True Crime

I Survived A Serial Killer

Kathy lived through a vicious attack by infamous serial killer Ted Bundy
  • Kathy Kleiner Rubin, 66, endured a terrifying attack by serial killer Ted Bundy.
  • In a trail of terror, monster Bundy killed up to 30 women. 
  • Kathy survived to give evidence which helped jail Bundy.
  • She hopes to give a voice to Bundy’s many victims and inspire others to fight in times of darkness. 

Here Kathy tells her story in her own words

Trying to pedal my bike, my legs would barely work. I’d gone from a lively 12-year-old to a sick kid, so perpetually exhausted I could scarcely keep my eyes open.

My parents Rosemary and Harry took me to hospital where I was examined by specialists.

‘Your daughter’s kidney has stopped working,’ they told my parents. 

Diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease, I was placed on chemotherapy.

Although it was isolating staying home from school for a year, it worked. I knew then I was a survivor.

After school, I was thrilled to get into uni and settled into a college house with other female students.

Another girl and I shared a room on the second floor where, instead of curtains, we hung plants across our big window overlooking the car park.

We talked about locking our bedroom door, but the house seemed safe with locks on the front and back doors.

One Saturday in January 1978, I went to a friend’s wedding, and after my boyfriend Simon dropped me home, by 11.30pm I was tucked up in bed.

Around 3am I was woken by a loud crash. It was someone tripping over a box in our room. Suddenly, the terrifying silhouette of a man loomed over me. The figure raised his arm above his head, clasping what looked like a log.

Slamming his arm down, the log cracked hard into my head. Smack!

Kathy in her college room (Credit: Supplied)

‘Excruciating pressure and pain slammed through my face, breaking my jaw.’

As the attacker hit me again, excruciating pressure and pain slammed through my face, breaking my jaw. My tongue was torn and blood filled my mouth. 

The sinister assailant then spun around and pummelled my roommate with his log. Turning back to me, he raised his arm.

I quivered, bracing myself in horror – this demonic figure was going to kill me.  Just then, bright headlights from a car below flooded into the room. Startled, our attacker dashed out into the hall as I passed out.  

I came to, gurgling, unable to scream or talk.

Loaded into an ambulance, and taken to hospital, doctors explained the attack had shattered my jaw in three places, shredded my tongue, pushed my teeth forward and put a hole in my cheek.

My poor parents raced to be with me.

 Back home a month later, I heard on the news that a killer called Ted Bundy had been captured

I reeled to learn Bundy had been at a bar, before entering through our house’s back door, which had a broken lock. He’d grabbed a log and stolen inside. Trying bedroom doorknobs, before getting to ours he’d found my housemate’s Margaret Bowman’s open, gone in and killed her.

Then he’d moved to Lisa Levy’s room and killed her.

Two of Bundy’s victims Lisa Levy(l) and Margaret Bowman (r) (Credit: Getty Images)

‘I died inside knowing my friends had been slain in such a horrific way.’

I died inside knowing my friends had been slain in such a horrific way. And I realised how close I’d come to death. 

With my jaw wired, I suffered excruciating pain and many more surgeries.

The trauma of Bundy’s attack stretched to my parents – and all the families of Bundy’s victims. 

When I testified at his case at the criminal trial in 1979, I was horrified to hear of the brutality of his attack on Margaret, who he’d strangled with tights.
Lisa had been sexually assaulted and had shocking bite marks.

Sheriff Ken Katsaris had been determined to get justice for the victims and was able to match Bundy’s dental impressions to the bite marks on Lisa’s body. 

After he’d fled, Bundy broke into another victim called Cheryl’s house and attacked her. Then he kidnapped and murdered a 12-year-old, Kimberly.

I was saddened to admit that I hadn’t seen Bundy’s face. But every time I answered a question I looked directly at Bundy. He knew he was to blame.

In July 1979, Theodore Robert Bundy, 32, was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder for the killings of Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman and three counts of attempted murder of myself and my roommate, and Cheryl.

Judge Edward D Cowart sentenced Bundy to death for the murders, saying they were ‘heinous… wicked, shockingly evil’.

Getty Images
Ted Bundy (Credit: Getty Images)

‘Heinous… wicked, shockingly evil’.

He was later found guilty of the murder of Kimberly and handed another death sentence. Days before Bundy’s execution by electric chair in January 1989, he confessed to murdering up to 30 women in a trail of terror across the US. Prosecutors suspect it may be more. 

On the day of the execution I wept for the victims who had died, and knew I was ready to move on – to survive.

I began motivational speaking to help others who had suffered trauma to survive their pain. And to help heal my own. 

Kathy now (Credit: Supplied)

‘I named it A Light in the Dark after the guiding light that saved me.’

When writer Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi offered to help me write a book, I knew it was time.

I wrote it to give Bundy’s victims a voice, to honour them and to show him for the pathetic, sadistic killer and sad little man he was.

I named it A Light in the Dark after the guiding light that saved me. And as inspiration for others, who have suffered something terrible in life, to hold on and look for the light.

‘A Light in the Dark: Surviving more than Ted Bundy’ by Kathy Kleiner Rubin & Emilie
Le Beau Lucchesi (Chicago Review Press) is available online.

‘A Light In the Dark’ by Kathy Kleiner Rubin and Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi (Chicago Review Press)

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