“I want to be the best serial killer out there,” Gary Ridgway confesses in Investigation Discovery’s two-hour special The Green River Killer: Mind of a Monster. “I was just going for the count.” When the Green River Killer finally talked with police he said he wanted to kill as many prostitutes as possible. He figured sex workers wouldn’t be reported missing and he, a god-fearing man, hated them.
“Beginning in the early 1980s, Washington state was gripped with fear as the bodies of young women began appearing along the banks of the Green River,” reads the ID press statement. “As the number of victims grew, investigators created a taskforce and enlisted the help of the FBI, but it took almost 20 years to finally catch their man.”
Young runaways and prostitutes began disappearing from state Route 99 in south King County, Washington in 1982. Ridgway prowled the Pacific Highway South for transient women, often teens. He brought many of the victims to his home where he strangled them before dumping the bodies in remote sites along the Green River, which is how he got his name.
The special uses in-depth interviews from investigators who worked the case, along with footage. The Green River Killer: Mind of a Monster also reveals, in Ridgway’s own words, how his troubling behavior as a child morphed into murder. “The confessions expose the truths behind a violent predator with complete disregard for human life,” Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America, said in a statement.
Ridgway evaded investigators from as early as 1983. He was eventually caught in 2001, after DNA linked him to some of his early victims. Ridgway was convicted of killing 49 women between 1982 and 2001. He confessed to 71 murders, but is suspected in more than 90. Friends and neighbors thought he “came across as a ‘stand-up guy’ and loving father and husband, a characteristic he often exploited in order to give his victims a false sense of security,” according to the press statement.
“The Green River Killer is, conceivably, one of the clearest examples that evil exists in our world,” Schlieff said in a statement.
Ted Bundy told King County Sheriff’s Office Green River Task Force members Robert Keppel and Dave Reichert the Green River Killer probably went back to his dump sites for sexual intercourse with the bodies. Ridgway was caught when investigators staked out a fresh grave.
ID’s Mind of a Monster series began this season with a documentary look at female serial killer Aileen Wuormos.
Green River Killer: Mind Of a Monster airs Monday, Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. Investigation Discovery.