Remains tied to prolific serial killer who left 50 dead in the Northwest are identified as missing teen nearly 40 years after her bones were discovered by a driver that accidentally crashed down an embankment

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Gary Ridgway, now 70, is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2003 of killing the 49 women in Washington state 
  • Lori Anne Razpotnik’s remains were found 38 years ago and labeled as ‘Bones 17’ until they were matched using a new DNA profile 
  • Razpotnik ran away from her Lewis County home in 1982 at the age of 15, never to be seen by her family again 

One of the dozens of victims of the so-called ‘Green River Killer’ in the Pacific Northwest, a teenager who was last seen in 1982, has been finally identified through DNA testing.

Gary Ridgway, now 73, is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2003 of killing the 49 women in Washington state and is serving 49 consecutive life sentences at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla..  

Ridgway, who is considered one of the nation’s most prolific serial killers, has confessed to killing as many as 80 women but there was only enough evidence at the time to secure a conviction for 49 of them. 

Lori Anne Razpotnik’s remains were found 38 years ago and labeled as ‘Bones 17’ until they were matched using a new DNA profile contracted by the King County Sheriff’s Office.

The reveal means that only one of the confirmed victims of Ridgway killed between the early 80s and late 90s has yet to be identified.  

Lori Anne Razpotnik’s remains were found 38 years ago and labeled as ‘Bones 17’ until they were matched using a new DNA profile contracted by the King County Sheriff’s Office

Gary Ridgway, now 73, is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2003 of killing the 49 women in Washington state

Gary Ridgway, now 73, is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2003 of killing the 49 women in Washington state

Razpotnik ran away from her Lewis County home in 1982 at the age of 15, never to be seen by her family again. 

Her remains were found three years later after a car that veered off the road near a cemetery in Auburn near where three sets of human remains were eventually found, including 16-year-old Kimi-Kai Pitsor.

The two unidentified victims were dubbed ‘Bones 16’ and ‘Bones 17’ after a task force assigned to solving the murders took over the investigation but it was never identified as Razpotnik until nearly 40 years later. 

‘Bones 17’ was confirmed as Razpotnik by a Virginia-based firm called Parabon Nanolabs and confirmed by DNA comparison testing done at the University of North Texas, according to the Seattle Times.

‘Bones 16’ was identified as then-20-year-okd Sandra Major back in 2012. She was last seen climbing into a truck in North Seattle in 1982.

Ridgway pled guilty to murdering both Razpotnik and Major in 2003 but claimed he couldn’t remember any specifics about their killings. 

He would target mostly young female prostitutes or runaways and then dump their bodies around the Seattle area. 

‘I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught,’ he said. 

The reveal means that only one of the confirmed victims of Ridgway killed between the early 80s and late 90s has yet to be identified

The reveal means that only one of the confirmed victims of Ridgway killed between the early 80s and late 90s has yet to be identified

Ridgway was dubbed the Green River Killer because the bodies of several of his victims in the early 1980s were found in or near that river. 

Patty Eakes, one of the prosecuting attorneys assigned to the case, said the lack of emotion Ridgway showed when he eventually admitted to killing the women was still troubling to her. 

She recalls him confessing to the brutal crimes as if ‘he was taking a walk’. 

‘A couple of things jumped out at me,’ she told Fox News of the killings in 2020. 

‘He would take his son and leave him in the car while he went back and had sex with the bodies… It didn’t seem to register in his mind just how messed up that was. 

‘So depraved and really, no recognition on his part that, you know, he took a child and left the child in the car while he was off killing a woman, or going back another time to have sex with a different dead body.

‘It creeped me out at such a level that was shocking, even for somebody like me who’s had a lot of exposure, unfortunately, to murders.’ 

Eakes said Ridgway came across as just an average ‘goofy, middle-aged guy’. 

Patty Eakes, one of the prosecuting attorneys assigned to the case, said the lack of emotion Ridgway showed when he eventually admitted to killing the women was still troubling to her. Photo courtesy of KCPQ

Patty Eakes, one of the prosecuting attorneys assigned to the case, said the lack of emotion Ridgway showed when he eventually admitted to killing the women was still troubling to her. Photo courtesy of KCPQ

Some of his victims: Amina Agisheff, Wendy Lee Coffield, Gisele Ann Lovvorn, Debra Lynn Bonner, Marcia Faye Chapman, Cynthia Jean Hinds, Opal Charmaine Mills, Kassee Ann Lee, Terry Rene Milligan, and Mary Bridget Meehan

Some of his victims: Amina Agisheff, Wendy Lee Coffield, Gisele Ann Lovvorn, Debra Lynn Bonner, Marcia Faye Chapman, Cynthia Jean Hinds, Opal Charmaine Mills, Kassee Ann Lee, Terry Rene Milligan, and Mary Bridget Meehan

Some of his victims: Carrie A. Rois, Kimberly L. Nelson, Lisa Yates, Mary Exzetta West and Cindy Anne Smith

Some of his victims: Carrie A. Rois, Kimberly L. Nelson, Lisa Yates, Mary Exzetta West and Cindy Anne Smith

‘You had to remind yourself of who he was and what he was capable of doing,’ she said, adding that some victims may have been comfortable getting into his truck due to his seemingly harmless personality. 

‘I think he looked for vulnerable women. He had this strange, underlying need to feel like he had a beautiful woman by his side. Often the women that he picked up were attractive. He wanted to be one of those guys who’s like, ‘I have a beautiful woman with me.’ He didn’t necessarily feel like he had that in his personal life… Physical attractiveness was definitely part of it,’ she said.  

The first of his victims turned up in 1982 in the Green River, which gave the then-unknown attacker the name Green River Killer. By the end of 1984, the bodies of 42 women had been found. 

Ridgway, a longtime painter at a truck company and father of one child, had been a suspect since 1984. 

The boyfriend of one of his victim’s Marie Malvar had reported seeing her get into a pickup truck identified as Ridgway’s. Ridgway told police then that he didn’t know Malvar and a police investigator who knew him cleared him as a suspect. 

Ridgway was eventually arrested in 2001 after detectives linked his DNA to sperm found in three of the earliest victims. 

By 2002, prosecutors had charged him with seven murders but they had all but given up hope of linking him to the dozens of other women. 

He offered to help authorities find the remains of his other victims if prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty. 

He offered to help authorities find the remains of his other victims if prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty

He offered to help authorities find the remains of his other victims if prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty

Ridgway was eventually arrested in 2001 after detectives linked his DNA to sperm found in three of the earliest victims

Ridgway was eventually arrested in 2001 after detectives linked his DNA to sperm found in three of the earliest victims

Eakes was among those who worked with Ridgway over a six-month span to identify the remaining murders.  

‘There remain missing women. There remain women who probably will never be found. He claims other murders, and you just don’t know whether or not they occurred,’ Eakes said.

The King County Sheriff’s Office said they have continued to investigate Ridgway even after he was jailed.  

They say they still have three open cases where remains have been found and they are actively trying to identify them.

Ridgway had been a suspect since 1984 but a police investigator who knew him cleared him as a suspect

Ridgway was eventually arrested in 2001 after detectives linked his DNA to sperm found in three of the earliest victims

Ridgway had been a suspect since 1984 but a police investigator who knew him cleared him as a suspect. He was eventually arrested in 2001 after detectives linked his DNA to sperm found in three of the earliest victims

Washington StateFox News

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