Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Into the Abyss
Green River Killer
Home | Serial Killers | Jeffrey Dahmer | John Wayne Gacy | Andrei Chikatilo | Eddie Gein | "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez | Dayton Leroy Rogers | H. H. Holmes | The Zodiac Killer | Green River Killer | Jack The Ripper | Dennis Nilsen | Albert Fish | Ted Bundy | Ed Kemper, The Co-Ed Killer | Arthur Shawcross | The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutchiffe | Columbine School Massacre | Josef Mengele | Charles Manson | Hitler's Psycological Profile | Serial Rapist | Dr. Harold Shipman | Profiling | Stephanie Elizabeth Condon

Green River Killer:
River of Death

With victims numbering 49 and one possible victim, viewing the identities of each is a
morbid reminder to the brutality of one man. The list is as follows:

1. Abernathy, Debbie, September 1983
2. Agisheff, Amina, July 1982
3. Antosh, Yvonne, May 1983
4. Authorlee, Martina, May 1983
5. Avent, Pamela, October 1983
6. Bello, Mary, October 1983
7. Bonner, Deborah, July 1982
8. Brockman, Colleen, December 1982
9. Bush, Denise, October 1982
10. Buttram, April, August 1983
11. Chapman, Marcia, August 1982
12. Childers, Andrea, April 1983
13. Christensen, Carol, May 1983
14. Coffield, Wendy, July 1982
15. Estes, Debra, September 1982
16. Feeney, Maureen, September 1983
17. Gabbert, Sandra, April 1983
18. Hinds, Cynthia, August 1982
19. Lee, Case, August 1982
20. Liles, Tammy, June 1983
21. Lovvorn, Gisele, July 1982
22. Malvar, Marie, April 1983
23. Marrero, Rebecca, December 1982
24. Mathews, Gail, April 1983
25. McGinness, Keli, June 1983
26. Meehan, Mary, September 1982
27. Milligan, Terri, August 1982
28. Mills, Opal, August 1982
29. Noan, Constance, June 1983
30. Nelson, Kim, November 1983
31. Osborne, Patricia, October 1983
32. Pitsor, Kimi Kai, April 1983
33. Plager, Delise, October 1983
34. Rois, Carrie, March 1983
35. Sherrill, Shirley, October 1982
36. Smith, Alma, March 1983
37. Smith, Cindy, March 1984
38. Summers, Shawnda, October 1983
39. Thompson, Tina, July 1983
40. Ware, Kelly, July 1983
41. West, Mary, February 1984
42. Williams, Delores, March 1983
43. Wims, Cheryl, May 1983
44. Winston, Tracy, September 1983
45. Yates, Lisa, December 1983
46. - 49. Unknown identity, bodies never identified
50. Kurran, Rose Marie, August 1987 (possible victim)

From its source, high on the slopes of Mount Rainier, Washingtons highest peak, Green
River winds its way slowly westward, tumbling down through wooded valleys,
meandering through farmland and residential areas before finally emptying into Puget
Sound, just south of the thriving metropolis of Seattle.

In the 1880's, heavily laden barges, navigated their way through the rivers numerous
sandbars and submerged boulders, carrying supplies for the scattered farming communities
along its length. As well as carrying goods upstream to the early settlers, the river also
carried their refuse downstream, the eddies and currents, trapping much of it against its
banks. A hundred years later, after providing a community with a constant source of life,
Green River was to become better known as a place of death.

On July 15th, 1982, a lazy summer day, two young boys rode their bicycles across Peck
Bridge, an ugly metal structure that spanned Green River close to the town of Kent,
Washington. As they peered over the railing, they were shocked to see the unmistakable
shape of a womans naked body, caught on a snag, directly below them.

When the Kent County police officers attempted to examine the find, they noticed that she
had a pair of jeans knotted tightly around her neck

The white female was later identified as sixteen-year-old Wendy Lee Coffield, a known
prostitute, who had last been seen on July 7th, 1982 in the Tacoma area, fifteen miles to
the south of Green River. The county medical examiner officially listed her cause of death
as ligature strangulation.
Green River murders


Less than a month later, at a meatpacking company just south of Peck Bridge, a worker
on his afternoon break, saw what he thought was an animal carcass lying on a sand bar.
After walking down a narrow track on the riverbank to take a closer look, he noticed that
the "carcass" was in fact, the nude body of a woman. Alarmed, he hurried back to the
factory to call the authorities.

Dave Reichert, a young detective from the King County Major Crimes Squad, took
charge.


Reichert, one of the brightest men in the robbery and homicide team, compared the
incident with what was known about Wendy Coffields murder.


Both women were young, white and tattooed. Not only that, but six months earlier the
body of prostitute Leann Wilcox had been dumped several miles from Green River.

Reichert knew that if the third victim was also a prostitute and the manner of death was
similar, they probably had a serial killer on their hands.

Autopsy showed that the victims lungs contained no water. She had not drowned, but
had been strangled or suffocated.


Fingerprints identified the victim as prostitute Deborah Lynn Bonner, 23. Deborah
Bonner's parents told Reichert that she had disappeared three weeks earlier. At that time,
Deborah had contacted them to raise bail for herself and boyfriend Carl Martin.

According to Carlton Smith and Thomas Guillen in their book The Search For The Green
River Killer, a drug dealer in Tacoma had threatened Carl Martin's life. Reichert looked
into the tip immediately.


Sunday, August 15 1982, Robert Ainsworth spent the morning on his raft, drifting along
the Green River on his inflatable raft. As he drifted near Peck Bridge, he noticed a couple
of men on the bank.

One of them asked Ainsworth if he'd found anything in the water. Shortly after, the two
men left in their truck and Ainsworth saw a black woman, laying face up on the bottom.
Then as he looked over the far side of the raft, he saw another dead woman just below
the surface.

Unsure of what to do, he waited someone to come by. Finally someone did and the police
were called and, eventually, Reichert was notified.

King County Sheriff Barney Winckoski was out of town so Major Richard Kraske, the
head of the criminal investigation division, took charge of the investigation.


For Kraske, this case was becoming uncomfortably familiar. Only eight years earlier, he
had seen how inexperience had caused serious mistakes in the handling of the Ted Bundy
investigation. It was not going to happen again, not on his watch.

Kraske personally supervised divers in their search for the bodies, while Reichert examined
the tall grass on the embankment. All of a sudden, he found a third female body, half
naked and recently killed.

At 6 pm that evening, Chief Medical Examiner Donald Reay, arrived at the scene to
examine the bodies "in situ." Approaching the river, noticing that the bodies had been
weighted down with rocks, he asked that they be removed and saved as evidence. The first
body he examined was entirely nude and seemed to have been in the river for several days.
The victim was a black girl in her early twenties. Reay found no jewelry on the body or
other identifying marks and noted that the manner of death was not readily apparent.

The second victim, also black, showed advanced signs of decomposition that suggested
that she had been in the water for over a week. No obvious wounds were found on the
body but a blue short-sleeved top was still attached to the body and a front fastening
brassiere had been undone, presumably to expose the breasts, and was caught behind the
shoulders.

The third victim may have been on the river bank for less than a day. "About the neck, a
pair of blue slacks are wound with an over and under type knot on the right side of the
neck, " Reay reported.

Kraske returned to his office to prepare a statement for the press, knowing that, as soon as
it was released, the media would have a "field-day" with his department. They would
never let him alone until this serial killer was found.


According to Smith and Guillen, Kraske had always prided himself on doing things "by the
book." But, after working on the Ted Bundy case, he realized that the book didnt cover
what seemed to be a series of random, motiveless crimes. Of the many lessons that he and
his staff had learned on the case was the importance of information management. Wide
reaching crimes of this nature invariably meant that the investigators would be flooded
with a deluge of seemingly unrelated information.

While working on the "Ted" case, one of the young detectives on Kraskes team had built
a solid reputation for himself with his unconventional approach. Bob Keppel, a brash,
intelligent, well-educated young man had made more progress in the Bundy investigation
than any other detective.


Keppel devised the method of compiling lists of people who had come in contact with the
victims leading up to their deaths, looking for a pattern. When that failed to yield a result,
he compiled a list of owners of the type of vehicle that "Ted" supposedly used in some of
the abductions, a Volkswagen "Bug." He then cross- checked the information with a list of
everybody named Ted who was similar in age and description to the suspect.

Eventually, after months of painstaking work, Keppel had compiled a list of twenty-five
"possibles." When Theodore Robert Bundy, was arrested in Utah and eventually charged
with several of the murders, his name had been next on Keppels list.

If one thing from the Bundy investigation was etched forever in Kraske's mind it was the
need to cooperate as much as possible with other jurisdictions by sharing information.
There was no room for ancient feuds in a high-profile serial murder case.

Already very understaffed, Kraske carefully assembled his special team, then he called for
some assistance from the FBI in working up a profile of this killer.

Reichert took all three sets of fingerprint cards to be analyzed and only one came up with
a match. One of the women was tentatively identified as Marcia Faye Chapman.
Fingerprint record checks of the other two victims yielded nothing.

Later the same afternoon, Kraske called a meeting of King County detectives assigned to
the case. Also present, at his invitation, were detectives from Kent, Tacoma and Seattle
police departments. Bob Keppel, who was working for the Attorney General's department
at the time, was also there.

Each of the departments in turn briefed the group on homicides against young women in
their areas. There were quite a few with only one thing in common -- they were all
unsolved with very little evidence to go on. The detectives disagreed about the possibility
of the crimes being the work of a serial killer. The only point of agreement at that stage
was the fact that the same person probably murdered both of the recent victims found in
the river.

Bob Keppel drew their attention to the facts:

The victims were of similar age and background.

They were dumped in or near the same stretch of river.

Two of the victims had similar rocks inserted in their vaginas.

Two victims, Wendy Coffield and the woman found by Reichert, were both strangled with
their own pants, using the same knot.

Two factors, namely the inserted rocks and the knotted clothing about the neck, he
believed, were clearly the work of a sexual psychopath. Keppel theorized that the killer
had probably been at the river dumping another victim, when police were recovering
Debra Bonners body, which would account for the body being left on the bank, probably
after the killer became "spooked" by the police activity.

In summation he said:

"I tell you one thing, this is not the first time that this guy has killed, and not only that,
hes not going to stop until he is caught or dies."

Keppel believed that the killer was probably aware that bodies dumped in water were
harder to identify. Based on this assumption, he reasoned that the killer would return to
the dumping site, not only to relive his sexual fantasy, but also to dump additional victims.
He suggested a stakeout of the riverbanks, to which Kraske agreed.



The following Sunday, August 22, medical examiners positively identified the remaining
victims. The woman that Reichert had found on the riverbank was a sixteen-year-old
prostitute named Opal Mills. The other was Cynthia Hinds, otherwise known as "Cookie."
In light of the complaints of media interference, Kraske refused to release the names to the
press.


Detective Reichert, knowing that it would only be a matter of time before the media
learned the victims identities, went to interview Opal Mills' family. They told him that
they had last seen Opal on August 11, when she had left the house with her friend
"Cookie," to go to a job they had found painting apartments. Reichert found it interesting
that the girls had disappeared just one day before Deborah Bonners body was found.



Opals last contact with her family had been a collect phone call from a phone booth to
advise them that she was unable to find a painting job for her brother. The call was later
traced to a booth on Pacific Highway South near the Three Bears Motel, close to the area
where Deborah Bonner and Marcia Chapman were last seen. The call had been placed at
12:55 pm, just forty-five minutes before Deborah Bonners body was found, a fact that
supported Keppels theory of the killer dumping the body on the bank because of the
police presence at the river.



Meanwhile, other detectives interviewed the Hinds family and were given the names of
some of Cynthias friends. After talking to the friends, they learned that Cynthia had been
seen at a convenience store on the night of August 11. The store was just sixteen blocks
from the Three Bears. A later check of police files indicated that Cynthia Hinds had a
record for prostitution and assault.

On August 23, Kraske changed his mind and released the names of Mills and Hinds to the
press. Not long after the release of the information, the Mills family told reporters that a
family friend had seen Opal on Pacific Highway south, with a man in a red Cadillac.
Shortly after, she was seen to get out of the Cadillac and get into a black jeep with another
man. Reporters believed that the man in the Cadillac was probably Opals pimp and the
man in the jeep may have been a "customer," possibly the killer. In an attempt to follow
their latest "lead," reporters cruised the highway looking for red Cadillacs and black jeeps,
but quickly lost interest when they found that there were many such vehicles, most of
them around the area they called "the strip."


Prior to the construction of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 1942, houses and
farms with very few commercial properties bordered the Pacific Highway. As the air
traffic increased, motels, diners, saloons and a variety of other commercial enterprises
littered both sides of the highway, many staying open for twenty-four hours. By the
1970s, prostitution in the area was flourishing. A small percentage of the girls worked the
bars and lobbies of the strips many hotels, motels and massage parlors.

The larger percentage, however, were hundreds of street prostitutes, plying their trade to
passing motorists. Most were young, hardly more than teenagers and a large percentage
were using drugs.

Because of the proliferation of young prostitutes on the street and their ingrained distrust
of police, the strip was perfectly suited to the needs of a sexual psychopath looking for
victims. A report of a missing prostitute would go virtually unheeded and in most cases
would be quickly forgotten.

Kraske knew the odds, but sent investigators into the field regardless. His team of
detectives found it increasingly difficult to get worthwhile information from the girls on
the strip, being hampered both by mistrust and what they saw as the growing incidence of
media interference.

Another factor that hampered the investigation in the earlier stages was the lack of
organization in processing the information that came in from the field. Most detectives
were writing reports down on paper, but the growing amount of data was too much to
handle. Kraske acquired a mini-computer to correlate the reports but they were coming in
too fast for the data to be entered into the system.

As publicity surrounding the murders grew, so too did the line of people who volunteered
their services to assist the police in their investigations. Many of them were no more than
nuisance value and Kraske was reluctant to waste valuable time evaluating them. One
person in particular was Barbara Kubik-Patten, a self-proclaimed psychic and private
detective.

Kubik-Patten contacted the King County police and offered to use her psychic abilities to
aid police to find her killer. She told police that after reading about the discovery of Debra
Bonners body, she and a friend had gone to the river the night of August 14, the day
before the discovery of the latest victims.

She told police that she had seen a man walking near the river and acting suspiciously. As
they watched, the man had walked along the waters edge looking in the water, then
climbed up the bank and got in a small white car and drove off.

Not far from the bridge, she found a bloodstained shirt and a piece of bone. She took the
items to the Kent police who took her back to the scene and interrogated her. She claims
that she told police that there would be a third victim but police later denied that they had
taken any such report or gone to the river to investigate a claim at that time. Undeterred,
Kubik-Patten was convinced that she could locate the killer and began talking to
prostitutes on the strip.

She claims that many of the women she spoke to told her that they believed the killer was
either a policeman or someone who was pretending to be one. A few of the girls had
spoken about a man who had flashed a police badge in an attempt to coerce them into his
car. Most of them were too wise to fall for such a trick but commented that a lot of the
girls weren't, particularly the younger ones. Kubik-Patten faithfully recorded her findings
and passed on copies of her notes to the police. With little feed back forthcoming from the
police, Barbara took her findings to a more receptive audience, the press.

As in many heavily populated centers of the world, large numbers of people in the
Seattle-Tacoma area were reported as missing every month. Limited by resources, police
departments in the district focused on missing children and any disappearance that
appeared to involve foul play.

From experience, police knew that when adults went missing, they usually did so of their
own volition. Juveniles were a low priority as many of them had left their family homes
voluntarily and had no intention of returning. Police, therefore, saw the investigation of a
report of a missing juvenile prostitute as a complete waste of time, a factor that was to
severely hinder the Green River investigation.

James Tindal, a young taxi driver, reported to the Seattle police that his 17-year-old
girlfriend, Gisele Lovvorn, had left their apartment on Saturday afternoon, July 17, to
"turn a few tricks" on the strip. When Gisele had failed to meet him later that evening, as
arranged, he became worried and called the local hospitals and police stations looking for
her, thinking she had been involved in an accident.


Tindal didn't get much help from the police, so he cruised the strip in his cab, talking to
other prostitutes and showing Giseles picture. He offered a $500 reward to anyone who
would help him find her and even called a television reporter hoping that she would
publicize Giseles disappearance.

When the reporter refused, Tindal contacted a psychic who, after examining a vest that
had belonged to Gisele, told him, "Shes dead. Shes lying facedown in mud. Theres a big
tangle of bushes next to her. I think theyre like briar bushes. Somethings around her neck
and shes not in water." When Tindal asked for a more accurate location, she told him,
"Shes not far from home."

For days after the visit with the psychic, Tindal look for an area matching the description.
Later, Detective Reichert paid a visit to Tindal to question him about Gisele and ask
whether he knew any of the dead girls. Tindal thought that it was just a follow-up on his
report of Gisele's disappearance and didnt realize that Reichert saw him as a possible
suspect.


By late August, the detectives on the case had established that Coffield and Mills were
friends, as were Bonner and Chapman. They later connected Hinds with Mills and also
Hinds with Chapman. The girls all knew each other either as friends or work
acquaintances and had often been seen working the strip together.

