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How Ted Bundy Helped Catch America’s Worst Serial Killer, Gary Ridgway

During one interview session, Bundy suggested that the killer was most likely revisiting his dump sites to engage in sexual intercourse with the bodies. He advised the investigators that in case they find a fresh grave, stake it out and wait for the killer to return.


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However, it took police until to finally arrest Gary Ridgway. Twenty years after committing his crimes, Ridgway was arrested on suspicions of murdering four women, and his DNA was later conclusively linked to them. Forensic testing later revealed that the same spray paint Ridgway used at work during his crime spree was present at other crime scenes, and added those murders to the list of charges. Getty Images Gary Ridgway during his trial.

The Green River Killer - Full Documentary

By the time of his trial, Ridgway was facing 49 murder charges and had admitted to 23 others. In exchange for life imprisonment instead of the death penalty, Ridgway agreed to provide the locations of the remains of all of his victims. After his cooperation, he was sentenced to 49 life sentences to be served consecutively.

Gary Ridgway

An additional ten years was added to each sentence for tampering with evidence, adding years to his 48 life sentences. He was really good at getting away with murder and saw his kills as a series of accomplishments.


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Ridgway began stalking girls as early as elementary school and, as a teen, lit fires, tortured animals and stabbed a six-year-old boy just to see what it would be like. He developed an addiction to sex during adulthood, often maintaining several girlfriends at once, while also having regular sex with prostitutes.

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While he despised prostitutes, subconsciously projecting his own insecurities and flaws on to them, Ridgway continued to use them with increasing frequency. This gradual descent is likely why he could not remember when he began killing women. Upon his second marriage, Ridgway turned to religion to try to suppress his violent urges but failed. He practiced sneaking up on his wife in the woods and even nearly strangled her once. He considered killing his second ex-wife when she demanded he pay child support, but restrained himself because he was certain he would be caught if he did.

Ridgway was methodical, he only preyed upon strangers that police would have a hard time tying back to him.

Gary Ridgway - Crime Museum

Prostitutes fit that bill. He spent hours stalking a single woman and would only get violent if he was positive there was no one around to witness it.

He made no effort to restrict himself. Ridgway strangled his victims with his bare hands to feel the moment they died and dumped his first five victims into the Green River but would eventually leave them in various other outdoor places, in order to 1 avoid detection and 2 be able to visit the bodies. To persuade victims that he was not the Green River Killer, Ridgway would use a number of tactics to put them at ease, such as give them a beer, and show them pictures of his son.

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On a few occasions, he even brought his son along to seek victims. They were often placed together in groups, and sometimes the bodies were even posed. Almost all of the victims were prostitutes, so the police were able to identify a common trait that the killer looked for and used that information in their ongoing investigation.

Gary Ridgway Becomes The Green River Killer

In , Gary Ridgway was arrested on a prostitution charge. He became a suspect in the killings, but after passing a polygraph test in which he claimed to be innocent, he was no longer considered to be a prime candidate. Members of the task force held on to their suspicions and to samples of his hair and saliva. After , the murders seemed to have stopped but the search continued for the killer.