Gary Leon Ridgeway: the Green River Killer

Published: 2021-09-29 13:55:10
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The second body, however, was discovered on the King County side of the river. This body was outside the jurisdiction of the Kent City authorities and as such, the appropriate authorities would need to be called in to process the crime scene. Detective David Reichert was called in from King County to process the scene. After a brief investigation, the authorities dismissed a connection between the two victims. An acquaintance of the second victim had been overheard threatening her, therefore it was assumed there was no connection between the victims other than the place of discovery (Keppel, 2005).
On August 15, 1982, just three days after the discovery of the second body, two more bodies were discovered floating in the Green River. Detective Reichert, having jurisdictional authority, was contacted to process the scene. As Detective Reichert was photographing the scene he discovered a third body which had been concealed by the tall grass that lined the river banks (Keppel, 2005). With the discovery of three additional victims, the investigative team reviewed the evidence in the first two cases. It was apparent at this point that the five women found in the Green River were most likely the work of a serial killer.All five of the victims were women; however they were of different ethnicities and ages. The only apparent similarities between the victims were that they were all female victim’s, they had all been strangled and disposed of in the Green River area.
Upon consideration of victimology in this case it was discovered that each of the victims were prostitutes (Reichert, 2004). Shortly after the discovery of the fifth body detectives reasoned that the perpetrator had disposed of five victims in the same general area and would likely deposit his next victim in the same manor.In an effort to catch the killer as he disposed of his next victim, the King County Sheriffs office initiated a surveillance operation. Deputies were placed in several areas along the Green River where they could view access points undetected. In an unfortunate turn of events a Seattle news helicopter thwarted their undercover operation by revealing their activity on the local news. It is believed by officials close to the case that this event may have seriously hindered law enforcements efforts to capture the Green River Killer early in the case.It is widely speculated that the perpetrator saw the news broadcast and realized the authorities were expecting him to return to the Green River (Keppel, 2005).
On September 25, 1982 the body of Giselle Lovorn was discovered in a wooded area seven miles from the Green River. As with the other victims in the Green River case, this victim was a sixteen year old female prostitute who had been strangled and dumped. Lovorn would be the last victim discovered for several months (Keppel, 2005).With no new bodies being discovered the media broadcast a scenario of a faceless drifter who had stayed in the area for a brief time and then left again(Rule, 2004). Detective Reichert refused to believe the Green River Killer had simply moved on. Reichert and many others believe that the killings had continued even though no bodies had been discovered. He had adapted his disposal methods to avoid capture (Keppel, Birnes and Rule, 2005).
In February of 1983, Detective Reichert, frustrated with the investigation, enlisted the help of a seasoned investigator and trusted colleague.Robert Keppel had been instrumental in the investigation and capture of Ted Bundy. Reichert reasoned that Keppel could possibly ferret out clues that had been overlooked in the investigation to this point. Upon reviewing the Green River case files, Keppel discovered that the quality of the investigative efforts appeared to disintegrate beyond the first victim. There were no active follow up forms in the files and potential leads had been ignored or overlooked. There was evidence that investigators were neglecting to review the files before speaking with possible witnesses.

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