A Lifetime movie about the killing spree of convicted serial murderer Gary Ridgway (pictured below) — otherwise known as the “Green River Killer” — led to the identification of one of the victims, Sandra Denise Major (pictured), whom he brutally murdered some 30 years ago, reports the New York Daily News.
Ridgway, who literally terrorized the city of Seattle in the early ’80s, was convicted of killing at least 50 women, many of whom were prostitutes. The predator’s modus operandi was strangulation and his victims’ ages ranged from 15 to 31.
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With his killings, Ridgway reportedly wanted to rid the world of prostitution, believing that prostitutes were “second-class” citizens, so he continued to kill and even referred to the murders as “his job.”
After Ridgway would kill his victims, then he would dump their bodies in to either the Green River or at selected dumping sites that he would later re-visit and then engage in perverted sexual acts of necrophilia with the bodies.
Watch the Green River Murders here:
Major was reported missing by a friend in 1982, but none of her family members ever pursued her whereabouts with police investigators, even though — oddly enough — they suspected that she might have died at the hands of Ridgway.
Last April, a cousin of Major’s was watching a Lifetime movie about the Green River Killer and saw that there were still some victims who had not been identified after all these years. The unidentified cousin called his town’s police department in Rochester, N.Y., and they launched an investigation regarding the cold case.
Major’s body, along with those of two other victims, was dumped at a cemetery. Cold case detectives were able to identify Major by taking samples of her bones and matching them to DNA samples from her family. Washington state officials announced on Monday that Major was in fact one of Ridgway’s victims.
After the announcement, Major’s family released a statement:
“We were aware of the lifestyle Sandra lived but she was still part of our family,” the statement reads. “We last saw Sandra here in New York in 1982. We received a letter from her in 1982 with a Seattle postmark but no return address. We never heard from her again and did not know what happened to her.”
On November 21, 2001, Ridgway was arrested for the murders.
The man who once said that he had such a hard time remembering how many women he actually killed, avoided the death penalty by confessing to murdering 48 victims. He was given 48 life sentences without possibility of parole.