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The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
by Robert Keppel
July 15, 1982: 3 woman's strangled body was filed, caught on the pilings of Washington state's Green River. Before long, the "Green River Killer" would be suspected in at least 49 homicides, with no end in sight. Then authorities received a letter from Bundy -- on death row -- offering to help catch the Green River Killer. But he would only talk to Robert Keppel, the former homicide detective who helped track Bundy's cross-county killing spree.

The Search for the Green River Killer by Carlton Smith, Tomas Guillen
This reckoning of the deaths of almost 50 women in Seattle is distressing not only for the gruesomeness of the crimes but also for reasons probably not intended by Smith and Guillen, who reported on the murders for the Seattle Times.


"We are searching the house, the property and the yard. We are interested in every square inch of every place he's lived," said King County Sheriff's spokesman John Urquhart. The search, digging, canvassing and cadaver dogs extended to his previous residences, a total of 4 homes, including his late parents home.

The Search for Evidence and what it revealed.

A map of his homes. See the locations of all the homes he lived in relationship to the "strip" so many women were missing from.

Childhood (Parents) Home - The family home where his mother lived until she died of cancer March 2001. Ridgway lived in this home with his younger brother Ed and his mother and father who had died 3 years ago. He was believed to live here when he committed some murders. It is located in a neighborhood, not far from the airport "strip" area in that would become SeaTac. After his mother's death, Ridgway and his brothers put the family home up for sale, for $219,000. Ridgway had complained to a coworker about the fighting among in his in-laws over his mother's estate.

His First Home: . He lived alone in a small rambler on a cul-de-sac near where Green River victims disappeared from on the Pacific Highway South strip. This is where he lived when the Green River Killer was known to be most active. During this time Ridgway, then 31, first came to the attention of police for soliciting prostitutes. This is where he lived when he met and married his current wife, Judith. They were anxious to move because the their address had been published in the media listing him Ridgway as a person of interest which drew sightseers.

His Previous Home: Shortly after the wedding, they moved away to a house in Kent. This was the home law enforcement search in 1987. Neighbors said the Ridgways were plain folks. They got along well, held garage sales every year, and had a dog and 2 cats.

They had a white and brown truck with a camper, where his son slept sometimes.

Here, Ridgway was described as the neighborhood busybody. He would organize parties and garage sales.

He was also the self-appointed neighborhood crime informer, going around telling neighbors of break-ins or to report prostitutes were working in their neighborhood. He seemed obsession with prostitutes turning tricks in cars in the neighborhood, on the dark and quiet streets. "He'd go door-to-door and tell neighbors, 'Did you know prostitutes are having sex in cars on the street and throwing condoms out the windows?' " said Janine Mattoon, who lived next door. "He made sure we were aware of that, and I always thought, 'Gosh, this guy is kind of fixated on this.' "

According to neighbors, even though he "was basically a nice person he grated on our nerves and just kind of irritated a lot of us." It was little things like advertising a "Ten-Family Garage Sale" when he was the only one selling.

Gary and Judith lived in Kent for 10 years. The home and vehicles was searched in 1987, by detectives.

His Current Residence - In 1997, Ridgway and his wife moved 10 miles south to their current home in a middle class neighborhood of Auburn, south of Seattle, WA.

The house is on a private, dead-end road. It has 4 bedrooms on nearly an acre. It cost $181,000 in 1997 and was recently assessed at $198,000.

They liked to walk their white poodle around the neighborhood and garden together.

They have an RV used to take trips, up to 2 weeks in length, as often as possible.

According to neighbor Sharon Gregurek, when Ridgway first moved in he cleared too many trees. She felt it created tension. The couples got beyond that problem and enjoyed an over the fence friendship.

Clem Gregurek has had many conversations with Ridgway over the fence over a beer. They talked about their yards, fishing, and hunting. "He's got a mammoth wood pile." Gregurek said. "He's a nice guy, I didn't notice anything weird. I just saw him out mowing his lawn, and we'd talk."

Kim Straus, a neighbor, said her dog would wander to the Ridgways, but they never complained. "They were always very nice about it."

This is where he lived at the time of his arrest. His wife, Judith, was displaced for a week while detectives searched their home for evidence. It was not clear if she would receive reimbursement as the other's displaced in the search were. One detective said those funds may only be availabe to those who were innocent and no connections of the crimes.

She has not spoken to the media. Since she has returned home, there is a cardboard sign in the window:

"Do not disturb. No comment. No media."

Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2011

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Gary Leon Ridgway
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