Police believed that the killer was known to all of the victims and as such was probably a
regular customer who frequented the same area. Two undercover vice-squad detectives
cruised the bars along the strip, in the hope of picking up information about a particular
"john" who was violent. Others were sent out to interview street prostitutes for similar
information.

One girl claimed that she had been picked up by a uniformed policeman in a patrol car and
driven to Green River, where she was handcuffed and raped in the back seat. After the act,
the "cop" had told her he was keeping the used condom as evidence of her prostitution.

21-year-old prostitute Susan Widmark gave another report to the police. She claimed that
on the evening of August 22, she had been working the corner of 144th Street and Pacific
Highway South when a man in his thirties driving a blue and white pick-up truck
approached her. The man asked Widmark for oral sex and, after payment was agreed, she
got into the vehicle and directed the man to an abandoned house nearby. As soon as she
was in the truck, the man drove off at high speed and headed north on Pacific Highway
South.

When Widmark objected, the man drew an automatic pistol and pointed it at her head and
told her that if she did as she was told, she would not be harmed. Shortly after, he turned
off the highway and drove down a deserted road. He stopped the car, ordered Widmark to
strip, and raped her while holding the gun to her head. After the attack, as Widmark
started to get dressed, the man told her not to bother, as she wasnt going to be working
anymore. When she asked what he meant, he asked her if she had heard about the bodies
in the river. When she told him that she still didnt understand, he laughed and drove back
towards the river, holding the gun on her the whole time.

As they pulled up at a stoplight, the man let his gun hand drop slightly and Widmark took
the opportunity to leap from the vehicle and run, half-naked, down the street. The man
then drove of at high speed, but Widmark managed to memorize the registration number
of the truck.

Five days after hearing Widmarks story, they received a report of a missing prostitute,
16-year-old Kase Ann Lee. What sparked police interest was that the report was made by
the girl's pimp and husband, Anthony "Pretty Tony" Lee. Tony told police that he hadnt
seen Kase since she had gone out three days earlier to buy dinner.

One day later, another young prostitute was reported missing by her pimp. Terri Rene
Milligan had worked the strip near 144th Street for several hours before returning to the
motel where they lived. She left the room telling him that she was going to the local
Wendys several blocks away, but she was never seen again.


Tom and Carol Estes, the owners of a small trucking business on Pacific Highway south,
had earlier reported to police that their daughter Debbie, who they called "Muffin," had
run away from home. As with most runaway reports, police took the details and filed
them, telling the Estes that there was little they could do. Meanwhile Debbie, calling
herself Betty Lorraine Jones, had become a street prostitute, dyed her hair to change her
appearance and moved into a motel with her pimp, directly across the highway from her
parents' business.

For weeks afterwards, the Estes maintained contact with the police, hoping for news of
their wayward daughter. Soon after the discoveries of the bodies in Green River, they
became alarmed and asked the police if one of the dead girls was Debbie. The police asked
them for the girls dental records for comparison but found that none of them matched
with their daughter's.

Debbie meanwhile was plying her trade only yards from her parents' work. Had her
parents known her "working name" was Betty Jones, they would have found her easily, as
police had arrest files under that name which also included her address. On August 30,
"Betty" came to the attention of the police for a different reason. Just after 4:00 pm, while
walking south along the highway, she was offered a ride from a man driving a blue and
white pick-up truck. She accepted.

Shortly after driving off, the man pointed an automatic pistol at her head and ordered her
to take off her blouse. When she refused, the man cocked the hammer of the gun. Debbie
complied. After turning off the highway onto a dirt road, the man stopped the truck and
told her to take off her jeans. After she had obeyed, the man told her to give him oral sex.
When she refused, he hit her with the gun. Again she obeyed. When he was finished with
her, he handcuffed her arms behind her back and led her to a wooded area and left her
there, telling her not to move. Debbie did as she was told and later heard the truck drive
away. After she was sure the man was gone, she ran to a nearby house and asked the
occupants to call the police. A detective from the sex-crimes unit arrived and took her
statement. She told him her name was Betty Lorraine Jones. The report was later passed
on to detectives working on the Green River case, who checked the details against past
files and found that there had been four similar instances reported. Thus, the man in the
pick-up became the most positive lead since the arrest of Larry Mathews.



One week after the "Betty Jones" incident, Allen Whitaker, acting on Kraskes "official"
request, flew to Washington D.C. en route to the FBIs training facility in Quantico,
Virginia. The purpose of his trip was to get the FBIs Behavioral Science Unit to provide
a psychological profile of the Green River killer.

Whitaker met with John Douglas who, along with Robert Ressler, had pioneered the use
of profiling in serial crimes. Whitaker gave Douglas a package of information, which
contained crime and autopsy reports, photographs of the victims and crime scene
information. From his experience and research, Douglas had found that serial killers
tended to fall into two broad categories, the organized and the disorganized. The
disorganized were killers who were more impulsive in the execution of their crimes, often
leaving behind clues in their haste to leave the scene. Douglas believed the reason for this
was that the "fantasy process" that fuelled most serial killers was in its earliest stages of
development.


The organized killers, on the other hand, were those that had a higher skill level when
committing murder. They were more meticulous in both planning and execution, often
bringing the necessary equipment with them and taking great care to avoid detection.

Douglas offered the opinion that the Green River killer showed elements of both
categories. The fact that the victims seemed to have been chosen at random and the use of
the victims' clothing as murder weapons suggested impulsiveness. However, the fact that
the bodies of Chapman and Hinds had been weighted down with rocks, suggested that the
killer had felt comfortable enough to spend additional time at the scenes. Multiple victims
having been dumped at the same spot, which also suggested that the killer was confident
enough to return to the original location, not only to deposit additional bodies but also to
relive the fantasies of his previous crimes.

The location of the bodies further suggested to Douglas, that the man responsible was
probably a fisherman or hunter who was familiar with the area. Having chosen prostitutes
as victims meant that the killer might have felt moral justification for his deeds, with the
casual dumping of the bodies suggesting a complete lack of remorse. The placement of the
bodies in a river suggested that the killer might have been a religious person, committing,
what he saw, as a cleansing ritual or macabre baptism.

Douglas also felt that the "macho dominance" aspects of the crimes indicated that the
killer could be a man with a history of relationship problems with women that had caused
him a high level of humiliation. In conclusion, Douglas told Whitaker that, because of the
"macho" aspect, the police should look for a man with a strong interest in police work,
possibly a civilian helper who may already have contacted the police and offered his
assistance. Douglas then compiled his analysis into a report for Whitaker to take back to
Seattle.



Authors Note:

For various legal reasons, the real name of the taxi driver has been withheld. For the
purposes of this story, references to this person will be replaced with the initials TD, for
taxi driver. N.B. The taxi driver in question is not to be confused with John Tindal, also a
taxi driver, who was mentioned earlier in this story.

In September 1982, Detective Reichert and his partner Bob LaMoria, inspired by John
Douglass profile, focused their attention on any civilians who had offered any assistance
to the investigation team. One such man was TD, who had contacted the investigators on
several occasions to offer his help. He told the detectives that, having worked as a taxi
driver in the Seattle area for several years, he had gotten to know most of the prostitutes
that worked the strip.

Reichert ran a check on TD, and found that he lived just outside of Seattle with his two
sons and his father. A criminal record inquiry revealed that, as a young man, he had served
two separate prison terms. Now in middle age, TD considered himself a responsible citizen
who just wanted to help. Reichert was suspicious of the man, particularly when TD
suggested that the investigators should be interviewing cab drivers in relation to the
killings.

When asked if he was talking about anyone in particular, TD suggested a man by the name
of Smith. The detectives knew Smith who been mentioned by Seattle detectives the day
before. Two weeks later, Detective Larry Gross saw Smith in his cab and wrote down the
registration number. A later check of criminal records showed that Smith had no criminal
history. Several days later, a volunteer YMCA worker brought three "street kids" to the
detective's office and told Bob LaMoria, that the teenagers had some information
regarding TD and Smith.

The teenagers told LaMoria that TD had warned them about Smith. When asked how they
knew about TD, the teenagers said that he was known as a guy who looked after street
kids and occasionally gave them money. They also said that he was known to have had sex
with some of them. LaMoria later told Reichert about the meeting and both of them began
to suspect that TD might be a stronger suspect than Smith.

On September 9, Reichert contacted TD and invited him to his office to "discuss the case."
When he arrived, TD was shown a photograph of Smith and positively identified him as
the man he had mentioned. He told Reichert that he believed that Smith was responsible
for turning several street kids into prostitutes. TD was then shown photographs of the
murdered girls. He told them that he recognized Bonner but didnt know the others.
Reichert then asked him about his sexual involvement with the street kids. TD rejected the
suggestion, telling Reichert that anyone that had sex with teenagers was a "pervert."
Asked why he hung around with street kids, TD replied that he had just wanted to help
them. The final question was in relation to his criminal record. TD freely admitted that he
had been in jail, but stressed that he had not been in any further trouble with the police
since 1965.

The next day, Smith was brought in for questioning. When Reichert showed him the
photographs of the victims, Smith said that he didnt recognize any of them. After an hour
of further questioning, Smith agreed to a polygraph test, which he passed. Satisfied that
Smith was telling the truth, Reichert and LaMoria focused their attention on TD.

One day later, police officially announced that they were looking for two missing
prostitutes who may have fallen victim to the Green River killer,. The names of the two
women, Kase Ann Lee and Terri Rene Milligan, were withheld from the media with the
excuse that the police did not want to alarm the families of the women.


Three days after the missing persons' announcement, a patrol car stopped a blue and white
pickup truck that they had observed cruising slowly along the strip. The driver was
Charles Clinton Clark, a meatcutter at a local supermarket. Later checks revealed that
Clark was the registered owner of two handguns. Police then assembled a montage of
photographs, including Clarks license photo, and asked Susan Widmark if her attacker
was amongst them. Widmark positively identified Clark, as did a second victim.

Police searched Clarks house for evidence, where clothes and footwear described by the
victims was seized. Clark was arrested at work and brought back to his house. His truck
was then searched and an automatic pistol recovered.

Clark freely admitted that he had kidnapped and raped several women but had never
murdered anyone. He was then taken back to the station for a polygraph test, which he
passed.

Later, "Betty Jones," was bought to the office to identify Clark in person. Then police
drove her to the spot where the rape had occurred. Later the same evening, Betty went
out and never returned. Police only learned of her disappearance when they returned to
the motel to drive her to a court appearance. Thinking that she had decided not to testify,
the police issued a warrant for her arrest as a material witness against Clark. She was
never seen again.

Even though Clark seemed like a viable suspect and obviously had committed violent
crimes against prostitutes, some doubts existed as to whether he was responsible for the
Green River murders. For instance, why would he murder some victims and let others go.
If he had a gun, why would he strangle his victims? In addition, when Reichert checked
the times of the disappearances and found that Clark had been working on most of the
occasions. The final test would be when the fibers taken from Clarkes truck were
analyzed.

While detectives were booking Clark for the rape attacks, Mary Bridget Meehan left the
motel where she was staying, with her boyfriend, to go for a short walk. She was a
runaway but had never been involved in prostitution. When she did not return to the
motel, her boyfriend Ray called the police to report her missing, telling the police that she
couldnt have gone far as she had no money and was eight months pregnant. The report
was passed on to the Green River investigators.


Reichert did not believe that Clark was the Green River Killer. He came to the conclusion
that TD was a much more viable suspect and focused most of his attention on TD.

Reichert wanted to get TD in for questioning, but knowing that the method of
interviewing him was critical to their success, decided to ask Douglas for advice.
However, Douglas was out of town. Reichert had already set up the interview and
couldnt wait.

On September 20, TD voluntarily attended the detective's interview with the
understanding that he was to provide additional information to aid the investigators. The
interview started pleasantly enough with Reichert producing a stack of photographs for
TD to identify. After identifying several of the girls, TD was questioned extensively on his
relationship with the prostitutes and their pimps. The questioning continued for several
hours. TD was getting agitated, now it seemed as though they suspected him.

TD insisted that he had nothing to do with the murders. Reichert then suggested he take a
polygraph test. Anxious to prove his innocence, TD agreed. Curiously, the test was
stopped after 30 minutes, when most tests go much longer. While the test was analyzed,
TD was taken back to the interview room and questioned all over again. Reichert told TD
that he had failed the test because he had "lied" on four occasions.

TD was incensed, insisting that he was innocent. Reichert then suggested that the best way
to prove his innocence was to agree to a search of his house and car. TD readily agreed.
Later that evening, the detectives searched the house, outbuildings and car. They then
drove TD back to their office, where Reichert openly accused TD of the Green River
murders and arrested him, not for murder, but for unpaid parking fines.

TD was then asked to provide hair and blood samples, to which he agreed. Questioning
continued on into the night with Reichert going over the same questions again and again.
Later, TD learned that his father had posted his bail six hours before, but no one had
informed him.

After a second day of almost continual questioning, TD was released on bail, but he was
to endure constant surveillance for months.

On Saturday 26 1982, a trail bike rider found the decomposing body of a woman south of
the Sea-Tac airport. She was nude and had a pair of men's socks knotted around her neck.
Police later identified her as Gisele Lovvorn. James Tindal was notified of the discovery,
questioned extensively and subjected to a polygraph examination. As he was a possible
suspect, he was not given details of the manner of death or the body's location. If he had,
he would have found that Gisele had been found close to home near a tangle of brush, just
as a psychic had predicted. After confirming the identification by dental records, the police
announced the find and amended the official death toll to six.

Meanwhile, the daily surveillance of TD had continued unabated. On October 8, anxious
to clear his name and make the public aware of the level of harassment that he was
experiencing, he contacted Hilda Bryant at KIRO. Bryant was sympathetic and covered
the story, which caused great embarrassment for Kraske and his staff, as they were forced
to admit that TD was only one of several suspects in the case. The coverage further
suggested that the surveillance may be illegal and in violation of TD's constitutional rights.
The police made no official reply to the claims and continued the surveillance. Several
days later, TD complained to reporters that police had tampered with his mail and he
threatened to get a court order to stop the harassment. Kraske's answer, on behalf of his
department, was to organize yet another search. After literally tearing TD's house apart for
over five hours, police attempted to question him further but he refused to answer any
questions without his attorney present. The police backed off. The new search had yielded
nothing of any importance and later the "round-the-clock" surveillance was reduced.

While TD was making his stand, a young prostitute by the name of Denise Bush was living
with her pimp in a motel near 144th street and Pacific Highway south. Just after receiving
a phone call from her friend Jody, Denise left the motel to buy some cigarettes
disappeared.

Some days later, another young prostitute, Shawnda Summers, vanished while working
the Strip. When her family realized that she was missing, they contacted the Seattle police
who did nothing to investigate Shawnda's disappearance.

In early December, two weeks after the second search of TD's home, 18-year-old,
Rebecca Marrero left her mother's home to go to a motel on the Strip, the same motel
from which Mary Meehan had disappeared three months earlier. Rebecca was a part-time
prostitute. That night she went to work on the Strip and went missing.

From December 1982 until March 1983, the Green River team pursued TD exclusively.
Even though the samples of hair and fiber that the police had taken from TD had not
matched any of the samples taken from the crime scenes, Kraske and Reichert were still
convinced that he was their prime suspect.

Apart from their unrelenting pursuit of TD, the rest of the Green River investigation was
not only grinding to a halt, but was going backwards. The major crimes' office was rapidly
filling up with of piles of leads and information that had not been correlated. A power
failure caused them to lose all the information that had been input into their one computer.
Two more detectives were attached to the team. Then Vernon Thomas replaced Sheriff
Winckoski.

In an attempt to get the investigation back on track, Bob Keppel was asked to review the
situation. When Keppel went to the Green River office, he was found that none of the
evidence had been organized into a useable format. Evidential information was mixed with
files on suspects and there were no separate files for information on the victims. To
Keppel it was total chaos. He told Reichert how to organize the mass of information and
told him that he would be back when it was done.

More than a month later, Keppel returned and began the laborious task of sifting through
volumes of information. Three weeks later, he had compiled a confidential report on the
entire investigation. The report was heavily detailed, pointing out the faults and
weaknesses and suggesting ways to improve them. When Kraske read the report he was
shocked. Not only had the department wasted a lot of time and money on the investigation
with very little result, but to remedy the situation would take all the manpower of the
entire department and a huge budget. Reichert and his team saw the report as unwarranted
criticism.


As the months ticked by and the Green River detectives struggled to bring their
investigation under control, more young women disappeared without trace. On April 17,
1983, Sandra Kay Gabbert had dinner with her mother and after reassuring her that she
would stay safe, left to turn a few tricks and was never seen again.

Less than two hours later, seventeen-year-old, Kimi Kai Pastor was working the streets in
downtown Seattle with her pimp. When the driver of a green pickup truck, with a camper
on the back and a primer spot on the door, showed interest in her, she waved to the driver
and signaled him to turn the next corner. The last her pimp saw of her was when she got
into the truck and drove away.

Two weeks later, on the evening of April 30, before Pastor or Gabbert had been reported
as missing, Marie Malvar and her pimp, Bobby Woods, were working Pacific Highway
south, near the Three Bears motel. A man in a green pickup truck approached Marie,
complete with camper and primer spot. She got in the truck that pulled on to the highway
and headed north. Bobby got into his car and followed them.

