Gary Ridgway – “The Green River Killer”

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Green River Killer



Before 1982 Gary Ridgway was a normal husband and father. At the age of 20 he was enlisted in the US Navy. Once he was discharged from the navy he began a truck painting business for 30 years. Towards the end of 1982 Gary began to get violent and it cause the death of just under 100 woman under the age of 22 years. The Green River killer notably impacted mainstream American culture.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
This is one of the carrier ships Ridgway was stationed during his time in the US Navy

Background

Gary Leon Ridgway was married on three separate occasions. The first marriage lasted two short years because of his ongoing fantasy of his mother. His second marriage lasted eight years but ended because of his violent actions. His second wife, Marcia Winslow, told police that Gary choked her by putting her into a police-type hold. His third wife was blindsided by his double life scenario and once she finally knew who he actually was she immediately divorced him in 2002.

Gary Ridgway always had a sexual fantasy about his mother but hid it for years until he married. He was a violent man and that all started when he was 16 years old in the woods. He lured a six year old boy into the woods and stabbed him so he could watch him die.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
This is an image of the papers Ridgway received from each of his three wife’s.

Crime

Gary Ridgway had always hated prostitutes and saw runaways as easy targets, so that’s why he targeted those specific woman. He knew they wouldn’t be reported, or may never be. Ridgway also lived close to a street known for prostitution so it made it easier to complete his ritual. Gary would take the prostitutes and runaways into his van and take them to certain spots where he knew that he wouldn’t be heard or seen. He would have sex with them and strangle them to death and then bury them close to Green River in King County, Washington. Ridgway would come back to “admire his work” and he would kept having sex with the dead bodies for days until the flies started to come around. Gary started his murder spree in 1982 and stopped killing in 1998 because the missing people ware starting to be noticed.

Once Gary was caught he told police his statement for the killings. His statement was, “I picked prostitutes as my victims because I hate most prostitutes and I did not want to pay them for sex. I also picked prostitutes because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without being caught.” He told police it was his “career” and that “choking is what I did and I was pretty good at it.”  Gary was a sickened man and it was a very good thing he was caught with evidence to lock him up for good.

Credit: Flickr
This is a similar image of the van Ridgway drove when he picked up the young woman.

Justice

In the time span of 19 years Gary killed under 100 runaways and prostitutes. The police and the townspeople were trying to figure out a way to catch the “Green River Killer” effectively but could not think of a way. The police figured using another cerial killer would help find Gary. It did in fact help the police. They eventually found and had evidence to lock Gary Leon Ridgway up for good. The DNA test found a match to Gary Ridgway was arrested in 2001 and plead guilty to 49 of the killings of the women. He was sentenced to life in jail for having killed the most people in U.S. history. His current wife, Judith Lynch, immediately divorced Gary. She was completely blindsided by the news of her husband and has absolutely no idea what he was up to.

The 49 families could now finally rest knowing where their baby girls were instead of worrying if they were alive. Now they knew. The could grieve properly and try to go about their lives as normal as could be. As for the other families, the search still goes on to find their lost loved ones. Now the town of King County, Washington can all rest knowing the serial killer is caught and won’t be killing any more woman.