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Gary Ridgway

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Collection: 1949 Births, 20Th-Century American Criminals, American Male Serial Killers, American Military Personnel of the Vietnam War, American Murderers of Children, American People Convicted of Murder, American Prisoners Sentenced to Life Imprisonment, American Serial Killers, Crimes Against Sex Workers, Criminals from Utah, Living People, Male Serial Killers, Necrophiles, People Convicted of Murder by Washington (State), People from Salt Lake City, Utah, People from Seattle, Washington, Prisoners Sentenced to Life Imprisonment by Washington (State), United States Navy Sailors
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Gary Ridgway

Gary Ridgway
Mugshot in November 2001
Born Gary Leon Ridgway
(1949-02-18) February 18, 1949
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Other names The Green River Killer
Green River Gary
The River Man
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment without parole
Spouse(s) Claudia Kraig Barrows (m. August 15, 1970; div. January 14, 1972)
Marcia Lorene Brown (m. December 14, 1973; div. May 27, 1981)
Judith Lorraine Lynch (m. June 12, 1988; div. September 5, 2002)
Conviction(s) Murder
Victims Convicted of 49, confessed to 71, presumed to be at least 90+
Span of killings
1982–1998 confirmed, but could be as recent as 2001
Country United States
State(s) Washington
Date apprehended
November 30, 2001
Imprisoned at Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla, Washington

Gary Leon Ridgway (born February 18, 1949) is the American serial killer known as the Green River Killer. He was initially convicted of 48 separate murders and later confessed to nearly twice that number. As part of his plea bargain, an additional conviction was added, bringing the total number of convictions to 49, making him the most prolific American serial killer in history according to confirmed murders. He murdered numerous women and girls in Washington State during the 1980s and 1990s.[1] Most of his victims were alleged to be prostitutes and other women in vulnerable situations, including underage runaways. The press gave him his nickname after the first five victims were found in the Green River; his identity was not known.[2] He strangled the women, usually by hand but sometimes using ligatures. After strangling them, he would dump their bodies throughout forested and overgrown area in King County, often returning to the dead bodies to have sexual intercourse with them.[3]

On November 30, 2001, as he was leaving the Kenworth truck factory where he worked in Renton, Washington, he was arrested for the murders of four women whose cases were linked to him through DNA evidence.[3] As part of a plea bargain wherein he agreed to disclose the whereabouts of still-missing women, he was spared the death penalty and received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.


  • Early life 1
  • Adult life 2
  • Murders 3
  • Plea bargain, confessions, sentencing 4
  • Life imprisonment 5
  • Victims 6
    • Confirmed 6.1
    • Task force victims list 6.2
    • Suspected 6.3
  • Popular culture 7
    • In artwork 7.1
    • In documentaries and films (non-fiction) 7.2
    • In print (non-fiction) 7.3
    • In print (fiction) 7.4
    • In music 7.5
    • In television (fiction) 7.6
  • References 8
    • Inline citations 8.1
    • General references 8.2
  • External links 9

Early life

Ridgway was born the second of three boys in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1949. His homelife was somewhat troubled; relatives have described his mother as domineering and have said that young Ridgway witnessed more than one violent argument between his parents.[4] As a young child, Ridgway was tested with an wet the bed up until the age of 14. When his mother found out about the incidents, she would have him march naked all the way into the bathroom. There, she would bathe him. This both aroused and embarrassed Ridgway, which caused him to have both sexual and violent fantasies about his mother. When he was 16, he stabbed a six-year-old boy, who survived the attack. He had led the boy into the woods and then stabbed him through the ribs into his liver.[5] According to the victim and Ridgway himself, Ridgway walked away laughing and saying, "I always wondered what it would be like to kill someone."

