A Ted Bundy victim who survived tells the chilling story of how he tried to murder her
During the 1970s, Theodore 'Ted' Bundy went on a killing spree that ended the lives of at least 30 female victims - one of whom was just a child. He was arrested multiple times for his crimes, but twice managed to escape from jail and continue his rampage. Finally, in 1978, he was recaptured, and eventually faced the death penalty for three of the slayings in 1989.
Even so, his notoriety has lived on, and now, thanks to a Netflix documentary and an upcoming film starring Zac Efron, interest in the serial killer has spiked again. Unfortunately, this has not been easy to deal with for the families of the women Bundy killed, nor for the few victims who were fortunate enough to survive their ordeals at his hand.
Kathy Kleiner is one of these victims. When she was 20 years old, Bundy broke into her sorority house at Florida State University. He killed two of her roommates, and attempted to murder one other - but both Kleiner and her friend, Karen Chandler, survived the ordeal.
It's been more than 41 years since that night, yet Kleiner still remembers it vividly.
According to Kleiner, who was just 20 at the time of the attack, she had slept through the murder of her sorority sisters, and was only awoken when Bundy fell over a trunk in the room she shared with Chandler.
"I remember the noise of the trip and something falling off the trunk, and that woke me up," she told Rolling Stone in a recent interview.
"The room was dark, and I didn’t have my glasses on, but I remember seeing a black mass. I couldn’t even see that it was a person. I saw the club, saw him lift it over his head, and slam it on me.
"The first time, it didn’t hurt. It was pressure, like someone pressing on your arm. And then he hit me again. And I think that’s where he hit me in the face and broke my jaw in three places and I passed out. But that’s what I remember the most: him lifting the club and bringing it down on me."
Bundy almost certainly would have killed Kleiner and Chandler, but the young women were saved when another member of the sorority, Nina Neary, pulled up outside in her boyfriend's car. The headlamps shone through the women's room (the curtains were never drawn), startling Bundy and prompting him to flee the scene.
"I saw the light, it was like God’s light," said Kleiner. "I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, something cleared the room.’"
Neary then saw Bundy make his escape, and was the only eye-witness to ever testify against him in a murder trial.
It took several months for Kleiner to heal from her physical injuries but, after a week, she was permitted to leave the hospital and return to the scene of the attack in order to assist police with any additional information she could provide. Her room had not been cleared up in that time, and looked every bit like a TV-style murder scene.
"There was blood splattered all over the wall. All over," she recalled. "And my green and white bedspread was covered. My beautiful bedspread I had just gotten a few weeks earlier, that my mom and I had spent so much time picking out. The blood was everywhere. Everywhere. On the walls, and everything. That really stays in my mind. I can see it right now."
For a long time, Kleiner was unable to talk about what happened, but she is in a better place now. She even plans to see the new Zac Efron movie when it comes out. "Hopefully they’ll have one of the Kardashians play me," she joked.
Now in her sixties, Kleiner knows how lucky she was to have survived that night. Only a handful of others can say the same about their encounters with Bundy: a man who will go down in history as being one of the most evil individuals to have ever lived.