Gary Leon Ridgway is the second most prolific serial killer in United States history and became known as “The Green River Killer” after his first victims were found in the Green River that runs through Kent, Washington.
His crimes include the murders of teenage girls and women in the Seattle area in the 1980s and 1990s-- crimes that left King County Investigators baffled. Ridgway’s mild manner and 13-year marriage to Judith Ridgway, made him look like a regular guy. “He’s always been so, so gentle and caring,” Judith told investigators once they zeroed in on her husband as a suspect.
Most of Ridgway's victims were prostitutes and female runaways that he picked up along the road. He strangled his victims often after having sex with them. Then he would dump their bodies in forested and overgrown areas in and around the Seattle area. Reports say he sometimes practiced necrophilia in his victims — making his notorious crimes even more unspeakable.
Now, a new documentary on REELZ is set to look at the serial killer in a two-night event. The show is set to feature crime writer Shirley Lynn Scott and psychologist Sherry Ginn.
Profilers and investigators were finally led to their killer by a letter Ridgway himself mailed to the King County Sheriff’s office that offered cryptic clues to his identity. The killer was arrested on Nov. 30, 2001, as he was leaving his job at the Kenworth truck factory in Renton Washington. DNA profiling linked him to his first four victims.
His trial led to a plea bargain where he led investigators to the graves of more victims and, in all, he was convicted of 49 separate murders but more alleged victims are believed to exist. The plea deal spared his life from the death penalty and today, The Green River Killer is serving a life sentence without parole at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington.
From the Special:
The Green River Killer is murdering the most vulnerable girls near Seattle. But he leaves few clues behind. Detectives chase down several hot suspects, until a single DNA swab reveals the shocking truth. He’s Gary Ridgway, a happily married man who has a secret obsession with prostitutes. What shocking childhood events drove this mild-mannered man to murder at least fifty women?
There is much more to learn as the two-night event “The Green River Killer” airs Saturday and Sunday March 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on REELZ.