Name: Gary Ridgway (The Green River killer)
Born: February 18, 1949 (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Cause and Effect:
According to witnesses, his mother was a domineering woman and as a child he witnessed several violent fights between his parents. As a child, Gary Ridgway was tested and scored an 82 on the IQ test. This would place him at the very low end of average. Also, Ridgway grew up in a neighborhood that was considered deprived.
Living a normal life, he married three times and had several girl friends while seeking the company of prostitutes, whom he eventually began killing. Ridgway disposed of the bodies in remote woodsy areas. A few of the bodies started turning up along the Green River.
Before the Killings:
On August 18th, 1969, just shortly after graduating high school, Ridgway enlisted in the Navy. According to Navy doctors, he was diagnosed with gonorrhea, and later he told a girlfriend he especially did not like Filipino prostitutes because of his contact with them during his stint in the Navy.
Gary Ridgway married three times. After a courtship of outdoor and in-car sex, he married Claudia Kraig on August 15, 1970. Soon after the marriage, Ridgway left his bride alone as he set out on a 6 month Navy cruise. While away, she had an affair and he returned home to find her living with a female and a male roommate. Their divorce was finalized in January of 1972 and Ridgway stayed bitter about it.
After a year of living together, Gary married Marcia Winslow in December of 1973. In 1975, his son Matthew was born. They tended church and according to Marcia, he had become a fanatical over religion, but as time went on, the church going tapered off. On July 4. 1980, they separated and Marcia moved out. On July 21st, Marcia filed for a divorce that included a restraining order and Gary countered with one of his own. Both restraining orders said they were afraid the other would become violent. In May of 1981, the divorce was finalized and Marcia gained custody of their son Matthew.
Gary Ridgway had a few girlfriends after his second divorce. With his first girlfriend, he followed suit as his first two wives and had sex outdoors and in cars. Becoming too domineering in pushing for sex too much, his first girlfriend broke up with him. His second girlfriend learned he had another girlfriend and broke things off with him. He was arrested for soliciting an undercover deputy posing as a prostitute and according to his present girlfriend she knew about that and said he considered prostitutes as "things" to be used. After she broke up with him, he swiftly went on to another girlfriend.
In 1983, County officers spotted Ridgway on February 23, with a prostitute by the name of Keli McGinness. In June, she turned up missing. Her body has never been found.
On May 4, 1983, Des Moines police spoke to Gary Ridgway about another missing prostitute, Marie Malvar. She was last seen in a truck that resembled Ridgway's. Then in Novemeber, a detective of the Gren River Task force interviewed him again about Malvar and he denied any knowledge of her. She is also listed on the list of Green River victims, but her body has never been found.
In 1984 and 1986, two prostitutes, Dawn White and Paige Miley, spoke to dethe Task Force and told detectives about Ridgways behavior in 1983. Miley said Ridgway had asked her about another prostitute, Kim Nelson, whose remains were discovered near Interstate 90 in 1986.
Gary Ridgway was interviewed several times in the mid-1980's and finally his status as a suspect was cleared after passing a polygraph test in 1984. Later however, when detectives had a renewed interest in him, he had told them he had a fixation on prostitutes. He said he believed that prostitutes may have the same effect on him as alcohol did on an alcoholic. In 1987, detectives searched his home and found no evidence that was connected to the Green River Victims. They did obtain a saliva sample that they saved for 14 years.
In 1988, Ridgway married Judith Lynch. They bought a house and lived in it until 1997. During those years, Gary Ridgway was outgoing and talked to the neighbors a lot and took excellent care of his home. He became almost obsessed with gardening.
In 2001, a King County Sheriff called a meeting to re-examine the evidence of the Green River killings. Using the new technology of DNA, they found a connection between the victims and Gary Ridgway. They charged him with four counts of aggravated murder in December of 2001. Rigway eventually pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder.
Facing a possible death sentence, Ridgway began trying to work with the investigators and told them he had killed as many as 60 women. As part of a plea bargain to be spared the death penalty, he revealed where he had hidden the bodies of four women who were never found. In December of 2003, Gary Ridgway was sentenced to 48 life sentences with no possibility of parole.
In tapes of his confessions, Ridgway first admitted to killing 48 woman, of which 42 were on the detectives list of possible Green River Murders. Later, in another tape, he claimed to have killed 71 women. He also claimed (after his sentencing) to have had sex with all of his victims and later started burrying them to take control of his necrophiliac urges.
At the time of writing this, he is serving his sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary. Gary Ridgeway has confessed to more confirmed murders than any other serial killer in United States history.
Confirmed - 42
Confessed - 71
Possibly as many as - 90+