Green River Killer caught?

The headline says about all I know at this point. A suspect’s been arrested in the Puget Sound-area Green River killings from the early '80s. The arrest comes about because of DNA evidence.

Here’s the longest article I could find so far, but it’s only been half an hour since the sheriff’s department press conference.

(Apologies if this is a duplicate thread, or if there’s a better forum.)

This would be really great news. This maggot terrorized women in the Northwest for years. If he’s the one, I hope he gets the needle. What a scumbag.

The Seattle Times

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Northwest Cable News

I’m sure there will be more as things develop.

Sounds like very good news. I hope he’s indeed responsible, at least for the deaths he’s been charged with.
One thing to keep in mind: we execute 'em up here. Takes time, but if he’s guilty, we’ll take care of him.

I was a in seattle at the time of some of the killings. I made three month long trips up there. My daughter was in Childrens Hospital, but I was staying at a motel on Aurora.
Having to walk 8 blocks alone every night was Terrifying. Especially when the Police rented the room next to mine for the decoys to bring suspects to.
I hope they fry the Son-of-a-bitch.

Er, don’t you mean “I hope they caught the one responsible?”

The articles say they took a saliva sample from him in the 80’s; I wonder why it took so long to compare it with the victims? Would they compare DNA from semen or hair left on a victims body?

As a longtime Northwesterner, I’m not sure whether I can adequately communicate to nonresidents (or, indeed, recently arrived transplants) just how much of a bombshell this is.

I was just entering junior high when the bodies started turning up. It kept going through my teenage years, until the Green River Killer had become this looming, leering, invisible but unmistakably malevolent presence in all of our lives. Eventually the killings stopped – or, perhaps, moved to Vancouver – but the fact that they remained unsolved was like an unwashed bloodstain on our collective unconscious.

And now they may have caught the guy. I emphasize may, because we’ve lived with this boogeyman for so long it’s almost impossible to believe the nightmare might have ended. But based on the evidence that has been released, it’s fair to say the police think they’ve broken this thing wide open.

To answer your question, carnivorous plant, they took the saliva sample back in 1987 before there really was such a thing as DNA testing. Initially, they were talking about a blood type, but the refrain in the local reporting has been that they took a biological sample with the primary intention of storing it away and hoping the testing and matching technology would improve over the years. As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened. They did some DNA testing of other samples from other suspects back a couple of years ago, trying to match it to trace amounts of semen lifted from three of the victims, but got nothing conclusive. It’s only very recently that DNA technology has improved to the point that the saliva sample taken fourteen years ago could be reliably tested.

According to the reports, they got a conclusive semen-saliva match for not just one of the victims, but for three. In forensics, I assume, that qualifies as a home run. You hope for one match and cross your fingers for two, but then unexpectedly you get three solid matches, and all of a sudden the case goes from a lurking, insoluble horror to a near-certainty of impending closure. They immediately put the guy under surveillance, and have been watching him for the last couple of months. They didn’t want to rush things; they kept their bases covered. If this guy was in fact the Green River Killer, and they screwed it up – either by leaping to conclusions and making an erroneous arrest, or by messing up on procedure and letting the guy walk away – they knew they’d never be able to face themselves in the mirror again.

And then, two weeks ago, while the suspect was under surveillance, he was arrested for soliciting an undercover officer posing as a prostitute. In other words, the guy they thought was the notorious prostitute murderer was still out there, trolling the strip. One of the cops was quoted on TV last night, saying something to the effect that “this understandably caused us to acclerate our timetable.” Yeah, I bet it did.

Anyway, I’m rambling, because this is so momentous. Being a longtime resident of the Northwest, this has been part of me for so long I wasn’t even conscious of it until yesterday. (My wife, who grew up in Chicago, says she had similar feelings about John Wayne Gacy.) And now, all of a sudden, it’s as though I’ve had a knife pulled out of me, a knife that’s been stuck in my heart for years and years without my really knowing it was there. I never had any connection to any of the victims, but just living here for as long as I have, I’ve been sharing with other longtimers some sort of generalized dread, a fear of some mysterious and almost preternaturally evasive demonic force. This really is an incredible development.

