Gary Ridgway was born on the 18th February in Salt Lake City, Utah, 1949. He is an American serial killer also known as the “Green River Killer”.
Relatives of Ridgway described his mother as domineering and that young Gary witnessed more than one violent argument between his parents. Ridgway was tested with an IQ test in his younger years and resulted at 82 which is regarded as below average intelligence.
When he was 20, Ridgway stabbed a six-year-old boy after leading the boy into the woods and stabbing him though the ribs and into his liver. According to the victim who survived, and Ridgway himself, Ridgway walked away laughing and saying, “I always wondered what it would be like to kill someone.”
At age 21, Ridgway married his high school girlfriend Marcia Winslow. He joined the Navy and was sent to Vietnam. During his time in the military, Ridgway began spending a lot of time with prostitutes and contracted gonorrhea. This angered him, but he continued to have unprotected sex with prostitutes. Meanwhile his wife, alone and 19 years old, had an extramarital affair, and the marriage ended within a year.
His first two marriages resulted in divorce because of infidelities by both partners and according to the women in his life, Ridgway had an insatiable sexual appetite. Ridgway had also become religious during his second marriage, proselytizing door-to-door, reading the Bible aloud at work and at home, and insisting that his wife follow the strict teachings of their church pastor. Ridgway continued to solicit the services of prostitutes during this marriage. He also wanted his wife to participate in sex in public and inappropriate places, sometimes even in areas where his victims’ bodies were later discovered.
Ridgway himself admitted to having a fixation with prostitutes, with whom he had a love-hate relationship. He frequently complained about their presence in his neighborhood, but he also took advantage of their services regularly.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Ridgway is believed to have murdered at least 71 women (according to Ridgway, in an interview with Sheriff Reichert in 2001) near Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. His court statements later reported that he had killed so many, he had lost count. A majority of the murders occurred between 1982 and 1984.
Most of the bodies were dumped in wooded areas around the Green River, except for two confirmed and another two suspected victims found in the Portland, Oregon area. The bodies were often left in clusters, sometimes posed, and usually nude. Ridgway would often return to the dead bodies to have sexual intercourse with them.
Ridgway later confessed that he talked to and tried to make his victims comfortable before he committed the murders. In his own words, “I would talk to her… and get her mind off of the sex, anything she was nervous about. And think, you know, she thinks, ‘Oh, this guy cares’… which I didn’t. I just want to, uh, get her in the vehicle and eventually kill her.”
In another later statement Ridgway said that murdering young women was his “career”.
The precise number of woman killed to this day remains unclear and it is believed to be much higher than initially estimated.
In November 30, 2001, as he was leaving the Renton, Washington, Kenworth truck factory where he worked Gary Ridgway was arrested for the murders of four women whose cases were linked to him through DNA evidence. As part of a plea bargain wherein he agreed to disclose the whereabouts of still-missing women, he was spared the death penalty and received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.