Who Was Ted Bundy? Inside The Life Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killer

Published July 22, 2021
Updated November 8, 2023

From his family to his victims to his death, these surprising facts about Ted Bundy reveal the full story of who he was and what he did.

Who is Ted Bundy? What did he do — and why? Everyone from the family who raised him to the people who knew him to the police who investigated him has been asking questions like those for decades now.

In just four years between 1974 and 1978, Ted Bundy raped and murdered some 30 women across seven states — before engaging in necrophilia with many of their corpses. His crimes shocked and enraged America to the point that Bundy’s execution brought out cheering crowds in 1989.

Who Is Ted Bundy

Wikimedia CommonsWhether it’s recent revelations from those who knew him best or newly-surfaced recordings, the truth about who Ted Bundy was continues to come out — decades after his murders shocked America.

But Ted Bundy’s death surely did little to provide closure for the families of his victims. Nor did it stop all of us from asking some truly disturbing questions about who Ted Bundy was and what motivated him to commit such heinous acts.

From the stories of his girlfriend, his wife, and his daughter to the chilling accounts of his murders, these questions and facts about Ted Bundy reveal everything there is to know about one of American history’s most infamous monsters.

Who Is Ted Bundy And What Did He Do?

Born on November 24, 1946, Ted Bundy was an American serial killer who raped, kidnapped, and murdered approximately 30 girls and women throughout the mid-1970s. Widely described as polite and charming, he evaded detection for years.

However, after multiple escapes from justice, he was ultimately captured for the last time in 1978. Following a trial that ended with a guilty verdict and three death sentences, Ted Bundy was executed at Florida State Prison on Jan. 24, 1989.

Where Was Ted Bundy From?

Ted Bundy was originally born in Vermont to a single mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell. From there, Bundy’s childhood proved turbulent. Because his grandfather routinely beat both Bundy and his mother, Cowell eventually took him across the country to Tacoma, Washington. There, she married Johnny Bundy, and the boy took his stepfather’s name.

Where Is Bundy’s House?

Although Ted Bundy lived in several residences throughout his life, his home at 565 First Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah, is among the most infamous. Bundy lived at the house from 1974 to 1975 while committing his first murders. He killed four women in 1974, and in 1975 had a near-miss with police — who pulled him over and found masks, handcuffs, and blunt objects in his car. He nevertheless skated by and went on to kill some 20 more women.

How Many People Did Ted Bundy Kill?

What Did Ted Bundy Do

Personal Photos via The TimesThough we may never know the full truth about what Ted Bundy did, he’s believed to have killed some 30 women in total.

Ted Bundy confessed to killing 30 women in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Florida in the years leading up to his final arrest in 1978. He was subsequently convicted of only three murders, but some suspect that he could have killed up to 100 people.

Were There Any Survivors Of Ted Bundy’s Attacks?

Although Ted Bundy attacked women with terrifying brutality, a few of his victims miraculously managed to escape with their lives. Though we may never know exactly how many, some half-dozen women have come forward with stories of close calls with Bundy.

For example, Karen Chandler and Kathy Kleiner survived his attack in 1978 because their housemate returned home before he could kill them. In another instance, Brigham Young University student Pam Prine was walking with Bundy on campus when he tried to grab her — but she managed to shake free and run away.

What Was Ted Bundy’s IQ?

Ted Bundy reportedly had an IQ of 136. While classification systems vary, most agree that this puts Bundy well above average and close to “genius” level. What’s more, serial killers generally are understood to have much lower IQs than other people, with some estimates for killers around 95.

Furthermore, Bundy was educated, making it to the honor roll at the University of Washington before enrolling at the University of Puget Sound School Of Law. But that’s when his schooling ended, and his murders began.

How Was Bundy Described By Those Who Knew Him?

Although Ted Bundy described himself as “the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet,” most didn’t see that side of him — until it was too late. Good-looking and charismatic, people described Bundy as a likable and charming young man with an engaging sense of humor. With chilling calculation, these are precisely the attributes he often used to gain his victims’ trust before attacking them.

Was Ted Bundy Married?

Despite his dozens of attacks on girls and women, Ted Bundy did manage to get married in 1980 — while on trial for murder. It was then that he married Carole Ann Boone, a Washington state department of emergency services worker he’d met back in 1974. However, Boone divorced Bundy in 1986 — only after giving birth to a daughter named Rose.

What Happened To Bundy’s Girlfriend, Elizabeth Kendall?

Facts About Ted Bundy Girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall

YouTubeTo this day, some of the most astounding facts about Ted Bundy involve the women in his life, including girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall — who was with him during his first murders in 1974.

Born Elizabeth Kloepfer (only later known as Elizabeth Kendall), she dated Ted Bundy from 1969 to 1974, though the pair were never married.