Shortly after, he pulled alongside the truck and noticed that Marie and the man were
arguing. The truck then pulled into another motel. While Bobby was making the turn to
follow them, the truck sped off up the highway at high speed. Bobby followed but lost the
truck in traffic near South 216th street. He never saw Marie again. A week later when
Marie failed to return, Bobby reported the matter to the Des Moines police. Bob Fox, the
detective who took the complaint was suspicious and believed that Bobby was responsible
for Maries disappearance.

Several days later, Maries father, Joe Malvar, picked up Bobby Woods in his truck and
drove to the area where Marie was last seen. They drove around the streets in the area for
several hours until finally, in a small cul-de-sac, they saw a green pick-up that matched
Bobbys description exactly. They watched the house for some time, noticing two men
inside. Later Joe went to a nearby house and called the police. Not long after his call, Bob
Fox and his partner arrived. The police went to the house and had a short conversation
with the occupants but did not enter the house. Fox told Joe that there was no woman in
the house and left the scene. Joe accepted the detective's word primarily because he didnt
trust Bobby either and believed that he had concocted the story in the first place.

In the first week of May, a family hunting for mushrooms in a rural area several miles east
of the strip, found the body of a young woman a short distance from a dirt road. The
police were summoned and arrived at the scene shortly after. The first thing that the
investigators noticed, was that, unlike the previous victims, this one was fully dressed.
Several other strange differences were apparent. The victim had a paper sack over her
head, a fish placed across her throat and above her left breast. The hands were crossed
over the abdomen with a bottle in the right hand and freshly ground raw meat on top of
the left.

Another curious difference was the fact that the victim's drivers license, in the name of
Carol Ann Christensen, was still in her jacket pocket. All of the other victims had been
stripped of their identification. The manner of death was also curious. She too had been
strangled. Not manually or with an article of clothing like the previous victims, but with a
thin cord, similar to clothesline. Police began to wonder if there was a second killer
preying on prostitutes.

The next day at the autopsy, the victim's brassiere was found to be inside out and her
shoes untied. The opinion of the pathologist was that the woman had been dressed by her
attacker after the murder. Because of the fact that the body still showed signs of
rigor-mortis and faint wrinkling to the skin of the hands and feet, indicated that the body
had not only been immersed in water, she had been killed only the day before she was
discovered. Even though much of the evidence was different to the previous killings, one
item found on the body seemed to connect it to the other Green River murders. The paper
sack that was found on the victims head had come from the Seven-Eleven store on South
144th street, almost in the middle of the strip and close to where several of the victims
were last seen.

As the police were attempting to unravel the mysteries surrounding the latest victim, more
young women disappeared. On May 22, 1983, eighteen-year-old Martina Authorlee was
working the area in the center of the strip, near the Red Lion bar when she picked up a
trick and was never seen again. The next day, another eighteen-year-old, Cheryl Wims,
disappeared from the same locality. Yvonne Shelley Antosh was the next when, on May
31, she picked up her first trick of the night near South 142nd street and vanished. None
of the three were ever reported as missing.

Prior to the disappearance of Yvonne Antosh, a discovery was made that, if properly
handled, could have provided a means of apprehending the Green River killer. At midnight
on May 27, 1983, a cleaner at the Sea-Tac airport found a drivers license belonging to
Maria Malvar, behind some chairs next to departure gate B4. An hour later, he handed it
over to the Port police office at the airport. The Port police then ran a check on Maria
Malvar and discovered that she had been reported missing. A notation on the file indicated
that the case was under investigation by Bob Fox of the Des Moines police. The following
morning, the port police contacted Foxs office and informed them of the find. The
information was noted on Malvars file but the license was never retrieved from the
airport. The fact that the license may have been left at the departure gate by the killer,
complete with fingerprints didnt occur to the investigators until 1985. By then, not only
had the license been destroyed, but also the flight records.

Contrary to police opinion, not all of the missing girls were prostitutes. On June 8, 1983,
20-year-old, Constance Elizabeth Naon, left work in Seattle and drove to the Red Lion
bar. After she arrived at the bar, she phoned her boyfriend and told him that she would be
home in approximately twenty minutes. She never returned. Five days after a fruitless
search, her boyfriend reported her as missing.

The following day, sixteen-year-old prostitute, Tammy Liles picked up a customer near
Pike Place in downtown Seattle and was never seen again. Likewise, Keli Kay McGuiness
left the Three Bears motel to work the strip near South 216th street and never returned.
Two days later, her pimp rang the Des Moines police and reported her missing. The
investigator assigned to her case was Bob Fox.

As July approached, the effectiveness of the investigation was rapidly diminishing. One of
the prime causes was the lack of cooperation between the Green River investigators and
the rest of the departments. The situation became so bad that, when members of the vice
squad were assigned to control the number of prostitutes working the hot-zone, in the
centre of the strip, they spent most of their time sitting in their vehicles watching as
prostitutes brazenly waved down customers and drove off. Rarely were any of the
registration numbers of the vehicles recorded and when they were, the information was
not relayed to the investigators on the case. Occasionally when one of the girls was
arrested for prostitution, they were never questioned regarding the murders.

In growing frustration with the lack of interest that police were showing in the case,
several members of the missing girls families patrolled the length of the strip talking to
other prostitutes and their pimps, in the hope of finding any shred of information regarding
their loved ones.

While the police idled and the parents searched, other strange reports were being made to
police. Gina Serret made one such report. She reported to police that, while walking from
her house, east of the strip in South 150th street, towards her parent's house on the far
side of the airport, she noticed a foul smell near a dirt track known in the area as Rapers
Road. The track was notorious as a hangout for pimps, drug users and prostitutes, who
often used the dark and lonely stretch to entertain their customers. At one end of
Rapers Road was a shack used by the telephone company. It was in the area near the
shack that the smell was more noticeable.

After reporting the matter to the police, they accompanied her to the spot and told her that
they would investigate it further. Several days later, Gina was informed by the police that
the smell was from a pile of rotting fish that had been dumped in the area. Later that
month, players and spectators at a Little League field close to the area where Gina had
been walking detected another disgusting odour. Even though the smell was strong
enough to prevent many of the teams from using the area, the matter was never reported

On the afternoon of August 11, 1983, a man picking apples discovered a skeleton under a
pile of brush just off Rapers road. The man reported the find but because the remains
were found close to airport property, a jurisdictional argument arose over which district
the body was found in, the Port Authority or King Countys. Later, after a surveyor
determined that the skeleton lay in King County, the investigation proceeded.

The skeleton was examined and found to be in poor condition, with many of the bones
broken or missing. Near the body a small gold chain was recovered. This, along with the
distinctive feminine pelvic shape, led the investigators to believe that the remains were of a
young woman. Later, the teeth were X-rayed and compared with those of the missing girls
but failed to provide a match.

In late September, a man searching for a lost chicken, found another skeleton near Star
Lake road and 54th Avenue South, eight miles from the centre of the strip. The remains,
another female, were found lying facedown in a wooded area to the north of Star Lake
road. Following the discovery, the investigators attended the scene with a group of
Explorer boy scouts and scoured the area looking for further remains or additional clues
to what was obviously another murder. When the search failed to yield further clues, the
remains were removed to the morgue and examined. As before, dental X-rays failed to
provide any clue as to the identity of the latest victim.

On October 15, another skeleton was found near a creek off 140th Avenue and
Auburn-Black Diamond road, twelve miles from the strip. Just as Bob Keppel had
predicted, the killer was finding new dumping grounds further away from the river.

The two new skeletons were later identified. The first, found near Rapers Road, was
Shawnda Lee Summers missing since October 1982 and the second was Yvonne Antosh
missing since May 1982.

As Yvonne Antosh was being identified, another skeleton was discovered, partially buried,
in a vacant lot to the south of the airport. As the new find was within airport property, the
Port police had jurisdiction. As the police carefully uncovered the skeleton, they noticed
that, lying in the centre of the pelvic region was a pyramid shaped rock, similar to the ones
found wedged into the vaginas of two of the first bodies. The day after the find, a massive
search of the area was organised utilising Pioneer scouts and police.

Not long after the search commenced, a scout found another skeleton lying in a pile of
brush just fifty yards from the first body. Unlike the first, this body had not been buried but
rather dumped in the brush and partially covered with tin cans and other rubbish. Because
the newest body was the third that was found in or near airport property in less than a
year, the Port police commissioner decide to organise a search of the entire two thousand
acres of port property. In addition, he announced that the search would be conducted with
the cooperation of the King County police investigating the Green River killings.

Meanwhile, prostitutes continued to work the strip as though nothing had happened. One
of them, Paige Miley, went out one morning, with her friend Kim Nelson, to cruise for
tricks. The pair sat on a bench near South 142nd street, waiting for some action. Shortly
after, Paige picked up a trick. She was just eighteen-years-old and four months pregnant.
Nelson began to fear for her safety. She had good reason to worry as, one night the
previous September; a man driving a tan ford had picked up Nelson. As the man stopped
the car in a dark parking lot, he pulled a length of iron rod from under the seat and bashed
Nelson on the arms and the legs. He told her that they (prostitutes) were all bitches and
he was going to kill her just like he had killed all the others.

Nelson tried to unlock the door but found that there were no internal handles. Instead she
managed to wind down the window and scramble through it on to the ground. As the man
sped away, she tried to read the numberplate but it was obscured by mud. She contacted
the Green River detectives, believing that the man could have been the killer. The police
took her statement and asked her to let them know if she ever saw the man or the vehicle
again.

Back at the bench, as Nelson waited for Paige to return, she picked up a trick of her own.
Fifteen minutes later, Paige returned to the bench to wait for Nelson but she never
returned. A few nights later, a man in a pickup truck saw Paige Miley at a store near the
bench. The man, who was a spray painter in a local truck factory, asked Paige about her
tall blond friend, meaning Nelson. Miley replied that she didnt know. The man spooked
Miley. She wondered how he had he been able to notice them together when they had only
been on the bench for such a short time. Two days later, Miley left the area.

Ten days later, the search of the airport continued. A search dog had been brought in to
assist the police and the scouts. To the south of the first finds, the dog stopped in an area
and growled at the ground. The dog's handler summoned the detectives and shortly after
the area of interest was excavated. Several inches below the surface, they found another
skeleton. The following day, pathologists examined the remains. As he reconstructed the
crumbling bone fragments, he noticed that in the lower abdominal region of the skeleton
were the partial bones of another, much smaller skeleton, obviously the remains of a
foetus. The pregnant woman was later identified as Mary Bridget Meehan, who on
September 15, 1982, had disappeared while out taking a stroll.


By October 1983, the new Sheriff, Vernon Thomas realized that, if his department were to
have any hope of catching the Green River killer, they would need to commit to a larger
and more expensive investigation. Even though the body count was increasing with
alarming regularity, Thomas knew that he was going to have to lobby the countys
politicians heavily to get the resources that he required.


Thomas drew up a proposal for a new task force and submitted it to Randy Revelle, the
County Executive. The proposal outlined a plan to reallocate most of the countys
detectives to the investigation full time, thereby effectively stripping the rest of the
department to the bone, a move that was to alienate Thomas from the other department
heads. Thomas also requested that the FBI provide on-site assistance in the investigation.

Through the last weeks of October and into early November, Thomas held numerous
meetings with county officials, pushing for the allocation of additional funds to launch a
major investigation. Finally, at the end of November, alarmed by the escalation in the
number of bodies that were turning up, the committee approved the application. In
addition, he was also given approval to enlist the services of the FBI, who agreed to send
John Douglas and his team to act as advisers to the investigation.

Within days of the approval, Douglas and his team arrived to brief the detectives on the
handling of information, suspect interview techniques and the pro-active methods required
to force the killer into the open. Shortly after his arrival, however, Douglas became
seriously ill with viral encephalitis and was hospitalized for several months.

Even though Major Kraske had done a credible job in heading up the previous
investigation, Sheriff Thomas felt that he was not suitably equipped to command the new
task force and decided it would be best to give the job to someone else. Even though
Thomas was taking overall responsibility for the investigation, he needed an able
commander to oversee the day-to-day operations. The man he chose for the task was the
head of the departments Internal Affairs Unit, Captain Frank Adamson.

Adamson was a popular choice with the detectives in the department, as he was well
known for his abilities as an organizer and a motivator. A quiet, purposeful, intelligent
man, Adamson had proven credentials as a patient and persistent investigator who had the
ability to give focus and purpose to, what had become a messy and disjointed
investigation.

In the middle of January 1984, Thomas called a press conference and announced the
formation of the new Green River Task Force. Under the leadership of Captain Adamson,
the team included two lieutenants, four sergeants, twelve detectives and twenty-two
plain-clothes officers. Bob Keppel was also seconded to the team as a full-time consultant.

One of Adamsons first tasks was to devise a system to handle the reams of information
that the previous investigation had amassed and collate it into a useable system that any
member of the team could access effectively. Another factor that limited the group's
effectiveness was location. Being headquartered in downtown Seattle meant that they
were too far away from the strip, where most of the crimes were centered. To remedy the
situation, Adamson arranged for the task force to be relocated to new premises at the
Burien County precinct located a mile west of the airport.

A large meeting room in the precinct building was taken over and equipped with
additional telephones and the furniture necessary to house the forty plus members of the
task force. Once the new force was rehoused, the next step was to assign the members of
the team to their individual tasks. Adamson was in full agreement with Keppels previous
report that suggested that one team of detectives be assigned to the victims and
concentrate their efforts on the movements and associations of the victims prior to their
disappearance. Another team would concentrate on suspects, but unlike normal
investigations where the detectives job was to prove a suspects guilt, the Green River
team would work in reverse, trying to prove each of the suspects innocence. That way,
Adamson and Keppel believed, the investigation would not become bogged down
attempting to prove one persons guilt, but rather would focus on eliminating those
suspects with alibis and lack of association with the victims. To achieve this, the two
teams would have to work closely together to match victims with suspects.

Two teams of seven detectives were chosen and a sergeant appointed to each as a team
leader. Three other detectives were assigned to a crime analysis section. Their job was to
correlate and link the information into an efficient and accessible matrix.

The remainder were street cops who would comprise the groups pro-active squad. Their
task would be to patrol the strip and develop contacts with pimps and prostitutes and
carry out surveillance of suspects. The vice police were relieved of their usual duties and
placed on the strip as undercover units to decoy possible suspects to pre-arranged motel
rooms for interrogation.

Not long after the inception of the new force, Adamson realized that the investigation was
not going to run as smoothly as he had hoped. The first hurdle that he encountered was
caused by resentment within his own department. Almost as soon as the task force had
been assembled the commanders of the departments other sections were complaining
about the preferential treatment the task force detectives were receiving. They complained
that while they had to make do with restricted funding to cope with the ongoing daily
crime rate in the area, the task force had no such restriction. They were given leased
vehicles, cellular telephones and priority access to the department's resources.

The matter came to a head when the task force were issued with specially made
windbreakers with Green River Task Force emblazoned on the back. The police who
were not picked for inclusion, accused the task force of being secretive and elitist and
quickly became resentful and refused to cooperate with its members.

Regardless of the ill feeling, Adamson and his team were confident that the killer would be
found and apprehended quickly. At the time, they had no way of knowing that their
confidence would be short-lived.


By mid February 1984, Adamson became painfully aware of the enormity of the task that
he had undertaken. To even have a hope of finding a viable suspect, the task force had to
reconstruct the chain of events that led to each victims disappearance. To achieve this it
was necessary to delve into the subculture that existed in and around the strip. To gain any
useable information from the prostitutes and their pimps, the police had to first win their
confidence, which took valuable time. Eventually as the investigation continued the
information began to flow which resulted in the suspect list growing to the point where it
consisted of nearly a thousand names. Daily briefings were arranged so that the different
sections could share the information as it became available.

To assist the detectives to sift through the large amounts of data, the suspect files were
arranged into three main groups. The suspects, who were in close proximity to the strip
and had a record of violent offences against women, were filed in the top priority or A
group. Any suspects that seemed capable of committing the crimes but had no connection
to the strip were filed in the B group. All the others were noted in the less important
C list. As the detectives worked their way through the lists, new information would
come to light that would either result in the upgrading of some suspects to a higher
priority group or the downgrading of others. TDs name found its way to the top of the
A list. Regardless of the continuing surveillance of him and his family and numerous
polygraph examinations that revealed nothing to indicate his involvement in the murders,
several of the investigative team, including Reichert, still believed that he was the prime
suspect.

Another problem that Adamson faced was how to enlist the aid of the press without giving
them too much information. Originally he had been secretive with the media, even refusing
to release the names of the task force members. Eventually, he devised a system where the
media were given selected information, on the proviso that they would provide responsible
and unbiased reporting of the task forces progress. It was a good plan in theory but the
media found it hard to comply with a system that they considered one-sided.

While the detectives assigned to the suspects appeared to be making some headway, the
team assigned to the victims found that, because of an inadequate missing persons system
and the apathy of police, they were unable to ascertain how many prostitutes had been
reported missing. The only way to determine the number of possible victims was to go
through the records of prostitution arrests and determine which ones had not appeared at
court. This was made doubly hard by the fact that many prostitutes, when faced with
multiple offences, changed their names and moved to another district to avoid
apprehension.

