Gary Ridgway

Demographic Info

The Green River KillerConvicted of 49; Confessed to 71; Presumed to be 90+MaleCaucasianUSATerritorialPersonal Cause1949/02/18 (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)n/a

Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River KillerDavid ReichertAmazon
Defending Gary: Unraveling the Mind of the Green River KillerMark ProtheroAmazon
Gary Ridgway: The Green River KillerThe staff of the King County JournalAmazon
Green River Killer: A True Detective StoryJeff Jensen and Jonathan CaseAmazon
Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer--America's Deadliest Serial MurdererAnn RuleAmazon, Kindle eBook,
Green River Serial Killer - Biography of an Unsuspecting WifePennie MoreheadAmazon
Riverman, The: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River KillerRobert KeppelAmazon, Kindle eBook
Search for the Green River Killer, TheCarlton Smith and Tomas GuillenAmazon
Serial Killers: Issues Explored Through the Green River MurdersTomas GullienAmazon

Capture of the Green River Killer, TheAmazon (DVD)
Cold Case Files: The Green River Killer
Deranged: The Green River Killer (Episode 03)
Green River KillerAmazon (DVD)
Most Evil: Cold-Blooded Killers (Episode 1x02)
Twisted: The Green River Killer (Episode 3x06)

Gary Ridgway was born on February 18, 1949 in Utah, United States. He was born the middle child of the 3 children in his family. It was stated by Ridgway and others that his mother was extremely domineering. Ridgway continued to have his mother on his checking account even after moving away and getting married. Ridgway stabbed a 6 year old boy at the age of 16, but this was ignored by police. At the age of 20, Ridgway enlisted into the Navy, but was discharged 2 years later. Prior to Ridgway’s arrest for the murder series he was known to be involved with prostitutes had been arrested after a prostitution sting and agreeing to an act of sex for money with an undercover officer.

It is believed that Ridgway began his murder series in 1982, at the age of 33, and ended in 2001 when he was arrested. Some believe that his murder series may have begun as early as 1973, when Ridgway was 24. All of his victims were female between the ages of 15 and 38. Most of the victims were Caucasian, but Ridgway also murdered African Americans, Hispanics and a Native American woman. Many of the women were prostitutes or runaways who were in the area. Most of the women were strangled to death, but some were stabbed or suffocated. In this beginning of murder series, Ridgway would manually strangle his victims, but after a number of them left wounds on Ridgway’s body he began to use ligatures to murder the victims. After his arrest Ridgway claimed that he found choking the most person and rewarding way to murder a person. The women were raped prior to their murders and Ridgway would also return to many of the bodies to engage in intercourse. Ridgway claimed that he would have sex with the bodies so that he would not have to hunt for another victim. The victims were raped and murdered in Ridgway’s home, car or sometimes in the woods. Ridgway would leave some victims at the scene of the crime, while others were buried. He was known to either bury the victims by themselves, bury many in the same location or dump the remains into the Green River. Most of the victims were found nude. Although many serial killers take totems to remember their victims, Ridgway stated that he would remove clothing or jewelry because he believed it would make the victims harder to identify.

After the 1980s Ridgway began to slow down the rate at which he was murdering his victims. He later stated that this occurred because he truly loved his third wife and was happy with her. On November 30, 2001, Ridgway was arrested and charged with the murders of four when his DNA sample from 1987 matched that of the Green River Killer. Ridgway agreed to a plea bargain in which he would avoid the death penalty and plead guilty to the murders of 48 women on November 5, 2003. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on December 18, 2003. Ridgway is suspected of murdering an additional 11 victims.

Blog Posts

Victim of Gary Ridgway Identified

on June 20th, 2012 in Serial Killers, Victimology by | 2 Comments

A victim of Gary Ridgway has been identified, 30 years after she went missing. Sandra Denise Major was last seen by her family in New York in 1982, when she left without telling anyone her destination. Her family later received a postcard with no return address, but with a Seattle…

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Episode 052: The Serial Killer Cycle, Part 2

on October 28th, 2011 in Podcast Episodes, Psychology, Serial Killers by | No Comments

Last week, we looked at 4 of the 7 phases of the serial killer cycle: the aura phase, the trolling phase, the wooing phase, and the capture. This week, we look at the last three phases: the murder, the totem phase, and the depression phase. By the way, this episode…

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Episode 051: The Serial Killer Cycle, Part 1

on October 21st, 2011 in Podcast Episodes, Psychology, Serial Killers by | 7 Comments

This week, we look at the serial killer cycle, a theory proposed by Joel Norris in 1988. While the theory is rather lacking in scientific testing, it ties in well with the concept of serial murder as addictive behavior, a concept I believe has considerable merit. Dr. Norris’ “Phases of…

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Victim Studies 001: Gary Ridgway

on September 29th, 2011 in Serial Killers, Victim Studies, Victimology by | No Comments

Gary Ridgway, otherwise known as the Green River Killer, is a serial killer whose serial series spanned from 1982 until 2001. He is thought to have murdered at least 71 women but had been arrested and charged with the murders of 48 women in King County, Washington. Ridgway only chose…

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Episode 046: Questions & Answers II

on September 16th, 2011 in Podcast Episodes, Pop Culture, Serial Killers by | No Comments

This week, we’re having our second Questions and Answers episode. The questions we’ll answer are: How many serial killers are active at any one time? What do you think of the cultural hero-worship of some serial killers? Why do so many killers have three names? Are there many serial killers…

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Episode 040: Modus Operandi, Ritual Behavior, and Signature

on August 5th, 2011 in Law Enforcement, Podcast Episodes, Pop Culture, Psychology, Serial Killers by | 2 Comments

Charles Albright removed the eyeballs of his victims. The Zodiac Killer signed his letters with a distinctive mark that included a cross and a circle. Richard Ramirez drew Satanic pentagrams on the walls of his victims’ homes, and sometimes on their bodies. The Boston Strangler tied his ligatures into birthday…

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The Devil You Know: In Bed with the Devil

on July 18th, 2011 in Serial Killers, Video Reviews by | No Comments

The Devil You Know is a new series from Investigation Discovery the focuses on the betrayal suffered by the loved ones of murderers. As a half-hour show, the ability to provide much detail is limited. “In Bed with the Devil” is the fifth episode, and it focuses on Gary Ridgway,…

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Forensic Studies 002: The Green River Killer

on May 10th, 2011 in Forensic Studies, Forensics, Serial Killers by | 4 Comments

Nearly 20 years ago the Green River Killer, Gary Leon Ridgway, committed at least 49 killings during a three year period. He got his name by leaving victims in the Green River Valley. Ridgeway is believed to have committed anywhere from 60 to hundreds of murders, most of which were…

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Review: 48 Hours: “Name, Rank and Serial Killer”

on April 10th, 2011 in Serial Killers, Video Reviews by | No Comments

Colonel David Russell Williams was a decorated pilot in the Canadian Air Force, who had flown Queen Elizabeth II. Colonel Williams was base commander for Canadian Forces Base Trenton, the largest air base in the country. Colonel Williams was an avid photographer, runner, and angler. Colonel Williams was happily married….

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Three More Bodies Found on Gilgo Beach

on April 4th, 2011 in Unsubs by | No Comments

Searchers found three more sets of human remains on Gilgo Beach Monday. That brings the total to eight (so far). The search was being continued in hopes of finding the remains of Shannan Gilbert, an escort that has been missing since May. Investigators were unable to immediately confirm the identity…

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