Sun, 22 Feb 2015

71 killings by the Green River Killer: Fact or Fiction?

"I want to prove there's 80 bodies out there, or 85 or whatever" were the words of Gary Ridgway, more popularly known as the Green River Killer, in an attempt to "help" the police locate the missing bodies of his victims. In 2003, he was convicted for 48 murders, but the serial killer confessed to at least 71 killings, which he disclosed in an interview with Sheriff Reichter in 2001. And while the 30 bodies have yet to be found and identified to substantiate his claim, the twenty-year killing spree is nonetheless one of the worst America has seen.

Gary Leon Ridgway

Gary Leon Ridgway was born in Salt Lake City on 1949. He was described to be slow in school and was tested to have a below-average IQ. He started the killings in the 1980s but his first ever recorded victim dates back to when he was 16 years old. He led a 6-year-old boy into the woods and stabbed him in the ribs, walking away and laughing right after. "I always wondered what it would be like to kill," he reportedly said.

Many would attribute his killing activities to his early life experiences. Sources said his parents had frequent arguments and he witnessed most of them while growing up. After graduating from high school and marrying Claudia Kraig, he decided to join the navy and was sent to Vietnam. During this mission, he contracted gonorrhea because of his frequent encounters with prostitutes. His marriage with Kraig ended because she was having an affair.

When he came back from Vietnam, Ridgway got a job painting trucks and kept at it for about two decades. During his second marriage, he became strangely religious. His second wife, Marcia Winslow, said he was always reading the Bible aloud at home and at work, telling her to follow the church's teachings. He was also seen always crying after the pastor's sermons. Despite his peculiar cling to religion, he was still regularly involved with prostitutes.

Ridgway Strangled His Victims With His Bare Hands

Ridgway confessed to having a weird fixation with prostitutes, describing it as a "love-hate relationship." Interestingly, most of his victims turned out to be the prostitutes he had sexual affairs with.

According to Ridgway, he usually began a "killing" by picking up a woman, whose profile would normally fall under the category of prostitutes, teenage runaways, or drug addicts on the road, along Pacific Highway South or International Boulevard 99 near Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. He would then proceed to befriending and making them feel comfortable with him, like showing them pictures of his son with his second wife. In an interview, he said he would first try to take the victim's mind off of sex before he would engage in intercourse with them.

Ridgway would then strangle them from behind once the sex was done. The victims would inflict bruises and wounds on him in an attempt to defend themselves while he was strangling them with his bare hands, so he later decided to use ligatures. Most of the bodies were then dumped in wooded areas around the Green River or the Duwamish River in Washington, except for a couple of bodies Ridgway purposely dumped in Portland, Oregon to confuse the police.

Ridgway Confessed He Was The Green River Killer

It was when Robert Ainsworth got into his raft in 1982 and made a trip downstream the river when some of the victims' bodies were first discovered and reported to the police. Reinforcements arrived and the area was sealed off. Ridgway was arrested in 1982 and 2001 for the crimes. He was also arrested for charges related to prostitution. It was then when he became a suspect to the Green River killings.

In 1985, he started dating Judith Mawson who eventually became his third wife. In 1987, the police took hair and saliva DNA samples from him which were later submitted for analysis, resulting in the issuing of the arrest warrant for Ridgway in 2001. He was arrested at his workplace at the Kenworth Truck Factory. The DNA evidence taken from Ridgway conclusively linked with the semen samples taken from the bodies of the victims. He admitted to going back to sites where he dumped the bodies and having sex with them.

Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 charges of aggravated first-degree murder in 2003. The guilty plea was to spare him from execution in exchange for agreeing to cooperate with investigations.

The outstanding thing about the Green River Killer is that he confessed to more killings than any other American serial killers. Most of the investigators, however, are skeptical when it comes to the truth about these numbers. He is said to be continuing to be deceptive and is concerned about his legacy.

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