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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.

"My refusal to bow, now they know why." -- Melvyn Foster

Melvyn Foster, a 63-year-old retired taxi driver and ambulance medic, became a focus of the Green River killings investigation.

In September 1982, Foster contacted police about the first killings. A taxi driver on the SeaTac strip, he knew five of the victims. "I've never made a secret of having been acquainted with a few of them (the victims) ... Cab drivers meet the seedy side of life if you drive around town." Police thought Foster fit the FBI psychological profile of the killer and put him under 24 hour surveillance for months and searched Foster's house in Lacey, WA, twice.

Adamant about his innocence, he had heated arguments with Reichert, then the county's lead detective on the case. October 1982, he called reporters, proclaimed his innocence and said police were harassing him. He publicly demanded police to "lay an egg or get off the nest. I knew what was coming I knew that science was going to get there," Foster said from his Olympia home.

Foster is not concerned about being investigated again. In August, he volunteered to give a DNA sample. The sample did not match DNA evidence.

I had a lot of satisfaction. Inside, I just felt absolutely vindicated the truth was being brought out, said Foster.

Foster said he is still waiting for authorities to officially exonerate him. A sheriffs spokesman said he wont officially be exonerated anytime soon because Ridgways arrest does not rule out the possibility of other suspects.

Foster is one of several men publicly linked to the case

In late 1985, the FBI told Green River task-force detectives that Foster was not their man.

Ernest W. "Bill" McLean -- Described by police as a "person of interest" in the Green River case, won a $30,000 settlement from three local media organizations in 1989 in a defamation lawsuit. His name was published in media reports following a search of his home in 1986. Task-force detectives later said they no longer had an interest in McLean.

William J. Stevens II In 1989, was cleared as a suspect. Stevens, a former law student at Gonzaga University, was convicted of burglary in 1979 and a fugitive for 8 years after escaping from a work-release center in 1981. He died of cancer in 1991. Stevens' adopted brother, Bob Stevens of Spokane, said he believes the task force will reexamine his brother's possible connections to the case. "There's a lot of people that believe there's more than one person involved in this," said Stevens.

Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2006

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