Every minute of every day, the porch light on Belva Kent's home burns bright - a mother's memorial for a daughter who's been missing for more than 14 years.
Debra Kent was last seen walking away from a theater production at the Viewmont High School auditorium into the parking lot on her way to pick up her brother from the roller rink. Her body has never been found.Bundy has always been a prime suspect in the disappearance, although lawmen were never able to prove his culpability. But reports that a man matching Bundy's description was in the auditorium that Nov. 8 night and that a car matching the Volkswagen driven by Bundy was also sighted in the vicinity of the school were sufficient to convince Kent that he was responsible for her daughter's death.
Now a last-minute confession by Bundy has apparently confirmed what Kent has always known.
"I was bitter for a long time that he was never charged with Debra's killing. The police had a lot of evidence against him but no body," said Kent, who also lost a son in a traffic accident nearly four years ago. "But since he's been tried and convicted on other murders, I guess it doesn't matter anymore."
Although not vengeful, Kent is glad that justice has been served and her daughter's slayer has finally been put to death.
"I was glad to see it come to an end. So many times before it had come so close. At least now I won't have to hear his name over and over again," Kent said. "Every time I hear his name, it brings back all the memories, all the hurt. Maybe now it can be put in the background."
But she says the pain and hurt will never completely go away. "It'll always be difficult to deal with," explained Kent, who divorced two years ago. "My husband has never handled this very well. He admits he's never been able to understand and cope with it. Is it to blame for the divorce? No, I don't think so."
And still, Kent says, she genuinely feels compassion toward Bundy. "He destroyed so many families . . . . That's a terrible thing."
Even after 15 years, the Kents' porch light continues to burn, just as a mother's love never dies.