True-crime author Ann Rule dies at age 83

A photograph of author Ann Rule (The Stranger Beside Me) from March 20, 2011. Rule, 1931-2015, passed away at age 83.
A photograph of author Ann Rule (The Stranger Beside Me) from March 20, 2011. Rule, 1931-2015, passed away at age 83.

SEATTLE (AP) – True-crime writer Ann Rule, who wrote more than 30 books, including a profile of her former co-worker, serial killer Ted Bundy, has died at age 83.

Rule died at Highline Medical Center at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, said Scott Thompson, a spokesman for CHI Franciscan Health. Rule’s daughter, Leslie Rule, said on Facebook that her mother had many health issues, including congestive heart failure.

“My mom died peacefully last night,” Leslie Rule wrote. “She got to see all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

Ann Rule’s first book, “The Stranger Beside Me,” profiled Bundy, whom she got to know while sharing the late shift at a Seattle suicide hotline. She has said she had a contract to write about an unknown serial killer before her co-worker was charged with the crimes.

Rule, who went to work briefly at the Seattle Police Department when she was 21, began writing for magazines like “True Detective” in 1969. A biography on her author website says she has published more than 1,400 articles, mostly on criminal cases.

Rule said she was fascinated by killers’ lives, going back to their childhood to find clues about why they did what they did. But her books focused on victims, and she became an advocate for victims’ rights.

“By deciding to focus her books on the victim, Ann Rule reinvented the true crime genre and earned the trust of millions of readers who wanted a new and empathetic perspective on the tragic stories at the heart of her works,” Carolyn Reidy, president and chief executive officer of Simon & Schuster, said in a statement.

After attending numerous workshops on crime topics from DNA to arson, local law enforcement, the FBI and the Justice Department started turning to Rule for her expertise on serial murders.

She aided the Green River Task Force as that group sought another Seattle-area serial killer, passing along tips that her readers shared. She wrote a book about the case, “Green River, Running Red.”

Rule was born in 1931 in Lowell, Michigan, to a schoolteacher and a football, basketball and track coach. They moved around a lot when she was a kid, traveling from Michigan, to Pennsylvania, Oregon and California because of her father’s coaching career.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in creative writing, with minors in psychology, criminology and penology.

She was the mother of five children and the grandmother of five.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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