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'Serial killer' at work in B.C.: Police

Jason Proctor
The Province

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Gary Ridgway

Witnesses have told police the prime suspect in the Green River killings spent time in B.C., according to members of a task force probing the disappearance of 45 women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Canadian investigators travelled to Seattle yesterday to exchange information with their King County counterparts about Gary Leon Ridgway, charged with four of the Green River murders and suspected in dozens more.

Vancouver Det. Jim McKnight said police and RCMP have taken statements from Lower Mainland prostitutes who said they recognized Ridgway.

"There's some indication that he was in B.C.," McKnight told Seattle's KING-TV. "I can't be too specific because I don't know for sure yet."

Ridgway, 52, of Auburn, Wash., was charged in four of the Green River deaths after authorities linked him to three of the victims with DNA evidence. But U.S. investigators have attributed the deaths of as many as 49 women to the Green River killer, who operated in the early 1980s.

The suspect, a truck company worker, wasn't on a list of several hundred suspects compiled by Canadian investigators. One of the things the Vancouver team hopes to learn on this trip is whether Ridgway was a frequent visitor in their city, Const. Catherine Galliford said.

Most of the 45 women missing in B.C. were drug-addicted prostitutes who vanished from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. "All indications are that there is a serial killer," said McKnight. "We are down here trying to get answers."

The U.S. case has baffled investigators since 1982, when authorities began finding women's bodies in or near the Green River, south of Seattle. Forty-nine women -- most of them prostitutes or runaways -- were believed to be victims of the Green River killer in Washington and Oregon.

The Vancouver disappearances began at about the same time that the Green River killings ended -- in 1984. The missing women in Vancouver share a similar profile to those killed and dumped in the Green River or heavily wooded areas surrounding the Sea-Tac Airport.

Ridgway's neighbours have said he and wife Judith constantly travelled in their motor-home in the three years they have lived in the middle-class neighbourhood near Geneva Lake. One neighbour said Ridgway has travelled many times to B.C. and Oregon.

The Vancouver task force also plans to test DNA and compare notes with Seattle police.

McKnight said yesterday he was "ecstatic" at news of the Seattle arrest, both for police working the case and for the families of the murdered women.

Is there a serial killer at work in Vancouver-Nov 28, 2001

 

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Updated: August 21, 2016