Today Amazon released their docuseries Ted Bundy: Falling For a Killer. While Bundy has had a resurgence in the public eye during the past couple of years, this series has chosen to focus from a new lens. Now the women impacted by the serial killer are speaking out.
It has taken many of these women years, even decades to come forward with their experiences. They argue their stories are overlooked for the story of the “hero” of the narrative; they are tired of Ted Bundy being glorified.
Not many of Bundy’s victims escaped, but in their absence their families and friends are speaking for them, many for the first time. The docuseries sheds light on these women in ways that past documentaries, articles, and books have not. They are not just names or pictures. They are daughters, sisters, friends, classmates. These women are finally being given a voice in over four decades.
The 1970s for Women
The docuseries recalls how the early 1970s was a powder keg of sexual liberation and revolutionary changes for women. Women wanted equality of opportunity and to have control over their own bodies, sex, and fertility. No more did they want to settle with the idea of being seen as sexual objects; and ths made many men mad.
Not only was this seen on college campuses with newly established clubs, classes on women’s studies, and rallies, but in the media as well. Television shows as as Mary Tyler Moore and That Girl displayed independent women living independent lives.
Elizabeth and Molly Kendall
The two women who dominate the narration in part one are Elizabeth “Liz” Kendall and her daughter Molly. The mother and daughter had previously spent years eluding the circus following Ted Bundy, but no longer are keeping their silence.
Liz recalls first meeting the charming young man at a night club where he asked her to dance. Following conversation she asked for a ride home from the handsome stranger who said his name was Ted. She asked him to spend the night, but not in a sexual nature. The two spent the night asleep on her bed, clothed, on top of the sheets.
The next morning Kendall was surprised to awake and find Bundy had awoken early, roused her daughter from bed in the living room, and was in the kitchen making breakfast. This is the furthest image from the monster associated with the name. From that day forward Bundy had settled into their family of two.
The Kendalls and Ted
In part one of the docuseries the two describe their initial meeting with Bundy. They examine their initial impressions, experiences, and their first four years together. Liz moved to Seattle with the hopes of working for the University of Washington. She wanted to start a new life for both herself and 3 year old daughter with the eventual goal of meeting Mr. Right. Little did she know that who she met would be anything but that.
During those first years Liz and Molly account how the blue eyed boyfriend and aspiring step father intertwined himself into their family. Bundy would play with Molly and the neighborhood kids. The impromptu family of three would invite Bundy’s 12 year old brother on outings.
The first episode documents this with so many pictures of what displays happy times, colorful memories, and smiling faces that you forget you’re watching a show about a serial killer. It is an insight into Bundy’s life that is shockingly juxtaposed to the blood and carnage he is infamous for.
Tides Begin to Change
Kendall doted on the young Bundy and felt she was in a very loving relationship. However, as the years continued red flags slowly began to become apparent. Around two and a half years into the relationship, roughly a year and a half before the reported first murder, one of the first flags went up. Bundy would brag to Liz about stealing.
It is a well known fact Bundy was a kleptomaniac. Many of the personal objects Bundy acquired throughout his life were stolen, and he enjoyed telling her about these accomplishments. Not just proud, but brazenly bragged.
At the time Bundy also worked for a Republican party. One of his tasks was to tail the opponent in different disguises and gather information. He would take pride in being anonymous and never recognized. This is when Bundy realized the value and power of being a chameleon, which he used later during his life of murder.
The Murders Begin
According to most accounts, on January 4, 1974 Bundy committed his first murder in the University District. Karen Epley never met Bundy before he broke into her room and brutally assaulted her. Her graphic injuries resulted in a torn bladder, brain damage, as well as both hearing and vision loss.
While recounting her experience, Epley explains this is the first time she has ever spoken of the event. She wanted to have privacy and to move on in life. However, she also admitted there was an air of keeping the secrets of perpetrators and their crimes. This same sense of “protecting the perpetrator” is still alive today, which is why many sexual assault victims still do not step forward to report crimes.
4 weeks later
Just a month later on January 31, Bundy struck again. This crime had many similarities to the attack on Epley, but victim Linda Healy did not survive. Healy’s account is told by her roommates and family who carry on her voice and story.
Healy was living in a house of girls when her room was broken into and she was beaten and abducted from her room. It was not made clear if she was deceased or not when she was removed from her residence. However, it was explained that Bundy made up her bed to cover the blood on the mattress, removed her bloody nightgown to store in the closet, and dressed her in clean clothes before taking her from the home.
Changes in Bundy
At this time it was apparent to Kendall there were more changes occurring in Ted. One of the more noticeable differences was that Bundy would disappear for days at a time. They also engaged in more verbal fights, which he remained disturbingly calm during.
Daughter Molly also remembers these times. She recalls not seeing Bundy around as much, as well as less family related activities between the three. Liz took this personally and began to drink. Little did she know that his personality changes, physical absence from her life, and erratic mood swings had noting to do with her. This was the beginning of Bundy’s era of killing.