‘From coyotes and wolves to bobcats and lions, creatures who prey on other, weaker animals tend to be highly territorial, confining their kills to a specific hunting ground. The same holds true for most serial killers. Like their four legged counterparts, these human predators generally commit their atrocities within a particular area.’
Harold Schechter ‘The Serial Killer Files’
Gary Ridgway’s first five victims are found in or near the Green River (a 65 mile length of river in Washington state), and his nickname is born.
He targets mainly runaways, drug addicts and prostitutes.
“I picked prostitutes as my victims because I hate most prostitutes and I did not want to pay them for sex...I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”
He picks up his targets when driving and either drives them home or somewhere close to where he’ll eventually dispatch them.
To place a girl or woman at her ease, so she doesn’t suspect what’s about to happen, he often reassures her by showing a photo of his son and then talks affectionately about him. Now calmed, he has sex with her. And then, when finished, he goes behind her, and strangles her.
At first he just uses his arm. But too often his victim manages to inflict defensive wounds, and such regular cuts and bruises could arouse suspicion. So he starts to use whatever is to hand.
“Choking is what I did and I was pretty good at it”
He discards their bodies in ‘clusters’ so that he can return to areas and relive the experiences. This was his ‘comfort zone’.
He sometimes returns to the bodies to have sex with them.