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The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
by Robert Keppel
July 15, 1982: 3 woman's strangled body was filed, caught on the pilings of Washington state's Green River. Before long, the "Green River Killer" would be suspected in at least 49 homicides, with no end in sight. Then authorities received a letter from Bundy -- on death row -- offering to help catch the Green River Killer. But he would only talk to Robert Keppel, the former homicide detective who helped track Bundy's cross-county killing spree.

The Search for the Green River Killer by Carlton Smith, Tomas Guillen
This reckoning of the deaths of almost 50 women in Seattle is distressing not only for the gruesomeness of the crimes but also for reasons probably not intended by Smith and Guillen, who reported on the murders for the Seattle Times.

Expanding the Search for Victims, Clues & Evidence

"Going to Portland is nothing. Going to Vancouver is nothing. Going to Spokane is nothing."

Keppel cautioned against thinking of the Green River killings as only 49 slain or missing women.

"Those 49 are news media victims," he said. "They are what the news media put together. The police have a different set of numbers."

If only 49 women were killed, that means the slayings stopped, which may be unlikely.

"The likelihood of stopping is real small," Keppel said. "Every serial killer we know of in history has continued until he is stopped."

The Green River Task Force investigation focused on 49 women who disappeared between 1982 and 1984. Most were prostitutes, runaways or beggars. Their bodies dumped in a remote location, often along the Green River. Seven women believed to be victims of the Green River Killer have not been found.

Robert Keppel, believes investigators must cast a broad net to include unsolved slayings of women and missing-persons. These cases involve prostitutes from hundreds of miles around Seattle.

There are cases of women who disappeared or were found dead in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties of WA since 1985. "It's not that we weren't still finding bodies, but they didn't have enough of the characteristics to be put on the list," said John Urquhart, King County Sheriff's Office. "When you get down to it, it doesn't matter if a name is on the list or not. It's still a dead person who needs to be investigated."

Homicide Information Tips Systems -- HITS, claims 68 unsolved cases in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, started in 1985 and have a tie to other Green River killings.

Detectives plan to take a hard look at the original 49 Green River victims and the others who disappeared later, similarly, utilizing the advances of DNA technology.

Sheriff Dave Reichert approached sheriffs in neighboring Pierce and Snohomish counties about forming a joint task force. "We will be very interested in other (deaths) in other jurisdictions that might turn out to have a common suspect," Urquhart said.

"Our goal is to solve these crimes."

The goal is to hold the killer responsible.

Certainly, Ridgway is somebody we would look at as a possible suspect in these," Urquhart said. "But he's not the only person we'll be looking at.

Law Enforcement investigators are comparing similar cases in Vancouver, BC, Washington County, OR, Portland, OR and San Diego, CA.

Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2011

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