Adult life

Ridgway graduated from Tyee High School at age 20 in 1969 and married his 19-year-old high school girlfriend Claudia Kraig. He joined the Navy[5] and was sent to Vietnam, where he served on board a supply ship[6] and saw combat.[4] During his time in the military, Ridgway began frequenting numerous prostitutes and contracted gonorrhea. Although angered by this, he continued to have unprotected sex with prostitutes. While Ridgway was abroad, Kraig had an extramarital affair. The marriage ended within a year.[5]

When questioned about Ridgway after his arrest, friends and family described him as friendly but strange. His first two marriages resulted in divorce because of infidelities by both partners. His second wife, Marcia Winslow, claimed that he had placed her in a chokehold.[4] He had become religious during his second marriage, proselytizing door-to-door, reading the Bible aloud at work and at home, and insisting that his wife follow the strict teachings of their church pastor.[5] Ridgway would also frequently cry after sermons or reading the Bible.[7] Ridgway continued to solicit the services of prostitutes during this marriage; he also wanted his wife to participate in sex in public and inappropriate places, sometimes even in areas where his victims' bodies were later discovered.[5]

According to women in his life, Ridgway had an insatiable sexual appetite. His three ex-wives and several ex-girlfriends reported that Ridgway demanded sex from them several times a day.[7] Often, he would want to have sex in a public area or in the woods.[5] Ridgway himself admitted to having a fixation with prostitutes,[8] with whom he had a love-hate relationship. He frequently complained about their presence in his neighborhood, but he also took advantage of their services regularly. It has been speculated that Ridgway was torn between his uncontrollable lusts and his staunch religious beliefs.[7]


Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Ridgway is believed to have murdered at least 71 women (according to Ridgway, in an interview with Sheriff Reichert in 2001) near Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. His court statements later reported that he had killed so many, he lost count. A majority of the murders occurred between 1982 and 1984. The victims were believed to be either prostitutes or runaways picked up along Pacific Highway South (International Blvd. 99), whom he strangled. Most of their bodies were dumped in wooded areas around the Green River, except for two confirmed and another two suspected victims found in the Portland, Oregon area. The bodies were often left in clusters, sometimes posed, usually nude. He would sometimes return to the victims' bodies and have sexual intercourse with them. Because most of the bodies were not discovered until only the skeletons remained, three victims are still unidentified. Ridgway occasionally contaminated the dump sites with gum, cigarettes, and written materials belonging to others, and he even transported a few victims' remains across state lines into Oregon to confuse the police.[9]

Ridgway began each murder by picking up a woman, usually a prostitute. He sometimes showed the woman a picture of his son, to help her trust him. After having sex with her, Ridgway strangled her from behind. He initially strangled them manually. However, many victims inflicted wounds and bruises on his arm while trying to defend themselves. Concerned these wounds and bruises would draw attention, Ridgway began using ligatures to strangle his victims. He killed most victims in his home, his truck, or a secluded area.[3] In the early 1980s, the King County Sheriff's Office formed the Green River Task Force to investigate the murders. The most notable members of the task force were Robert Keppel and Dave Reichert, who periodically interviewed incarcerated serial killer Ted Bundy from 1984. Bundy offered his opinions on the psychology, motivations, and behavior of the killer; he suggested that the killer was revisiting the dump sites to have sexual relations with his victims, which turned out to be true, and if police found a fresh grave, they should stake it out and wait for him to come back.[10] Also contributing to the investigation was John E. Douglas, who has since written much on the subject of the Green River Killer.[11]

Ridgway was arrested in 1982 and 2001 on charges related to prostitution. He became a suspect in 1983 in the Green River killings. In 1984, Ridgway took and passed a polygraph test (quality control protocols later developed in the FBI after careful review determined that Ridgway actually failed his polygraph test), and on April 7, 1987, police took hair and saliva samples from Ridgway. Around 1985, Ridgway began dating Judith Mawson, who became his third wife in 1988. Mawson claimed in a 2010 television interview that when she moved into his house while they were dating, there was no carpet. Detectives later told her he had probably wrapped a body in the carpet.[12] In the same interview, she described how he would leave for work early in the morning some days, ostensibly for the overtime pay. Mawson speculated that he must have committed some of the murders while supposedly working these early morning shifts. She claimed that she had not suspected Ridgway's crimes before she was contacted by authorities in 1987, and had not even heard of the Green River Killer before that time because she did not watch the news.[12]

