A Michigan-born woman worked right alongside serial killer Ted Bundy in the early 1970s...little did she realize or suspect the terrible murders this man would later commit.

Some of you are already familiar with this lady: author Ann Rule, who wrote the novel The Stranger Beside Me about working alongside Bundy at a suicide crisis hotline. Ann Rule was born Ann Rae Stackhouse, October 22, 1931, in the Michigan small town of Lowell in Kent County. Her grandfather and uncle were Michigan sheriffs and even though she ended up in a Pennsylvania high school, she came to Michigan during summers to spend time with her grandparents, and even helped out at the jailhouse.

The early 70s found her in Seattle, Washington. She had joined – and quit – the police force, became a crime reporter, and helped out a couple of times a week at the suicide hotline.

In The Stranger Beside Me she wrote about Bundy, “I liked him immediately.....It would have been hard not to. He brought me a cup of coffee”.

Here he was – convincing people not to commit suicide and then committing murder at least once a month. According to the Washington Post, it was reported that Bundy didn't stop at just murder. He would save his victim's corpses and have sex with them until the bodies got too badly decomposed to continue. He killed eight girls in Seattle while continuing to work at the suicide hotline with Ann. In 1974 he quit and moved to Salt Lake City where he killed four more. From there, on to Colorado in 1975 and the killing of four more girls.

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Being a crime reporter, Ann began following the exploits of this unknown serial killer, not realizing it was the man she had worked alongside and had a crush on. Witnesses started reporting descriptions of this killer and even found out the name: “Ted”. Enough descriptions came in that finally made Ann suspicious about her friend and former workmate. She tipped off an officer the suspect may be Bundy.

With the police not immediately following up on her suspicion, Ann remained Bundy's friend. Why remain his friend? She wrote:  “I had no knowledge at all beyond the few innuendoes I’d read in the papers”.

While Bundy was in Colorado, police nabbed him; but he escaped and fled to Tallahassee, Florida, where he proceeded to kill two more. On to Pensacola and another murder. A prosecutor later attempted an explanation of this behavior: ”He killed for the sheer thrill of the act and the challenge of escaping his pursuers.”

Ann had already started writing a book about the unsolved murders, not even knowing for sure it was her old friend. As her suspicions kept growing, she said to Bundy in 1976, “I cannot be completely convinced of your innocence”. After that, the next time she saw him he was behind bars, jailed for kidnapping but no murder rap yet.

Bundy escaped jail twice, killing more women while he was out. After getting arrested in Florida, and the murders were pinned on Bundy, Ann hoped to help him by getting the courts to confine him to a mental hospital. They refused, and in 1979 sentenced him to death by electrocution.

He was executed in 1989.

In 1999 after knowing more details surrounding Ted's crimes, Ann found herself less sympathetic to her old friend. She wrote, “People like Ted can fool you completely.....his mask was perfect.....you can never be really sure.....I would not have stopped (his execution) if I could. He was going to get out, and he would have killed again and again and again”.

Ann Rule – born in and formerly from Lowell, Michigan - passed away on July 26, 2015.

This is only a brief telling.
Read a lot more detail about this story at washingtonpost.com.

Bundy had confessed to around 30 murders, and possibly seven more between 1973-1975. Some authorities believe it was closer to 100.

As for the amount of women Bundy murdered - 30 and possibly more – Ann said she could understand why women were attracted to him. He was charming, extremely handsome, and a hell of a good actor, hiding his murderous desires & acts under a blanket of charismatic innocence. Ann commented on his sexual appeal: “As far as his appeal to women, I can remember thinking that if I were younger and single or if my daughters were older, this would be almost the perfect man”.

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