Gary Leon Ridgway killings spanned from 1982 to 1998. Ridgway aka the Green River Killer left victims in the Green River valley. Ridgway plead guilty to murdering 48 Green River Killer victims on November 5, 2003.
Ridgway said thta strangling young women was his "career." A plea deal lead to finding four sets of remains and took the death penalty off the table. If the King County prosecutor didn't have the death penalty to use as a bargaining chip would Ridgway have told where the victims were?
The remains of the alleged 49th victim has been found. She was last seen walking out of a SeaTac motel on Dec. 3, 1982. She is survived by a 3-year-old daughter Her skull was found Dec. 21, 2010 in an Auburn ravine where Ridgway killed another woman. Ridgway, plead guilty the murder of Rebecca "Becky" Marrero who was among his first victims. On 2/18/11, Ridgway received his 49th life sentence. No death penalty was possible due to a prior deal.
Ridgway remains a person of interest in two Oregon murders from the 1980s, but hasn't been charged in that case. Ridgway faces the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder outside King County.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007 Update:
Two bodies on the official list of Green River victims were found in Oregon, which has capital punishment. Authorities believe Ridgway committed from 60 up to hundreds of murders.
Ridgway was 16 when he stabbed his first victim, a 6-year-old boy who was critically injured. Police ignored the boy when he fingered Ridgway as his attacker.
In 1983 when Paige Elizabeth Miley 21, talked briefly with a man who would later be accused of four of the 1982-84 Green River murders. The man asked where her "tall, blond friend" was, and Miley guessed he was the abductor of fellow prostitute Kim Nelson two days before.
Ridgway left jewelry he took from victims in women's bathroom at work hoping they would wear it.
In his own words ``I would talk to her ... and get her mind off of the, uh, anything she was nervous about. And think, you know, she thinks, `Oh, this guy cares,' and which I, I didn't. I just want to uh get her in the vehicle and eventually kill her.''
Hatred and arrogance fueled Ridgway "In most cases, when I murdered these women, I did not know their names," Ridgway's statement to the court said. "Most of the time, I killed them the first time I met them. I do not have a good memory for their faces. I killed so many women, I have a hard time keeping them straight."
The History of the Green River Killings
Nearly 20 years ago, 49 killings occurred during a 3 year period. The case remains the largest known unsolved serial murder spree in the US.
The term "Green River killer" was coined because the first 5 bodies were found in or near Green River in Kent, south King County, WA in 1982. 37 victims were found on dry land. Off Star Lake Road on Kent's West Hill south of the Green River Valley is where 5 more victims were found. Other clusters of bodies were found near Sea -Tac, North Bend, Enumclaw, and OR. No one knows why the killings linked to the Green River seemed to have stopped sometime in 1984. Now they are not sure they did. Recent investigations indicate the Green River Killer reign of terror might have extended beyond the 1982 -1984 span and could have extended his crimes geographically as far as San Diego, CA, Portland, OR and Vancouver, BC. Ongoing investigations are looking for clues to link the crimes.
Green River Facts:
Denise Bush 's remains were found in 2 separate dump sites, hours apart from each other.
Items found on or near several victims led some to believe the killings were religiously motivated. That runaways and prostitutes, were killed in the name of God. Bob Keppel calls that hogwash. "If he was doing that," Keppel said, "he didn't need to do what he did to those bodies sexually and after death. There's something else working there."
Investigator Bob Keppel believes if Ridgway is the Green River Killer, he never stopped. He took his killing elsewhere. There are 80 unsolved murders of young women between Vancouver, Canada and Portland, Oregon over the past 20 years. Gary Ridgway is a prime suspect in those cases.
Kari & Associates
Sources: Associated Press, Reuters, King 5 TV, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, KOMO, KIRO, NW Cable News, Seattke Weekly, Eastside Journal, South County Journal
Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2011