Author Pennie Morehead interviewed Ridgway in prison, and he said while he was in the relationship with Mawson his kill rate went down, and he truly loved her.[12] Mawson told a local television reporter, "I feel I have saved lives ... by being his wife and making him happy."[13]

The samples collected in 1987 were later subjected to a DNA analysis, providing the evidence for his arrest warrant. On November 30, 2001, Ridgway was at the Kenworth Truck factory, where he worked as a spray painter, when police arrived to arrest him. Ridgway was arrested on suspicion of murdering four women nearly 20 years after first being identified as a potential suspect, when DNA evidence conclusively linked semen left in the victims to the saliva swab taken by the police. The four victims named in the original indictment were Marcia Chapman, Opal Mills, Cynthia Hinds, and Carol Ann Christensen. Three more victims—Wendy Coffield, Debra Bonner, and Debra Estes—were added to the indictment after a forensic scientist identified microscopic spray paint spores as a specific brand and composition of paint used at the Kenworth factory during the specific time frame when these victims were killed.[12]

Plea bargain, confessions, sentencing

Early in August 2003, Seattle television news reported that Ridgway had been moved from a maximum security cell at King County Jail to an undisclosed location. Other news reports stated that his lawyers, led by Anthony Savage, were closing a plea bargain that would spare him the death penalty in return for his confession to a number of the Green River murders.

On November 5, 2003, Ridgway entered a guilty plea to 48 charges of aggravated first degree murder as part of a plea bargain, agreed to in June, that would spare him execution in exchange for his cooperation in locating the remains of his victims and providing other details. In his statement accompanying his guilty plea, Ridgway explained that all of his victims had been killed inside King County, Washington, and that he had transported and dumped the remains of the two women near Portland to confuse the police.[9]

Deputy prosecutor Jeffrey Baird noted in court that the deal contained "the names of 41 victims who would not be the subject of State v. Ridgway if it were not for the plea agreement." King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng explained his decision to make the deal:

We could have gone forward with seven counts, but that is all we could have ever hoped to solve. At the end of that trial, whatever the outcome, there would have been lingering doubts about the rest of these crimes. This agreement was the avenue to the truth. And in the end, the search for the truth is still why we have a criminal justice system ... Gary Ridgway does not deserve our mercy. He does not deserve to live. The mercy provided by today's resolution is directed not at Ridgway, but toward the families who have suffered so much ...[14]

On December 18, 2003, King County Superior Court Judge Richard Jones sentenced Ridgway to 48 life sentences with no possibility of parole and one life sentence, to be served consecutively. He was also sentenced to an additional 10 years for tampering with evidence for each of the 48 victims, adding 480 years to his 48 life sentences.

Ridgway led prosecutors to three bodies in 2003. On August 16 of that year, the remains of a 16-year-old female found near Enumclaw, Washington, 40 feet from State Route 410, were pronounced as belonging to Pammy Annette Avent, who had been believed to be a victim of the Green River Killer. The remains of Marie Malvar and April Buttram were found in September. On November 23, 2005, The Associated Press reported that a weekend hiker found the skull of one of the 48 women Ridgway admitted murdering in his 2003 plea bargain with King County prosecutors. The skull of Tracy Winston, who was 19 when she disappeared from Northgate Mall on September 12, 1983, was found on November 20, 2005 by a man hiking in a wooded area near Highway 18 near Issaquah, southeast of Seattle.[15]

