Green River, Running Red–Ann Rule


Another true crime book. If you’re not into true crime, avert your gaze now.

The Green River Killer was a hardcore serial killer–he has been confirmed to have had more kills than Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy, but do you know his name or anything about him? I doubt it. I pay attention to true crime and even I mostly only knew that the Green River Killer was a thing that existed. And honestly I didn’t even know where the Green River was, I thought it was in the midwest somewhere, but nope, it’s in Seattle.

Basically, this guy would pick up women, mostly sex workers but not exclusively so, and rape them and then strangle them and then dump their bodies somewhere in the nearby open natural areas around the city.

He got his name because the first five victims were found in the Green River, in late 1982.

He was caught in 2001.

Let that just sink in for a minute.

He was convicted of 48 murders, almost all of which occurred between late 1982 and 1986, with a couple more as late as 1998.

Here’s my theory: there are WAY MORE MURDERS on his hands than that. What are the odds that he killed 40 odd people in 4 years and then just stopped? I’m going to go with, not freaking likely. He did get remarried in 1987 and his wife thinks that she saved lives by making him happy, which…maybe? But I’m thinking not.

But here’s the thing. He made a deal that he would confess to everything and help them find the bodies, and in exchange he would plead to the murders but not get the death penalty. The caveat was, if he was later found not to have told them about a murder or if he was discovered to have killed outside that county’s borders, he was on the hook for those murders separately and the death penalty was a likely option.

This means that he had every incentive to tell the truth about how many people he killed. Unless he was killing them in neighboring counties, where some bodies were discovered.

Also during his last interview with the sheriff, he casually said, we’re up to 71 bodies now, and actually, no, they were up to 48. Why would he say that suicidal thing, except possibly as an ego booster? More likely, this man (with an IQ of 82 which I think is relevant to this) slipped up and gave his real total of kills and not the amount that they’d found.

Anyway, he was under suspicion in the 80s when the murders were happening and was arrested twice in connection with picking up sex workers, and that’s how they caught him in the end. They were so sure it was him that they got a judge to sign a warrant for hair and saliva samples, which were held and stored and in 2001 when DNA testing became available, they tested the samples against samples from the victims and nailed him.

Let this be a lesson to potential murderers: even if you can figure out how to avoid detection at the time you commit the murder, there’s no way to ensure that you can avoid future technological advances. And there’s no statute of limitations on murder, so you can go down at any time.

I’m not going to write his name here. He wanted to be famous like Bundy and I have no interest in gratifying that. You can google it if you want.


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