By the time the detectives had sorted the records, they had a list of over one thousand
prostitutes that had not appeared for trial for one reason or another. The only way to
ascertain if one of the girls was truly missing was to check each file and verify the true
identity of the person and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance. When all
other avenues of tracking down the girls were completely exhausted, the investigators
would call for the dental records of the suspected victims and compare them with the
remains of any new victims.

While the suspect and victim teams sifted through their files, the pro-active squad
continued to cruise the streets in the hope of getting a lead on the perpetrator or
preventing him from taking further victims. One lead the street cops managed to track
down came from Kimi Kai Pitsors pimp.

The man told police that the last time he had seen Kimi had been one evening in April, but
he wasnt sure about the date. On that night, he recalled, he and Kimi had been working in
downtown Seattle and a man had driven past them in a pickup truck and waved to Kimi.
She waved back and indicated to the man that he should drive around the corner. When he
did as she had indicated she walked around the corner to meet him and that was the last
time he saw her. Police questioned him further to ascertain the exact date. After going
through the movements of the pimp before and after the event they were able to narrow
down the date to April 17, 1983, the same night that Sandy Gabbert had disappeared from
the strip.

Police pressed the man for details on the vehicle. He described it as an older model green
pick-up with a silver camper on the back with a fold-down tray. He also remembered that
the door had a spot on it, as though a sign had been sanded off the paintwork. The driver
he described as being big, white, twenty to thirty years old with dark curly hair and a
pockmarked face. The man was later taken back to the task force headquarters where he
described the man to a police artist. The resulting sketch seemed familiar, almost like
Detective Reichert with curlier hair and bad skin. Later, the pimp volunteered to undergo
hypnosis, in the belief that a relaxed mind may be able to recall additional details. During
the examination, he recalled that the man had a tattoo on his arm. The truck, he
remembered had large side mirrors and a bar across the back of the camper. Unfortunately
he couldnt recall any registration details. The details of the vehicle and driver were later
circulated throughout the department in the hope that a patrolman would recognize them.

As the new investigation gained momentum, not all of the information received was
helpful. Across the country in Florida, two men, Henry Lee Lucas and his partner Ottis
Toole had been arrested in relation to a series of vicious murders. While being questioned,
Lucas had claimed responsibility for most of the Green River killings. The Lucas case
made headlines across the nation, which prompted reporters to ask Adamson if he was
investigating the claims. Adamson told the media that inquiries had been made but
dismissed when it was established that the two men had been in another part of the
country when the Green River murders were committed.

On Tuesday, February 14, 1984, a man searching for moss, found some human skeletal
remains near a park just off the I-90, nearly forty miles east of Seattle. The information
was relayed to the local police who informed the task force. A search was made of the
area but no other bodies were found. The remains were later confirmed to be those of a
young woman, but, until dental records were checked, no other identification was
possible. Even though the newest remains were of a young woman, because they were
found so far away from the other victims, the task force detectives did not consider the
find part of the Green River investigation.

Soon after the skeleton was found, Adamson decided to organize a public meeting, in the
hope that concerned citizens would be able to come forward in a public forum and discuss
the events with police. He hoped that it would provide more information and may also
bring the killer into the open. To be ready for such an occurrence, Adamson organized a
team to record the names and vehicle details of everyone who attended. The meeting was
a disaster. Apart from the police, members of the media and even County Executive
Revelle, only four members of the public attended.

On March 13, 1984, a convoy of U.S. army trucks on their way to maneuvers in the
Cascade Mountains, stopped for a break. Not long after they stopped, a soldier from the
convoy walked off the road into a wooded area to relieve himself. About twenty yards
from the road, he discovered a human skeleton. The soldier ran back to his superiors to
raise the alarm and the police were called. The area where the convoy had stopped was off
I-90, just 300 yards from the remains found the previous February.

Just over a week later, a man was working on the Little League field, north of the airport
when his dog found a bone. On closer inspection, the man realized that the bone was
human. He called the Port police who in turn contacted the task force. Shortly after the
police reached the site, they followed the dog into some brush and discovered a skeleton,
minus the leg bone that the dog had retrieved. Detectives later deduced that the body had
obviously been the source of the bad smells that had been reported in the area.

The following day, another search was organized and soon after it began, a searcher with
a dog, found a second skeleton in some brush. The new find was in some brush, right next
to the telephone company shack where Gina Serret had reported the disgusting smell. So
much for the theory of rotting fish. The second skeleton was later identified as Cheryl
Lee Wims. Curiously she and three other missing prostitutes had been excluded from the
list of possible Green River victims. The reasons for the omission are not known.

As the locations of the newest victims were plotted on a map, it became apparent that the
killer was using several distinctly different dumping grounds and was not dumping his
victims at random, as was first thought. Two things became apparent when the location of
the areas was examined. The first was that the killer had obviously traveled between the
sites using the network of back roads that linked the areas. Secondly he must have a
working knowledge of the area, as some of the roads were not marked on any maps.
Based on this assumption, the police believed that the man they were looking for was a
local resident. In addition, the locations where the killer had obtained his victims were
plotted on the map that indicated a triangular shape from which roughly resembled the
area where the bodies were found. The killer obviously lived somewhere inside the
triangle. Further correlation of the dump sites revealed that they were all on isolated roads
where the killer would have a clear view of any vehicle approaching. The fact that most of
the sites were used for the illegal dumping of garbage also indicated that the killer might
have been a yardman of some sort who may have become familiar with the areas after
using them to dump household refuse that he had accumulated in his work. Bob Keppel
later pointed out that the selection of the sites also confirmed one facet of the profile that
John Douglas had provided. By dumping his victims in such areas, the killer was telling
them that he considered that the dead girls were just human garbage.

On March 31st 1984, the theory was tested when a man, out walking in woodland near
Highway 410, found a human jawbone. The area was over 35 miles south of the center of
Seattle. Just hours later, further north, another man, searching for wild mushrooms, found
a complete human skull in an area off Star Lake road. It seemed that the triangle was
getting even bigger.

At first light on April 1, 1984, members of the task force were assembled at the Star Lake
road location in preparation for yet another search. The narrow road had been blocked off
at either end and uniformed police were assigned to the barricades to keep the public out
of the area. The media were allowed in to the general area but were kept some distance
from the search site. The wooded area had been marked out with lines of string, forming a
giant grid. Several detectives and Explorer scouts were assigned to search each individual
grid. The task was not an easy one, as most of the wooded area was covered in thick
brush and thorn bushes. Drizzling rain made the going treacherous and slow as the
searchers maneuvered around the mass of branches and logs that littered the forest floor,
so thick in places that it was difficult to see the ground.

Two hours after the search began, two new skeletons were found to the south of the road,
not far from the first. The scouts were given a break as the detectives and pathologists
made further examinations. The second skeleton was only a hundred feet away from the
one found by the mushroom hunter. The third was on the side of a hill, a short distance
from the first two. All three had been covered with cut branches. Lying head-to-toe beside
the third victim was the skeleton of a large dog. The two bodies had obviously been
carefully arranged.

After the discovery, a professional tracker from the U.S. Border Patrol was brought in to
examine the gravesites in the hope that he could find additional evidence that the other
searchers had missed. The plan was a good one as, shortly after his arrival, he discovered
faint shoe prints near the bodies. He told the detectives that he believed that the prints
were made at the same time as the brush covering the remains had been cut. His estimate
was that the bodies had been dumped a year earlier.

He studied the shoe prints closely and determined that they were made by a shoe with a
composite sole with no distinct heel, possibly a specialist walking shoe in size 10 or 11.
The investigators were elated, finally they had some tangible evidence of the killers
existence.

The tracks and skeletons were not the only things present at the gravesites. The isolation
of the area had transformed it into one of the largest illegal dumping sites in the district.
Did any of the refuse connect to the killer? The only way to be sure was to examine it, all
of it! It was a task that was to consume many months of sorting, collating and careful
examination in the hope that it contained some form of trace evidence that would lead to
an arrest.

Priority was given to any items found in or around the graves themselves. Ironically, the
best method of searching for clues was for an investigator to get down on his hands and
knees to search the area thoroughly. The same method that Bob Keppel had been
criticized for years before.

The next day the search continued, this time on the north side of the road. It wasnt long
before the scouts found a new skeleton, another female. Adamson was stunned. How
many more were there?

The following day, the first of the new skeletons was identified as Terri Rene Milligan,
missing since August 1982. Her identity raised the death toll to twenty-two. Two days
later, the skeleton with the dog was identified as that of Sandy Gabbert. In mid-April,
another body was found on the side of a logging road near I-90. When news of the latest
find was broadcast on the radio, one listener paid particular attention. Barbara
Kubik-Patten, the psychic, was cleaning her house as the details were being broadcast. She
told reporters later that after hearing that the location of the body was near the I-90, she
had a vision that there was another body close by.

Anxious to follow-up on her vision, she loaded her children into her car and drove to the
area. As she approached the location, she saw a patrol car parked under the I-90 overpass.
She approached the officer in the vehicle and told him about her vision of another body.
The officer replied that if she did find another body then she should contact the task force,
who were working close by.

Barbara then returned to her car and drove back the way she had come. A short time later
she came to a service road that led into a wooded area. She parked her car and walked
into the woods with her children. The first thing she noticed was the piles of refuse that
had been dumped in the area. After changing direction she found the skull of an animal. As
she was studying it, she noticed that her daughter was staring at a plastic tarpaulin that
had been dumped nearby. Stepping towards it, she lifted one edge and saw the partially
decomposed remains of what looked like a woman.

Alarmed, she ran back to her car and drove to where the task force detectives were
working. A uniformed officer guarding the perimeter of the search area, refused to let her
pass. She explained that she had just found a body but he didnt believe her and warned
her that if she persisted he would arrest her for obstruction. Barbara, angry and frustrated,
drove further down the road to where a group of reporters waited. She told them her story
and they asked if she could show them where the body was. She agreed, but before they
had a chance to return to the body, one of the task force detectives pulled up beside her in
his car and asked her to show him the body. Barbara agreed and they returned to the site.
The detective took one look at the remains and returned to his car to radio the rest of the
team that they had another one. The next day a name was given to the latest victim,
Amina Agisheff. The discovery was important for one particular reason. Unlike the
previous victims, Amina had been in a stable relationship and had two sons. She had never
been a prostitute and had last been seen at 11.30 p.m. on July 7, 1982 while walking home
from a restaurant in downtown Seattle, where she worked as a waitress.

Her discovery raised some new questions. Had she been abducted as she walked home or
had she known the killer and got into his vehicle willingly? The other fact that alarmed
Adamson and his team was that Amina had disappeared a month before Wendy Coffield.
They began to wonder just how long the killer had been operating. Several weeks later, in
late May, two children building a fort in Jovita Road, Pierce County, found another
skeleton. Medical examiners identified it as that of a young female. The braces on her
teeth led to the identification of the remains as being those of Colleen Rene Brockman, a
runaway from Seattle. She was just fifteen-years-old. As the month of May drew to a
close, the toll of identified victims stood at nineteen, including the unknowns, the total
number had grown to twenty-six.


In early August 1984, a sensational newspaper article was released claiming that two
violent criminals, who were imprisoned in a San Francisco jail, had confessed to the Green
River murders. The story told how the men, Robert Matthias and Richard Carbone, had
called a reporter from the jail and admitted to killing sixteen or more victims across the
Pacific Northwest during the summer of 1983. When Adamson was interviewed in relation
to the story, he told reporters that his office had been made aware of the claims in early
July and had discounted the two mens involvement. Apparently, an acquaintance of the
men had telephoned a Seattle newspaper and told how Carbone and Matthias had been
bragging about the killings. The police were informed and investigated the claims but
treated the story as a hoax. The media pressure increased, however, forcing the police to
review their earlier opinion.

At the time of the release of the story, a member of the task force, Detective Paul Smith,
was vacationing in San Francisco, and was asked by Adamson to go to the jail and
interview the men. Within a few short hours, Smith had determined that the men had
nothing to do with the murders and didnt even have the most basic knowledge of the
area. In addition he found that the acquaintance who had started the story was actually
one of the men. Smiths information was confirmed when a later check of the mens prison
records showed that they had both been in Californian prisons when most of the murders
had been committed.

By December 1984, another prisoner, serving time in a Florida jail, was also beginning to
take an interest in the Green River case. His name was Theodore Robert Bundy. Bundy
had read about the case and thought that he could help the police to catch the killer. In a
letter to his old protagonist, Bob Keppel, Bundy offered to supply a unique insight into the
mind of a serial killer, a curious offer indeed, considering that Ted had never confessed to
any of his own crimes.


Ted offered his assistance on the condition that all correspondence and communications
between himself and the members of the task force be kept from the press. Keppel was
wary of the offer, as he could not work out why Bundy would want to involve himself.
Intrigued, Keppel wrote a response that explained his own conditions. Ted responded with
a long and detailed letter in which he gave his opinions on the habits and motivations of
the "Riverman," as he called the killer.

Bundy believed that the key to finding the killer was the locations where the killer had
placed the bodies. He suggested that they provided strong insights into the motivations of
the man responsible. The selection of the sites, related directly to the way the killer had
selected, lured and killed his victims. His main strategy for catching the man was to place
the latest dumpsite under constant surveillance, in the belief that the killer would return to
it. A further suggestion was that the killer had a sound knowledge of the lifestyle of his
victims and was probably involved in their "scene," to the point where he was able to
move freely among them.

Ted then outlined the reasons why the murders were difficult to solve. Speaking from the
killer's point of view, Bundy believed that the ready access to a wide variety of victims, the
delays in reporting the girls missing and the initial apathy of the police and media to the
number of missing prostitutes, all contributed to the killers level of confidence. Another
contributing factor was that information about the victims and their associates was difficult
for the police to trace.

In describing the method the killer used to lure his victims, Bundy suggested that the killer
was probably posing as a cop. He explained how easy it was to get a "police style" badge
and use it to persuade a potential victim to get into a vehicle, particularly a woman with a
history of prostitution. Once the killer had lured the victim into his vehicle, it was a simple
matter to convince her that he was taking her to a quiet spot for a talk. When he had her
where he wanted her, the rest was easy.

Ted also believed that the killer probably presented an image of being a "nice guy" when
talking to the women he targeted, which would put them at ease and make them more
vulnerable to his advances, a method Bundy described as the "front end" of the operation.
The "back end," were the events leading up to, and including, the murders and placement
of the bodies. Keppel realized from reading the letter that Ted was actually imagining
himself as being the Riverman and, in so doing, was leading them into an area that only a
killer could understand and interpret. For the Bundy analysis to be of any practical value,
Keppel knew he would have to interview him face to face.

Several weeks after receiving the letter, Keppel, together with Dave Reichert, traveled to
Starke, Florida, where Bundy was imprisoned in the Florida State Penitentiary. Prior to
the interview, Pete Turner, the prisons' assistant warden, briefed the two men. He warned
them to be careful because Ted had his own personal agenda and would probably try to
manipulate them. The meeting took place in a small interrogation room off Death Row,
where Bundy was housed.

Ted was led into the room with chains around his wrists, waist and arms. Keppel and
Reichert quickly took charge of the situation and asked Bundy detailed questions in
relation to his theories. How had the Riverman selected and approached his victims? Ted
expanded on the opinion expressed in the letter but did not offer any additional insight.
Where was he from? Bundy believed that the killer probably lived near Pierce County.
When asked why, he replied that he believed that the killer was dumping bodies further
and further to the south probably getting closer to his "home." He added that they would
probably find more bodies in the area where they had found the last ones.

He believed that the killer had been operating for some time and had been improving his
skills with each murder. When asked if the killer would stop, Bundy said he thought not,
but did not rule out the possibility of him moving to a new location when the pressure
became too intense. The reason the killer was dumping bodies in different areas, he told
them, was to prevent the police from detecting any pattern in his behavior. Curiously,
during his response to questions, Bundy often switched from answering in the third person
to the first person as though he was the Riverman.

When talking about the "pick-up method" of the killer, Bundy touched on an area that the
task force had not contemplated, when he suggested that the killer might not have been a
customer of the prostitutes but rather a person known to them for a different reason
entirely.

He believed that the killer had done his homework and got to know most of his victims
before he approached them. When asked what actual method the killer might be using to
approach his victims, Bundy replied that, because the killer still appeared to be taking
victims from the strip while the area was under surveillance, probably meant that the man
was parking his vehicle out of sight, close to the strip and approaching the girls on foot.
He was then using some ruse to attract them back to his vehicle. Bundy was adamant that
the killer did not behave like normal "johns," but rather was just a "regular guy" who took
the time to befriend and help the girls in some way before he took them.

When asked if he thought the killer was further motivated by the media attention his
crimes had attracted, Ted replied that it was unlikely. He thought that the Riverman was
the type to cease his activities completely if he came under police scrutiny and would
rather not draw any attention to himself. As Ted warmed to his subject, his demeanor
changed from speculator to educator, often lecturing Keppel and Reichert on how to
conduct their investigation. However, when Keppel asked him what "things" the killer was
doing to his victims before and after he murdered them, Bundy showed signs of
embarrassment and lapsed into silence until that particular line of questioning stopped.