Ridgway confessed to more confirmed murders than any other American serial killer. Over a period of five months of police and prosecutor interviews, he confessed to 48 murders—42 of which were on the police's list of probable Green River Killer victims.[16] On February 9, 2004, county prosecutors began to release the videotape records of Ridgway's confessions. In one taped interview, he told investigators initially that he was responsible for the deaths of 65 women, but in another taped interview with Reichert on December 31, 2003, Ridgway claimed to have murdered 71 victims and confessed to having had sex with them before killing them, a detail which he did not reveal until after his sentencing.[17] In his confession, he acknowledged that he targeted prostitutes because they were "easy to pick up" and that he "hated most of them."[18] He confessed that he had sex with his victims' bodies after he murdered them, but claimed he began burying the later victims so that he could resist the urge to commit necrophilia.[19]

Ridgway talked to and tried to make his victims comfortable before he committed the murders. In his own words, "I would talk to her... and get her mind off of the, sex, anything she was nervous about. And think, you know, she thinks, 'Oh, this guy cares'... which I didn't. I just want to, uh, get her in the vehicle and eventually kill her."[17]

Later in a statement Ridgway said that murdering young women was his "career".[20]

Life imprisonment

Ridgway was placed in solitary confinement at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla in January 2004.[21] On May 14, 2015, he was transferred to the USP Florence, a high-security federal prison east of Cañon City, Colorado. In September 2015, after a public outcry and discussions with Gov. Jay Inslee, Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner announced that Ridgway would be transferred back to Washington to be “easily accessible” for open murder investigations.[22] Ridgway was returned by chartered plane to Washington from the High Security Federal Prison in Florence, Colorado, on October 24, 2015.[23]


Before Ridgway's confession, authorities had attributed 49 murders to the Green River Killer.[24] Ridgway confessed to murdering at least 71 victims.[17]


At the time of his December 18, 2003 sentencing, authorities had been able to find at least 48 sets of remains, including victims not originally attributed to the Green River Killer. Ridgway was sentenced for the deaths of each of these 48 victims, with a plea agreement that he would "plead guilty to any and all future cases (in King County) where his confession could be corroborated by reliable evidence."[25]

