Serial killers often spend their lives hiding in plain sight. Having a “normal’ family life is a useful facade. These women were married to some of the most terrifying serial killers in history. How much did they know?
1. Carole Ann Boone – Mrs. Ted Bundy
Most wives of serial killers were married before their husbands’ crimes became known. But not Carole Ann Boone. She found Ted Bundy so handsome and charming that she married him in 1980 while he was on trial for unspeakable crimes, including necrophilia. She claims her daughter, born in 1981, is Bundy’s, but the two were never allowed conjugal visits. There are stories of a tryst behind a vending machine in the prison visiting room, but the girl’s paternity remains a mystery. So are the supposed Bundy daughter’s whereabouts. Carole eventually grew disenchanted with her husband. She was a character witness at his trial, but she was not there for his execution and has since changed her surname and disappeared.
2. Carole Hoff – Mrs. John Wayne Gacy
Carole used to complain about an “awful stench” that would drift up from the crawl space beneath their home. That was where her husband was burying the bodies of boys and young men he had raped and killed. She seemed to accept his explanation that the odor came from mice, even though boys were disappearing from the neighborhood, and she knew her husband had served time for raping a teenage boy. She told a neighbor she and her son would hear muffled screaming late at night. She did finally divorce Gacy in 1975, after a physical argument over the checkbook. Gacy’s killing went into high-gear once he had the house to himself.
3. Linda Yates – Mrs. Robert Yates
Linda once found blood soaking the back seat of the family van, but Robert explained he had hit a dog and carried it to the vet. She was married to Robert Yates for 26 years; during that time, he killed 16 people. She did find his behavior odd sometimes and suspected he was having an affair. Why were there charges for a pay-by-the-hour motel on their credit card? Again, Robert had an explanation: He used the hotel hot tub to relax his muscles after a long day at work. Linda finally realized what had been going on when police found a body in her backyard.
4. Judith Mawson – Mrs. Gary Ridgeway
Judith was married for 13 years to the notorious Green River Killer, the most active serial killer in American history. Ridgeway pled guilty to 48 murders in a deal to escape the death penalty but is suspected in connection with many more. She says he never displayed any hint of violence toward her and she still struggles to reconcile her “perfect husband” with the killer he was revealed to be. Judith became a target of community rage after her husband was arrested, but the families of some of Ridgeway’s victims sympathized with her.
5. Darcie Brudos – Mrs. Jerome Brudos
Darcie had to ignore a lot of signs that something was wrong. Brudos liked to keep the bodies of his victims around the house for several days after he killed them, dressing them up and having sex with them. Because of this habit, Darcie was not allowed in certain rooms. She was in the house during at least one murder. And then there was the human breast, coated in plastic, that her husband used as a paperweight. People argue to this day about whether Darcie was utterly oblivious or simply didn’t care enough to stop her husband’s murders.
Want to read more about women in relationships with murderers? Check out Women Who Love Men Who Kill by Sheila Isenburg.
Featured photo: Murderpedia