Bob Keppel was to make several more visits to Bundy in the coming years, not only in
relation to Green River, but also in an attempt to get Ted to confess to his own crimes.
Bundy managed to use the situation to delay his execution in the hope that his appeals
would be upheld and his death penalty overturned. Finally, in January 1989, just as he
seemed on the verge of a full confession, he ran out of time and the sentence was carried
out.


From September 1984 until May 1985, the task force continued to search through their
burgeoning files for patterns and solid leads. Hundreds of interviews were conducted with
associates of the victims and possible suspects. Following up on reports from several
prostitutes, and the suggestions of Ted Bundy, a number of police officers, stationed in
Seattle and the surrounding districts, were investigated but no links to the murders were
found.

In the meantime, new skeletons were still being discovered. In October 1984, the remains
of Mary Sue Bello were found off Highway 410. A month later, a second skeleton, later
identified as being that of Martina Authorlee, was found by hunters a short distance from
the first. Identification of some of the previous remains continued with police adding the
names of Lisa Yates, Kelly Ware, Delores Williams and Gail Lynn Mathews to the list of
known victims.

By February of 1985, the amount of physical evidence, obtained from the grave sites, was
growing to the point where the state's crime lab was unable to cope with the 3,995
individual pieces of "evidence," that required scientific examination. Anxious to speed up
the long laborious process, Adamson made arrangements for the FBI to help with the
analysis. One item, although it hadn't come from a crime scene, was given top priority.
The task force, still anxious to prove TD's' involvement, had obtained his car by having an
undercover officer buy it from him. The vehicle was then handed over to the FBI lab for a
detailed examination.

A month later, as the analysts were striving to gather damning evidence to use against TD,
the body of fifteen-year-old Carrie Rois was discovered near Star Lake road. As the body
had obviously been overlooked in the previous search, another one was scheduled for the
following day but no new bodies were found.

Since the formation of the task force, Adamson and Thomas had been telling the media
that the investigation was "going well," however, a confidential review of the investigation
compiled at the end of March, by Thomas's own staff, told a completely different story.

The main point of criticism was the handling of scientific evidence and fingerprints. From
the time the task force began sending items to the Washington State Crime Lab for
analysis, only one percent of the items had been examined. The report suggested that if
that rate of analysis continued, it would take fifty years to complete the task. More
alarming was the possibility that a key piece of evidence may be amongst the samples but,
because of the backlog, might never be found. Another factor that impeded the progress
of the investigation was the method of fingerprint analysis and comparison. Without the
assistance of computers, the fingerprint section had to physically compare the six hundred
samples, that the task force had collected, with prints from the departments offender files.
Another task that was taking considerable time.

The report suggested that the prints be sent to either the Anchorage, Alaska or San
Francisco police departments, as both had a sophisticated computer system capable of
processing all the prints in a very short time. Another point the report addressed was
Adamson's suggestion of bringing in a team of "murder experts" to further enhance the
work of John Douglas and his team. The report vetoed the idea and expressed the opinion
that, although the team had already called on the services of two criminal psychologists,
several forensic dentists, an anthropologist and a professional tracker, the use of additional
consultants would hinder, and possibly harm the progress of the investigation, mainly due
to the increased publicity their involvement would attract.

After studying the report, Adamson took steps to remedy the situation but was hampered
by the enormity of the investigation. One factor he did manage to correct was the
processing of the fingerprints, but when the prints were later analyzed in California and
Alaska, no matches were found.

In May, while speaking at a Rotary club function, Adamson told his audience that, even
though it seemed as though the murders had stopped, their was no reason to believe that
they wouldn't begin again at a later time or in a different area. He also told them that an
examination of unsolved murder cases in the district, had uncovered thirty-eight murders,
very similar to the Green River killings, since 1973.

When asked if the task force had any suspects under consideration, he replied that they
had several possibilities. What he didn't tell them was that after having thoroughly
examined TD's car, the FBI had been unable to find a single piece of evidence that linked
him with any of the victims or crime scenes. The results didn't seem to daunt Adamson or
his team, as they continued to treat TD as their number one suspect.

In a search for further clues to support their assumption that the killer had moved on, the
task force began to look at other areas outside of their own. One city that was targeted
was Portland, which, not only had a thriving community of street prostitutes, was also just
three hours drive from Seattle. A more important reason for the interest was the fact that
seven prostitutes had been found murdered in the area, four of which had occurred before
1984 and showed striking similarities to the Green River victims.

The Portland police were reluctant to share information with the task force, as they did
not believe that the Green River killer was responsible for murders in their area. Not only
did they refute the suggestion that it was the work of the same man, they refused to
acknowledge that any of the murders were linked to each other. As the weeks went by,
Adamson did his best to avoid the bickering between the two departments, the last thing
he needed was a jurisdictional dispute.

On June 11 1985, the matter came to a head when a bulldozer driver, clearing land
southwest of Portland, uncovered a partial skull. The local police were summoned and a
search of the area revealed additional remains, including another skull. The Portland police
notified the task force but before they could travel to the site, the bulldozer driver was told
he could continue with his work, effectively eradicating any further evidence.

Some time later, the skull was sent to Bill Haglund, the King County Chief Medical
examiner, and was later identified as all that remained of Denise Darcel Bush, who was
last seen on the Sea-Tac strip three years before. A review of Bush's movements prior to
her disappearance indicated that she had left her hotel room to buy cigarettes and had left
all of her belongings behind. Obviously the killer had either kidnapped her from the strip
and driven her across a state line to kill her, or had killed her first and then carried her
body into the neighboring state. The remains of the second body were not identified.

Shortly after the discovery, the FBI contacted Vernon Thomas and advised him that,
because the evidence indicated that the killer was operating in two states, they now had
jurisdiction. Several days later an FBI team traveled to the Portland site to meet with the
task force and local authorities. They conducted a new search that revealed a pelvic bone
and other smaller bones that were later also matched to Bush. In addition, they studied a
report of the discovery of two unidentified female skeletons that had been found several
months earlier in the town of Tualatin, just south of Portland. Dental charts and X-rays
were taken and sent to King County for comparison with the list of missing girls.

Two days later, the second skeleton was identified as the remains of Shirley Sherrill, a
nineteen-year-old prostitute who was last seen when she was arrested while working the
strip on August 12, 1982, the same day that Deborah Bonner's body was found near the
meat works. Ironically, when she was released, she indicated that she was moving to
Portland to get away from the murders.

On the evening of June 14, while the Portland investigation continued, a young prostitute
in South Tacoma, was picking up a "trick" that she would remember for the rest of her
life. The woman, known as Lottie, had flagged down a man driving a silver van and had
agreed to perform oral sex on him in a bowling alley car park. She climbed into the back
seat of the vehicle and was about to begin when the man produced a long knife and held it
at her throat. The man then pulled several pre-cut lengths of rope from his pocket and
bound her hands. She started to struggle and attempted to scream out to a passing vehicle
but the man pressed the knife hard against her throat and told her that if she did not be
quiet and do as she was told he would kill her. She was then ordered to lie down on the
rear floor. The man then reached under his seat and retrieved a plastic bag full of rubber
tie-down straps with hooks on the ends. After tying one end around Lottie's feet, he
hooked the other to a post inside the rear of the van. Several more straps were tied around
her chest and strips of duct tape were plastered over her eyes.

After covering her with a blanket and an air mattress, the man resumed his seat and drove
off along the highway. Lottie struggled to free her hands as the van drove for what seemed
like several miles. Eventually, Lottie felt the vibrations under the floor change and realized
that he had driven off the highway. Fearing for her life, Lottie increased her efforts to get
loose. A short time later, she managed to release her legs and turned her attention to the
ropes binding her wrists.

Finally the ropes parted and she was free. Jumping to her feet she picked up the knife next
to the driver's seat and attacked the driver. Seeing the attack coming, he managed to
deflect the blow but not before it had gashed him above one eye. While he was attempting
to wrench the knife from Lottie's fingers, he lost control of the van and crashed into a
ditch, throwing both of them to the floor. After he had recovered from the impact, the
man managed to wrestle the knife away from her and cut her. Lottie screamed and abused
the man as she tried desperately to disarm him.

Shortly after, another man opened the door of the van from the outside and told them to
stop fighting. Seeing the knife and the blood, the second man then attempted to flag down
another motorist to assist him. The driver seized the opportunity to shove Lottie out the
door and onto the ground, where she quickly recovered and ran to some nearby trees.
Several motorists stopped to help but as they approached the driver to restrain him, they
noticed him throwing something into the bushes.

A female motorist took Lottie to a phone to call the police. They arrived at the scene
shortly after and arrested Richard Terry Horton. Lottie was conveyed to hospital and
treated for her injuries. The motorists who had stopped to help told the police that they
had seen Horton throw something into bushes near the crash site. A brief search was
conducted and a brown duffle bag was recovered. When they opened it, police found an
assortment of surgical instruments, syringes, a packet of douche solution and a
bone-handled knife with an eight-inch blade.

A search of the van revealed a pellet gun, a book titled Fatal Vision, and a bible. The latter
was obviously well used. Horton had marked the following chapter in the book of Ezekiel:

But you trusted in your beauty, and played the harlot because of your renown, and
lavished your harlotries on any passer-by

And I will give you into the hands of your lovers, and they shall throw down your vaulted
chamber and break down your lofty places; they shall strip you of your clothes and take
your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare

They shall bring up a host against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with
their swords

And they shall burn your houses and execute judgments against you in the sight of many
women; I will make you stop playing the harlot, and you shall also give hire no more

So will I satisfy my fury on you, and my jealously shall depart from you; I will be calm,
and will no more be angry

After reading the extract, the police contacted the Green River task force, who advised
them that they would arrive the following day to interview Thurston. In the meantime, the
local detectives took it upon themselves to question him. Horton, a flabby man in his
forties who was married with three children, agreed to talk. While conversing with police,
he seemed quiet and polite, with above average intelligence. He told them that he was a
medic in the U.S. navy for twenty-two years including two tours in Vietnam.

Asked about the attack, he claimed that he had initially picked Lottie up for oral sex but
shortly after, changed his mind and demanded his money back. Unsure of how to achieve
his objective, he decided to kidnap her, after which Lottie attacked him and he fought
back in self-defense! What Horton failed to explain was why he carried a bag full of ropes,
tape and weapons and had made no attempt to take back the thirty dollars, which was still
in Lottie's possession after the attack.

The next day, Detective Mike Hatch from the task force, arrived and obtained search
warrants for the hired van and another vehicle that Horton had left in Tacoma. Before
Horton was charged with first-degree kidnapping and assault, Hatch wanted to question
him regarding the Green River killings. Initially, Horton agreed to the interview as well as
a polygraph test, but changed his mind after consulting with his attorney. Hatch then
returned to Seattle and began a search of Horton's background.

Phone records and credit card slips that were obtained and examined, which revealed that
Horton had stayed at the Marriott Hotel on the strip on May 28. One day after Marie
Malvar's drivers license was found at the airport. The navy was contacted and instigated
an investigation into Horton's movements for the previous three years. Three weeks later,
the results were sent to the task force. Horton had been at sea at the times that most of the
murders had been committed. Even though he may have committed other crimes,
including murder, he obviously wasn't the Green River killer.

Some months later, Horton pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree kidnapping and
was sentenced to two years jail.



In early September, as the jurisdictional battles continued, a fifteen-year-old Portland
prostitute had a near brush with death. The girl had been working an area on North East
Union Avenue when a man driving an old, blue taxicab picked her up. Several hours later,
the girl was found lying on the side of a road with her throat slashed. Luckily, she survived
and, after recovering, was able to give police an accurate account of the event. She told
them that between 2.00-4.00am on September 6, a young, pock-faced man with blond hair
and a moustache had stopped to pick her up. As soon as she had climbed into the cab, the
man produced a knife and forced her to lie on the floor.

Shortly after, he pulled to the side of the road and tied her with ropes. The man then drove
out of Portland, heading east on the freeway. Half an hour later, he pulled of the freeway
and drove into some woods in an area called Horsetail Falls. The girl was then dragged
out of the car and punched several times in the head, before being lain across the hood of
the vehicle. After tearing of her clothes and raping her, the man stabbed and slashed her
with a knife. Weakened by loss of blood and in shock, the girl passed out, but came to as
she was being dragged into the woods where she was rolled down an embankment.
Fearing further attacks, the girl lay still. The man, obviously believing she was dead,
climbed down to where she lay and covered her with brush and leaves.

She then watched through the branches as the man calmly lit a cigarette and smoked it
while standing over her. Again she passed out. Just before dawn, she woke up and,
realizing that the man had gone, crawled up the embankment to a road where a motorist
found her naked and bleeding and drove her to hospital.

The task force detectives were elated. Finally they had an eyewitness account of a man
who could be the Green River killer. A description and sketch of the offender was
prepared and circulated, along with a detailed description of the vehicle. Taxi companies
were checked, as were the records of anyone holding taxi licenses. One man who roughly
resembled the offender was questioned at length and polygraphed but was later released.
After a month without results, the composite sketch was released to the public, but the
search for the man in the blue taxi yielded nothing.

In mid September, John Douglas, having recovered from his illness, returned to the
investigation. After reviewing the report of the Horsetail Falls attack, he drafted a profile
of the attacker and found that the modus operandi of the Portland taxi driver was similar,
but not the same as the Green River killer. He asked the Portland police for further
information on their unsolved homicides and, unlike the members of the task force, was
given free access.

After examining all of the Portland evidence and comparing it with the Green River
crimes, he compiled a report and returned to Seattle to present it to Adamson and his task
force. Douglas told them that he believed that there was more than one killer responsible
for the murders. Not an accomplice, but a separate killer with no relation to the first. His
reasoning was that the man who had killed and deposited the victims in the river had done
so to ensure that the bodies would be found, hence they were reasonably "fresh" when
found. The victims found inland, on the other hand, had been killed by a man who had
gone to great lengths to hide them, which was the reason that most of them were
skeletons.

The profiles of both killers was similar, he told them, in that they were both risk-takers,
often returning to dump sites after they had been investigated. The river bodies however,
had shown more aspects of "staging" than the inland victims had.

He assured Adamson that both killers had the same type of personality and could still be
caught. They just had to keep trying, using any method they could find to sift for clues.
Like Keppel, Douglas believed the answer lay somewhere in the mountains of information
that they were continuing to collect on a daily basis. The real challenge was finding it.


In an attempt to bring a fresh perspective to the investigation, Thomas invited Pierce
Brooks, a retired Los Angeles Homicide detective, to consult to the Green River Task
force. Apart from being an experienced detective, responsible for solving numerous
homicides, Brooks had been the pioneer of a national computer system used to catalogue
data relating to the perpetrators and victims of serial crimes. The program, called VICAP,
for Violent Criminal Apprehension system, would enable every police department in the
country to enter data on previously unsolved homicides in their area and compare it with
similar data in the system in an attempt to track an offender as he moved around the
country. The system was a joint project with the FBI and was housed at their headquarters
in Quantico, Virginia.

At the time that Brooks was asked to consult to the Green River task force, VICAP was
still in its infancy. One factor that was slowing its growth was the reluctance of some
police agencies to fill out the forty page questionnaires necessary to catalogue data on
their unsolved crimes. They feared that if they complied, they would have to share
jurisdiction and eventually lose control of their own investigations.

Brooks traveled to Seattle and spent two weeks going over the information and meeting
with members of the team. He compiled a detailed report and presented it in person, to a
group comprising Thomas, Adamson, Keppel and a representative from the County
Executives office.

Aware that political pressure was mounting to reduce the size of the task force, Brooks
addressed the issue in his first point stressing that such a move would seriously jeopardize
the effectiveness of the investigation. His recommendation was to increase rather than
decrease the size of the force. He told the group that the only way that the killer was
going to be caught was by painstakingly checking and re-checking every single piece of
data collected.

The second point addressed, what Brooks saw, as the most important aspect of the
murders, the selection of dump sites. He dismissed the notion that the killer was selecting
his sites at random and stressed that the choice of localities suggested that, the person
responsible, knew exactly where he was going to dump each victim's body before he killed
them.

He believed that the killer considered his victims "valuable" because of his relationship to
them and went to great pains to hide them in areas that gave him a feeling of safety and
security. Obviously, the areas that he chose were places he had been to many times before,
which suggested that he lived or worked in the area. Brooks cited the bodies in the river
as an example of just how confident the killer felt in dumping a victim in an area where the
possibility of detection by someone fishing or boating was very high.

Brooks then moved on to his personal profile of the killer. He felt that, because of the
different times the victims had disappeared, the killer was probably only partially
employed, perhaps a shift worker. He thought that, because of the level of discipline and
confidence the murders demonstrated, the man may be a member of the military, possibly
even a trained killer or special forces operative, still serving in one of the many such
installations in the area.

He felt generally, that the killer had acted alone, but did not dismiss the possibility of an
accomplice on some of the murders. His final opinion was that the man was probably
introverted and socially inept, hence his preference for prostitutes as victims. As to sexual
motivations, he believed that the man derived his greatest gratification from the act of
killing itself, not from the sexual acts associated with it.

