True Crime Reporter™

True Crime Reporter™

She Lived Next Door To America's Most Infamous Killer: The UNABOMBER

May 16, 2023

Before, there was Osama bin Laden. Before, there was Timothy McVeigh. There was Ted Kaczynski.  The UNABOMBER. FBI codename for “UNiversity and Airline BOMBER.”

For sixteen years, Jamie Gehring grew up next door to Ted Kaczynski. She never had a clue that the man who appeared to be a harmless hermit was one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th Century. 

Hello. I’m investigative reporter Robert Riggs here to ask you a chilling question from inside the crime scene tape. Do any of us really know our neighbor?  

Ted Kaczynski mailed and hand-delivered homemade bombs to people at scientific universities, airlines, and businesses for what he believed was their role in the over-industrialization of society and the destruction of nature. 

The former Berkley math professor, a certified genius who entered Harvard at age 15, terrorized America for seventeen years between 1978 and 1995.

The FBI called Kaczynski a twisted genius.

He killed three people and injured 23, claiming limbs and eyesight, leaving many with permanent emotional and physical scars.

Residents of tiny remote Lincoln, Montana, thought Kaczynski was an oddball, cranky loner.   He lived off the grid in a remote mountain cabin 10 feet by 12 feet. No running water. No electricity. 

It was a primitive bomb-making factory. Kaczynski handcrafted bombs from scrap materials that were impossible to trace.  He called the bombings experiments. 

He smelled foul. His hair was unruly, uncombed, and dirty.  No one could imagine that he was the anonymous author of a 35-thousand word manifesto sent to the New York Times and Washington Post in1995 threatening more bombings if it was not published.

Until then, it was the cold case of all cold cases.  It gave the FBI a big break. When it hit the press, Kaczynski’s brother and sister-in-law spotted similar semantic railings in letters written to them by their estranged relative, and they contacted the FBI.

For 16 years, Jamie Gehring lived next door to this serial killer and wanted domestic terrorists. Her late father, “Butch,” helped the FBI to find his cabin and to lure him outside. 

She has written a deeply researched book, Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the UNABOMBER.  Here’s our interview. 

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