Gary Ridgway pleaded guilty to killing 49 women over nearly 20 years, but he says the actual number of victims is closer to 70. Many of the victims’ bodies have not been found.
Detectives on Thursday searched an area near Duvall for remains of a victim killed by Gary Ridgway, the Green River killer who confessed to dozens of slayings over nearly 20 years. The search was unsuccessful.
Investigators and cadaver dogs scoured the wooded area for hours near Northeast 140th Street and 286th Avenue Northeast, the King County Sherif’s Office said. The location is one of many Ridgway talked to authorities about after his arrest nearly 15 years ago, the office said.
Detectives have known of the location, though have not done a thorough search before Thursday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s a pretty good size,” said Sgt. Cindi West of the area. “That’s part of the issue why we have to keep searching these areas. … They’re so big and so hard to pinpoint where he may have dumped a victim.”
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No information on the victim, whose remains could be in the Duvall area, was reported.
After his arrest in 2001 based on DNA evidence, Ridgway agreed to a plea bargain with the King County Prosecutor’s Office, in which he agreed to detail the killings in exchange for no death penalty.
Prosecutors eventually charged him with 48 murders, and he pleaded guilty in 2011 to a 49th. He says, however, the actual number of victims is closer to 70.
Many of the victims’ bodies have not been found.
After spending years at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Ridgway was transferred to a Colorado prison last year. Four months later, the state Department of Corrections (DOC) told the federal Bureau of Prisons that it would bring Ridgway back to the Washington prison.
That decision came after Washington law-enforcement officials expressed concern about keeping him easily accessible if investigators want to interview him about open homicide cases, according to DOC.
No further details about Thursday’s search were available.
“Detectives said when time allows, they continue to look at information learned from Ridgway and conduct searches in areas that have not been searched before,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.