I fervently hope the police have gotten this right, and that they have, indeed, after all this time, caught the one responsible. We in the Northwest have had an extraordinarily rough couple of years, with WTO and Mardi Gras riots, a major earthquake, the departure of Boeing, ad nauseum. It wouldn’t be overstating it to say that an event of this magnitude might, all by itself, be responsible for changing the mood of the region. Maybe not permanently, but certainly noticeably.

I’ll just step in again with a rousing three cheers for the technological advances that have made it possible to genetically fingerprint maggots like this. As someone who works hard to make contributions in the high technology sector, news like this is extremely gratifying. I cannot fully express how much joy I feel for all of you in the Northwest who have had to live in the shadow of this evil spectre. Let us all hope the case is airtight and upon conviction that this b@stard gets executed.

Good effing riddance!

I just saw the story on our local news last night. I remembered reading the Crime Library’s piece on the Greenriver Killer, and thought that two men had been mentioned as being possibly involved. I know they had more than two suspects, I am referring to two men mentioned in connection with a pick-up truck believed to be connected with bodies being dumped. The three victims that were mentioned regarding the DNA matches, appear to be the ones found with the pick-up connection.

I have no idea how accurate the Crime Library is, and this is just me playing amateur gumshoe anyhow. I do wonder if there isn’t more than one person connected with the murders though. 49 victims seems like an awfully high number for one person.

Watching Cervaise last night, as we watched the hastily-assembled special on the local affiliate, was pretty intense. It was as though he had been lifted up and away back into a nightmare from his past.

It is hard to describe the shock and horror one feels at learning that a man who has simply been living in your community may in fact be one of the worst serial-murderers in the U.S. The unfolding of details is mesmerizing and horrifying. At least with John Wayne Gacy, since he buried most of his victims in and around his home, we were spared the long process of finding bodies and wondering who was doing it. That’s not true for the family members of those he killed and effectively “disappeared”, but I remember the whole thing coming as a complete, world-moving, shock.

The only thing I want to add to the accounts of the story may be in bad taste, and I apologize in advance to those who might be offended.

One thing that struck me during the interviews of his co-workers (that we saw as the story was unfolding), was that at work he was known as a real bible-loving guy. He would read the bible at work and talk about it at work. I do not mean this comment to imply that all people who read and discuss the bible extensively at work and other places are potential serial killers, or that the fact that this man did so means others who follow those habits are dangerous and should be suspected and avoided.

Rather, I mean that I have often experienced bible-oriented people in my own life to be condescending and patronizing when I do not accept their habits as my own. It gives me a small sense of satisfaction to note that the crazies of the world are found in that cultural sub-group as well as in other categories of our society. It re-affirms my belief that true faith and good behavior come from examining one’s own life in relation to one’s belief system and trying to live accordingly; that following any fundamentalist lifestyle does not necessarily mean that a person is fundamentally good.

Again, my apologies for any offense. My point, in brief, is that we have crazies everywhere and no particular group can validly claim that membership in their group necessarily grants a “highly moral citizen” card.

Yes, carnivorousplant, I meant exactly what I wrote. I do indeed hope Ridgway is responsible for the four deaths he’s accused of, at least. If more, I also hope the King County Sheriff’s department is able to confirm and charge him with those as well. Murder evidence from the scene of decomposed bodies from events nearly 20 years old doesn’t leave me with much confidence that we’ll ever be able to charge him or anyone else with all the crimes involved. What, you thought I’d post Washington State’s use of the death penalty and my approval of it regardless of his guilt?

I’ll second Cervaise and his(her?) relief that it now appears the Green River Killer has been identified. In addition to his murder spree covering more than 7 years and his dump sites all around the Sea-Tac airport and environs, including local parks, I also remember quite clearly the days of Ted Bundy in the early/mid 70’s. Seems our neck of the woods gets more than our share of psychopathic predators with murderous impulses.

That seems as though you hope the guy is executed because you don’t like him rather than the guilty guy pays for his crime.

Like seeing smoke in the distance and saying “Man, I hope that is Carnivorousplant’s house, the Son of a Bitch!”

