Who Is Elizabeth Kloepfer? New Details About Serial Killer Ted Bundy's Girlfriend

Who Is Elizabeth Kloepfer? New Details About Serial Killer Ted Bundy's Girlfriend

It’s been 30 years since the notorious “Lady Killer” Ted Bundy was executed. Though he confessed to murdering 30 women, the exact total of his victims remains unknown. Many have made guesses that run as high as 100 victims, and when the FBI gave him a total tally of 36, he responded, “Add one digit to that, and you'll have it.”

What makes Bundy stand out from other serial killers was his charming demeanor. He would often approach his victims, feigning illness or disability, and lure them to a secluded location to murder them. And it was his good looks and this forced persona that made him so popular with the women he didn’t end up murdering. One of those women was Elizabeth Kloepfer, his on-and-off girlfriend for roughly 10 years.


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She’s managed to stay out of the spotlight in the years after Bundy’s trial, execution, and the numerous documentaries and movies made about his life and rampage. But who is Elizabeth Kloepfer? Here are nine details to know about Ted Bundy’s ex-girlfriend, her involvement in his murders, and her life today.

1. She was a divorcee at the time they met.

When they first got together, Kloepfer was a young divorcee with a three-year-old daughter. Her husband was a convicted felon, a fact she only realized until after they married. She divorced him and moved to Seattle, where she worked as a secretary at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and didn’t have many friends.

2. She wrote a book about her experiences.

In 1981, she published The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy, which detailed her relationship with the serial killer. She wrote it under the pseudonym Elizabeth Kendall, and though the memoir was about their turbulent bond, it was also about “love and vulnerability, not murder.”

3. They met in Seattle.

Bundy was in Washington in 1969, and the two eventually met at a bar. According to Kloepfer, her friend suggested one night that she hire a babysitter and go out for drinks. She was trying to get away from a creepy man in the bar when she saw Bundy sitting alone, and decided to approach him.

She said to him, “You look like your best friend just died” and the two started talking. She recalls there being instant chemistry, and he later spent the night at her house. She was also drawn to his interest in psychology and gave him her number, not expecting him to call. She would later find out that though Bundy called her often, he dated at least a dozen other women.

4. She gravitated to him because she was lonely.

Kloepfer was shy, lonely and insecure; she was a single mother who was struggling with alcoholism and desperately wanted to be loved, married, and find a father for her daughter, Tina.

“I handed Ted my life and said, ‘Here. Take care of me.’ He did in a lot of ways, but I became more and more dependent upon him. When I felt his love, I was on top of the world; when I felt nothing from Ted, I felt that I was nothing,” she said in her memoir.

Though Kloepfer eventually fell in love with him, Ann Rule, a close friend of Bundy who later became a true crime writer, said he may have only been interested in her for the money, as she would lend him cash. According to Rule, “Almost from the start, she [Kloepfer] wanted to marry him but understood when he told her that would have to be a long time in the future. He had much to accomplish first.”

But Bundy told a different story and claimed to love her. “I loved her so much. It was destabilizing,” he said. He also became a father figure to her daughter, and the two would frequently go on outings together. They never moved in together, but he was devoted to her… at least, sometimes.

Bundy also claimed he couldn’t open up with her completely for various reasons: “Don’t know what I was hiding. Maybe I was just trying to preserve the Ted Bundy devil-may-care attractive bachelor image. I was terribly jealous of her. I used to agonize about losing her. I used to just torture myself.”


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5. But their relationship was turbulent.

According to Kloepfer, Bundy’s feelings towards her were “strong but inconsistent.” In her memoir, she wrote, "We would be getting along fine and then a door would slam and I would be out in the cold until Ted was ready to let me back in. I’d spend hours trying to figure out what I had done or said that was wrong. And then, suddenly, he would be warm and loving again and I would feel needed and cared for.”

They almost got married, too. In 1970, she told him she wanted to call him her husband instead of her boyfriend. The two went down to the courthouse and got a marriage license. When her conservative parents came to visit a few days later, she asked him to move his stuff out of her apartment, which angered Ted. He tore up the license and said, “If you’re that hung up on what your parents think, then you’re not ready to get married.”

6. She eventually became suspicious of him.

In 1974, after news reports surfaced of women disappearing in the area, and the name “Ted” was mentioned by witnesses, Kloepfer became suspicious, but she was reluctant to believe her boyfriend could be a suspect. She asked him about some strange behaviors, like having a meat cleaver in his desk or driving hundreds of miles to Colorado one night, but he used his wit to explain himself.

When police released a sketch of “Ted,” she admitted it looked like Bundy, but didn’t want to go to the police. She eventually did contact authorities and said, “I’m concerned about my boyfriend named Ted Bundy, whom you should look at.” She also revealed that Bundy told her he followed people late at night. In addition, she found a bag of women’s underwear and a bowl of house keys, as well as plaster and bandages, and a knife in his car.

The information she provided eventually helped authorities charge Bundy with the murders.

7. He tried to kill her at one point.

At one point, he attempted to murder Kloepfer. He closed the fireplace damper so smoke couldn’t exit through the chimney; he placed a towel in the door crack so the smoke would remain in the apartment.

Kloepfer recalled that night, saying, “I remembered that night well. My eyes were running and I was coughing. I jumped out of bed and threw open the nearest window and stuck my head out. After I had recovered some, I opened all the windows and the doors and broke up the fire the best I could. I had gotten on Ted the next day for not coming back with the fan.”

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8. The two kept in touch while he was in jail.

Bundy was also notorious for escaping jail twice while in custody, and in 1978, he was arrested in Florida for driving a stolen vehicle. He was on the 10 Most Wanted list at the time of this arrest, and though he initially refused to reveal his name, he agreed to identify himself… if he could call Kloepfer. He later recalled he needed somebody to talk to.

Kloepfer described the phone call as one in which “he repeated over and over again that this was really going to be bad when it broke,” referring to media coverage of him. “I asked him if he was referring to the murders of some sorority girls in Florida, and he said he wouldn’t talk about it.” He then told her he wished he could speak to her without people listening to he could explain why he was this way. She then asked him if he was sick, to which he told her to “back off.”

In another phone call, he revealed to her that he was “sick” and “consumed by something that he couldn't understand.” “He spent so much time trying to maintain a normal life and he just couldn’t do it. He said that he was preoccupied with this force,” Kloepfer said. He also wrote her love letters from jail, which sucked her right back in. “Ted's letters made me feel loved,” she recalled.

They eventually parted ways, permanently this time, and in 1980, he married Carole Ann Boone, a woman he previously dated. During the penalty phase of his murder trial, he asked Boone to marry him, and they later had a daughter, Rose, in 1982.

9. She struggled to come to terms with reality.

After they ended their relationship and she began to deal with the fact that Bundy was a serial killer, she battled alcoholism and struggled to become close to other people.

She did, however, rely heavily on her faith to get through. “My spiritual growth is extremely important to me now. I try to live my life according to God’s will. I pray for Ted, but I am sickened by him. The tragedy is that this warm and loving man is driven to kill,” she said.


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Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.