As to catching the killer, Brooks suggested that the task force should concentrate on
generating its own leads, rather than wait for them to be phoned in. He thought that the
detectives should interview anyone that had any connections with, or lived close to the
numerous unofficial rubbish dumps where the bodies were found. Following his belief that
the killer worked somewhere in the Seattle area, he suggested a search of all male persons
that worked close to the dump sites.

Thomas was overwhelmed. The plan that Brooks had suggested would drastically increase
the work load, not to mention the enormous amounts of data that such an investigation
would generate. The task force was unable to cope with the information they already had
and were totally dependant on volunteer labor to enter and collate the data. To adopt the
Brooks plan would mean a larger budget and additional salaried staff. Thomas would need
to ask for more money.


By the end of October 1985, the Green River investigation was under review. Thomas had
previously sought additional funding but County Executive, Randy Revelle, was unable to
commit to any changes as he was in the midst of a bid for re-election. Some weeks later,
Revelle failed in his attempt and was replaced by Tim Hill, an experienced politician who
was well known for his strict cost cutting policies. Following Hill's appointment Thomas
became doubly concerned. Not only was the future of the investigation in doubt, there was
also the distinct possibility that, having been appointed by Revelle, Thomas would be
asked to step down in favor of a new sheriff appointed by Hill.

After Hill settled into office he consulted the heads of his departments and was told that,
given the level of media attention that the investigation had generated and the public
awareness of the costs involved, it would be unwise to make any changes to either the task
force or its leadership. Hill agreed and shortly after summoned Thomas and asked him to
stay on as sheriff. The task force, he told Thomas, was to remain at the present staffing
and funding level on the understanding that should the investigation fail to show any
further results, the budget would be cut and a large proportion of the staff reassigned.
Thomas agreed and made plans to implement part of the Brooks report.

At the end of December, as Thomas strived to reorganize his staff, a wrecked car was
found dumped in a ravine near the Mountain View Cemetery, close to the location where
Kimi Kai Pastor's skull had been found two years earlier and just two miles south of Star
Lake road. The wreck was inspected by the local police and identified as having been
stolen from the strip two days earlier. Later the same afternoon, two workers from the
cemetery reported having found a human skull near where the car had been dumped. The
police returned to the site and later informed the task force.

A new search was organized and commenced the next day. Most of the area was covered
with ferns and blackberry bushes which made searching difficult, but searchers were soon
able to find the rest of the missing skeleton. The day after New Years Day, the search was
resumed and a second skull was found not far from the first. The skull was later matched
with a jawbone that had been found in the area in 1984. Adamson attended the scene and
was convinced that the remains were also the victims of the Green River killer.

Adamson directed the searchers to thoroughly comb the entire area, on hands and knees if
necessary. TV news crews later attended the site and filmed the search in progress.
Adamson was asked his opinion on the latest discoveries and told the reporter that he was
confident that by the end of 1986, they would have the killer in custody. The following
day, the papers ran the story under the headline, "Serial Killer Hunter Predicts Capture in
1986." The untimely announcement succeeded in attracting unwarranted attention to both
Adamson and his investigation, at a time when it would have been more prudent to play
down their activities.

Hill was not impressed with the news and summoned Thomas to demand an explanation.
Thomas explained that even though the investigation was progressing well, Adamson had
made an error of judgment by speculating on the possible outcome. They decided that the
best course of action was to ignore the increased media interest and keep any new
announcements to a minimum. Unfortunately, this decision coincided with the arrival of
ten additional FBI agents, sent to help with the investigation. When the press became
aware of their presence they saw it as another positive sign that the police were close to an
arrest, just as Adamson had predicted.

Meanwhile, the newest search had succeeded in uncovering the final remains of Kimi Kai
Pastor, but the other skeletons did not match with any of the dental records from the
missing girls. As January drew to a close, the search wound down and reporters shifted
most of their attention toward Adamson. While he talked to them an listened to their
theories, he gave no indication of an event that was about to unfold. An event that he
hoped would give substance to his earlier predictions.



Late in the afternoon of February 6 1986, three cars containing FBI agents converged on a
house on South 139th street in Riverton Heights, just off the strip. A short time later,
Ernest W. "Bill" McLean was arrested. As the arresting agents read him his rights he
asked them, "What took you so long?" A rush of reporters and TV news crews descended
on the scene to cover the story. As they watched from the street, additional police arrived
and entered the house only to reappear a short time later carrying paper sacks of what
could only be evidence. After dark, they watched as a man with an article of clothing
covering his head, was led to a police car and driven away. After the car drove away, the
reporters fired a barrage of questions at the police who remained at the scene but were
unable to obtain any information regarding the man or the search. Media speculation was
rife. Had they just witnessed the arrest of the Green River killer? Only time would tell.

At the same time as McLean was being prepared for questioning, another group of
reporters and cameramen were assembling outside of the precinct building. Some time
later Detective Fae Brooks gave a brief interview, admitting that the task force had served
a search warrant, and had detained a "person of interest" for questioning. Other than that
she had no further comment.

While Brooks fended off the press, McLean was making himself familiar with his new
surroundings. On the walls of the office where he was seated, was an enlarged photograph
of himself and numerous smaller pictures of young girls, all connected together by red
string. It seemed that everywhere he looked in the room, he saw his name. When a
detective placed a plastic bag containing two odd-shaped rocks on the table in front of
him, McLean commented, "I sure hope you guys have been known to make mistakes."

What followed was an intensive barrage of questions and accusations by Detective Jim
Doyon and an FBI agent. As they confronted him with the evidence that they hoped would
lead to a confession, McLean said, "It looks like you guys have been busy, but I'm not the
guy!" While they questioned him, John Douglas, who was responsible for the way that the
interview room was arranged, waited in another room. It had all been his idea. The rapid
arrest, the photos, names on files and even the red string had been placed in such a way as
to indicate to McLean that they considered him their prime suspect.

Unfortunately the ploy didn't work. Over an hour later, Doyon told the rest of the team
that McLean wasn't the man they were looking for. Douglas asked Doyon to describe
McLean's behavior. Doyon then outlined the details of the interview. More questions
followed. Did he seem fearful when confronted by the evidence? No. Did he show any
signs of guilt or remorse when told of the details of the offenses? No. McLean had showed
nothing other than the normal apprehension anyone would feel when dragged into a police
station for questioning. After Doyon had finished his report, Douglas was in agreement, it
was the wrong guy!

Since the arrest, the media had been building their stories, just waiting for the official
announcement that the man in custody had been charged with the Green River killings.
One paper, the Post Intelligencer, had already released a full coverage of the story
complete with maps and photographs of the victims. They were so sure that McLean
would be charged, that they named him in the article and implied that he was responsible
for the murders. Their speculation was to back-fire however, when Detective Fae Brooks
stepped outside of the precinct building to brief the media representatives that were
present. "The person of interest has been released," she told the shocked reporters, "He is
free to go."

The announcement sent a shock wave throughout the community. The media, anxious to
distance themselves from any responsibility, released stories to counteract their previous
implications. One paper, The Times, printed a cartoon that labeled the Green River task
force as a "task farce." Shortly after McLean's release, the special FBI squad assigned to
the case, including Douglas, left town to resume their normal duties. Morale within the
task force plummeted to an all time low.

Thomas and Adamson came under heavy criticism as did Hill, for "letting the investigation
run out of control." Rollin Fatland, Hill's closest adviser, wanted to transfer the blame to
Adamson and have him reassigned. Hill, mindful that such actions would only bring further
criticism, refused. He chose instead to decrease the size of the task force. In compensation
for the decrease, he offered to relocate the task force from Burien to larger premises at an
unused junior high school facility nearby. The cost of the move would be offset by cutting
three positions from the task force. Thomas reluctantly agreed.

Meanwhile, McLean was back in the press, only this time it was to criticize the task force
and the FBI for their bungle in arresting him and subjecting himself and his family to
ridicule. He complained that they had trashed his house and treated him and his family,
particularly his wife as "common criminals." He announced that he had consulted with an
attorney and hinted that a heavy law suit would be forthcoming.

By mid June 1986, Hill had organized a committee to assess the effectiveness of the task
force. The members of the panel were, Richard Kraske, Chief Jim Nickle and Major Terry
Allman, the man who had replaced Kraske as the commander of criminal investigations.
Their findings would decide the future of the task force and its members and their
involvement in an investigation that was now seen as nothing more than an expensive
failure.


As the review committee were finalizing their findings, three more skeletons were
discovered. Two were found off I-90, east of Seattle and one on the banks of Green River.
The latter was not a full skeleton but rather the partial remains of a female spine,
collarbone and shoulder joint. The discovery bought the number of known victims to
thirty-six. Owing to the lack of a skull and its poor condition, the Green River skeleton
was not identified. The other two, being complete, were later identified as being those of
Maureen Feeney and Tina Tomson. Feeney had not been included on the suspected
victims list as police were unable to link her with prostitution. Investigators later turned up
a pimp who knew the woman as "Kim Ponds," a known prostitute who had successfully
hidden her real profession from members of her family.

Initially, police were unable to link the second victim, Tina Tomson to the killings. It was
only after they had correctly identified her under her real name, Kim Nelson, that they
added her to the victim list. Kim Nelson had been the friend that Paige Miley had last seen
at the bus stop in early November, 1983. Just after the new remains were discovered, an
organization called, the "Women's Coalition to Stop the Green River Murders," organized
a "sit-in" outside the new task force headquarters. The protest was arranged for July 15,
exactly four years after Wendy Coffield's body had been found in the river. The organizer,
Cookie Hunt, told the press that they intended to stay in place for forty-six hours, one
hour for every victim, including those that were still unidentified. They insisted that the
police and the public had been totally apathetic about the murders, simply because the
victims were prostitutes. They were particularly angered over the rumors regarding cuts to
the task force, it wasn't long before they realized that their anger had been justified.

In September, the review board findings were presented to Vernon Thomas in a
confidential forty-page report. The main thrust of the report was the committee's
recommendation that staffing be cut by forty percent. Next, they suggested that Adamson
be demoted and placed under the control of Major Allman. They believed that such moves
would control the spiraling costs of the investigation and relieve the fiduciary and political
pressures on the state.

The reason given for the cuts wasn't so much that the task force had failed in its objective,
but rather that the killings had appeared to have ceased. Obviously the committee was
more concerned with the political backlash caused by the task force, rather than its
effectiveness in the prevention of further murders. In real terms, the committee wanted to
halve the size of the investigation at a time when the team had over 18,000 information
sheets which had yielded 4,100 persons to be questioned, 978 of which were considered
"A" suspects. Somewhere in those files was the real killer, but there weren't enough
detectives to question all the suspects as it was.

With the team reduced to the levels that the committee suggested, who was going to
process all of that information? The committee's answer was simple. The computer, which
had been loaded with thousands of pieces of information, could now do the work of many
of the detectives. They further suggested that the task would be made easier if Adamson's
definition of what constituted a Green River suspect, were more clearly defined. That way,
they reasoned, the amount of information regarding "possible" suspects would be greatly
reduced.

The report also suggested further staffing cuts. One of Adamson's lieutenants was to go,
as was a sergeant and four members of the proactive squad. The fingerprint identification
expert was also marked for removal, as was Detective Fae Brooks, in her role as publicity
officer. The panel considered the position unnecessary and cited the McLean debacle as
evidence of the fact. The report came as a shock to Thomas who, prior to the review, had
been drawing up requests for 29 additional officers to help with the processing of the
increasing number of leads. After the tabling of the report, Thomas had no other option
than to agree to the cuts in the hope that the murders did not start again. To Hill, the cuts
were necessary as he knew the county could not afford to fully fund the task force without
collecting additional revenues. The only way of achieving that was to raise taxes and he
wasn't about to do that during his first year in office.

When the cuts were made public, Hill was accused of putting political penny-pinching
before the safety of the general public. Regardless of the criticisms, the die was set. The
Green River task force, which had already been struggling under the enormous strain of
one of the biggest murder investigations in American criminal history, was about to be
brought to its knees.

The changes in the task force affected many, but two in particular are worthy of additional
mention. The first was Detective John Blake, a crucial member of the task force who had
worked day and night to find the person responsible for the killings. Blake had eventually
become disillusioned when his requests to investigate a local lawyer, who he thought
responsible for the killings, had been refused. The final straw came when Adamson told
him he was being cut from the task force. Blake was unable to come to terms with his
dismissal and was given a leave of absence to rest and recuperate. Unfortunately, some
time later, he was permanently retired on a psychological disability. The Green River killer
had claimed another victim.

The second change was to affect Captain Frank Adamson directly. Soon after the review
board report had been tabled, Thomas approached him and told him that a major in charge
of another district had become embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal and would need
to be reassigned. Thomas wanted Adamson to take his place. The appointment, which was
a promotion, meant that Adamson would have to leave the task force. Thomas stressed
that he was not "kicking Adamson out" of his position but merely offering him a better job
away from the pressures of his task force duties.

The following day, after consulting with his wife, Adamson accepted the new position and
resigned the leadership of the task force. When the news was announced in the press, it
was interpreted as yet another indication that the task force was about to be shut down
completely. When interviewed, Adamson attempted to put a positive spin on the situation
by telling reporters, "It may appear that the task force is disappearing but it's not. I believe
fully that the task force will solve the case. In terms of the task force, I'm just one person.
I think my loss will be minimal."


Adamson's replacement was named by Thomas the following day. Captain James Pompey,
would leave his position as head of the technical services division, to take charge of the
reduced Green River task force. Pompey was an experienced officer who not only had
been in charge of the departments SWAT team and marine patrol unit but was also the
highest ranking black officer in the departments history.

Pompey quickly settled into to his new position and began to organize his team to make
the most of the limited resources that they had been left with. One of the first tasks was to
start work on compiling the index lists as suggested by Pierce Brooks, one of which was a
computer listing of military personnel in the district. Another list was compiled of all
makes and colors of pick-up trucks in the district, in the hope that they could be cross
referenced with other lists and narrow down the search for the vehicle used by the killer.
These tasks alone took many months.

The possible reasons for the cessation of the killings was reviewed in detail. Had the killer
left the district and started up somewhere else? Had he been jailed for another offence?
Was he dead? To find answers to some of these questions, lists of males who had died on
or near the time when the murders had ceased were compiled, as were lists of male
persons incarcerated in prisons around the same time. In case the killer had moved on,
serial crimes in other states were checked for similarities to the Green River murders. In
most cases, the interstate murders were found to be sufficiently different and unworthy of
further attention. One particular case, however, attracted the attention of the task force
more than any other. In December 1986, a man looking for a Christmas tree in a wooded
area north of Vancouver, British Columbia, had found the decomposing body of a nude
woman, partially buried in a shallow grave. A later search revealed a bone that did not
belong to the young woman's body. The size of the search area was increased and another
body was found twenty yards from the first, under a large log. It too was the remains of a
young woman.

The similarities to the Green River murders were interesting. The two bodies had been
found close together. One was partially hidden by a log and both bodies were devoid of
any reasonable means of identification. Later checks of crime records indicated that four
young prostitutes had been murdered in Vancouver over the previous twenty-one months.
Perhaps the killer had gone North? Vancouver was only three hours drive from Seattle.
Hadn't the Green River killer been active in Portland which was three hours to the South?
The task force detectives discussed how easy it would be for a killer to shift his base of
operations to a nearby city, especially when that city had a large contingent of prostitutes
concentrated in one particular area. As the pressure increased in one area, he could have
moved to a new area and begun again.

The two Vancouver victims were later identified as having been friends who had worked
together as topless dancers. Strangely their murders seemed to have occurred a month
apart. Had the killer been at the club where they both worked and selected them? This fact
alone tended to distance them from the Green River victims who had apparently been
selected at random.

As the investigation ran into a new year, the amount of data that had been entered into the
task force computer had increased to the point where comparisons could be made with
some accuracy. Of great help in the analysis were the lists that had been generated at the
suggestion of Pierce Brooks. One suspect in particular, seemed to show up more than
once under different circumstances. The man had previously been investigated after being
picked up while attempting to solicit an undercover policewoman who had been posing as
a prostitute on the Sea-Tac strip in April, 1982. He had been questioned but released after
he successfully passed a polygraph test.

The same man had approached the task force in May, 1984 to offer his assistance. He told
police that he had met one of the victims in mid 1983, but didn't know her name. When he
was shown photographs of the dead girls, he identified Kim Nelson, or Tina Tomson, as
she was then known to police. Feeling that the man warranted more attention, Matt
Haney, a task force detective, kept digging and found that the man had been accused of
choking a prostitute in 1980. The location where the offence had taken place was near the
condemned houses near the Sea-Tac airport. When police questioned the man regarding
the incident he claimed that the girl had bitten him and he had choked her in retaliation.
The police believed his story and released him.

Haney, intrigued by the connections, continued his search and found that the same man
had been approached by police in 1982, while he was parked behind the Little League field
in his truck. He was questioned not far from where the body of Cheryl Wims had been
found. A woman who had been in the truck at the time, was known to police as Jennifer
Kaufmann, a local prostitute. When Haney entered Kaufmann's name into the computer,
he was surprised to find that it was an alias for Keli McGuiness, one of the victims of the
Green River killer.

