When you think about Ted Bundy (which hopefully isn’t often because…yeah), you probably don’t think about his family life or his parenting skills. But in addition to being a father figure to his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer’s daughter, Ted also fathered a child while he was on death row. His daughter, Rose, was born in 1981 and her life is basically one giant mystery. But in the interest of curiosity (we get it, you’re obsessed with Zac Efron’s new Netflix movie and are in the midst of an internet deep-dive), here’s what we do know:
First, a little about Rose’s mom
Ted met Carole Ann Boone during the height of his murder career in 1974, when they were both working at the Washington State Department of Emergency Service. And get this: He was actually helping to search for several missing women…whom he’d killed. Woof.
“I liked Ted immediately. We hit it off well,” Carole recalled, according to The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy. “He struck me as being a rather shy person with a lot more going on under the surface than what was on the surface. He certainly was more dignified and restrained than the more certifiable types around the office.”
The pair started dating (while Ted was technically still in a relationship with Elizabeth Kloepfer), and Carole seemed relatively unbothered when he was, ya know, arrested for potential murder. In fact, she regularly visited him in jail and gave him cash, which helped him plan one of his escapes.
Carole moved to Florida to be closer to Ted during his trial in 1979 and testified on his behalf as a character witness. At which point—like, literally, at that very moment—he casually asked her to marry him and declared that they were legally wed thanks to a weird Florida law. Of freakin’ course.
Anyway, Carole gave birth to their daughter, Rose, in October 1981, despite the fact that conjugal visits were not allowed in Ted’s prison. Guess that rule wasn’t anything some casual sneaking around couldn’t fix! “After the first day, they just, they didn’t care,” Carole said of Ted’s prison guards in a taped recording used in Netflix’s docu-series Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. “They walked in on us a couple of times.”
Right now, you’re probably wondering WTF Carole was thinking, but all I can say is that it seems like she genuinely believed in Ted’s innocence. When he finally confessed before he was executed, she felt “deeply betrayed,” refused to take his call on the day of his capital punishment, and moved back to Washington state with her daughter. “She was hurt by his relationship with Diana [Weiner],” Ted’s lawyer Polly Nelson wrote in Defending the Devil: My Story as Ted Bundy’s Last Lawyer, “and devastated by his sudden wholesale confessions in his last days.” Side note: Diana Weiner, who I just mentioned a second ago, was another one of Ted’s lawyers, and there’s been some speculation that their relationship took a turn for the romantic.
So, where is Rose today?
Out of the public eye, that’s where. At the age of 37 and allegedly using a pseudonym, Rose, understandably, doesn’t want her serial killer father’s shadow to haunt her forever.
According to the author Ann Rule, who volunteered with Ted at a suicide crisis hotline center and wrote The Stranger Beside Me, Rose is living away from the spotlight but doing well: “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. They have been through enough pain.”
She added to this sentiment on her official website, writing, “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.”
FYI, there’s speculation about who Rose is and where she’s living floating around some truly sketchy message boards, but since she’s clearly trying very hard to stay private, we won’t be linking to them here. As you were!