# Name Age Disappeared Found
1 Wendy Lee Coffield 16 July 8, 1982 July 15, 1982
2 Gisele Ann Lovvorn 17 July 17, 1982 September 25, 1982
3 Debra Lynn Bonner 23 July 25, 1982 August 12, 1982
4 Marcia Fay Chapman 31 August 1, 1982 August 15, 1982
5 Cynthia Jean Hinds 17 August 11, 1982 August 15, 1982
6 Opal Charmaine Mills 16 August 12, 1982 August 15, 1982
7 Terry Rene Milligan 16 August 29, 1982 April 1, 1984
8 Mary Bridget Meehan 18 September 15, 1982 November 13, 1983
9 Debra Lorraine Estes 15 September 20, 1982 May 30, 1988
10 Linda Jane Rule 16 September 26, 1982 January 31, 1983
11 Denise Darcel Bush 23 October 8, 1982 June 12, 1985
12 Shawnda Leea Summers 16 October 9, 1982 August 11, 1983
13 Shirley Marie Sherrill 18 October 20–22, 1982 June 1985
14 Rebecca "Becky" Marrero 20 December 3, 1982 December 21, 2010
15 Colleen Renee Brockman 15 December 24, 1982 May 26, 1984
16 Sandra Denise Major 20 December 24, 1982 December 30, 1985
17 Alma Ann Smith 18 March 3, 1983 April 2, 1984
18 Delores LaVerne Williams 17 March 8–14, 1983 March 31, 1984
19 Gail Lynn Mathews 23 April 10, 1983 September 18, 1983
20 Andrea M. Childers 19 April 14, 1983 October 11, 1989
21 Sandra Kay Gabbert 17 April 17, 1983 April 1, 1984
22 Kimi-Kai Pitsor 16 April 17, 1983 December 15, 1983
23 Marie M. Malvar 18 April 30, 1983 September 26, 2003
24 Carol Ann Christensen 21 May 3, 1983 May 8, 1983
25 Martina Theresa Authorlee 18 May 22, 1983 November 14, 1984
26 Cheryl Lee Wims 18 May 23, 1983 March 22, 1984
27 Yvonne "Shelly" Antosh 19 May 31, 1983 October 15, 1983
28 Carrie Ann Rois 15 May 31 – June 13, 1983 March 10, 1985
29 Constance Elizabeth Naon 19 June 8, 1983 October 27, 1983
30 Kelly Marie Ware 22 July 18, 1983 October 29, 1983
31 Tina Marie Thompson 21 July 25, 1983 April 20, 1984
32 April Dawn Buttram 16 August 18, 1983 August 30, 2003
33 Debbie May Abernathy 26 September 5, 1983 March 31, 1984
34 Tracy Ann Winston 19 September 12, 1983 March 27, 1986
35 Maureen Sue Feeney 19 September 28, 1983 May 2, 1986
36 Mary Sue Bello 25 October 11, 1983 October 12, 1984
37 Pammy Annette Avent 15 October 26, 1983 August 16, 2003
38 Delise Louise Plager 22 October 30, 1983 February 14, 1984
39 Kimberly L. Nelson 21 November 1, 1983 June 14, 1986
40 Lisa Yates 19 December 23, 1983 March 13, 1984
41 Mary Exzetta West 16 February 6, 1984 September 8, 1985
42 Cindy Anne Smith 17 March 21, 1984 June 27, 1987
43 Patricia Michelle Barczak 19 October 17, 1986 February 1993
44 Roberta Joseph Hayes 21 February 7, 1987 September 11, 1991
45 Marta Reeves 36 March 5, 1990 September 20, 1990
46 Patricia Yellowrobe 38 January 1998 August 6, 1998
47 Unidentified White Female (Jane Doe B-10) 12–18 Died prior to May 1983 March 21, 1984
48 Unidentified White Female (Jane Doe B-17) 14–18 December 1980 – January 1984 January 2, 1986
49 Unidentified Female (Jane Doe B-20) 13–24 1973–1993 August 2003
Jane Doe B-10 (left) and Jane Doe B-17 are two of three unidentified victims of Ridgway. Their faces were reconstructed digitally to assist in their identification.
  • Before Ridgway's confession, authorities had not attributed to the Green River Killer the deaths of victims Rule, Barczak, Hayes, Reeves, Yellowrobe and 'victim 49'.[24]
  • Ridgway's confession and directions led police search crews to find the bodies of Avent, Buttram, and Malvar in August and September 2003.
  • On Tuesday, December 21, 2010, hikers near the West Valley Highway in Auburn, WA found a skull in the vicinity of where Marie Malvar's remains were found in 2003. The skull was identified as belonging to Rebecca "Becky" Marrero, who was last seen leaving the Western Six Motel at South 168th Street and Pacific Highway South on December 3, 1982. The King County Prosecutor confirmed that Ridgway would be formally charged with her murder on February 11, 2011.[25] On February 18, 2011, he entered a guilty plea in the murder of Rebecca Marrero, adding a 49th life sentence to his existing 48. Ridgway confessed to murdering Marrero in his original plea bargain, but due to insufficient evidence, the charges could not be filed. Therefore, there is no change in his current incarceration status.[26]
  • The remains of Tracy Winston were found, without a skull, in Kent's Cottonwood Grove Park in March 1986. Winston's skull was found in November 2005 near Tiger Mountain, miles away from the discovery site of the rest of her body. Police assume someone carried it to the location.[27]
  • Sandra Denise Major was not identified until June 2012. A family member asked the King County Sheriff to investigate after seeing a TV movie about Ridgway. DNA confirmed Major's identity.[28][29]
  • Jane Doe B-10, discovered on March 21, 1984, is currently unidentified. Ridgeway claimed that she was a white female in her early twenties and possibly had brown hair. Examination of the remains suggested that she was actually between twelve and eighteen, most likely around fifteen.[30] Analysis of the victim's skeleton indicated she was probably left-handed, and had at one point in her life suffered a healed skull fracture to the left temple.
  • Jane Doe B-17, also unidentified, was discovered on January 2, 1986; remains that had been found in another area February 18, 1984 were later matched to this victim. Ridgway claimed responsibility for her death in 2003.[31]
  • Jane Doe B-20, a female between thirteen and twenty-four, was discovered in August 2003. Due to the fact that the remains were partial, her face could not be reconstructed and her race could not be determined. She was murdered between the twenty-year span of 1973 to 1993, but is believed to have been murdered during the first decade of Ridgway's murder spree.[32]

