Gary Leon Ridgeway is an American serial killer known as the “Green River Killer.” Throughout his time killing it was confirmed that he murdered at least 71 women, most of whom were prostitutes.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah Ridgeway wasn’t ever the smartest of people. In his early educational years he only scored an 82 on his IQ test and at one point in his education he had to repeat a grade twice in order to pass it.
He developed sociopathic tendencies at a young age and at the age of 16 he led a boy into the woods then attacked him. After stabbing to young boy he left him for dead after walking away and saying “I always wondered what it would be like to kill someone.”
Shortly after high school he joined the Navy where he was sent to Vietnam aboard a supply ship. It was during this time that his wife had an extramarital affair and then their marriage ended shortly thereafter. This even may have been what led him to kill in the first place.
After pleading guilty to 49 murders, Ridgeway was sentenced to 49 consecutive life sentences.
He was known for picking up prostitutes and stray teenage girls throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s in Washington State’s King County. He would take them to the Green River Basin and strangle them while they were having sex then leave their bodies behind in his dumping ground. He would then return to the sites where the bodies were dumped and have sex with them until it was no longer possible to do so. The only reason he confessed to the killings, as many say, was so that he could avoid being put to death for the heinous crimes he committed.
Since being sentenced, Ridgeway claims that he’s a changed man and has since found God. He claimed in an interview that while he was confessing to his crimes and telling police the details that he could have done more to help police, however people were skeptical of his motives at the time since he had a tendency to lie.
In his confession Ridgeway spoke of how he was able to kill for so long without getting caught. He said that it was his choice in victims that made it possible because he picked women who wouldn’t be missed once gone.
“I picked prostitutes as my victims because I hate most prostitutes and I did not want to pay them for sex,” Ridgway said in his confessional statement. “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.”
He actually thought that he was doing to world a favor by killing prostitutes and he considered it to be a career. He recalled that throughout all of his killing he couldn’t remember most of their faces or their names because he had killed so many women.
“In most cases when I killed these women I did not know their names,” Ridgway stated. “Most of the time I killed them the first time I met them and I do not have a good memory of their faces. I killed so many women I have a hard time keeping them straight.”
Upon his confession police were able to solidly link 49 different sets of remains to Ridgeway which brought closure to the women’s families as they knew the man responsible would be rotting behind bars for the rest of his life.
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