The woman who gave birth to one of the nation's most notorious serial killers and defended and loved him as only a mother could has died.
Louise Bundy of Tacoma was 88 when she passed away Dec. 23 after a long illness.
She was a married mother of five and working as a secretary at the University of Puget Sound in the mid-1970s when allegations against her son, Ted Bundy, turned her life upside down.
Authorities across the nation accused her eldest child in a string of gruesome killings. He ultimately confessed to murdering more than two dozen women and was executed in 1989 after being convicted of killing two Florida State University sorority members and a 12-year-old girl.
For many years, Louise Bundy refused to believe her son could be a killer.
"Ted Bundy does not go around killing women and little children!" she told The News Tribune in 1980 after he was convicted in the Florida killings. "And I know this, too, that our never-ending faith in Ted - our faith that he is innocent - has never wavered. And it never will."
That stance softened over time as he made several Death Row confessions, but she still would rise to his defense if she thought he was unfairly accused.
Such was the case in 1999 when there was speculation Ted Bundy might have killed Ann Marie Burr in 1961. The 8-year-old girl disappeared from her house and was never seen again.
"I resent the fact that everybody in Tacoma thinks just because he lived in Tacoma he did that one, too, way back when he was 14, " Louise Bundy told The News Tribune. "I'm sure he didn't."
Ted Bundy is one of several suspects in the case, but authorities have never tied him directly to the girl's disappearance.
Louise Bundy remained in Tacoma after her son's execution and was an active member of Tacoma's First United Methodist Church until recent years when she became too ill to attend, the church's pastor, the Rev. Melvin Woodworth, said Wednesday.
"I always enjoyed Louise, " Woodworth said.
Her son's troubles took a toll on her. She and her husband, John, endured jokes and dirty looks over the years and often were forced to change their telephone number to avoid angry calls.
Through it all, she loved her boy.
She talked to him twice on the day of his execution, according to news accounts, telling him at the conclusion of the second call, "You'll always be my precious son."