Whatever happened to Ted Bundy’s daughter?
Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile has dragged the sordid tale of Ted Bundy back into the spotlight. Though most people recognize the prolific serial killer for his crimes — slaughtering 20 women by his own admission or 40 by law enforcement estimates — the Zac Efron-led flick focuses on Bundy’s relationships, while leaving a significant loose end.
In the film, we discover that Bundy’s fiancé, Carole Ann Boone, becomes pregnant after an intimate moment during prison visiting hours (of course, it didn’t quite play out like that in real life). This child is never mentioned again, barring a forlorn look and tummy grab from the serial killer’s paramour (portrayed by actress Kaya Scodelario) after Bundy is sentenced to death. The baby’s story seems like an afterthought. Whatever happened to this child, Rose Bundy, in real life? Her journey is somewhat of a mystery, but here’s what we know.
Rose was conceived while Bundy was in prison
Rose Bundy was conceived while Ted Bundy was in prison — which is interesting considering conjugal visits reportedly weren’t allowed. In the Netflix docu-series Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (via Cosmopolitan), fiancé Carole Ann Boone reveals that the prison guards didn’t really care much about the couple’s prison romps. The aforementioned Netflix film depicts the conception as a steamy rendez-vous behind a vending machine — très romantique. “After the first day, they just, they didn’t care,” Boone admitted (via Cosmopolitan). “They walked in on us a couple of times.”
To make things even more scandalous (as if bedding an incarcerated serial killer isn’t interesting enough), Boone reportedly started getting intimate with Bundy when he was still technically with his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. According to Cosmopolitan, there’s also a longstanding rumor that Boone helped him break out of prison during one of his infamous escapes, but who really knows?
Rose’s mother divorced Bundy in 1986
According to The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, Carole Ann Boone was “determined” to marry Ted Bundy even though she expected him to be convicted (and sentenced to death). She reportedly “meticulously” researched how she could possibly tie the knot with her serial killer beau while he stood trial in Florida and found a loophole that allowed a marriage to be legal as long as a properly phrased public declaration was made “in an open courtroom in the presence of court officers.” The pair reportedly made it official when Boone took the stand to defend Bundy on Feb. 9, 1980.
If you’re wondering how Boone justified marrying this man, it’s because she truly believed he was innocent, according to The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy. The mother-of-two would regularly lament about how the press twisted Bundy’s story into something far more sinister than it actually was. Of course, the truth does eventually come out, and E! News (via Newsweek) reported that Boone felt “betrayed” and “shocked” by Bundy’s confessions. She divorced him in 1986 and reportedly denied his last phone call in 1989, before he was executed.
Rose has a half-brother
Rose Bundy isn’t Carole Ann Boone’s only child. She also has a son named James from a previous marriage. According to The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy, part of what made Boone so vulnerable to Ted Bundy’s charms was Boone’s life circumstances when she met the serial killer at work (Yep, the pair were co-workers). Her beloved uncle had just passed away, and Boone had recently divorced her second husband. She was reportedly in a “messy affair with a ‘large, unpleasant man'” (though, there’s probably no way he was more unpleasant than an actual murderer) and was raising James on her own. Basically, it was a perfect recipe for vulnerability — especially because Bundy was reportedly sensitive to Boone’s emotional issues.
Though we don’t know if James was ever around Ted Bundy as a child, we do know he visited the serial killer. According to People, James became a Methodist minister and visited his former stepfather the day before his execution. Today, it’s unclear where James is, if he has a relationship with his half-sister, or if he’s hiding behind a pseudonym isolated from his family entirely.
The mother-daughter duo likely relocated
According to The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy, Carole Ann Boone met Ted Bundy while they were working at the Washington State Department of Emergency Services in the mid ’70s. E! News reported that the single mother visited him in Utah, where he was eventually arrested, then moved to Florida so she could be closer to him during his trial. Eventually, everything would come full circle for the mother-of-two and her and Bundy’s daughter, Rose
According to A&E, Boone and Rose moved back to Washington after Ted confessed to killing 20 women, but there’s still a lot of speculation and conspiracy theories about what happened to the mother-daughter duo. The Life on Death Row message boards, a veritable breeding ground of serial killer conspiracy theories, claim Rose’s mother might have changed her name and moved the family to Oklahoma. Others say she married again, which could mean that Rose had a father figure in her life who isn’t a mass murderer.
Rose may have never met her father
Depending on the source, Rose Bundy was either born in 1981 or 1982. This puts her at about 4 or 5 years old at the time of her parents’ divorce and 7 or 8 years old at the time of her father’s execution. It’s unclear how much Rose knew about her father at the time. How do you explain to a child that her dad is a serial killer who’s about to pay a visit to the electric chair?
Rose certainly never knew her dad outside of a prison because he was never on the outside during her lifetime. In fact, she may not have known about her father at all until she was much, much older. According to The Sun, Rose may not have had any contact with Ted Bundy at all, especially because her mother reportedly didn’t visit Ted in prison in the couple of years leading up to his death (though there are some unverified photos of the trio floating around online).
Rose is apparently doing pretty well
Despite her potentially traumatic beginnings, it seems like Rose Bundy is actually doing well in adulthood, at least according to Ann Rule, who wrote the book The Stranger Beside Me: The Shocking Inside Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy and worked alongside the serial killer at a suicide hotline. According to Newsweek, the writer updated a 2008 edition of the book to divulge everything she knows about Rose’s well-being — which isn’t a whole lot. “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,” Rule wrote (via Newsweek). “They have been through enough pain.” On Rule’s website, the writer added: “All I know is that Ted’s daughter has grown up to be a fine young woman.”
It’s clear that Rose is obviously out of the public eye and living some sort of normal life, somewhere. As of 2019, she was thought to be 37 years old. It’s not clear if she has a family or kids of her own.
Rose is thought to have changed her name
No one knows exactly where Rose Bundy and Carole Ann Boone are currently residing. What we do know is that Rose is probably using a pseudonym to avoid living in the shadow of one of the most dangerous criminals to ever make the FBI’s most-wanted list. According to The Sun, both Boone and Rose changed their names.
One of the main reasons we don’t know more about Rose (besides the fact that it seems like she intentionally avoided the press) is because Ann Rule, who wrote one of the most in-depth novels about Ted Bundy’s life, left the family alone completely — both for their well-being and her own. “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,” she wrote on her website.