Mission killers believe that it is their duty or destiny to rid the world of certain types of people as a way of cleansing society. Common targets are prostitutes and homosexuals. “Angels of Death,” that prey on patients in hospitals and nursing homes, committing what they call mercy killings, also fit into this category. These killers believe they have a “mission.”
Gary Ridgway (The Green River Killer) was responsible for the deaths of between 48 and 71 women from 1982-1984. When apprehended, he avoided execution by agreeing to help locate the remains of all of those women and providing details. He was sentenced to 48 life sentences and was incarcerated at the Washington State Penitentiary.
Ridgway was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and had two brothers. His mother was a domineering woman who constantly berated their father and completely controlled him. Ridgway’s IQ was 80, which signified a slight mental deficiency. He was a troubled adolescent and, when he was sixteen years old, he stabbed a six year old child. For whatever reason, he was always obsessed with prostitutes.
His drama unfolds at Aurora Avenue on the banks of the Green River in the state of Washington, an area frequented by hundreds of prostitutes. The body of Ridgway’s first victim, a sixteen year old prostitute, was found there. She was raped and strangled. He was known to leave a group of dead bodies in clusters. Driving by and remembering them gave him a high.
The “Green River Taskforce” was formed in 1984 when the death toll had reached 26. Police enlisted the help of another serial killer, Ted Bundy, who was on death row, to get insight into the workings of a serial killer’s mind. He gave them several valuable clues up until the time he was executed.
Gary Ridgway was one of the worst slayers in American history, who said he killed more women than any other serial killer. In his words, “I hate most prostitutes. I did not want to pay them for sex. I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away, and might never be reported missing.”
Ridgway was married for fourteen years and he managed two totally separate lives: one the life of a wonderful husband going on romantic vacations with his wife and the other as an infamous serial killer.
Can you imagine how his wife must have felt when she found out that she was living with a serial killer?