Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, is one of America's most prolific serial killers, so named because his first five victims were found along the Green River in Washington state. Between killing his first victim in 1982 and his capture in 2001, he murdered at least 49 women, most of them prostitutes or teenage runaways. During interrogation after his arrest, Ridgway admitted to more than 70 murders, though many of these remain unconfirmed. Read on for more creepy and terrifying details about Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer.
- Photo: King County Sheriff's Office / Public Domain
Gary Ridgway, Family Man
Ridgway also had a son, and would sometimes show pictures of him to prostitutes to put them at ease before he murdered them.
He Found Choking His Victims 'Rewarding'
A serial killer, pathological liar, and necrophiliac, Ridgway's preferred method of killing was choking. He reasoned, "My method's working pretty good. Choking is what I did, and I was pretty good at it."
He liked it more than other forms of murder because “that was more personal and more rewarding than to shoot her.”
Ridgway Murdered One of His Victims While His Son Waited In The Car
A divorced father, Ridgway had visitation with his son every other weekend. They often went on excursions, including camping, riding bikes along the Green River, and playing in local parks. One day in 1982, Ridgway picked up a woman with his son in the car and then murdered her in the nearby woods while his son sat in the car. He told his son the woman decided to walk home. He also had sex with a victim's corpse as his son slept 30 feet away in his truck.
Ironically, Ridgway's son remembers his father as a "relaxed man who never yelled and who took him camping, taught him to play baseball and always showed up for school concerts and soccer practices."
He Targeted Women On The Fringes Of Society
Ridgway intentionally targeted women he knew the police wouldn't spend too much time getting worked up about. In a way, his crimes tell us as much about our value system as a society as they do about his warped mind. He said, “I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”
He also focused on underage runaways and other women with few connections who lived on the fringes of society.