Diane Edwards was Ted Bundy’s first serious girlfriend, and she bore a striking and eerie resemblance to some of the pretty brunette women that he later murdered. Sometimes, Diane Edwards has been referred to by the pseudonym Stephanie Brooks or is called Marjorie.
Her full name was Diane Marjorie Jean Edwards, and she was from Burlingame, California.
Bundy’s relationship with Edwards – which deeply affected him – is discussed in Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, the Netflix documentary. In the tapes, Bundy described Diane Edwards. Bundy was later in a long-term relationship with a woman named Elizabeth Kloepfer. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, the new Zac Efron movie about Bundy, is told from Kloepfer’s point-of-view. They dated for 10 years. Bundy would also marry a woman named Carole Ann Boone, with whom he had a daughter named Rose while he was incarcerated.
His relationship with Diane was shorter but perhaps even more impactful on his future behavior. By 1974, Bundy had launched into one of the country’s most notorious murder sprees, ultimately slaying at least 30 women (some believe the death toll exceeds 100).
Here’s what you need to know about Diane Edwards and Ted Bundy:
Bundy Said His Relationship With Diane Had a ‘Lasting Impact on Me’
In the tapes that were played on the Netflix show, Bundy admitted: “The relationship I had with Diane had a lasting impact on me.”
He also explained what drew him to Diane. “Mumbled sweet nothings into each others’ ears and told each other how much we loved each other,” he said at one point. “She’s a beautiful dresser, beautiful girl. Very personable. Nice car, great parents. So you know, for the first-time girlfriend, really that was not too bad.”
Ann Rule, in her 1980 book about Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me: The True Crime Story of Ted Bundy, described how Bundy and Diane met when they were students at the University of Washington.
“He saw a woman who was the epitome of his dreams,” Rule wrote. She “was like no girl he had ever seen before, and he considered her the most sophisticated, the most beautiful creature possible.”
Rule Referred to Diane as Stephanie & Described the Relationship’s Ups and Downs
In Rule’s book, which you can find here, she refers to Edwards as Stephanie Brooks, and says she graduated from the University of Washington in June 1968 and “it seemed that that might be a way to ease out of the romance.” She moved to San Francisco to start a job, but they continued to date for the summer.
Rule’s book says that Bundy and Edwards met in the spring of 1967 at McMahon Hall, and she was “the epitome of his dreams.” Rule wrote that Stephanie seemed to “prefer football jobs” and noted that Bundy once wrote, “She and I had about as much in common as Sears and Roebuck does with Saks. I never considered S. with any more romantic interest than I considered some elegant creature on the fashion page.”
They were both interested in skiing. He fell in love with Stephanie, the “daughter of a wealthy California family,” according to Rule. He was 20. They were together a year. According to Rule, Bundy loved Stephanie more than Stephanie loved Bundy, at least in the beginning, although they went on dates that ranged from “hamburger dinners” to “movies.”
According to Rule, Stephanie felt Bundy was “very emotional and unsure of himself” and “was foundering.” She felt he used people and had lied to her. By the end of the summer 1968, she had dumped him, leaving him, according to Rule, “devastated…She was his first love, the absolute personification of everything he wanted.” Rule thinks it’s possible she was his first lover.
By 1969, reports Rule, Ted decided he wanted Stephanie back and so he surprised her at the brokerage firm where she worked in San Francisco.
They met again in 1973, writes Rule. This time the power dynamic completely shifted. Ted was starting to “be somebody” and was working for the Washington Republican Party. They went to dinner, and she flew to Seattle. He spoke of marriage, and she was in love with him, according to Rule. Suddenly, though, he became “cold and distant” to Stephanie. He skipped Christmas presents and made love to her in a “perfunctory” fashion.
She later decided that he had coldly and calculatingly lured her back just to dump her like she had once dumped him. He never gave her an explanation. The following year she married – to someone else, Rule writes.
On the Tapes, Bundy Discussed the Couple’s Break Up
According to History Collection, Diane dumped Bundy because he seemed too listless and had dropped out of college. She returned to California.
Bundy explained on The Tapes how the relationship started to unravel. “I experienced any number of insecurities with Diane. There were occasions when I felt she expected a great deal more from me than I was capable of giving,” he said. “I was not in any position to take her out or squire her around in the manner she was accustomed.”
“But, I think I was coming apart at the seams and maybe she saw it. Throughout the summer, Diane and I corresponded less and less. Then she stopped writing and I started to get fearful of what she was up to. I had this overwhelming fear of rejection that stemmed, not just from her, but everything. In there somewhere was a desire to have some sort of revenge on Diane.”
Many of Bundy’s Victims Resembled Diane Edwards – But Not All
The book Serial Murder by Ronald M. Holmes describes how many of Bundy’s victims looked like Edwards. One researcher “opines that Ted Bundy was a predator on women who physically resembled Edwards: e.g., young, white, with long dark hair parted in the middle,” the book says.
However, Holmes noted that other victims of Bundy did not fit this pattern. Some were blonde, redheads, much younger (even children) and didn’t look like Edwards. Furthermore, some people suspect Bundy of killing a child named Ann Marie Burr, 8, when he was 14 – well before he met Diane Edwards.
Where is Diane Edwards today? Little is known about her now. For obvious reasons, she sank into obscurity after the Bundy murders. As for Bundy? He met his fate in the Florida electric chair.