Gary Leon Ridgway was a seemingly average guy, with a family and employment as an industrial painter. He had a reputation as a meticulous worker with an eye for detail. But Ridgway was also the most prolific American serial killer of all time.
Ridgway would prowl for destitute women along the Pacific Highway South in Washington, and deliberately show off his son’s photo to calm any reservations about getting in his car. Knowing their fate, he would also promise any amount of money. After sex, the women would be strangled and dumped in wooded areas around the Green River area.
Adding to the disturbing nature of this man was his practice of sometimes returning to the decomposing corpses of his victims and performing further sex acts on them (necrophilia), even if he had to brush aside maggots to do so. According to Ridgway himself, these sick acts were just to save himself the effort of committing another killing, but it doesn’t explain the strange symbolism and ‘monuments’ made out of ground meat that he would leave behind.
The development of forensic science finally caught up with Ridgway, and he was arrested on November 30, 2001, while leaving work. He freely confessed his horrific crimes in exchange for being spared the death sentence.
Gary Ridgway’s final death toll was over 90 female prostitutes and runaways, 48 of which he was convicted.
The 2011 Twisted: The Green River Killer documentary offers a detailed look into the life and psyche of Gary Ridgway. It features interviews with Gary’s friends, psychologists, and key persons attached to his case.