King County wants help identifying Green River killer victim

In 2003, Gary Ridgway pleaded guilty to murdering 48 women. The names of two are still unknown.

An artist’s image of an unknown victim of Green River killer Gary Ridgway. (Courtesy image)

By Bothell-Kenmore Reporter

In 2003, Gary Ridgway, Washington’s notorious Green River killer, pleaded guilty to murdering 48 women. As of today, two of Ridgway’s victims remain unidentified.

Parabon Nanolabs Inc., working in concert with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, used its proprietary Snapshot DNA Analysis to develop this composite profile of one of these remaining women.

The investigative team, including detectives with the King County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit and forensic anthropologist Dr. Katherine Taylor, has shared this newly developed image so it can work to identify a woman known only to King County investigators as Bones 17.

The woman featured here was discovered, along with another Green River victim, on Jan. 2, 1986, by detectives in southeast King County. Although unidentified at the time, her death was included in Ridgway’s 2003 plea agreement.

Forensic evidence indicates she was potentially in her mid-to-late teens at the time of her murder. The path and circumstances that brought her to the Puget Sound area remain unknown. Isotope analysis, already done in this case, suggests she may be a native of the eastern United States or Canada.

“There is renewed urgency in this case,” said King County Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht. “Thirty-five years have passed since Bones 17’s discovery, and investigators want to connect with family before memories and other evidence fade.”

Every person, in the words of Dr. Taylor, needs their name. It will take the help of a nation to give Bones 17 hers.

Anyone with information that will help investigators identify Bones 17 is asked to contact:

• NCMEC ,The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 1-800-THE LOST (1-800-843-5678). Case TA 1151979

• The King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311 or email MCUTips@KingCounty.gov. Case 86-000818.

This story originally appeared in the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, a sister publication to The Herald.

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