Task force victims list

Ridgway is suspected of—but not charged with—murdering the remaining six victims of the original list attributed to the Green River Killer.[24] In each case, either Ridgway did not confess to the victim's death, or authorities have not been able to corroborate their suspicion with reliable evidence.

Name Age Disappeared Found
Tammy Vincent 17 August 1979 September 26, 1979
Amina Agisheff 35 July 7, 1982 April 18, 1984
Kase Ann Lee (Woods) 16 August 28, 1982 Undiscovered
Tammie Liles 16 June 9, 1983 April 1985
Kelly Kay McGinniss[33] 18 June 28, 1983 Undiscovered
Angela Marie Girdner 16 July 1983 April 22, 1985
Patricia Osborn 19 October 20, 1983? Undiscovered
  • Seattle native Tammy Vincent, who disappeared in 1979, was later thought to be a possible victim of Ridgway. In 1979, her body had been found stabbed and shot to death in Tiburon, California. Her remains were not identified until 2007. He did not confirm involvement in her death, which was likely caused by a different person.[34]
  • Ridgway denied killing Amina Agisheff. Agisheff does not fit the profile of any of the victims of the Green River Killer considering her age, and she was not a prostitute or a teenage runaway.[35]
  • Although he has never been charged with her murder, during police interrogations in 2003, Ridgway did confess to killing Kase Ann Lee (Woods). He stated that he strangled Lee in 1982 and left her body near a drive-in theatre off the Sea-Tac Strip.[36] Law enforcement officials have been unable to locate Lee's remains at the dump site that Ridgway indicated.[37]
  • Evidence exists to suggest that Ridgway murdered Kelly Kay McGinniss. Shortly before her disappearance, McGinniss was questioned by a Port of Seattle police officer while "dating" Ridgway near the SeaTac Strip. Furthermore, during the summer of 2003, Ridgway led authorities to the bodies of several of his victims. One of those bodies (later identified as that of April Buttram) was initially identified by Ridgway as being that of Keli Kay McGinness. According to Ridgway, he often confused McGinness with Buttram because of their similar physiques.[38]
  • Ridgway is a suspect in the deaths of Angela Marie Girdner and Tammie Liles. Their bodies were discovered within a mile of the bodies of known victims Shirley Shirell and Denise Bush. Liles remained unidentified until 1998 and Girdner until October 2009.[39]


Ridgway has been considered a suspect in the disappearances/murders of five other women not attributed at the time to the Green River Killer. No charges have been filed.

Name Age Disappeared Found
Martha Morrison 17 September 1, 1974 October 12, 1974
Unidentified Black Female Unknown December 1980 Undiscovered
Kristi Lynn Vorak 13 October 31, 1982 Undiscovered
Patricia Ann Leblanc 15 August 12, 1983 Undiscovered
Rose Marie Kurran[40] 16 August 26, 1987 August 31, 1987
Darci Warde 16 April 24, 1990 Undiscovered
Cora McGuirk 22 July 12, 1991 Undiscovered
  • Martha Morrison disappeared from her apartment in Oregon in 1974. Her body was found along with another victim in Washington later that year. Morrison's case was speculated to have been related to the Green River killings. Her remains were identified in 2015.[41]
  • An unidentified Black female, possibly bearing the first name Michelle, was a possible victim of Ridgway. She has never been located or identified.[42]
  • Cora McGuirk was the mother of National Basketball Association player Martell Webster. McGuirk disappeared when her son was four years old.[43]
  • Ridgway was recently ruled out in the murder of Rose Marie Kurran (sometimes spelled "Curran").

