Woman Dated Kaczynski After Bomber's 1st Attack
There were two dates--once to dinner and once to pick apples and bake a pie.
After the second outing, Ellen Tarmichael told her suitor she didn't think they had much in common and that she wanted to end the fledgling relationship.
A common occurrence in most people's lives, so not in her wildest expectations could Tarmichael have predicted the havoc those events almost two decades ago would create in April 1996.
But then, Tarmichael's date was Theodore J. Kaczynski, now the prime suspect in the Unabomber case.
Her former short-term companion's notoriety led to reporters calling her home incessantly and tracking down her friends and relatives to discuss those dates. There were letters, offers of $15,000 to talk.
After all that, Tarmichael relented Thursday. For 23 minutes in front of a crammed and eager press corps broadcasting her statements live .
to an international audience, Tarmichael told the world about a couple of dates with a guy who wasn't her type.
"I didn't invite this invasion of my privacy," the west suburban resident told about 40 reporters, photographers and camera operators packed in her attorney's Chicago office. "I feel this is very unjust. I had nothing to say, and now you've heard nothing to say."
But before she finished, Tarmichael clarified at least one question surrounding the 18 years of terror linked to Kaczynski.
She quashed speculation that her decision to end their brief relationship could have triggered Kaczynski to begin mailing bombs. The first bomb attributed to the Unabomber exploded May 26, 1978. She said she met Kaczynski nearly a month later.
She refused to accept money, she said, because she believed it was inappropriate "to profit from the tragedy of others."
Tarmichael also said she resented media reports that linked her romantically with Kaczynski, 53, who worked with Tarmichael, now 47, at an Addison foam cutting plant for two months in 1978. Kaczynski's brother, David, worked as his supervisor, and their father, Theodore, worked there too.
"I find such allegations and insinuations to be a perversion of the truth, and I am offended by them," Tarmichael said in a four-page statement she read while flanked by her husband, Harry Murray, and attorneys Enrico J. Mirabelli and Karen J.
The two dates occurred in July or August of 1978. It was after baking apple pie at the Kaczynskis' Lombard home on the second date that she told Kaczynski she "did not wish to see him further on a social basis because I felt we did not have much in common besides our employment," Tarmichael said.
Kaczynski "was civil," about her decision, she said.
That was the end, as far as Tarmichael was concerned. Kaczynski had a different view.
He posted poems or limericks about Tarmichael throughout the workplace at Foam Cutting Engineers Inc., of Addison, even after David disciplined him for doing so. On Aug. 23, 1978, David fired his older brother for refusing to stop, Tarmichael said.
After what Tarmichael called "a verbal altercation between David and Ted" at the plant that day, Ted Kaczynski walked into Tarmichael's office and asked if his brother could fire him. Tarmichael said yes, adding that she would support David's decision.
She said she never saw the poems.
That was the last time Tarmichael had contact with Kaczynski and the last time she thought about him.
Her memory was jogged recently, when the FBI contacted her--she wouldn't specify the date--and told her of their suspicions about Kaczynski. Agents asked her to review his employment record at the plant, and she complied.
Near the end of the news conference, Tarmichael was asked whether she'll be able to laugh about the episode years from now.