To Fight or To Surrender?

Penelope Bundy

“Stop right there! Put your hands in the air with your palms out and fingers spread! NOW!”

I panicked. I was outnumbered and outgunned. I’m innocent but I ran and they’re never gonna believe me now. I came to a halt from my running in an attempt to not get shot.


I threw my knife away from me to the right. It hit the ground, bounced twice, before falling flat. I’ll miss that knife, it went through a lot with me.


I did as I was told. There was no way out out for me and I surely would’ve been killed with even the slightest move. It sucks being a serial killer’s daughter.

My name is Penelope Boone. But, my last name wasn’t originally Boone. It was Bundy. Shocker. So by now if you haven’t pieced it together, my father is Theodore Bundy, the serial killer. I grew up not knowing him most of my life and my mother shielded me from it. She didn’t want me to know about him. Instead, she told me some sad story about how he was killed by a drunk driver. I, being the little kid that I was, believed it and never asked any more questions. I did grow up wondering why there were never any pictures of them, though. Until one day, I was cleaning out the attic and I found newspaper clippings. “Ted Bundy’s Wife Gives Birth to a Girl”. “Captured Bundy Faces New Charges”. It went on. The more I read, the more things made sense. And finally, I saw a picture. My mom, except at the same time it wasn’t her. She was much younger and there was this sadness in her eyes. A sadness you only see from years of abuse and endless cover stories. A sadness when you know someone is guilty but you’re pregnant with their child. It was a whole new side to my mom that I had never seen. How did she do it? How did she bring a serial killer’s daughter into this world? Did she ever think that I would turn out like my father? My whole life turned upside down that instant but it also made everything so much clearer. When I was 15, around 3 years ago, I got arrested for trespassing onto private property with my friends. I had to call my mom and tell her I had been arrested and that she had to come down to the police station and come get me. Before I could tell her why, the line went dead and I heard her last scream “WHAT DID..” and then silence. Now it all made sense. She came down to the station immediately probably with the thought that I had hurt someone like my father. Imagine how relieved she was when my only charge was trespassing and that the owner wasn’t pressing charges. That’s probably why I was only grounded for a week. I also guess that’s when everything spiraled down. I was put into the system and fingerprinted. When the officer asked me who my parents were, I didn’t have a name for my father at the time so I only gave my mom’s.

I hate sitting in an interrogation room. It’s cold and the detectives always make you wait to make you feel pressure. This isn’t my first time in an interrogation but it is my first time being in one in Colorado.

“Penelope Boone, you gave us one hell of a chase. Why?”

The detective had a demeaning tone to her. I wonder if she knows who I am already. My father’s name carries around with me everywhere now that it’s in a federal system. Then again, state system’s don’t have access to federal systems, something I’ve learned from being arrested multiple times.

“Because you believe I’m guilty and once someone has a mind set, it’s very hard to change it.”

“So you thought that running would be better than fighting for your innocence? Do you understand that fleeing only makes you look more guilty?”

“No, I was running to fight for my innocence. But, you already believe I’m guilty.

“How do you know that?”

“You said “fleeing only makes you look more guilty” so you already have a bias against me yet you don’t even know me.”

That pissed her off. She picked up a case file and started reading off of it. “Penelope Boone, daughter of Carole Ann Boone. Grew up in Boise, Idaho. You were a straight A student, captain of you high school soccer team until you got kicked off for trespassing at 15. From there, you started to fail classes, classes you could’ve easily excelled in. Arrested again at 16 for holding without a license, you skipped court and now have a warrant for you in Idaho, you emancipated yourself at 17, left you mothers house and have petty theft charges against you. I know who you are.”

“No. You don’t know who I am. You know what criminal charges I have against me but not why. You only choose to see the bad, it’s called tunnel vision.” I knew that remark would piss her off and it did.

She looked more closer into the files, skipping through the pages of charges around the country and trying to connect the dots and outsmart me. She stopped at a page and was shocked. She looked back at me and then back down a the paper. The only thing that would shock a cop like that is finding my father’s name in there. It had to be buried deep in there and cops get lazy and don’t go through the entire thing if criminals have a rap sheet as long as I do, but not her. She found it.

“You’re Ted Bundy’s daughter. You killed that girl last night. You’re just like your father, a murderer.” She looked at me with fear and disgust. The sins of my father have been carried onto me.

“No, I didn’t kill that girl. I swear to you, I am nothing like my father.”

She didn’t get it. I had been traveling cross country because I was trying to pay the consequences of what my father had done. I went to families to tell them how sorry I was as an anonymous supporter. I went back to crime scenes to lay flowers for these girls. Those petty theft and trespassings were because I wanted to go to the scenes and pay my respects. I was apologizing for the sins of my father.

“Your DNA was found on the victim, your fingerprints on the scene!” the detective yelled at me while her hands slammed the table. They turned red immediately. She blamed me for something I didn’t do because of who my father was. Guilt by association, I guess. Maybe I did deserve to be guilty. I shared the same genetics as a serial killer but there was nothing I could do about that.

“I was trying to help. I didn’t kill her. She was bleeding and I was trying to stop her from bleeding out but I couldn’t. She had already lost too much blood and she died in my arms, but I swear to you I did not kill that girl.” I pleaded my case but nothing. She refused to believe me.

“Then why did you run?”

“Because of my father!” I yelled back. The detective doesn’t understand what it was to live with the burden of a parent’s decision. Whenever people find out, they look at me with disgust like I was there with my father supporting his decisions. I wasn’t. I was only collateral damage. They never understand.

Once my mother found out that I wanted to go talk to the families as an anonymous supporter, she started yelling. She didn’t want me to be related to my father in any way. That was the whole part of the reason I moved us away from him, she would say. But, I couldn’t live with it. I felt guilty. So one week, I told my mom that my friends and I were going on a road trip as a graduation trip. Instead, while my friends did go on a road trip, I went to a victim’s house where the family still lived. I couldn’t believe it at first. The family still loved there. They carried on with their lives just like any other regular person. I remembered thinking to myself that maybe I shouldn’t do this. I shouldn’t bring back the pain they once felt. They’ve closed that wound and I don’t want to have to open it again. I didn’t want to be the cause of their pain again. Against every fiber being in my body, I still went. I went up to their door and when they answered it, I was frozen. They asked who I was and I lied straight through my teeth and said that I was a family member of another victim. I wondered in my head how long I could keep this lie going until they found out that I wasn’t a member of a victim’s family, I was the daughter of the killer that murdered their daughter. They invited me in and told me about their daughter. They told me how she was such a live and caring person, how she had brought home a stray dog to feed and eventually adopt when she was only 7, and how she had been voted Prom Queen. I got back from my mini mission and my mom was waiting for me. Apparently when I didn’t answer my phone, she called one of my friends that I told her would be going on a road trip with and asked how we were doing. Of course, she just had to tell her that I wasn’t with them and that I backed out last minute. So I got home, my mom was furious. She wanted to know where I was, what I was doing, and why I had lied to her. When the words “I was at a victim’s house…” rolled off my tongue, she lost her shit. She slapped me straight across the face and went on a rant about how I can’t do that and how she had tried so hard to get me away from that life. When I yelled back, “how do YOU now feel guilty?”, she looked at me straight in the eyes and said that she was scared for her life and mine since the second she found out that the once embryo in her stomach was a girl. She did not feel guilty for leaving him and leaving that life to protect mine. Mother’s love she called it.