Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Ed Kemper and John Wayne

Edmund Kemper grew up like almost any other red-blooded American boy, which is to say, in a home where the parents quarrelled a great deal, separated, reunited, eventually were divorced, and where the mother wound up both caring for the children and working at a full-time job. He grew up worshipping Hollywood actor John Wayne, whose image intertwined and blurred in his mind with memories of the beloved father who had abandoned him.

On January 25, 1950, John Wayne “The Duke” put his footprints & fist print in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The prints are still there.

Raised by a terrible mother, who didn’t hesitate to lock him in the cellar when he was a child, Edmund Kemper became very shy and isolated himself more and more. He dreamed of revenge, he thought of morbid games in which death and mutilation played an essential part. Aware of his inadequacy, he admired his absent father and actor John Wayne.

“John Wayne was very much like my father,” said Edmund Kemper, both physically and in his behavior. My father was a big guy who spoke loudly. Like John Wayne, he had very small feet. When I first went to Los Angeles, I immediately went to put my feet in the footprints of John Wayne, who are immortalized in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I was proud to see that my feet were bigger than his.”

Sources: The Co-Ed Killer, Margaret Cheney / Serial killers : Enquête mondiale sur les tueurs en série, Stéphane Bourgoin / Thanks to Catrin Elen Williams for the John Wayne pictures on Facebook


  1. DA

    It just goes to show that when mothers pull there sons away from there fathers at a young age it causes chaos when the child reaches puberty. They do this for selfish reasons. Mainly because the man rejected them. Little do they know that there actions will someday come back to haunt them! Mothers !! If your relationship ends with your sons father, but you know in your heart that he is still a good person. Never take him away from seeing his father! Your not a man and your not the boys father!! If you want a stable and good man to become of your boy, do this one thing for him! Or pay later!!

    • Edmund Kemper Stories

      Kemper didn’t have good parenting by his mother and his father.

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