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The Green River Killer Essay Sample

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The Green River Killer Essay Sample


Green River Killer is allegedly among the most prolific serial killers of modern century. From the evidences collected and confession of the arrested killer Gary Ridgway, this episode of serial killing involves between 48 and 71 murders. Estimates of crime officials put the number of murder near 60, although bodies of several victims are still missing. Many people have doubted the claims of Gary Ridgway regarding the number of victims he has claimed; however, it is certain that he has been involved in more than 40 murders, still making among most active serial killers of all time. The entire episode is known as Green River Killing because first five of the victims were found near Green River close to Seattle in Washington State.

Early Life

From the accounts available, it appears that Gary Ridgway did not lead very turbulent life in the childhood. It is stated that his mother was of dominant nature, and controlled the household; however his friends and relatives have described him as moderately friendly person who was slightly strange. Gary spent his entire life in the same area, and his only movement included changing his home at times. One of the remarkable things that psychologists and handwriting experts found was consistency of thought and character displayed by Gary. Excerpts from his handwriting at the time he committed his first murder  around 1981-82 till his final apprehension in 2001 show little variation in his writing style. This also explains the meticulousness and sense of internal order he displayed in his private life as well as in the gruesome acts he committed over a period of 20 years.

Ridgway studied in Tyee High School in SeaTac, Washington State from where he graduated in 1969, at age of 20. . In his school life Gary was described just as an ordinary child like every body else, with nothing particular about him that would make him stand out among the rest. However, his friends and relatives pointed out the fact that as he matured he became increasingly involved with prostitutes. They were surprised at his inclination for prostitutes because otherwise from this aberration, Gary was seen as a devout Christian who regularly attended Church ceremony.

The Serial Killing

Crime officials and detectives have tried for over two decades to put together the puzzles of mystery involving enormous number of murders committed by Gary Ridgway. The first evidence of murders appeared in 1982-84 when officials unearthed more than 50 bodies in Washington State, particularly near Seattle. It was immediately clear to officials that these murders were premeditated and handiwork of a serial killer, specially due to the fact that most of the victims were young women engaged in prostitution or runaway girls, that went missing for months without being reported. They became easy victim for Gary who possessed several pickup trucks and drove in them, looking for someone who was in need of ‘help’. As per his own confession, he approached the young girls in a disarming way that made them feel Gary cared and understood-precisely what he did not.

Typical to any serial killer, Gary did not consider his victims as humans or persons and consciously dehumanized them. He sexually used/abused them before strangulating them, usually in his truck or in his home and then dumped. On being interrogated by experts, Gary was not able to recall the name of many victims, and even their faces- he had just killed too many women to maintain any mental record of their existence.

Detectives engaged the case had their suspicion on Gary, but in the absence of any concrete evidence Gary remained just one of hundred of suspects rounded up in attempt to solve the murder. Despite the fact that Gary Ridgway continued to lure victims and kill them through 80s and 90s, the official detective force could not formulate any strategy to nab him and prevent death of many unfortunate young women. Gary was finally caught when Detective Reichert decided to use modern technologies of DNA profiling on semen samples available from earlier victims. He was immediately arrested on account of seven murders, but on bargain plea on capital punishment he confessed to having murdered upward of 48 women, a confession that shocked people around United States.

Psychological Profiling

Usually psychologists are able to locate a disturbed background in serial killers, explaining their perversion and pathological behavior. In case of Gary Ridgway, they could hardly trace any noticeable aberration that could explain or associate him with the monster that resided inside him. At the time of his arrest, he was living a normal life with his third wife, visibly pursuing his interests of hunting and hiking. However, on close questioning psychologists found that the perversion in Gary emanated from his irrepressible pull towards prostitutes which, as a devout Christian he subconsciously hated. This internal conflict caused him to hate prostitutes whom he refused to recognize as humans and killed them after sexually abusing them. Presently Gary is imprisoned in Washington State Penitentiary, while detectives are yet on hunt on many more victims they believe Gary has murdered during past twenty years.


Rachael Bell. The Green River Killer. Crime Library. Accessed online on 24.04.2008.


True Crimes and Justice. The Green River Killer-Gary Leon Ridgway. Karisable.

. Accessed online on 24.04.2008. http://www.karisable.com/crime.htm

Dirk C. Gibson . 2004. Clues from Killers: Serial Murder and Crime Scene Messages  Praeger, 2004

The Seattle Times. Green River Killing. . Accessed online on 24.04.2008


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