Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: 609 A Ord Drive

Ed Kemper’s house in Santa Cruz

In the summer of 2018, I went to Santa Cruz, California, and visited places that were important in Ed Kemper’s story. Of course, I went to see the house where he lived with his mother and where he murdered her and her friend, Sally Hallett. 

The house is located in Aptos at 609A Ord Road (ground floor), but it appears under 609 Harriet Avenue on Google Streetview. The two streets meet, and the other house is behind Kemper’s. It’s a bit unclear and I remember that Kemper had mentioned in his 1984 interview for No Apparent Motive that the police had confused the two addresses when they came to take away his .44 magnum gun in 1973. 

It’s located in a really lovely and quiet residential neighbourhood. When you come from the highway, you pass through a wooded area before getting to the residential area. Kemper’s house stands out as it is one of the only ones on the street that has two floors. There are a lot of trees and flowers in the neighbourhood. 

I was hoping to see the inside of the house. As I was gathering my courage to go ring the doorbell, a SUV arrived and parked in the driveway. A woman and her young daughter came out and headed for the 609A door. I approached the woman and told her why I was there. She was aware of Kemper’s story. I asked if it was possible to see inside the house. She said no, but that it was ok to take pictures outside. She said that a lot of people come to see the house. 

The backyard where Kemper buried Cindy Schall’s head is now made of concrete.

The house has been regularly for sale since the murders. It is currently off the market, as it sold in May 2019 for more than 1,5 million dollars USD.

Photo sources: Edmund Kemper Stories /

“He seemed like kind of a momma’s boy”

Ed Kemper’s neighbour, Carla Gervasoni

Following Ed Kemper’s arrest on April 24, 1973 in Pueblo, Colorado, the media interviewed 20-year-old student Carla Gervasoni, Kemper’s upstairs neighbour on Ord Drive in Aptos, who stated: “Oh, he was kind of an odd man. He didn’t say much. He seemed like kind of a momma’s boy. I always was kind of afraid of him, actually. He scared me a lot. And I heard him and his mother argue quite a bit. All the time.”

Gervasoni added: “He was too quiet sometimes. He was always taking things, you know, back and forth. Guns. He had guns, that I saw. I guess that’s why I thought he was strange. He scared me.”

Source: Bay Area TV Archive – Edmund Kemper Murders Collection

Arguments erupt between Kemper and his mother

Fewer people knew Guy Kemper. Some of his few close friends, like youth counselor Bob Fazdin, knew him as Guy. A lot of his buddies down at the Fireside and Jury Room called him “Big Ed” to match his six-foot-inch height and two-hundred-ninety-pound bulk. At work, he was nicknamed “Forklift” because of his ability to carry two ninety-two-pound sacks of cement on his massive, outstretched arms.

His mother had named him Edmund Emil Kemper III to continue a tradition in her husband’s family.

Guy was not as widely known as Herb (Mullin). He had only come to town in 1969 to visit his mother, who had lived in Aptos since 1965 and worked at the University of California campus north of town.

His mother, Clarnell Strandberg, told friends very little of her or her son’s past life other than allusions to the Hollywood crowd and a good bank job she had held in Helena, Montana. She was considered good at her job — an administrative assistant to Charles Post, the first provost of UC’s Stevenson College — and later she moved across campus to College Five.

Guy was introduced to her friends as her highwayman son — he worked for the California Division of Highways as a flagman. He visited occasionally on his motorcycle.

In early 1972 Guy took a recuperation leave from his job — he had broken his left arm in a motorcycle smashup — and spent more time in Santa Cruz area and at his mother’s apartment.

Neighbors could always tell when Guy was visiting — arguments would inevitably erupt, shouting sessions in which he would be upbraided for lazing about drinking beer and not making something himself.

Mrs. Strandberg was a large woman, standing exactly six feet tall and built as square as her son. Her voice was heavy and when angry carried a long distance. She had been known to reduce Guy to tears in front of his friends with her sharp tongue.

After he wrecked his motorcycle, Guy drove an old yellow Ford and immediately crumpled the right rear fender, requiring a makeshift tail light on that side.

The easily recognizable two-door sedan came and went at all hours. And the mother and son arguments raged as often and irregularly.

He once explained to a neighbor girl, twenty-year-old Carla Gervasoni, that the arguments between him and his mother were just the way they expressed themselves as a family.

“We like to get things out in the open. My mother and are really very close and we know these fights don’t mean anything,” Guy said, apologizing for the late hour at which the last argument had erupted.

Source: Sacrifice Unto Me (Don West, Pyramid Books, 1974)

Police search Ed Kemper’s car

Among evidence found in suspect’s car by Detective Terry Madina (left) and Criminalist Paul Daugherty was a shovel, bagged for lab.

When Ed Kemper was arrested, his car was still parked near his mother’s apartment at 609 A Ord Drive. The police searched it and found, in the trunk, a shovel and a red dishpan. There was also a bloodstained knife, strands of hair and blood stains from his victims’ bodies.

Detective Terry Madina searches the trunk of Ed Kemper’s car.

Source: Register-Pajaronian, April 27, 1973, by Marj Von B