Although she had her suspicions about her boyfriend — and even once suggested, fruitlessly, that the Seattle Police look into Bundy as a murder suspect — Kloepfer remained with Bundy for years before their relationship ended. During the last months of their relationship, Bundy had already begun raping and murdering his first victims — though Kloepfer is believed to have had no knowledge of this at the time.

Did Ted Bundy Have Kids?

Ted Bundy had a daughter named Rose with his wife Carol Ann Boone. Boone got pregnant while Bundy was in prison, as they were allowed to have intercourse during conjugal visits. Boone gave birth to Rose on Oct. 24, 1982.

Bundy enjoyed a steady relationship with Rose, who would visit him in prison for the first several years of her life. But after Boone and Bundy split in 1986, she took Rose, left the state of Florida, and the pair never reemerged publicly again.

Who Is Ted Bundy’s Daughter?

Almost nothing is known about Rose Bundy. She’s stayed out of the spotlight ever since Boone and Bundy split up in 1986 and her whereabouts today are unknown.

Years before Rose was born, Ted Bundy also helped raise Elizabeth Kloepfer’s daughter, Molly, who later spoke about her experience with the man she had no idea was a budding serial killer.

How Did Ted Bundy Get Caught?

After Ted Bundy was pulled over in 1975 — and a police officer saw the masks, handcuffs, and blunt objects in his trunk — Utah police put him under surveillance. When he sold his car, police found DNA evidence matching three of his victims. And when police put Bundy in a lineup, a woman who had escaped his attack positively identified him, landing him behind bars.

However, he pulled off two dramatic escapes from prison in Colorado in 1977 before fleeing to Florida. There, he killed a few more victims before he was caught for driving a stolen car on Feb. 12, 1978. And this time, Bundy wouldn’t escape.

Did Bundy Confess To His Crimes?

Throughout his many trials, Ted Bundy professed his innocence. However, once on death row, Bundy eventually confessed that he’d murdered 30 women and provided a wealth of chilling details. He hinted, however, that his body count could actually be much higher.

How Long Was Bundy On Death Row?

Ted Bundy was on death row in Florida for nine years, following his death sentence in early 1980. Although his initial execution date was set for March 4, 1986, it was postponed several times after courts issued stays based on minor technicalities with his murder trials — as well as last-minute confessions to further murders to try to buy more time.

Bundy’s last request for review was denied in 1988, and within hours a final execution date was set for January 24, 1989.

How Did Ted Bundy Die?

Death Of Ted Bundy

Bettmann/Getty ImagesFlorida State University’s Chi Phi fraternity celebrates the death of Ted Bundy with a large banner that says “Watch Ted Fry, See Ted Die!”

Following his multiple guilty verdicts in Florida, Ted Bundy was sentenced to death for the third and final time on Feb. 10, 1980. Finally, on Jan. 24, 1989, he was executed by electric chair at Florida State Prison. Outside the prison, crowds cheered Bundy’s death and set off fireworks.

When Did Ted Bundy Die?

Ted Bundy died at 7:16 a.m. on Jan. 24, 1989. His last words were: “I’d like to give my love to my family and friends.”

How Old Was Bundy When He Died?

Born November 24, 1946, Ted Bundy was 42 years old when he was executed.

What Was Ted Bundy’s Last Meal?

Although death row inmates are allowed to pick a last meal, Ted Bundy seemed indifferent to this privilege. He declined to choose and was thus given the default last meal menu in Florida of steak, eggs, hash browns, and toast. However, Bundy didn’t even eat any of it.

Who Was Ted Bundy

Bettmann/Getty ImagesA number of key details about who Ted Bundy was and what he did came out during his trial in 1980.

Where Is Bundy Buried?

Per his request, Ted Bundy was cremated. His ashes were spread in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains — the same place where he dumped many of his victims.

Does Ted Bundy Have Any Living Relatives?

Ted Bundy does have several living relatives. His daughter Rose is presumably still alive and believed to be 38 years old, though nothing is known publicly of her whereabouts. He also has three half-siblings who rarely speak publicly about him.

After learning all the most shocking Ted Bundy facts about who he was and what he did, discover how Bundy helped police catch serial killer Gary Ridgway. Or, peruse some of history’s most chilling quotes from serial killers.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
Adam Farley
Adam Farley is an Assistant Editor at All That's Interesting. He was previously content director of ShamrockGift.com and deputy editor of Irish America magazine. He holds an M.A. from New York University and a B.A. from the University of Washington.
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Cite This Article
Fraga, Kaleena. "Who Was Ted Bundy? Inside The Life Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killer." AllThatsInteresting.com, July 22, 2021, https://allthatsinteresting.com/who-is-ted-bundy. Accessed May 26, 2024.