This is part of a series of episodes on Serial Killer Files.
Serial Killer Files Part 3: The Green River Killer
The Green River Killer
The Green River Killer terrorized the state of Washington in the 80’s and 90’s. This is a story of a man who was well hidden within the society in plain sight. As always, be advised, it ain’t pretty.
- Born: Feb 18, 1949, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Crime: 49 convicted murders
- Targets: Sex workers, underage runaway, vulnerable women
- Locations: Seattle and Tacoma (Green River)
- Killing span: 1982 - 1998 (presumed to be as recent as 2001)
- Date of Apprehension: Nov 30, 2001
Family and Personal Life:
- Domineering mother towards whom he had lustful feelings
- Bedwetting episodes leading to low self-esteem
- Lust and hate towards women
- Low IQ (in the eighties). Below average student
- Married thrice
First wife: Claudia Kraig Barrows (1970-72)
- Highschool sweetheart
- Cheated on him while he was in Vietnam
- Divorced in 1972
Second wife: Marcia Lorene Brown (1973-81)
- Ridgway became extremely religious
- Birth of son, Matthew, resulted in a change in the relationship.
- Ridgway became abusive and Marcia filed for divorce
- This divorce is said to be one reason why Ridgway began murdering
Third wife: Judith Lorraine Lynch (1988-2002)
- Served in Vietnam for two years
- Worked at the Kenworth Truck Factory after discharging from the Navy
- Gary Ridgway is said to have killed 71 women during the span of 1982-1998.
- Most of the murders took place between 1982-84 and he is said to have killed many that he lost count.
- The bodies were dumped in the Green River, giving him the name The Green River Killer.
- He would also visit the corpse later to have sex with it.
- He contaminated the body with gum, cigarettes, and other materials to throw off the police.
The Green River Task Force
- A task force of 25 full-time detectives was set up to investigate the murders.
- The team included Dave Reichert, Robert Kepper, and John E. Douglas.
- Ted Bundy, another serial killer, helped in the case to find out the behaviour, psychology, and motivation behind the murders.
- He suggests the possibility of necrophilia and suggests the police to stake out fresh grave to capture the killer.
- Ridgway picked up women from Pacific South Highway
- Lured them using his family man personality and the picture of his son
- Took them to secluded areas and strangled them to death
- He used his hand in the beginning but began using ligatures to avoid injuries
- Most of the murders were committed in the woods, his truck or his room
- He was arrested in 1982 and 2001 with regards to prostitution
- One of his victims, Rebecca Gardey escaped from his chokehold
- Sketches made during the eighties matched Ridgway, but no arrests were made
- He underwent a polygraph test and passed in 1984
- His saliva and hair samples were collected in 1987, but the technology back then could not connect him to the murders
- The saliva and hair samples came to use when DNA technology in the 2000s helped develop a profile of the killer.
- The DNA profile of Ridgway matched with the evidence found at the crime scenes and victims’.
- The paint traces found in the ligature and clothing of the victim traced back to Kenworth Truck Factory.
- Gary Ridgway stabbed a six-year-old boy when he was 16 just to know how it feels to kill someone.