Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Only Living Witness: The True Story Of Ted Bundy

The Story Page 15

Marjorie Russell (a pseudonym) was a coed at the University of Washington. A lissome beauty nearly six feet tall, she was wealthy, poised, and worldly. Marjorie was from a class into which Ted previously had enjoyed only upward glimpses. Moreover, she knew what she wanted out of life. She was, in short, everything that Ted Bundy was not and wished to become. He showed her off like a possession to his old friends.

Warren Dodge was impressed. "I was kind of surprised that Ted had some­thing like her with him," Dodge remembered. He soon took her home to meet his mother. "She was very nice," said Louise. "At that time, Ted was very serious about her."

At twenty years of age, Bundy was no more sexually advanced than he'd been in high school when the other boys' talk had gone over his head. Certainly any lust he felt toward Marjorie at this juncture was well hidden. They spent nights together, but he did not make any sexual advances. Ted was content to be boyish and charming, as if introducing carnality to the relationship would somehow taint it.

The summer following his sophomore year he spent down amidst the gum trees and palms and tiled roofs of Stanford University, where he was enrolled in an intensive Chinese language program. He had gone to Stanford mainly to please and impress Marjorie, but it was a mistake.

He was accustomed to being alone, but he was not ready to be alone away from home. Ted missed familiar things. Quickly, he fell behind the other students, and that made it all the harder for him to socialize with them. And there was Marjorie. "I found myself thinking about standards of success that I just didn't seem to be living up to," he told me.

At Stanford, Ted's immaturity was exposed, a particularly hateful experience for him because he had now failed in the one arena the classroom that had always been his refuge.

Then Marjorie dropped him. As she later told investigators, what had been his winning boyishness now struck her as puerility. She wearied of his fawning attitude and she was tired of his games. Ted would often sneak up behind her, tap her on her shoulder, and then vanish. That annoyed her. She advised him to grow up.

Ted's brother Glenn recalled that Marjorie "screwed him up for a while. He came home and seemed pretty upset and moody. I'd never seen him like that before. He was always in charge of his emotions." Louise Bundy remembered something similar. "As I understand it, she told him she couldn't wait around for Ted to have it made. If she found somebody else, she'd go that way. He was pretty hurt by that."

Ted did not understand what had happened to him, why the mask he had been using had failed him. This first tentative foray into the sophisticated world had ended in disaster. It would usher in another period of isolation in which he would brood on his situation, keeping to himself until a better, more workable mask could be fashioned. The rest of 1967 was, as he remembered, "absolutely the pits for me the lowest time ever."

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