NETFLIX has launched a new crime-doc dedicated to exploring in detail the minds of some of the most prolific serial killers.
Analysts, detectives and investigators will stroll through Memory Lane with a look back at the crimes committed by the Green River Killer.
Who is the Green River Killer Gary Leon Ridgway?
Behind the title of serial killer and the almost mythical nickname hides 72-year-old Gary Leon Ridgway.
Born on February 18, 1949, and raised in Salt Lake City, in Utah, Gary was the second of Mary and Thomas Ridgway's three sons.
Living a troubled childhood, he was often the witness of violent arguments between his parents.
His father worked as a bus driver and would frequently complain about the presence of sex workers on his route.
Gary had a complicated relationship with his mother, however, and would later admit to defense psychologists that, as a teenager, he would have conflicting feelings of anger and sexual attraction towards her, even fantasizing about killing her.
His first experience with crime happened during his adolescence. At the age of 16 years old, Gary stabbed a six-year-old boy he had let into the woods. Fortunately, the child survived.
Graduating from Tyee High School in 1969, Gary married his high-school girlfriend, Claudia Kraig, before joining the United States Navy.
He served on board a supply ship during the Vietnam war, where he had frequent sexual intercourse with sex workers.
This led him to contract gonorrhea and, although he was angered by his condition, continued the activity without any form of protection.
This ultimately caused the break up of his first marriage within a year.
He found love again in the arms of Marcia Winslow, whom he married. The couple welcomed a son named Matthew in 1975.
During his second marriage, Gary became highly religious, proselytizing door-to-door.
Despite his firm beliefs, he continued to solicit the services of sex workers, encouraging his wife to engage in risky sexual activities in public and inappropriate places.
Some experts have speculated that Gary was torn between his desires and beliefs.
Questioned about Gary following his arrest in 2001, friends and family described him as friendly but strange.
Women in his life claimed that he had an insatiable sexual appetite and that his first two marriages ended in divorce due to infidelity.
Prior to his arrest on November 30, 2001, Gary was working in a truck factory in Renton, Washington.
Who wereGary Leon Ridgway's victims?
While he was initially convicted of 48 separate murders, another conviction was added as part of his plea bargain, raising the total number of convictions to 49.
This made him the second most prolific serial killer in the United States.
His victims included teenage girls murdered throughout the 1980s and 1990s, a majority of his crimes occurring between 1982 and 1984.
Gary is believed to have killed 71 teenage girls and women – said to be either sex workers or runaways – although, in court statements, he admitted to having killed so many he had lost count.
Wendy Lee Coffield
The first known victim of Gary, Wendy was only 16 years of age when she was last seen on July 8, 1982 in the Tacoma, Washington area.
She was making a living as a sex worker.
Her body was found on July 25, 1982, by two teenage boys riding their bicycles in the Green River under the Peck Bridge.
Her cause of death was determined to be murder by strangulation.
Gisele Ann Lovvorn
At 17 years old, Gisele was last seen on July 17, 1982 in Normandy Park, after leaving her apartment to work as a prostitute.
After living a happy childhood, she started to feel isolated and began to run away from home at the age of 14.
An avid reader and Grateful Dead fan, she followed her favourite band throughout the country.
It was then that she became involved with a taxi driver known as Jak-Bak.
Although he was older than Gisele, he leaned on her for financial support, resulting the teenager to turn to prostitution.
Her body was found September 25, 1982 in a wooded area near South 200th Street and 18th Avenue South.
Her hair was blonde at the time of her disappearance but, when she was found, it is said that it had been dyed black.
Debra Lynn Bonner
Debra was 23 years old when she went missing on July 15, 1982 from South 216th Street and Pacific Highway South.
Growing up in an impoverished environment, Debra – nicknamed "Dub" by her close relatives and friends – fell in with the wrong friends.
She eventually dropped out of high school, began abusing alcohol and fought regularly with her parents.
After loosing her job at the at the Dairy Queen in South Tacoma she failed a test to join the Navy.
Debra turned to work on getting her GED before she met 27-year-old Robert L. Martin, a known drug-dealing pimp in the Tacoma area.
Infatuated with him, Debra accepted to work as a prostitute to support him financially.
Her body was found on August 12, 1982 in the Green River near Kent, Washington.
Marcia Fay Chapman
Very little is known about Marcia but the Arizona-native was 31 years of age when she went missing on August 1, 1982.
A single mother of three children, she also turned to sex work in order to support them, refusing the services of a pimp for protection to avoid sharing her earnings.
Her mother reported her missing on August 2, 1982, and her body was found several days later in the Green River, on August 15.