Popular culture

Numerous mentions of Ridgway have appeared in popular non-fiction media and in fiction.

In artwork

  • In 2004, Phil Hansen created and displayed artwork depicting Gary Ridgway's face, composed of 11,792 portraits of the 48 victims.[44]

In documentaries and films (non-fiction)

In print (non-fiction)

Many non-fiction books and novels have been written about the Green River murders and Gary Ridgway himself. Examples include:

  • Search for the Green River Killer by Carlton Smith with help from Tom Guillen (March 5, 1991)
  • The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer by Robert D. Keppel (November 27, 1995)
  • The Green River Killer by the King County Journal Staff (November 23, 2003)
  • Chasing the Devil by Sheriff David Reichert (July 28, 2004)
  • Green River, Running Red by true-crime author and former police officer Ann Rule (September 27, 2005)
  • Serial Killers: Issues Explored Through Green River Murders by Tomas Guillen (January 14, 2006)
  • Green River Serial Killer: Biography of an Unsuspecting Wife by Pennie Morehead, telling the story of his third wife and her struggles with the truth (April 1, 2007)
  • Case of the Green River Killer by Diane Yancey (April 27, 2007)
  • Defending Gary: Unraveling the Mind of the Green River Killer by Mark Prothero with help from Carlton Smith (May 25, 2007)
  • Green River Killer: The True Detective Story, a 2011 graphic novel by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case. Jensen's father was Tom Jensen, one of the detectives who worked on the case for 20 years.

In print (fiction)

  • The Green River murders are discussed in the Jodi Picoult novel House Rules.
  • Gary Ridgeway is mentioned in the third book of the Twilight series "Eclipse" by Stephanie Meyer
  • The character Dactyl in Grace Krilanovich's novel The Orange Eats Creeps is a conflation of Twin Peaks’ “Bob” and the Green River Killer.

In music

  • Seattle-based grunge rock band Green River were formed in Seattle in 1984, taking their name from the area's notorious, then-recent serial killer (it would be almost two decades before Gary Ridgway was brought to justice for the murders). Members of Green River would go on to form iconic bands like Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, and Pearl Jam.[46]
  • Chicago thrash/death metal/grindcore band Macabre has a 22-second song about Ridgway, called "The Green River Murderer (He's Still out There)". From their Gloom (album) release.
  • Portland- based band Poison Idea's song "Feel the Darkness", from 1990, is based on Ridgway .
  • The 1992 song 'You Can't Slip' by Sir Mix-a-Lot makes reference to the Green River Killer: "If I wasn't slippin' then the psycho couldn't kill her / Body found face down, floatin' in the Green River".
  • The 1998 song "I Wanna Know What Love Is" by the Julie Ruin, the solo project of prominent riot grrrl figure Kathleen Hanna, references the Green River Killer, using him as an example of police negligence towards protecting women.
  • The 2002 song "Deep Red Bells" by Neko Case was inspired by her own life growing up as a teenager near the metropolis during the time of the murders.[47]
  • In 2002, Seattle-based songwriter and musician Damien Jurado released a song entitled 'The Killer' is based on the crimes of Ridgway.
  • The 2003 power electronics album "G.R." by Deathpile is devoted completely to Gary Ridgway.
  • The 2004 song "Sane vs. Normal" by Mnemic. It mentions him directly by name and tells of his early encounters with police and initially eluding them along with his urge to rape and kill women.
  • The Swedish death metal band "Smothered" dedicated a song called "Green River Anthem" to Gary Ridgway in 2013
  • The Japanese doom metal band Church of Misery named an instrumental song "Green River" on their album "Master of Brutality."

