Ridgway began his killing spree in 1982, targeting young women, many of whom were prostitutes, runaways, or living on the streets. He would lure them into his truck or car, drive them to a remote area, and then strangle them to death. He would sometimes return to the bodies and engage in necrophilia.

Over the next decade, the Green River Killer continued to target women in the Seattle-Tacoma area, often dumping their bodies in wooded areas or along riverbanks. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, he remained at large for many years, even as the death toll continued to rise.

In 1987, Ridgway was arrested for soliciting prostitution, but police did not connect him to the murders until much later. In 2001, advances in DNA technology allowed investigators to match DNA found on the victims to samples taken from Ridgway, and he was finally arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder.

Why he entered the world of crime?

It is unclear exactly why Ridgway became a serial killer, but some experts have suggested that his troubled childhood, sexual dysfunction, and hatred of women may have contributed to his crimes. However, he has never provided a clear explanation for his actions and has shown little remorse for the suffering he caused.

In a plea deal, Ridgway confessed to killing 49 women, although it is believed that he may have been responsible for many more deaths. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Some of the victims of the Green River Killer include:

  • Wendy Lee Coffield, age 16, disappeared on July 8, 1982
  • Debra Lorraine Estes, age 15, disappeared on April 20, 1982
  • Cynthia Jean Hinds, age 17, disappeared on April 23, 1982
  • Opal Charmaine Mills, age 16, disappeared on August 12, 1982
  • Roberta “Bobbie” Kathleen Parks, age 19, disappeared on May 3, 1982
  • Marcia Faye Chapman, age 31, disappeared on July 7, 1982
  • Carol Ann Christensen, age 21, disappeared on May 3, 1983
  • Gisele Ann Thompson, age 23, disappeared on July 17, 1983
  • Marie Malvar, age 18, disappeared on April 30, 1983
  • Kimi-Kai Pitsor, age 16, disappeared on March 25, 1986
  • April Dawn Buttram, age 16, disappeared on August 18, 1986
  • Rebecca Marrero, age 20, disappeared on December 3, 1982
  • Jane Doe B-10 was found in a rural area in King County in 1984 and has never been identified.


Gary Ridgway was born on February 18, 1949, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He had a troubled childhood and was known to have a strained relationship with his mother, who was often domineering and critical of him. He also had a low IQ and struggled in school, leading to feelings of inadequacy and isolation.

In the early 1980s, Ridgway began killing women in the Seattle area, targeting sex workers and young women who were vulnerable and easy to prey upon. He would often pick up his victims in areas known for prostitution, such as the Sea-Tac Strip, and strangle them with his bare hands or a ligature. After killing them, he would dump their bodies in wooded areas, along riverbanks, or in other secluded locations.

Ridgway’s victims were typically young and often had difficult lives, including histories of drug use, poverty, and abuse. They were also often marginalized and not reported missing right away, which made it easier for Ridgway to continue his killing spree undetected.

Despite the number of victims and the large number of law enforcement agencies involved in the case, the investigation into the Green River Killer’s crimes was hampered by a number of factors, including the difficulty of identifying the victims and the lack of forensic technology available at the time. Additionally, Ridgway was careful to avoid leaving evidence behind and often changed his MO, which made it harder for investigators to link the crimes together.

It wasn’t until 1984 that the Green River Killer was officially recognized as a serial killer. By that time, he had already killed dozens of women and was continuing to kill with impunity. The investigation eventually led to Ridgway, who was arrested in 2001 after a DNA sample taken from him was matched to evidence found on several victims.

Ridgway ultimately pleaded guilty to 48 counts of murder, although he is believed to have killed many more women than that. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to cooperate with law enforcement officials and provide information about the location of some of his victims’ remains. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Green River Killer’s crimes had a profound impact on the families and communities of his victims, many of whom continue to struggle with the trauma of their loved ones’ deaths. The case also had a significant impact on the field of criminal investigation, highlighting the need for more advanced forensic technology and more coordinated efforts between law enforcement agencies.

The Green River Killer’s crimes continue to be studied by criminologists and law enforcement officials as an example of the complexities of solving serial murder cases. Despite his arrest and conviction, many questions remain about the full extent of his crimes and the motivations behind them.

In the aftermath of the Green River Killer’s crimes, there have been efforts to improve the safety and well-being of sex workers and other marginalized groups. Advocacy groups have worked to raise awareness about the dangers faced by these individuals and to promote policies that protect their rights and safety.

Overall, the legacy of the Green River Killer is a tragic one, marked by the loss of dozens of young lives and the profound impact of his crimes on the families and communities of his victims.