Cynthia Jean Hinds
17-year-old Cynthia went missing on August 11, 1982.
Much like Debra, she dropped out of high school after encountering the wrong crowd and turned to sex work at the age of 14.
She also had a job to paint apartments, obtained with the help of a contractor, and worked with a friend Opal Mills – another of Gary's victims.
Her body was also found on August 15, 1982, in the Green River.
Opal Charmaine Mills
Opal went missing at the age of 16 on August 12, 1982.
A bright student who dreamed of becoming a model, there are no records to show that she was involved in prostitution.
Her last phone call before her disappearance was to her brother Garrett, whom she was very close to, asking for a ride from him.
A protective brother, Garrett had been asleep when his phone rang.
She was found on August 15, 1982, next to the Green River.
Terry Rene Milligan
Terry was 16 years when she went missing on August 29, 1982.
While she was a brilliant student dreaming of attending Yale to study computer science, her life took a turn when she became pregnant in middle school.
This forced her to drop out of school and she'd never had the chance to go back.
A devoted mother to a baby boy, she was living in a motel with her boyfriend and was supporting both of them through sex work.
Her body was discovered on April 1, 1984, near Star Lake Road.
Mary Bridget Meehan
18-year-old Mary was described as outgoing but incredibly stubborn. An animal-lover, and in spite of her family's allergies, she often brought home stray cats and hid them in her room.
Suffering from a hearing misperception, which made concentrating difficult, Mary had never been a great student. She was, however, a very talented artist according to her close friends and family.
Rebelling in middle school, she had left her family home by 1982, became pregnant and miscarried twice.
Mary was also experimenting with drugs such as marijuana and LSD but was desperately trying to get herself back on track by going to group sessions at the Youth Eastside Services.
She became pregnant a third time but gave the baby up for adoption, which eventually regretted. When she was pregnant once again, she was determined to keep her baby and decided to work for a GED.
She was almost eight months pregnant when she disappeared near the Western Six Motel on September 15, 1983.
Her body was found two months later, on November 13, at South 192nd Street and 27th Avenue South.
Debra Lorraine Estes
Debra went missing at the age of 15 on September 20, 1982.
At 12 years old, she would often run away from home after arguments with her parents. She left the family home in 1982, stealing $250 from her mother's purse.
It was then that she began to live in various motels with an older boyfriend.
After being sexually assaulted by a man in September 1982, she agreed to work with police in the hoped of filing charges against the perpetrator.
She eagerly agreed to testify against him in court before her disappearance at South 333rd Street and Pacific Highway South.
Her remains were found almost six years later, on May 30, 1988.
Linda Jane Rule
Much like other Green River victims, Linda had a troubled background, dropping out of middle school and leaving her family home by the age of 14.
An occasional drug user, she turned to sex work to support herself.
On September 26, 1982, 16-year-old Linda left her motel room seemingly in a good mood.
She was engaged to her boyfriend Bobby, who was eight years her senior, and she was hoping to have a regular life.
She was last seen walking towards a Kmart in Seattle.
Her body was found on the campus of Northwest Hospital on January 31, 1983.
Denise Darcel Bush
Little to no information is known about Denise.
An experienced and cautious sex worker, she was used to travel to Seattle for her work, alongside her boyfriend.
She was last seen in the city on October 8, 1982, while she was on her way to buy cigarettes at a nearby convenience store.
Her remains were discovered on June 12, 1985.
Shawnda Leea Summers
Shawnda is believed to be born some time in 1965, although her birth date still remains to be confirmed.
She was one of three children, had a history of prostitution and was only 17 years old at the time of her disappearance.
She was last seen along Pacific Highway South near S144th and her remains were found on August 11, 1983.
Shirley Marie Sherrill
The eldest of three daughters, growing up in a tightknit family, Shirley was 18 years old when she disappeared.
She was working as a sex worked by 1982 and was last seen on October 18, 1982 by a close friend during a lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Seattle's International District.
Her body was found on June 14, 1985.
Rebecca “Becky” Marrero
Born on August 4, 1962, Rebecca was only 20 when she went missing on December 3, 1982.
A mother of one, having given birth to a little girl she named Shaunté, Rebecca was supporting herself by turning to sex work.
At the time of her disappearance, it was said she was trying to make money to buy Christmas presents for her family, whom she was very close to.
She was found on December 21, 2010.
Colleen Renee Brockman
Colleen was 15 years old when she disappeared on December 24, 1982.
After running away a few times before, she was living with her father and brother near the Lake Washington Ship Canal in north Seattle.
When she packed up her things, seemingly for good, her father filed criminal charges against her in the hopes a warrant may be issued to help him locate her.
