Gary Ridgway: The Green River Killer Sadie Harrop ADJ 100 Instructor Mr. Hanagan May 21, 2006 Gary Ridgway: The Green River Killer The Green River Killer’s slaying spree began in 1982. Women in the Seattle area started to disappear; mainly runaways and prostitutes were targeted. The first victims turned up near the banks of the Green River south of Seattle, giving Gary Ridgway his title: The Green River Killer. The remains of dozen of women turned up near Pacific Northwest ravines, rivers, airports and freeways in the 1980’s. Investigators officially listed 49 of them as probable victims of the Green River Killer.
Between 1971-1982, Gary Ridgway lured young women, mostly prostitutes and runaways into his truck, forced sex upon them and strangled them to death. He then dumped their bodies in what he called “clusters,” alongside railroad tracks, rivers, ravines, airports, and freeways. He later told authorities he did this, because he wanted to keep track of the women he killed. He liked to drive by the clusters around the county and think about the women he had placed there. Gary Ridgway’s victims laid for years and in some cases, decades.
In a statement to investigators, he admitted to returning to these sites not only to view the corpses, but in some cases to have sex with the expired bodies. Gary Ridgway fits the profile of the average serial killer. He is a white male from middle to lower class background and was in his thirties when his killing began. He also claimed to have been molested as a child by his mother. As child, he felt the urge to kill somewhere between the age 15 and 16. He recalled walking up to a child that was playing nearby and stabbing him in the ribs. He said, “He just wanted to see what it would feel like to kill somebody. Serial killers often have trouble with their peers, are loners, slow learners or held back in school. Some display anti-social behaviors, while others keep characteristic like this hidden. Serial Killers blend in, camouflaged in contemporary anonymity, sociopath’s function in “normal” everyday life situations. This kind of camouflage had a lot to do with how Gary Ridgway avoided being caught. It was extremely effective when picking up his victim’s. Gary Ridgway made his victim’s feel at ease, his appearance and smooth talk made him non-threatening. To his victim’s he appeared a normal man just out looking to have some fun.
When aquatences and family of Gary Ridgway found out he was the Green River Killer, they were all shocked. They never would have dreamed this was the man who committed those honorific crimes. From what his aquatences and family saw nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Dress him in a suit, and Gary Ridgway looks like 10 other men. He chose victims weaker than himself. Like a predator, he stalked his victims by watching and studying their routines then gaining their trust. He hid behind a carefully constructed facade. His victims fit a certain stereotype, which had symbolic meaning for him.
Because of his psychopathic nature, he does not know how to feel sympathy for others, he did not see his victims as people, but objects. Although Gary Ridgway did not seem to have an ethnic preference when choosing his victim, there were obvious traits the victims had in common – Young female prostitutes. Targeted because, he saw them as disposable whores that would not be missed. To him they were the “Scum” of society, in his eyes he thought he was doing society a favor. When asked how he chose his victim’s Gary Ridgway said, “I picked prostitutes as my victims because I hate most prostitutes and I didn’t want to pay them for sex.
I also picked prostitutes as victims, because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught. ” His victim’s, runaways and teenage prostitutes live the street life style, and often just get up and leave without telling anyone. Some return home, end up in jail, or move away. So when someone disappears from the streets for a while no one thinks twice. And usually their peers will avoid reporting anything to the olice, because of illegal activities they themselves are involved in. In that kind of lifestyle if you call or are seen talking to the police, one is considered a “Rat” and a “Snitch. ” Ridgway developed a number of ruses to gain the confidence of his victims. These methods, although simple, enabled him to continue killing long after news of the Green River killer had reached the streets. Ridgway admitted that many of the women he contacted asked him if he was the Green River killer. Ridgway said he used his small stature to suggest that he could not be the killer.
Unlike many serial killers, he seemed immune to an ego-driven desire to keep “trophies” of his kills, and searches of his residence yielded no evidence of any criminal activity of any kind. By agreeing to be interviewed without an attorney, and to take a polygraph examination, Ridgway avoided suspicion all the more. Ridgway’s psychopathy carried him through the polygraph examination, a test designed to detect stress. In 1984 when he passed the polygraph examination, Ridgway already had killed. Ironically when being interviewed at the King County Jail during his booking, Ridgway requested that they not contact his wife.
Instead, he stated, “You can contact the Green River Task Force… they know me real well. ” Two weeks later, on November 30, 2001, police arrested Ridgway for murder as he left work at the Kenworth plant in Renton. The Green River Killings was the largest unsolved murder case in American History. Opportunity, manipulation, and an endless supply of victim’s, made Gary Ridgway a serial killer. His self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, weak super-ego, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem with the ability to change his image as needed to avoid prosecution, is what makes him a sociopath. References