Haney was starting to get excited. As he continued the search, more information was
forthcoming. An entry in April 1983, indicated that the man was a suspect in the
kidnapping of Marie Malvar four years earlier. The report, provided by the Des Moines
police, named the man as being the owner of a pick-up truck that had a distinctive primer
spot on the door. It was his house that Des Moines detectives had gone to when Maria
Malvar's father and Bobby Woods had reported finding the pick-up truck that Bobby had
followed.

Haney, mindful that the same man had been mentioned in regard to three separate victims,
turned his attention to the previous interview and polygraph test. He retrieved the test
results and showed the results to the FBI's polygraph specialists. The expert told Haney,
that he considered that the test was not to be relied on because the man had not been
questioned regarding two of the suspects and as such, was not sufficient to clear the man
of involvement. Based on the new analysis, Haney turned up the pressure. He succeeded
in tracking down Paige Miley, the last person to see Kim Nelson alive, and showed her a
photograph of the man. She identified the man in the photo as the same man that asked her
about Kim at the Seven Eleven store, two nights after she disappeared.

Next, a list was compiled of all the vehicles that the man had owned since the murders had
started. In all, nine separate cars and pick-up trucks were found, some with campers. The
next step was to check the man's background. Detectives tracked down his former wife
who provided them with the information that her ex-husband frequented many of the
illegal dump sites in the district, mainly to search for vehicle spare parts. When asked, she
agreed to take detectives to some of the areas where her husband liked to scavenge. Most
of the areas were very close to where the victims bodies had been dumped.

Other detectives interviewed prostitutes on the strip and showed them photos of their
latest suspect. Several of the girls identified the man that had cruised the strip regularly
during 1982-83. The statements of those witnesses who had reported sightings of pick-up
trucks during some of the disappearances, were checked to compare them with the list of
the vehicles the man had owned at that time. Several closely matched the description.

Further background checks revealed the man was a U.S. Navy veteran and had lived most
of his life in south King county. He was employed as a painter in a Seattle truck plant,
working the night shift. Police served his employer with an inquiry subpoena and obtained
his time sheets. After analyzing them, investigators found that he had been off duty or
absent on every occasion that a victim had disappeared. By using map overlays, the
location of the man's home and workplace were compared with the areas that the bodies
were found. The route that the man would take to work and home went right through the
strip. The location of his house off Military Road South was close to the 216th Street
intersection where Keli McGuiness, Marie Malvar, Debra Bonner and Gail Mathews had
last been seen.

On April 8, 1987, having amassed sufficient evidence to justify questioning the man,
detectives picked him up as he left work and served him with warrants that allowed them
to not only seize him and take hair samples but also to search any vehicles he possessed as
well as his home and that of his parents. When the man was asked if he would submit to
another polygraph test he refused. Unlike the previous McLean debacle, the entire
operation was quick and clean with no media involvement. Even when a few reporters
learned later of the operation, they declined to release any details until they had been
advised officially by the task force. They obviously didn't want a repeat of the circus that
had surrounded the previous "hot suspect."

Later the same day, the police made their "official" statement that they had detained a man
for questioning and had issued several search warrants to assist them in their inquiries, but
went to great pains to stress the man was not under arrest. Again the task force detectives
were confident that they had their man but Pompey was quick to remind them that until
they had obtained hard evidence that positively linked the suspect to the murders, he was
just another suspect. Pompey's caution was well founded as several weeks later, after the
evidence had been analyzed, no link could be found that connected the man to the
murders. Pompey told his men to keep looking.

It was to be the last instruction he gave them as, just two days after the lab results were
received, Pompey got into difficulties while scuba diving and was rushed to hospital
suffering from "the bends." After treatment he began to show signs of recovery but
sometime later went into cardiac arrest and died. His untimely death created shock and
confusion in the department, particularly within the task force.

An official police investigation into his death found that his air had run out before he could
get back to the surface, causing him to panic and rush to the surface without
decompressing. The official cause of death was a massive heart attack. After the
announcement of Pompey's death, several conspiracy theories began circulating that his
death hadn't been an accident. The favorite theory was that the Green River killer was
actually a cop who had killed Pompey in the hope that the task force would be disbanded
before he could be caught.

It was bad enough that such theories circulated in the first place but when two reporters
from the Times picked up the story, the matter got totally out of hand. They went so far as
to name possible suspects within the department and called for an official investigation.
The main focus of the reporters attention was Detective Bob Stockham, a former member
of the vice squad and Pompey's diving partner on the day of his death. It wasn't until
several months later that the charges were proved to be groundless but not before they
had done significant damage to Stockham, the King County police department and the
work of the Green River task force. The entire affair only served to create a bitter feud
between the police and the media at a time when cooperation was most needed.


At the end of June, while Captain Greg Boyle was being appointed to replace Pompey,
three young boys searching for aluminum cans, discovered a skeleton. The remains of a
young woman lay partially covered by leaves and branches, in a deep ravine behind the
Green River Community College. The police were informed and after attending the site,
found several large boxes full of bones. They were later analyzed and found to be animal
bones. Three days later the newest skeleton was described as Cindy Ann Smith, a topless
dancer who was last seen hitchhiking along the strip in January 1984.

As the months passed during the summer of 1987, The Times newspaper launched an
investigation into why the police were unable to catch the killer. At a time when the task
force was coming under increased scrutiny, relations between Thomas and Hill began to
sour. The main reason for the conflict was budgets. Thomas wanted more money, not only
to fund the task force activities but to cover increased expenses for the rest of the
department. Hill refused to allocate additional funds and suggested that Thomas cut back
in other areas to compensate. Finally, the relationship between the two men diminished to
the point where Hill threatened to have Thomas arrested for budget overspending.

They were still bickering in early September, when a new body was found. What alarmed
the police most about the latest discovery was that the body, which had been wrapped in a
tarpaulin and dumped near Military Road and 188th street, was relatively fresh. The small
body was later identified as being Rose Marie Kurran, a sixteen-year-old runaway. She
was known to have been involved in prostitution, usually working the area of the strip
near South 144th street. On the same day, detectives in Oregon were called to an area
outside of Portland where seven bodies had been found, buried close together. The area
was later investigated by task force detectives who determined that, because of several
obvious differences, it was not the work of the Green River killer.

Also in September, The Times released the results of their investigation. A series of stories
suggested that the police were directly responsible for the number of deaths because they
had failed to show sufficient interest in the growing number of reports of missing females
in similar areas, simply because they were prostitutes. One fact that reporters had
uncovered was that out of the forty-six disappearances, forty-one of them had occurred on
days that the vice police were absent from the strip. The question was asked, "How did
the killer know that the police weren't active on those days? The only answer the police
could offer was that the killer was very familiar with the activities of the strip and was
careful to operate only when the vice squad was inactive.

Later the same month the criticism increased when another body was found off
Auburn-Black Diamond Road, close to where Yvonne Antosh and Cindy Smith had been
found. The body, which was partially skeletonized, was female and naked, except for one
pink sock. A week later the remains were identified as being fourteen-year-old Debbie
Ann Gonzales.

To further complicate matters, in mid-October an anonymous letter, typed on the
departments own Criminal Investigation Division letterhead, was sent to Tim Hill and
every representative of the media. The basis of the letter was that Thomas and other
members of the police department had conspired to obstruct the Green River murder
investigations. The letter then listed several incidences to support the theory, including the
"blocking" of Detective John Blake's investigation of the lawyer.

The letter, obviously from someone within Thomas' own department, then went on to
draw comparison between the Green River case and the failure of the Kent County police
to catch Ted Bundy before he moved on to kill more victims. At the bottom of the page
was - "Sorry Mr. Hill, no names, we would like to finish our careers." It was signed -
"Us."

After receiving the letter, Hill gave a press conference to answer the allegations and told
reporters that he would be meeting with Thomas to discuss the document's implications.
Several days later, the planned meeting took place with Thomas insisting that the
allegations were groundless. Whether Hill shared the same view may never be known but
obviously something was amiss because six days after the meeting, Vernon Thomas
resigned as sheriff of King County.

By January 1988, Thomas's duties had been temporarily assumed by one of his
commanders, Jim Nickle. Nickle, hoping that he would be a serious contender for
permanent appointment to the position, began to reorganize the task force. One of his first
appointments was to make Bob Evans the new task force commander. Evans had
previously served as Adamson's sergeant in charge of the street unit. An experienced
detective who had recently been promoted to lieutenant, Evans was well known for his
abilities as a vice cop and showed an empathy for prostitutes that was rarely found in
street police.


The task force that Evans inherited was in serious disarray. Only twenty-four detectives
remained in the squad and rumors circulated that more cuts were to come. The team was
relocated from the school complex and moved into a converted jail, twelve floors above
the County Courthouse. The major crimes squad was also placed under Evanss command
and jammed into the same offices.

Shortly after the move, the rumors proved correct and five more task force detectives
were reassigned to other duties. Nickle complied with the cuts and began to make plans to
assume permanent command. His hopes were later dashed when Hill informed him that he
had asked a personnel company to conduct a nationwide search for Thomas's replacement.

In January 1988, an analyst in the states crime lab found a small shard of pink glass in
some of the material that had been vacuumed from the interior of the truck painter's
pickup. The glass was very similar to other particles that had been found earlier, on or
near five of the victims. Finally, it seemed that they had found a piece of physical evidence
that could be of some use, but further months of testing would be necessary before they
could be sure.

In early March, one of the two girls found in 1985 at Tualatin, Oregon was identified as
being sixteen-year-old Tammy Liles. The match only became possible when the sister of
the victim, fearing the worst, supplied the task force with Tammy's dental charts. The
detectives managed to trace her movements prior to her disappearance and learned that
the last time she'd been seen was in downtown Seattle on June 8, 1983. This was another
indication that the same killer had been operating in the surrounding districts.

As the remaining members of the task force struggled to piece together any shred of
evidence that would move the investigation forward, Hill had found his new sheriff.

James Montgomery was serving as the chief of police in Boise, Idaho when he was invited
to accept the King County job. He agreed and was officially appointed on May 10, 1988.
His first task was to review the progress of the Green River investigation. Evans told him
that he believed that the killer was somewhere in the list of between fifty and seventy
suspect files that were still waiting to be followed up. When asked about staffing levels,
Evans assured his new boss that the nineteen members that were left on the task force
would be sufficient, as long as nothing else occurred to distract them. In the same briefing,
Evans warned Montgomery that the death toll could be higher than anyone had imagined
as the killer seemed to be getting better at hiding bodies.

Evanss statement became almost prophetic when on the last day of May, a construction
crew, working on a site near Federal Way, found a human bone. The pathology team, led
by Bill Haglund, attended and soon after found a human jaw bone. After a comparison
with dental charts, the skeleton was identified as being Debra Lorraine Estes, also known
as "Betty Jones." She had been found just fifteen blocks from where she'd disappeared six
years before.

In early June, the crime lab that had been examining the glass shard contacted Evans. He
had hoped for positive news but instead learnt that, not only had they failed to find a
match, they had lost the original "truck painter" glass sample. Evans was livid. After many
years and millions of dollars, a tiny sliver of glass was the only real trace evidence that
could have provided a positive link to the killer, now it was gone.

Several weeks later, however, the lab technicians managed to redeem themselves when
they "found" two additional glass particles, supposedly from the truck painters vehicle.
Anxious to avoid a repeat of the previous mishandling of the evidence, Evans arranged for
the samples to be taken to the FBI lab. Even though the bureau's glass expert was unable
to look at the case for two months, Evans was happy to wait.

In the meantime, the task force continued to work over their list of viable suspects. In an
attempt to ascertain why the killing had ceased, they constantly ran comparisons with their
suspect list and the list of persons who were incarcerated or had died during the same
period. The more they eliminated suspects, the more they became convinced that the killer
had moved on to a new area and had started again.

In an attempt to identify other areas where the killer could be operating, the detectives
turned their attention to those police departments that had reported unsolved multiple
homicides against prostitutes. One area that attracted task force attention was San Diego.
Since early 1984, the San Diego police department had been grappling with a spiraling
unsolved murder rate. More importantly, most of the victims were prostitutes.

By the time that the murders came to the attention of the Green River task force in mid
1988, there were at least two serial killers operating in the San Diego area who preyed on
prostitutes. One seemed to be operating in the city center and dumping his victims in the
same area. Another twenty-five women became victims of a killer who picked them up
from the central prostitution area and dumped their bodies in the surrounding rural
countryside. Reichert was given the task of liaising with the San Diego homicide division
and quickly found startling similarities to the Green River murders.

With Detective Tom Streed, from the San Diego office, Reichert examined the crime
scene and pathology reports and quickly realized that they could very well be the work of
the same person. Other factors pointed to San Diego as being the new home of the Green
River killer. Both areas were heavily involved in the aerospace industry; Seattle and San
Diego were also the headquarters of a large shipping and fishing fleet. Both had large
military installations and in addition were located close to International borders.

To follow up on these and other similarities, Reichert requested that he be allowed to
travel to San Diego to closely examine the scenes and the physical evidence for himself.
Evans was in agreement but the recent cuts meant that there was simply no money to fund
the trip. The problem was solved when Evans enlisted the aid of an organization called the
Seattle-King County Crime Stoppers, a non-profit organization that used a television
program to gather public assistance with unsolved crimes.

Evans asked them to consider funding a program on the Green River murders, particularly
the San Diego link. The organization agreed and raised over $150,000 from a local
insurance company to pay for the project, which they hoped, would become a show that
would attract National coverage. Soon after, Reichert traveled to San Diego to begin the
investigation. After meeting Streed and viewing the crime scenes and El Cajon Boulevard,
the local version of the strip, Reichert met with members of the city police and the sheriff's
department. He was not surprised to find that a blatant rivalry existed between the two
departments, which succeeded in undermining the San Diego investigation to the point
where many police refused to believe that the murders were the work of a single killer.
Such an attitude was familiar territory for Reichert.

Apart from the petty squabbling, Reichert saw enough of the information to determine that
the Green River killer may well have moved his operations to California. He returned to
Seattle and briefed Evans and suggested that they work with the San Diego departments
to catch their man in the hope that it would prove to be the same person responsible for
the Green River murders. Evans agreed but after making contact with police officials in
San Diego, he was told that they were not interested in working with the Green River task
force as they did not believe it was the same man. The message was clear, "you do your
work and we'll do ours."

Evans wasn't defeated by the rejection and shortly after briefed reporters from The Times
on the San Diego theory. The reporters later traveled to California to conduct their own
investigation which resulted in a story which not only detailed the similarities to the Green
River crimes but also documented the reluctance of the San Diego police to cooperate in a
joint investigation. Several weeks later the story was picked up by the national television
networks and broadcast across the country. By August 1988, the political furor the
coverage caused in San Diego resulted in a joint task force being formed between the city
and county departments and the establishment of an information sharing network with the
Green River task force.

Two months later the FBI's glass expert, was ready to conduct his analysis. Within half an
hour of receiving the samples, the expert gave the task force the bad news, the supposed
"glass" samples were actually small particles of garnet stone usually found on sandpaper
and roofing and was so common that samples of it could be found in the FBI's own
parking lot. Evans was flabbergasted, what had started to look like a breakthrough was
now totally useless as evidence.

While Evans and his task force pondered their next move, the renewed media interest in
the Green River murders provided the "Crime Stoppers" television project with additional
momentum. Patrick Duffy, one of the stars of Dallas was hired to act as the presenter of
the program and plans were made to set up a studio with telephones and computer banks
to process the flood of information that was expected when the show aired.

The program was written to incorporate reenactments and interviews with relatives of the
victims as well as experts such as the FBI's John Douglas. The members of the task force
gave the program's producers as much help as they could as they believed it could provide
valuable information regarding the identity of the killer.

On December 7, 1988, the program titled "Manhunt Live: A Chance to End the
Nightmare," went to air. Almost from the time the program began, the station's
switchboard was inundated with callers offering information regarding the murders. Two
hours later the program was over but the calls were to continue for weeks.

While many of the calls were from cranks or contained useless and misleading information,
some were interesting. Two calls in particular gave police sufficient information to solve
another murder that had occurred at the time of some the Green River killings but was
believed to have been perpetrated by a different killer. The information pointed to two
separate suspects who were later proved to be responsible for the murder.

By the end of the week following the program, the telephone company had reported that
over 100,000 separate calls had been placed to the advertised toll-free number, but only
10,000 had got through. Some weeks after the program aired, the lines were shut down
and Police began the long and laborious process of following up each call. By January
1989, all of the calls had been checked and the tips collated and entered into the task force
computer for comparison with the information already contained on the database.

While the detectives worked through the new leads, one member of the task force,
Detective Tom Jensen, received a phone call that intrigued him. The call was from an
investigator with the Veterans Affairs Department in Spokane, Washington and had
nothing to do with the Green River case, or so he thought. The caller asked Jensen if he
had any information on one of two men the VA were investigating for alleged claims
fraud. The man's name was William J. Stevens II. Apparently, he and an accomplice had
attempted to make two separate claims to the VA in Steven's name. Both men had been
arrested by Jensen for burglary of police uniforms on Pacific Highway South, in 1979 and
had been sent to prison. Two years later, Stevens had escaped from prison, while taking
out the garbage, and was never seen again. Jensen had wrongly believed that Stevens had
left the area to hide out interstate and was surprised to learn that Stevens had been living
in the Spokane area for almost eight years.