She was eventually found on May 26, 1984.
Sandra Denise Major
Little information about Sandra is available, which may be at the request of her family.
Formerly known as “Jane Doe B-16” or “Bones 16”, she was identified in 2012 after one of her cousins saw a television show about the Green River Killer.
Just like Colleen, the 20-year-old vanished on December 24, 1982, and her remains were found on December 30, 1985.
At 14 years old, Wendy was Gary's youngest known victim and is said to have died circa spring 1983.
Formerly known as “Jane Doe B-10” or “Bones 10”, when her remains were found on March 21, 1984, she was only identified in January, 2021.
She ran away from her home in Denver, Colorado, in 1983, and is believed to have been killed shortly after her arrival in Washington.
Alma Ann Smith
Alma was 18 years of age when she vanished.
She dropped out of school at 17 and went back and forth between Seattle, where her father resided, and Walla Walla, where her mother lived.
Alma eventually turned to sex work and became a resident of the Echo Glen Children’s Center, which aims to help girls involved in prostitution to get away from the streets.
Alma left the centre, returning to prostitution before disappearing on March 3, 1983.
Her body was found on April 2, 1984.
Delores LaVerne Williams
Little is known about 17-year-old Delores.
It is alleged that she was aware of the Green River Killer and attempted to avoid him by working in nicer neighbourhoods.
She was last seen around 2pm on February 6, 1983 at a bus stop outside the Red Lion Hotel.
Her remains were found on March 31, 1984.
Gail Lynn Mathews
A California native, Gail moved to Washington in 1975 to live with some friends when she was 15 and pregnant.
She gave birth to a baby boy which she gave up for adoption, before marrying a 24-year-old man named Kenneth Mathews in 1977.
The couple had a daughter that same year but separated in 1980. ir daughter was born later that year. Both decided to share custody, although the young girl spent most of her time with her father.
In 1982, Gail was struggling and living on welfare. She was moving from one friend's house to another.
The last time Kenneth saw Gail was sometime in 1982, when she dropped off their daughter.
With no means of income, and living in motels alongside a man named Curt, she turned to sex work to support the both of them.
Gail went missing on April 10, 1983, and was found months later, on September 18.
Andrea Marion Childers
Andrea was 19 when she disappeared on April 14, 1983, after seeing her grandmother one last time.
A native of southern California, she had moved to Seattle in 1980 to live with her father and step-mother.
Her remains were found on October 11, 1989.
Sandra Kay Gabbert
17-year-old Sandra dropped out of high school and was living with her boyfriend in various motels at the time of her disappearance.
She had turned to sex work to support them.
Sandra was last seen alive on April 17, 1983 on Pacific Highway South near South 142nd Street and her body was discovered almost a year later on April 1, 1984.
Kimi was also last sighted on April 17, 1983, mere hours before Sandra, in downtown Seattle.
Described by her family as an adventurous girl, she was only 16 at the time of her disappearance.
Her remains were found on December 15, 1983.
Marie M. Malvar
Marie was 17 when she moved out of her family home to work as a waitress in a restaurant owned by her father.
Unbeknownst to her family, whom she was close to, Marie was also a sex worker.
She was last seen on April 30, 1983, when her boyfriend and pimp witnessed Marie getting into a truck.
She was found on September 26, 2003.
Carol Ann Christensen
Carol was 21 when she was last seen leaving Barn Door Tavern, where she had started to work as a waitress, on May 3, 1983.
Although she was walking in an area where the Green River Killer would operate, she was not a sex worker.
She had moved to Washington in 1969 and married a man named Dennis Christensen in 1980.
By 1983, she was the mother of a daughter named Sarah and had separated from Dennis.
Her body was found five days after her disappearance on May 8, 1983.
Martina Theresa Authorlee
18-year-old Martina had a history of prostitution when she went missing on May 22, 1983, and, at one point, had even tried to join the National guard.
Her remains were discovered on November 14, 1984, on Highway 410.
Cheryl Lee Wims
Cheryl was 18 years of age when she was last seen on May 23, 1983, leaving a residence in the 2100 block of 21st Avenue south.
Her remains were found in a wooded area near South 146th Street and 16th Avenue South on March 22, 1984.
Yvonne "Shelly" Antosh
Yvonne was last seen on May 31, 1983, at 11pm, at the Ben Carol Motel. She was 19 years old.
Her body was found on October 15, 1983.
Carrie Ann Rois
Carrie was 15 years of age and was last seen between May 13, 1983, and June 13, 1983.
Her body was found March 10, 1985 in a swampy area near Star Lake Road.
