Everyone from Boy Scouts to the serial killer Ted Bundy tried to find The Green River Killer. But it’s his addiction to prostitution that catches one of America’s most prolific killers.
In February 1949, in Salt Lake City, Mary Steinman gives birth to Gary Leon Ridgway. The family move to Washington State when Gary is nine.
As he grows up, Gary suffers from regular bed wetting. Whenever his mother finds out, she washes him first, and then humiliates him in front of his brothers and father. He’s
upset by her treatment, but also aroused.
Aged 17, he stabs a six year old boy through the ribs. Gary walks away saying,
‘I always wondered what it would be like to kill someone’.
The boy survives. But Gary isn't held to account for his crime.
Academically, Gary performs poorly and is entirely forgettable to everyone in his class though he has a girlfriend and he later marries her.
He joins the Navy and is sent to Vietnam. It’s there that he first regularly uses prostitutes. His one year marriage ends when his wife has an affair. His second marriage will produce a son but his unrelenting sexual demands will wear out many girlfriends and in total, three wives. His proclivities include outdoor sex. Even sometimes close to where some of the Green River victims are dumped.
And he’s obsessed with prostitutes. The religious part of him hates them soliciting on his street. But his relentless sexual needs mean he frequently uses them.
In fact, he uses everybody.
His murder victims will be a logical extension of this attitude.
Once he’s raped and killed them, he’ll forget they ever existed.
That’s why he doesn’t make much effort to conceal or bury his victims. He doesn’t bury rubbish. He just chucks it away.
“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”