal visits while on death row, rumors began to circulate about the logistics of Rose’s conception. Some speculated that Boone had smuggled a condom into prison, had Bundy deposit his genetic material into it, tie it shut, and return it to her through a kiss.
As Rule points out, however, the conditions of Bundy’s confinement didn’t require such extravagant, imaginative measures. The bribing of guards was not only possible, but common, and allowed the couple to have sex in numerous corners of the facility — behind a water cooler, on a table in the prison’s outdoor “park,” and in various rooms which people reportedly even walked into a few times.
Some, of course, remained skeptical. Florida State Prison superintendent Clayton Strickland, for instance, wasn’t entirely convinced that these prospects were so easily attainable.
“Anything is possible,” he said of Rose Bundy’s conception. “Where the human element is involved, anything is possible. They’re subject to do anything. I’m not saying they couldn’t have some sexual contact, but in that park, it would be mighty difficult. It’s stopped as soon as it starts.”
The fact that serial killer Ted Bundy managed to get married and impregnate someone while incarcerated for killing several people — including a child — was an astonishing bit of news. It didn’t take long for the media to hound Boone for details surrounding Ted Bundy’s daughter.
“I don’t have to explain anything about anyone to anybody,” she said.
Rose Bundy, who also sometimes called “Rosa,” was born on Oct. 24, 1982. It had been just a couple of years since Bundy was sentenced to death. He’d acted in a parental position before, as a father figure to the daughter of his prior girlfriend of seven years, Elizabeth Kloepfer. He also formed a relationship with Boone’s son from a previous relationship.
Nonetheless, Rose was Ted Bundy’s first and only biological child — and her birth couldn’t have come at a more frenzied, media-heavy time in her father’s life.
Bundy’s trial in Florida had the nation’s attention. It was heavily televised and drew a substantial crowd. It wasn’t merely comprised of angry individuals who came to decry the man’s existence as many of those who showed up to his trial were young women who sought the killer’s attention.
“There was an assumption about Ted’s victims: that they all wore their hair long, parted in the middle, and wore hoop earrings,” said Stephen G. Michaud in the E! True Hollywood Story on Ted Bundy.
“So, women would come to court with their hair parted in the middle, wearing hoop earrings. A couple of them even dyed their hair the right kind of brown…They wanted to appeal to Ted.” Bundy had essentially amassed a bizarre fanbase of groupies, which isn’t necessarily unheard of for a handsome, charismatic, criminal like this.
Despite his disturbing celebrity and triple death sentence, his loyal wife brought their daughter Rose along on her visits to prison.
Family photos of Ted, Carole and Rose Bundy do exist and appear to differ from their traditional counterparts only in having the backdrop of a prison. Carole would bring her son, Jayme, with her on these visits, as well.
“They built this little family on death row.”
Three years before Bundy’s execution in 1989, however, the precarious, unconventional marriage and illusory stability of this family came to an end. Boone divorced Bundy and left Florida for good. She took Rose and Jayme with her and Boone allegedly never saw or spoke to Bundy again.
Rose Bundy’s Life After The Execution
There are theories, of course, as to what exactly happened to Rose. The young girl would be 37-years-old now. How she spent her youth, where she went to school, what kind of friends she made, or what she does for a living, has all remained a mystery.
Chances are high that Rose purposefully maintains a low profile. As the offspring of one of the most famous murderers in modern history, it’d be difficult to lead even a normal conversation at parties. Some speculate that Boone remarried and changed her name and is living in Oklahoma as one Abigail Griffin, but nobody knows for sure.
In a 2008 reprint of her book, Ann Rule made sure to solidify her stance on the matter for anyone and everyone likely to have bothered her for details about the current life of Ted Bundy’s daughter.
“I have heard that Ted’s daughter is a kind and intelligent young woman but I have no idea where she and her mother may live,” she wrote. “They have been through enough pain.”
Rule eventually clarified further on her website that:
“I have deliberately avoided knowing anything about Ted’s ex-wife and daughter’s whereabouts because they deserve privacy. I don’t want to know where they are; I never want to be caught off guard by some reporter’s question about them. All I know is that Ted’s daughter has grown up to be a fine young woman.”
After reading about Ted Bundy’s daughter, take a look at the strange disappearance of Aaron Burr’s daughter. Then, read about the heroic life and death of Amelia Earhart.