For the majority of time after serial killer Ted Bundy’s crimes were eventually discovered, the focus of the story tended to skew towards Bundy’s biography and psychology. But in 2020, the Amazon original documentary "Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer" focused on the women most affected by Bundy’s reign of terror. Most notably, the stories of Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall (nee Kloepfer), as well as her daughter Molly, who grew up with Bundy as a father figure, were at the center of the series. Both women appeared alongside female reporters, police officers, survivors, and those connected to Bundy’s 36 victims. In the doc, their accounts are woven into the larger contextual tapestry of the feminist movement in the 1970s and how the patriarchy played a major role in enabling Bundy to get away with everything for so long.
While she did not appear on camera herself, included in the line up of women central to the Bundy mythos was Carole Ann Boone, who wed Bundy in 1980 after Kendall, for the most part, cut off contact with him. It’s understandable why Boone did not appear in the docuseries to share her own take on the matter: the Bundy advocate and one-time spouse has fallen off the radar. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.) But a bevvy of archived footage allowed "Falling for a Killer" to include Boone’s experience, along with first-person interviews with people who knew her personally.
Carole Ann Boone knew Ted Bundy years before his many arrests
As outlined in documentaries like "Falling for a Killer" and fictive films like "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" starring Zac Efron and Lily Collins, Ted Bundy and his eventual wife, Carole Ann Boone, first met in 1974, when both of them were employed by the Department of Emergency Services in Olympia, Washington.
Per Film Daily, Bundy disclosed that he had been interested in dating Boone after their initial meeting, but had been turned down by Boone at the time. To wit, he was already involved with Elizabeth Kendall in 1974, and had already begun to attack and murder women at that time. (According to Film Daily, he and Boone participated in the search of one of Bundy’s own victims.) Boone herself was also embroiled in an affair with a married man that year, and was getting by as a single mother to a son following her own divorce shortly before.
In the 1983 true crime book "The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy" by journalists Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth, Boone recounted her first thoughts upon meeting Bundy (via Film Daily). According to Boone, she "liked Ted [Bundy] immediately," who "struck me as being a rather shy person with a lot more going on under the surface," an observation that would later prove to me more true — and more horrifying — than she could ever realize.
Carole Ann Boone moved across the country to be with Ted Bundy during his trial
Though Carole Ann Boone met Ted Bundy and eventually fell out of touch, the pair reunited three years later in 1977. At the time, Bundy was incarcerated in Utah (via Refinery 29). Following Bundy’s lead, Boone perceived his imprisonment to be a miscarriage of justice — a position she would hold for years to come, even after Bundy’s much-publicized first escape from his Utah cell in June 1977. (He managed to evade capture for six days before he was located near Aspen and returned to custody.) As Rolling Stone reported in 2014, it’s been speculated that the second prison break, which took place in Colorado more than six months later, could have been aided and abetted by Boone herself.
Whether or not this is the case, both Boone and Bundy were on the brink of a romantic and sexual relationship by the time Bundy was apprehended in Florida in 1978, where he committed the last of his heinous crimes at the Chi Omega sorority house, murdering college students Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy, as well as injuring several others. He then later abducted a 12-year-old Kimberly Leach before his capture. As "Falling for a Killer" covered, per Refinery 29, Boone could be seen in the courthouse every day during Bundy’s later trial for his Florida killings, moving permanently to the state to do so.
Carole Ann Boone became an anti-death penalty activist
During Ted Bundy’s trial, then-girlfriend Carole Ann Boone (portrayed above by Kaya Scodelario in "Extremely Wicked") frequently made comments to the press about how she virulently believed in his innocence. According to an article by Women’s Health about the relationship between the convicted serial killer and Boone, the producer and director of "Falling for a Killer," Trish Wood, said that her profession of such to the media was anything but performative. "[Boone] absolutely believed he was innocent," Wood explained to the publication.
Per Wood, Boone was not alone: "There were so many people [at the time of Bundy’s trial] who thought he was innocent and being railroaded … so Carole Boone was surrounded by people who fed her idea that he was innocent, and you know, when you’re in love, you want to be fed that."
After Bundy’s conviction in 1979, for which he was sentenced to death, Boone continued to proclaim his innocence. As Oxygen noted in their own piece on Boone, her belief in Bundy and her support in appealing his death sentence spurred her to join an activist group in Gainesville which fought against capital punishment overall. According to Wood, "she was supported by people in the anti-death movement in Florida as well, so, you know, she was obviously in some kind of denial about it, but she certainly had support" when it came to his guilt.
Carole Ann Boone married Ted Bundy and gave birth to his child
By the time Ted Bundy was sentenced to death, it seemed almost inevitable that Carole Ann Boone would stand by him — especially considering their famous nuptials, which occurred in the middle of Bundy’s murder trial for the homicide of Kimberly Leach. (At that point, Bundy had already been found guilty and sentenced to death for the Chi Omega murders.) The televised moment was conducted by Bundy exploiting a loophole in Florida law, which allowed him to legally wed Boone during her testimony as a character witness for the defense (or rather, Bundy). It was also a defense which Bundy famously led himself as a former law student, though notably, he completed well below the requisite requirements and semesters for a JD degree.
Despite the constrictions of Bundy’s placement on death row, the nationally viewed courtroom marriage seemed to obviate other traditional markers of a union of this kind — like, for instance, having children. Bundy managed to impregnate Boone during his incarceration, per Women’s Health, due to a laissez-faire attitude on behalf of on-shift guards. This resulted in the birth of a daughter, Rose, though Boone and Bundy’s only child was thankfully kept away from her father in due course after Boone realized the full extent of Bundy’s manipulative, sociopathic, and incomprehensible nature.
What happened to Carole Ann Boone remains a mystery
While Carole Ann Boone dedicated years to her life proclaiming Ted Bundy’s innocence and fighting against his placement on Florida’s death row before his execution in January 1989, the woman who was once known as Bundy’s greatest advocate realized on her own that Bundy, in the end, was exactly who the prosecution had portrayed him to be. Per Women’s Health, Boone divorced Bundy nearly four years before his death, after the serial killer began confessing to law officials his crimes in an attempt to stave off his execution date. His attempts were ultimately futile.
What Boone’s life looked like after Bundy’s execution, however, remains unclear. According to All Things Interesting, theories posited by a legion of web-sleuths on what became of Boone range from changing her name to remarry and live the rest of her (current) life in anonymity, to Boone’s possible death in 2018 due to sepsis. (Film Daily wrote that the latter, while not entirely substantiated, seems to be the answer a majority of people accept.)
And for those wondering what happened to Rose, the conclusion is also miasmic. An updated 2018 version of Ann Rule’s seminal true crime memoir "The Stranger Beside Me" stated that her daughter ended up as "a kind and intelligent young woman," though she had no further knowledge regarding neither Boone’s nor Rose’s lives, respectively, and did not wish to pursue it; per Rule, they had both "been through enough pain."