Constance Elizabeth Naon
Constance was 21 years of age and was last seen on June 8, 1983, near South 188th Street and Pacific Highway South.
Her body was found October 27, 1983, in a vacant lot near South 192nd Street and 28th Avenue South.
Kelly Marie Ware
22-year-old Kelly was last seen on July 17, 1983 at a bus stop and was last heard from on July 18, 1983.
Her body was discovered October 29, 1983 in the 2500 block of South 192nd Street.
Tina Marie Thompson
Tina was 22 years old and was last seen in the early hours of July 25, 1983.
Her body was found on April 20, 1984 near Highway 18 and Southeast 104th Street.
April Dawn Buttram
April was 16 when she disappeared at a bus stop in the Rainier Valley on August 18, 1983.
She was found August 30, 2003 on Southeast 96th Street.
Debbie May Abernathy
Debbie was last seen September 5, 1983, in downtown Seattle.
Her body was found on March 31, 1984 on a logging road near Milepost 37.
Tracy Ann Winston
Tracy was 19 years old when she was last seen on September 12, 1983, at the Northgate Mall.
Her body was found on March 27, 1986 in Cottonwood Park, one mile from the Peck Bridge.
Maureen Sue Feeney
19-year-old Maureen was last seen on September 23, 1983, in Seattle.
Her body was found on May 2, 1986 on the east side of Highway 18.
Mary Sue Bello
Mary was 25 years of age and was and last seen on October 11, 1983, in the Magnolia area of Seattle.
Her body was found on October 12, 1984 on Highway 410.
Pammy Annette Avent
Pammy was 16 years old and vanished on October 26, 1983, after leaving her home in Seattle.
Her body was found on August 16, 2003, on Highway 410.
Delise Louise Plager
Delise was 22 years old when she was last seen on October 30, 1983, at a bus stop on Beacon Hill.
Her body was found months later, on February 14, 1984.
Kimberly L. Nelson
21-year-old disappeared on November 1, 1983 after being last spotted at a bus stop outside the Ben Carol Motel on Pacific Highway South.
Her remains were found on June 13, 1986 on Garcia Road.
19-year-old Lisa was found dead on March 13, 1984.
She had disappeared months prior, on December 23, 1983.
Mary Exzetta West
Teenage Mary was 16 when she was last seen in the afternoon of February 6, 1984, at Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street.
Her body was found on September 8, 1985 in a wooded area of Seward Park.
Cindy Anne Smith
Cindy was 17 years old.
She was last seen on March 21, 1984, at 20055 28th Avenue South.
Her remains were found on June 29, 1987 near Green River Community College.
Patricia Michelle Barczak
Patricia was 19 when she vanished on October 17, 1986.
Her remains were discovered on February 3, 1993.
Roberta Joseph Hayes
21-year-old Robert was last seen on February 7, 1987.
Her body was found on September 11, 1991, on Highway 410.
At 36 years old, Parta was last heard from when she made a phone call to her husband on March 5, 1990.
Her body was found months later, on September 20, 1990, on Highway 410.
38-year-old Patricia is the eldest of Gary's known victims.
She was last seen in the Seattle area in January, 1998, before being found in Seattle on August 16, 1998.
Her remains were discovered in the 9400 block of Des Moines Memorial Drive South in King County.
Unidentified White Female (Jane Doe B-17)
This 48th victim still remains to be named but is thought to have disappeared between December 1980 and January 1984.
She is also thought to have been between the ages of 14 and 18 years old.
Her remains were found on January 2, 1986.
Unidentified Female (Jane Doe B-20)
Thought to be aged 13 or 14, this unidentified female allegedly vanished between 1973 and 1993.
Her remains were recovered on August 21, 2003.
Where is Gary Leon Ridgway now?
Unlike other notorious serial killers, Gary is very much alive as of 2021.
He is serving out all of his life sentences at Washington State Penitentiary.
Gary was placed in solitary confinement in January 2004 and was transferred to the USP Florence High, a high-security federal prison in Colorado.
Following a public outcry, Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner announced that he would be transferred back to Washington to be "easily accessible" for open murder investigations.
Gary returned to Washington State Penitentiary by chartered plane on October 24, 2015.
How can I watch Catching Killers on Netflix?
True crime enthusiasts can already follow Catching Killers on Netflix.
The docu-series was released on Thursday, November 4, 2021, though it is not yet clear whether the platform will be releasing all episodes at once.
Each episode will feature two murder stories from around the world, with investigators recalling some of the most gruesome crimes to have occurred during their careers.
A standard Netflix subscription is available at the price of $13.99.
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