Image Source: Getty / Bettmann
Of all the true crime stories that have captured the public's attention recently, few are as twisted and infamous as Ted Bundy. The serial killer of the 1970s has been the subject of several new pieces of media, with a feature film starring Zac Efron on the horizon later this year. Bundy was known for using his charm to gain the trust of the young women he later brutally assaulted and murdered, but there was one woman he was close to but never attacked: Carole Ann Boone, the woman who actually married him.
Unlike many of the women Bundy charmed, only to turn on them and attack them, Boone (played by Kaya Scodelario in the upcoming Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile) seemed to be a true ally to Bundy. The couple apparently met during the time Bundy was in Olympia, WA, in the earlier days of his crime spree. She worked for the state's Department of Emergency Services, where Bundy also worked in 1974. At the time, the pair dated, but their relationship fizzled out and he moved on, dating Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins) and eventually moving to Utah later in 1974, leaving behind his Washington acquaintances.
Boone reappeared in Bundy's life in 1979, while he was on trial in Florida for the kidnapping and murder of Kimberly Leach. Bundy was his own legal representation, and he called Boone to the stand as his sole witness — not of anything pertaining to the crime itself, but as a character witness. She reportedly believed Bundy was innocent or was being set up for the Leach crime and the Chi Omega sorority murders and spoke to his innocence multiple times. She's seen, for instance, in archival footage in Netflix's Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, insisting on his innocence.
"Let me put it this way, I don't think that Ted belongs in jail," she claims in the footage. "I don't think they had reason to charge Ted Bundy with murder."
During the Leach trial, Boone was placed on the stand as Bundy's character witness. She can be seen in archival footage describing Bundy as "kind, warm, and patient," among other positive descriptions. It was at this time that Bundy made another odd, theatrical move: he proposed to Boone then and there in the courtroom, then declared to the room that they were legally married. You can see the actual footage in this clip:
According to Ann Rule's book about the Bundy saga, The Stranger Beside Me, Bundy and Boone's "marriage" took advantage of a loophole in Florida law that stated "a public declaration, properly phrased, in an open courtroom in the presence of court officers would make the [marriage] ceremony legal." The motivations behind the proposal and technical marriage were unclear, and it probably was just one more inexplicable, bizarre action of Bundy's. Bundy was, again, convicted and returned to death row to await his execution.
Now recognised as legally married, Boone visited Bundy during his time in prison. At the time, conjugal visits were not allowed, but somehow, Boone and Bundy were able to consummate their marriage, and Boone became pregnant in early 1981. When she gave birth in October of that year, she named her daughter Rose and named Bundy as the father.
In 1986, however, Boone was apparently done with her connection to Bundy. She divorced him and moved out of state, taking her children (including their daughter, Rose) with her and disappearing from the public eye; Bundy was executed in 1989. Although she's mentioned in many of the stories and documentaries about Bundy, no one has heard of her whereabouts in decades. Both Netflix's Conversations With a Killer and the upcoming feature film feature Boone as part of Bundy's story.