Green River Killer Part 2

A serial killer hunted young, vulnerable women and murdered them in an unspeakably cruel and depraved manner, disposing their bodies in the Green River and other heavily-wooded green spaces throughout King County for nearly 20 years. That is, until his capture in 2001.

In episode one, we talked about how Gary Ridgway evaded capture because he didn’t fit popular preconceptions of a serial killer. He was not a loner. He was either married or had a steady girlfriend during all of his adult life. He had steady employment, even receiving awards for perfect attendance. And, he had no significant juvenile or violent criminal history. At least, none that they knew of at the time.

In episode two, we’ll consider Ridgway’s confession that would reveal there were signs of psychopathy all along. If only law enforcement knew when they had arrested Ridgway in 1982 for soliciting a prostitute that Ridgway had killed a cat by suffocating it when he was a kid. Or, that he stabbed a six year old boy when he was just a teen himself.

Years later, a detective managed to locate that little boy, who was by then a grown man who was haunted by the memory.

He had been playing near a wooded area near his house. He was wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots with two “six-guns” and a toy rifle. While playing with a stick, he says he can never forget the teenage boy who walked over to him and asked him if he wanted to build a fort.

The trusting little cowboy followed the older boy into the woods. But, instead of building a fort, the teen stabbed him through the ribs and into his liver. The little boy gasped, clutching his mid section, and asked, “Why’d you kill me?” He could feel the blood pump out of the wound with every heart beat. His shirt became slick red with blood. It was gushing to the point where he felt it running down his leg and into his little boots.

The teen, we now know, was Gary Ridgway. He began to laugh and, with a smile on his face, he took the knife and wiped the bloody blade across the little boys shoulder. As he folded the blade back up he said, “I always wanted to know what it felt like to kill somebody.”

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Linda C

    I worked for Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Program at the time he was identified. CVC program paid for the burials of many of these unidentified victims as they needed to be taken care of after the evidence was collected; particularly as they were not yet identified. I read many of the police reports prior to identifying Ridgway.

    As I recall reading somewhere, it was an unusual button from blouse of a victim that was in a car Ridgway refurbished and sold that solidly tied him to the cases, beyond DNA.

    I remember that Dave Reichart spoke at our Crime Victims Awareness Day that year following when Ridgway was identified. I find it strangely ironic the Green River Killer, the Hillside Strangler and Robert Yates – the Spokane Serial Killer plus Ted Bundy of whom Ann Rule wrote about (THE WORST OF THE WORST) all lived in Washington State.

    And Yates (Yates buried them in the yard) and Ridgway buried them (nearby woods) and even had victims around their homes, while the Hillside Strangler and Ted Bundy were more about college students and were more of a public massacre types of killers

    1. Kim Shepard

      You’re so right, Linda! We seem to have a way of growing or attracting some strange folks here in the Pacific Northwest! -Kim

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