SEATTLE – Police who have dealt with serial killer Gary Ridgway say it’s worth continuing the search for his missing victims after Ridgway suggested he could help find them, but add the Green River Killer will “play games” and lie.
Ridgway has said he might be able to locate the bodies of more women he killed. Ridgway told KOMO that the Green River Task Force mostly kept him in a van in 2003 when he directed them to sites in the Seattle area where he dumped bodies in the 1980s. He’d like to revisit every site on foot and says he could have had as many as 80 victims.
Ridgway was convicted of killing 49 women, and authorities say it’s possible there are more victims. But King County Sheriff John Urquhart warns that Ridgway can’t be trusted.
“Everyone needs to go in there – including the press, including these other investigators – with their eyes wide open,” Urquhart said. “When you’re dealing with Gary, he’s going to ramble, he’s not going to tell the truth, he’s going to play games. Maybe you’ll get a nugget out of him; maybe you won’t.”
Ridgway was arrested in 2001 after advances in DNA technology enabled authorities to link a 1987 saliva sample to some of the bodies. He pleaded guilty to 48 murders two years later, agreeing to help authorities locate as many remains as possible. He pleaded guilty to a 49th murder in 2011.
The killing rampage took its name from the Green River where the first bodies were found.
Ridgway, 64, is serving a life sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. If he were to be convicted of another killing outside of King County he could face the death penalty.
Urquhart said his officers travel to Walla Walla occasionally to talk to Ridgway. But he said nothing has come of it.
“I don’t think he is capable necessarily of giving good information. But, he still likes to talk about it,” Urquhart said.