In television (fiction)

  • From 2003-09, the comedy show "Reno 911!" featured a character called the Truckee River Killer played by Kyle Dunningan, which spoofed Ridgway and several other serial killers.
  • In an episode of Everybody Hates Chris, after confronting Julius about a credit card he had been hiding from Rochelle for 15 years, she asks him is he the "Green River Killer."
  • In a 2007 episode of Dexter (2X02), Sergeant James Doakes mentions how the "Green River Killer" case was impossible, but FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy broke it.
  • In a May 2013 interview,[48] Veena Sud stated her inspiration for The Killing season 3 (2013) came from Streetwise, Mary Ellen Mark's book of photographs about teenaged runaways in Seattle[49] that was made into an eponymous 1984 documentary.[49] One of the street kids Mark documented in that and later books (21-year-old Roberta Joseph Hayes), fell victim to The Green River Killer (Gary Ridgway). (Sud had stated she was "very fascinated" with Ridgway, the serial killer of numerous women and girls near Seattle and Tacoma, Washington in the 1980s and 1990s.)[25]
  • On the season eight premiere episode of hit TV show Criminal Minds, when the FBI is investigating a serial killer, agent Alex Blake (Jeanne Tripplehorn) says that the killer "made Ridgway look like a saint."


Inline citations

  1. ^ Bell, Rachel. "Green River Killer: River of Death". Crime Library. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ Haglund, WD; Reichert, DG; Reay, DT (1990). "Recovery of decomposed and skeletal human remains in the "Green River Murder" Investigation. Implications for medical examiner/coroner and police". The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology : official publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners 11 (1): 35–43.  
  3. ^ a b c Prothero, Mark; Carlton Smith (2006). Defending Gary: Unraveling the Mind of the Green River Killer. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. p. 317.  
  4. ^ a b c McCarthy, Terry; Thornburgh, Nathan (June 3, 2002). "River Of Death". Time. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Montaldo, Charles (February 14, 2011). "Gary Ridgway: The Green River Killer". Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  6. ^ Prothero, Mark (2006). Defending Gary, p. 117. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco; ISBN 0-7879-8106-0
  7. ^ a b c Bell, Rachael. "Green River Killer: River of Death". Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  8. ^ Keppel, Robert; Birnes, William J.; Rule, Ann (2004). The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer. Simon and Schuster.  
  9. ^ a b "Prosecutor's Summary of the Evidence, Case No. 01-1-10270-9 SEA; State of Washington vs. Gary Leon Ridgway; in the Superior Court of Washington for King County" (PDF). King County Prosecutor's Office. November 2003. Retrieved November 11, 2014. Ridgway acknowledged that, in an effort to throw off the Task Force, he moved Denise’s remains and those of Shirley Sherrill to Oregon in the spring of 1984. One weekend, he took his son on what he described as a “camping” trip to Oregon. He transported the remains, with son’s clothes and bicycle, in the trunk of a Plymouth Satellite. Ridgway paid cash for his food and gas on this trip and was careful not to leave any record linking him to Oregon. 
  10. ^ Robinson, Sean (November 16, 2003). "Like minds: Bundy figured Ridgway out". The News Tribune. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
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General references

  • Keppel, Robert. The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer. 2004, paperback. 624 pages, ISBN 0-7434-6395-1. Updated after the arrest and confession of Gary Ridgway.
  • Rule, Ann. Green River, Running Red. Pocket, 2005, paperback. 704 pages, ISBN 0-7434-6050-2.
  • Guillen, Tomas. Serial Killers: Issues Explored Through the Green River Murders. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007, paperback. 186 pages.

External links

  • NBCUniversal Archives: A compilation of NBC News Footage about the Green River Killer
  • A copy of Ridgway's infamous letter to the press (PDF)
  • Jane Doe B-10 at the Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Jane Doe B-16 at the Center for Missing and Exploited Children
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