A check of Steven's background found that, at the time of his arrest, he had been a student
of pharmacology at the University of Washington. He also held a degree in psychology
and was a former officer in the U.S. Army military police. Further digging by Jensen
revealed that after leaving the army, Stevens had applied to join the Seattle Police
Department but was refused because of a poor driving record.

After running Steven's name through the task force computer, Jensen found two more
calls that pointed to Stevens as a possible suspect. Jensen reported his findings to Evans
and was directed to contact the Spokane authorities for additional information. Ever since
the escape, Jensen had always wondered what Stevens had been up to, now it seemed he
was about to find out.

When Jensen called the Spokane authorities, he not only advised them that there was a
warrant for the arrest of William Stevens on the escape charge but also that he was a
suspect in the Green River murder case. The Spokane County police offered their
assistance and were able to help Jensen to piece together Steven's movements from 1981
to 1988. One lead that was provided was from a woman in Portland who had rented a
room in a house that Stevens owned. The house was in Tigard, the suburb of Portland
where the skulls of two of the victims, Shirley Sherrill and Denise Bush, had been found.

Additional interviews were conducted with anyone that had known or had contact with
Stevens during his time in the area. Several of them told police that Stevens collected
police equipment and owned several uniforms. They also spoke of his fascination with the
Green River murders and that he had often talked about murdering prostitutes. Further
sifting revealed that Stevens was known under two separate aliases in the Portland area.
Later Jensen learned that Stevens owned his own police car complete with lights, radar
and insignia and had come to the attention of the authorities when he had applied for a
government license plate exemption for the same vehicle. When applying for the plates,
Stevens had attempted to pass himself off as the Emergency Services Director of
"Spangle" Washington, a fictitious suburb.

Convinced that they had found a viable suspect, the police arrested Stevens at the home of
his parents and took him into custody on a charge of escape from lawful custody. In
addition, they also served a warrant to search his premises. In Steven's bedroom,
detectives found thirty-three firearms, several drivers licenses issued to Steven's under
assumed names and credit cards in the same names. A small box was found that contained
over fifty sexually explicit photos of nude women, many of them known Spokane
prostitutes. Other photos found elsewhere in the room suggested that Stevens had taken
the photos himself.

The next day, while detectives attempted to ascertain his whereabouts during 1982,
Stevens was sent to the King County prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Police soon learned that Stevens had spent the time between 1985 and 1988 attending law
school and at the time of his arrest had been in his final semester. Inquiries at Gonzaga
University revealed that Stevens was known as a pleasant, intelligent and popular student
so much so that Craig Beles, one of Steven's former law professors, offered to defend
Stevens during the investigation.

As the investigation progressed, Evans came under fire from reporters who wanted to
know why Stevens had not been considered a viable suspect earlier. Evans explained that
while Stevens had been on the suspect list, detectives had been unable to find any evidence
that placed him in Seattle at the time of the murders. A strange answer considering that
Stevenss whereabouts were unknown to the task force until the Veteran Affairs
investigator had given them his location. If they didn't know where he was, how did they
know that he wasn't living in the Seattle-Tacoma area at the time of the murders?

By April 1989, task force detectives had interviewed most of Stevenss acquaintances,
including his accomplice. The man told police that Stevens knew a lot about the Green
River murders and had suggested that the victims had been murdered while making "snuff
films." Several other acquaintances told how Stevens had hated prostitutes and had talked
openly about mutilating them. Others told police that Stevens gave the impression that he
was working undercover for the Green River task force and the CIA.

One woman told investigators that Stevens had shown her a secret room hidden behind a
bookcase, telling her that the only reason she could see it was because it had been
"declassified." Other interviews revealed that Stevens often went away on what he called
"missions," which he would return from in an agitated and nervous state, often watching
television for hours on end to wind down.

Detectives then focused their attention on how Stevens had obtained the money to support
himself while he studied, pay for his education and buy a house. The answer was partly
provided by the accomplice who explained that he and Stevens had committed a Post
Office robbery in Florida after which Stevens had used his share to buy the house in
Tigard. By tracking credit card transactions, the detectives were able to determine that
Stevens had been paying most of his expenses with the stolen and fake credit cards. It was
also revealed that he had traveled regularly between Seattle, Portland, Vancouver,
Spokane and Tigard. The same records showed that he had also made purchases with the
cards in all of the murder areas at the time of the offences.

Additional interest in Stevens was generated when an inmate that had shared a cell with
him in the King County lockup, told police that Stevens was fascinated by violence against
women and couldn't stop talking about it. While the task force detectives had learned from
bitter experience not to get too excited about a suspect, the mounting information
regarding William Stevenss alleged involvement in the case had most of them feeling
cautiously optimistic.

The next to be checked were the weapons found in Stevenss room. One of them, a .45
caliber Colt handgun, was traced back to one of Stevenss former law school classmates,
Dale Wells. When detectives interviewed Wells he told them that Stevens had talked
openly of his hate of prostitutes and blamed them for the spread of AIDS. According to
Wells, Stevens frequently hung around the prostitution areas of Seattle.

As well as prostitutes, Wells told them, Stevens hated blacks and often suggested that
violence should be used against them. Another of Stevenss favorite topics was Ted
Bundy. Wells described how Stevens would bring up the subject and talk in detail about
the numerous mistakes that Bundy, whom Stevens considered stupid, had made.

Regardless of the implications, there was still no hard evidence to link Stevens with the
murders. The next step was to talk to Stevens directly in the hope that he might implicate
himself or, better yet, confess. When detectives went to interview Stevens in jail, he was
generally cooperative. The interview progressed well until the line of questioning led to
Stevenss movements and activities from 1982 to 1984. From that point Stevens refused
to answer any more questions and told police that any future questions should be
submitted to his attorney in writing.

Obviously Stevens wasn't about to confess so on July 12, Evans obtained a warrant to
search Stevenss fathers house and a storage facility that Stevens rented in Spokane. In all,
the task force obtained fifty boxes of papers and over a thousand videotapes. The second
search sparked renewed media interest in the investigation but Evans refused to comment
on the progress of the case against Stevens except to say that he was still considered a
viable suspect and the seized property would be examined for a possible link to the
murders.

After local newspapers and television stations ran stories suggesting that Stevens was the
Green River killer, Craig Beles, Stevenss attorney issued a public denial on behalf of his
client. By mid August, the task force wasnt the only ones examining William Stevens
activities during the preceding years. Bob Stevens, William's brother, publicly criticized
the task force for what he called "reckless and unwarranted harassment" of his brother and
other members of his family. In an attempt to prove his brother's innocence, Bob produced
credit card records and photographs that indicated that William had been traveling across
the country by car during July, August and September 1982, the time when most of the
murders had been committed.

Evans came out fighting, stating that even if the latest "evidence" suggested that Stevens
had an alibi for some of the murders it didn't mean that he had one for the rest of them.
Inadvertently, Evans had again opened up the possibility of more than one killer being
involved. He later told the press that he and his task force had given Stevens several
opportunities to clear himself but he had refused to speak.

In late September, just before Stevenss jail term came to an end, he was charged with the
federal offence of being a felon in possession of a firearm, to wit, the handgun that he
had obtained from Wells. Hearing of the new charge, Bob Stevens went public again
calling the investigation a "witch hunt" and accused Evans and his task force of pulling any
dirty trick to keep his brother in jail until they could justify their accusations against him.
Sometime later Stevens sent a message to Evans, via his attorney, telling him that he
would be prepared to talk about another person who the task force had implicated in the
murders. An interview was set up but Stevens once again avoided the subject and the
interview was terminated.

Two days later, Dale Wells committed suicide. Police were convinced that Wells had been
the person that Stevens had alluded to. After his death, several detectives in the task force,
began to wonder if Wells had either been involved in the murders or had some knowledge
of them. One of the fake licenses that police had found in Stevenss room was in Wells'
name. A search of Wells' apartment revealed an unfinished letter addressed to Anne Rule,
a well-known crime writer, who had written a book about Ted Bundy. One part of the
letter referred to an unnamed person that Wells knew whom he considered was very
similar to Bundy. Could Wells have been talking about Stevens? By a strange coincidence,
Anne Rule had been lecturing in Spokane the night before Wells shot himself but after
being questioned by police she was unable to shed any light on a connection between
herself and Wells.

An investigation of Wells background was undertaken and police soon learned that in
January 1986, Wells had gone to a motel in Spokane, asking for a woman by the name of
Ruby Doss, a prostitute who lived there. Wells had told the manager of the motel that he
was a lawyer and wanted to find the woman because she had stolen a wallet from a friend
of his, a Spokane police officer. Several days later, Ruby Doss' body was found dumped in
a field near a Spokane racetrack. She had been strangled.

While the investigation into Stevens and Wells continued through September, Stevens
made plans to write a book about his experiences, hoping that the proceeds would pay for
his legal bills. Some weeks later, the investigation came to an end when Evans summoned
the media and made the shock announcement that William Stevens II had been cleared of
any involvement in the Green River murders. The latest chapter in the hunt for a killer was
over.

On October 11, 1989, the remains of nineteen-year-old Andrea Childers were found
buried in a vacant lot near South 192nd street. In a list of victims, that included Mary
Meehan's unborn child, she became victim number forty-nine. Andrea had never been
included on the "official" list of missing girls, even though police had been advised of her
disappearance in April 1983. Of the known missing, seven had not been found. Police
had no way of knowing just how many young women had fallen victim to the man they
had dubbed the Green River Killer. The only person who knew the exact number of
victims and their location was the killer himself and as 1989 drew to a close, it was
becoming obvious that his identity may never be known.

In early February 1990, a city councilman found the remains of a human skeleton on a
hillside next to a city park. The park was located in Tukwila, a suburb of Seattle. As
before, the find was reported to the King County police department who in turn passed it
on to the Green River task force. Chief Medical examiner, Bill Haglund took possession
of the remains, which were minus a skull but included a curious object. Found amongst
the remains was a piece of medical equipment that is usually used by persons suffering
from epilepsy.

Haglund checked his records and found that the device had been used by Denise Bush.
The discovery raised a question. Why had Bush's skeleton been found in Tukwila, Seattle
when her skull was found in Tigard, Portland? Haglund believed that the killer had
probably killed Bush and buried her in Tukwila, which was near the strip, and returned to
the burial site and removed the skull and took it to Tigard. The question remained - why
would he bother?

The only theory that Haglund could offer was that the killer had purposefully deposited
some of the remains in different localities, even in different states, to confuse the
investigators. The skulls of Mary West and Kimi Kai Pitsor and Debbie Abernathy's jaw
bone were just some of the partial remains that were found in areas totally different to that
of the bodies. The killer had obviously returned to the dumpsites again and again, just as
John Douglas and Ted Bundy had predicted he would.

A final search was arranged to scour the latest area for further remains. Again the
depleted task force joined forces with the Explorer Scouts, but after two fruitless days, the
search was called off. The final score stood at Green River killer - 49, Green River task
force - Nil.

By June 1990, the Green River task force had been officially disbanded and its members
reassigned. Bob Evans was not only transferred, he was promoted to become head of the
King County Patrol Force. Dick Kraske was forced to retire, to make way for Evans.
Dave Reichert and Fae Brooks were promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to
Evanss command. Randy Revelle resigned from politics for good after contesting and
losing the County Executive elections to Tim Hill a second time in 1989. Former Sheriff
Vernon Thomas was appointed as the security director of the Goodwill Games.

TD was still unemployed and threatened to sue anyone who misused his name. McLean
sold his story for $30,000 and was still in the process of trying to sue the King County
Sheriff's Department for false arrest. William Stevens II was eventually released and later
died of cancer. Wendy Coffield's parents unsuccessfully sued the state for negligence,
which contributed to the death of their daughter.

Of all the changes that occurred after the investigation, one of the most important was to
the prostitution industry. Thanks to a state offensive bought on by the Green River
investigation, the Strip has undergone an overhaul with many of the seedy bars and motels
gone forever. Even though the industry has relocated or been driven underground, very
few prostitutes or pimps walk the Sea-Tac strip and few prospective "johns" cruise the
area looking for a "date."

Some might say it's too little too late.

As to the dumpsites, most of the areas have been earmarked for development with
sections of Star Lake Road already subdivided into residential housing blocks. No doubt,
in the near future, some unsuspecting citizen digging in a suburban garden plot will
probably unearth additional remains.

As to the task force, all that remains, apart from a sense of failure and bitter memories, are
over five hundred volumes of reports, maps, charts, lists of evidence and photographs.
Many theories about the Green River killer still abound but none are proven.

After seven years, forty nine victims and the outlay of millions of tax payers' dollars only
one thing remains clear, the real killer - whether he is a corpse, a prisoner doing time for a
similar offense or a man clever enough to move to a new area and start again - is still
unknown.

Perhaps if the victims had been college girls from high-class neighborhoods instead of
young women who earned their living giving sex to strangers, the outcome may have been
different. No matter who the victims were or what they did, the loss of one young life will
always be a tragedy, but the loss of 49 such lives under such violent circumstances is an
epidemic. Maybe one day someone we will find a cure.

One Chance In A Million

When the Green River Task Force was officially disbanded in 1990, it was widely believed
that the case, one of the nations worst serial murders, would never be solved but, as the
Seattle Times reported, when 52-year-old Gary Leon Ridgway was arrested in October,
2001 for loitering for the purpose of prostitution, the case took on a different focus.

Ridgway had first come to the attention of task force investigators in 1980 when he was
accused of trying to strangle a woman he had picked up from the Sea-Tac strip, a
well-known red light area. According to the woman, Ridgway had driven her to an
isolated location near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where the offense took
place. The woman was able to escape and later reported the incident to the Seattle police.
During a brief interview, Ridgway told police the woman had bitten him so he had choked
her to make her stop. He was let go.


In 1982 task force detectives picked him up again. When he was apprehended on the
Sea-Tac strip, he was in the company of a prostitute named Kelli McGinness. A year later
McGinness disappeared and was never found.

In 1983, he was the prime suspect in the disappearance of 18-year-old Maria Malvar when
a friend of Maria's saw her get into a distinctive pick-up truck that had a primer spot on
the door. The friend followed the pick-up for a time but lost it in traffic.

The Seattle Times report detailed how, the following day when Malvar had not returned,
the friend and Maria's father searched the area where the truck was last seen and found it
parked outside a house. The house belonged to Gary Ridgway.

Police were informed and later questioned Ridgway, who denied all knowledge of Maria
Malvar. In May 1984, police gave Ridgway a polygraph test, which he passed. (Later
analysis by independent experts found that the test was faulty and, as such, was
unreliable.) With no real evidence linking Ridgway to the disappearance, the police had no
reason to proceed and dropped the matter.

Four years later, detectives from the Green River Task Force were investigating the deaths
of Opal Mills, Marcia Chapman, Cynthia Hinds and Carol Christensen and still considered
Ridgway as a person of interest in relation to those crimes. They secured a search
warrant and searched his house in the hope of finding evidence that would link him with
the victims. Again they failed. It was at that time that detectives presented Ridgway with a
court order that directed him to give them a saliva sample by chewing on a piece of gauze.
(As DNA analysis was unheard of at that time, the sample was intended to be used to
determine blood type.)

That sample became vitally important in November, 2001 when forensic scientists linked
Ridgways DNA to Mills, Chapman and Hinds. Ridgway was then put on
around-the-clock surveillance for a month, which culminated in his arrest. According to
the {Seattle Times}, the police have also discovered certain factors that also link him to
Carol Christensens death but would not divulge the details.

While King County police are falling short of saying that they have caught the Green River
Killer they are saying that the man they have in custody is most likely responsible for the
deaths of four women who just happen to be Green River victims.

Dave Reichert, now the sheriff of King County, has pursued the Green River killer for 20
years since he was one of the lead detectives on the case. Following Ridgways arrest, he
told the Seattle Times:

This has got to be one of the most exciting days in my entire career. I cannot say with
certainty that Gary Ridgway is responsible for all of the deaths, but boy, have we made
one giant step forward. This really vindicates our efforts, one of the characteristics of a
good investigator is you can never give up hope, because victims families never give up
hope.

Sheriff Reichert comforts a family member after Ridgeway's arrest (ęCorbis)

Reichert also told the Times that detectives from the newly formed Green River Task
Force 2 are examining ties that Ridgway has in Oregon in the hope that they can link him
to the murder victims whose remains were found in the Portland area. They are also
looking at over 90 similar cases involving missing and murdered women from Canada to
California in the hope that they will provide further links to the Green River murders.

Police are currently searching the three homes that Ridgway had previously occupied in
the hope of uncovering additional evidence.

His employment records were also subpoenaed and after careful checking it was
discovered that all of his absences coincided with the disappearances of many of the Green
River victims.

greenriverkiller.jpg
Gary Leon Ridgeway, 1982