Detectives take bone fragments from home of man charged with deaths blamed on serial killer

Thursday, December 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) _ Authorities have seized several items, including bone fragments, from homes of a truck company worker charged with murder in the deaths of four women blamed on the Green River serial killer.

Gary Leon Ridgway, 52, who was arrested last week, was charged Wednesday with four counts of aggravated murder after authorities said they had linked him to three of the victims with DNA evidence.

Detectives took envelopes containing bone fragments, boxes of latex gloves and a copy of the book ``The Search for the Green River Killer'' from four homes where Gary Ridgway has lived, court documents made public Wednesday show. Authorities wouldn't provide details about the bones, including whether they were from humans.

The documents offer graphic details of Ridgway's sex life, as described by two ex-wives, girlfriends and prostitutes. They also recount alleged incidents of past violence toward women.

The Green River 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 killer in Washington and Oregon. They were slain in the early 1980s.

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng said ``justice is a concept that never gets old.''

``For the victim, the loss is ultimate. For the family, the grief is permanent and for the community the harm and danger do not diminish for the passage of time,'' he said.

Ridgway is accused of killing Opal Mills, Marcia Chapman and Cynthia Hinds, whose bodies were found in the river on Aug. 15, 1982, and Carol Christensen, whose body was found May 8, 1983, in woods in nearby Maple Valley. Hinds and Mills were teen-agers. Christensen was 21 and Chapman was 31.

Ridgway was identified as a suspect in 1984 and questioned after witnesses identified his pickup truck and said he had been seen with two of the victims, according to court documents.

In 1987, Ridgway complied with a court order to chew on a piece of gauze to collect a saliva sample. The saliva was tested again in March.

The results came back two months ago and detectives put Ridgway under surveillance. Ridgway, an employee of Kenworth Truck Co. in Renton for 32 years, was arrested Friday as he was leaving work. He is married and has an adult son.

The fourth victim, Hinds, was linked to Ridgway through circumstantial evidence, investigators said.