Anyway, I hope they have caught the guy. Serial killers usually don’t quit. Maybe we can find out why he apparently did. Was there some mention that there are/were murders in Canada?

It has always been assumed that a small percentage of the murders where done by a copycat killer.

I live in the PNW, and I would like to share something with you all.

I am one of those blithely oblivious women who assume that everyone is a “Good Person.” Oh, I am careful about my personal safety, to a point…but I have never been paranoid about it. I was raised, and still live, in a small city north of Seattle. It is not the city it was when I was a child, but it still seems safer than the “big city” of Seattle.

During the Green River situation, I was camping on Memorial Day Weekend with my brother and some friends in a campground just north of Seattle. I woke in the night and had to pee. Rather than trek to the restroom, I went into the woods near where we were camping. As I was doing what I had gone there to do, it all of a sudden struck me…I was in the middle of the woods, vulnerable to whomever might wish to grab me and do whatever they felt like doing. I wasn’t physically strong enough to fight much, and especially if someone had a gun or knife. I started to imagine that the Green River Killer might be lurking nearby. I scurried back to my tent, but…lets face it…if a person with evil intent felt like taking me from my tent, it wouldn’t be all that hard. I laid there, scared to death. I laid there for the rest of the NIGHT…scared to sleep.

I really truly see this as the end of my innocence. For the first time in my life, I had to face up to the fact that people are NOT always good people. Some people are ill, some people are evil, some people do horrible and awful things to other people.

In a very real sense, the Green River Killer made something die within me. I am, of course, in NO way equating it with those poor women who lost their lives. I am just trying to tell you that that person, whoever it was, killed more than the women he actually KILLED. He killed a sense of peace and trust within me, and within many of the women I know. I have talked to my friends about this, and a surprising number of them have stories very similar to mine.

Of course, being me, I regained much of that sense of trust and peace. Knowing mostly good people in my life, I have been lucky enough to have the positive reinforced and the negative thoughts have subsided. And also in a very real way, perhaps it was a good wake up call. I don’t know.

But I hope they have caught the monster who killed all of those women who probably never did an evil thing to anyone in their life. Women who had lives that left them with no protection or resources or anyone to turn to. It seems to me that what that person did to those women is almost MORE wrong than a person who kills for other reasons.

Please forgive me if that didn’t make any sense. I don’t really know how to articulate what I mean.

Scotticher, you did fine–no need to apologize, IMHO. As Cervaise said (seconded by katrina and NaSultainne), this is something that’s been stewing under the surface for almost twenty years in all of us longtimers, and its effects are bound to pop up when least expected.

Like the others, I hope this is indeed the right(?) person. But in a way, I feel for his family. I met Ted Bundy’s sister (at the height of his noteriety), and while I’ve met others for whom I’ve felt sorrier, it hasn’t been often.

One of the things I like most about this board is the abundance of well-written posts that give a personal perspective on current events; perspective that I would never otherwise have access to without the taint of sensationalism that modern media is so prone to.

Thank you, Cervaise for an excellent, enlightening post.

Thank you, dear. Like I said, I am not sure that what I said is a very good expression of how I feel. But I do want people to know that preying on people who are already in despair is the lowest of the things I can think of that someone would do. The person who did this is scum. I hope they have caught the right person. I hope he pays.

I also feel for the people who have loved ones that do these things. I cannot imagine how awful it would make me feel to know that someone I love could do something like this. EVERYTHING about these sort of situations makes my heart hurt.

Sorry, simulpost.

I was responding to OttoDaFe.

I can’t let this go, I guess, but carnivorousplant, I in no way implied, nor meant to do so, that I have any personal grudge regarding Ridgway. My comments were meant to indicate that as he has been arrested, not yet charged, for the murders of only four of the estimated 49 missing/dead identified generally as Green River victims, that I hoped he was indeed responsible for at least those four, if not the rest. And that those four alone are enough to merit the death penalty in my ever so humble opinion. Please don’t attach more significance to my comments than that. I’ve read and reread my and your comments and utterly fail to fathom how you missed my clear statement and interpreted it in any other manner. That having been said, I hope I’ve explained myself sufficiently.

Perhaps I’m just being touchy, in which case apologies in advance.