Famous And Currently Active Washington State Serial Killers

Washington State is a beautiful, history-rich part of the United States, with a vast surface area and a population the size of a small European country. While it might conjure up images of a bustling suburban metropolis, a large area of Washington is actually covered with dense forestry, which makes it the perfect location for a serial killer to hide a body or kill someone away from prying eyes.

Washington is home to famous universities, attracting a plethora of young students, but it’s also a state with many problems with poverty and homelessness. This has resulted in widespread crime and prostitution, the latter of which certainly aided serial killer activity over the years.

According to the Radford Serial Killer database, there have been around 75 serial killers in Washington State since 1900, including some of the most notorious murderers in known history. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the most heinous and prolific Washington State Serial Killers to have ever lived, and even currently active killers who haven't been caught.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy is the absolute embodiment of evil; an archetypal serial killer whose crimes still discussed and dissected to this day.  

Ted Bundy The Washington State Serial Killer

Bundy was decent-looking, a gifted academic and boasted charisma in spades. To many women, he might be considered perfect husband material. But of course, Bundy was a disturbed individual who harboured dark secrets, and those secrets involved murder, rape and necrophilia. He was a law student, interested in politics and had a promising future ahead of him until his grim obsession took over.

It’s presumed that Bundy began killing in 1971 in his hometown of Seattle, and although his total number of victims is unknown, it is believed that he was responsible for the deaths of thirty women.

Bundy’s modus operandi was to attract unsuspecting victims by faking injury and asking passers-by for help. He exploited women’s vulnerabilities and primal desire to nurture, and when opportunity arose, Bundy struck, blitz-attacking his victims when they were unsuspecting.

He evaded being caught by moving around the country, going on to kill young women in seven different states before he was finally caught and awarded the death penalty. Just days before Bundy was executed, he confessed to a total of 30 victims. He died on the electric chair in 1989.

Gary Ridgway The Green River Killer

Gary Leon Ridgway, known as the Green River Killer, is one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. He was convicted of 48 murders, but confessed to a staggering 71, spanning from 1982 to 1998.

He earned his nickname after many of his victims were discovered along Washington’s famous Green River. Most of his victims were young, vulnerable women, many of them being sex workers who Ridgway had hired. His preferred method of killing was strangulation, after which he would dump the bodies in wooded areas or the river.

Gary Ridgway Washington State Serial Killer

Ridgway managed to evade capture for almost twenty years after his first murder, and was eventually arrested in 2001. After he was first identified as a suspect in the Green River killings, DNA evidence finally cemented his guilt.

In order to escape the death penalty, Ridgway accepted a plea bargain, confessing to 48 killings for which he received 48 consecutive life sentences.

Robert Lee Yates

The Spokane serial killer, Robert Yates, worked as a correction officer at the Washington State Penitentiary before enrolling in the US army where he gained several medals for his service.

His victims were sex workers that he would hire, do the deed with and then shoot in the head. As is the case with most serial killers, Yates’s total number of victims is unknown, but he confessed to having taken the life of 18 women between 1975 to 1998.

Yates managed to evade capture for many years, using his reputation as an army and family man, but was arrested in 2000 after evidence found in his car tied him to one of the murders.

Although Yates entered a plea deal to void the death penalty, after evidence of two more murders was uncovered, he was sentenced to death, but was later changed to life imprisonment after the death penalty was abolished in 2018 in the state of Washington.

Warren Leslie Forrest

Warren Leslie Forrest is a war veteran turned serial killer from Vancouver, Washington. Although officially charged with only two murders, his body count is believed to be at least six.

Warren Leslie Forrest Serial Killer From Washington State

In 1974, Forrest was arrested for the murder of an unnamed victim, for which he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and was committed to a mental institution. However, police believed that Forrest was responsible for several other unsolved murders throughout Washington State, including two which were originally thought to be the handiwork of Ted Bundy.

In 1979, they discovered evidence to charge Forrest with the murder of 19-year-old Krista Kay Blake, for which Forrest received a life sentence. After more than forty years, detectives found more proof connecting him to other murders for which he is still awaiting trial. 

Currently Active Washing State Serial Killers

Washington state investigators have certainly had a difficult job fighting and apprehending serial killers throughout the decades. As of June 2020, there are no known active serial killers in the state, but there are still a few unsolved cases that may be attributed to them.

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The Tube Sock Murders

The Tube Sock Murders are a series of unsolved homicides that took place in Mineral, Washington in 1985.

Two couples were killed in total, but another couple murdered in the same period are thought to be victims of the same perpetrator. The first couple, Steve Harkins and Ruth Cooper, were killed in August, 1985, and their bodies were found in a remote campsite. Harkins was discovered only four days after his initial disappearance, while Cooper wasn’t found until months later, about a mile away from her boyfriend’s body. They had both been shot, but the woman’s body displayed signs of trauma, and was found with a tube sock around her neck.

 The second couple, Mike Riemer and Diana Robertson, disappeared under similar circumstances in December of the same year. Robertson’s body was discovered in February 1986, showing a total of seventeen stab wounds along with a sock around her neck. Partial remains of Rimer weren’t discovered until 2011, and up until that point, Riemer had been considered a suspect in the Tube Sock Murders.

 Police had a few theories and leads, however, nothing ever came of them.

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10 comments

kay

My mom used to live directly next door to Ted Bundy that gives me the chills

Watchful

I wonder if what’s going on in Pullman and Moscow is a serial killer in the making. Still on the loose and another student had someone try to break in at 4:30am the other night but her dog scared them away. I’m telling my kids who are students at WSU to be safe and take precautions. Cameras everywhere, dog, knife, everything locked, don’t walk alone, etc.

Ron

My dad went to high-school with yates said he was odd but not to point it made anyone think he could turn out to be a killer. My dad was friends with yates possible first 2 victims

Another one is a friend’s aunt was working one night and caught the eye of bundy.. she was supposed to meet him at his motel room but she ended up getting sick. She still has his Receive with his name and room number he wrote down. Few months later he was arrested.

Tyrone Gonzalez

Don’t forget about the one in omak currently

Anon

My partner was incarcerated and awaiting trial in seg at king county when Gary ridgeway was arrested. My partner said he was just a normal guy that’s laugh at jokes in the readers digest. Said he was small in stature but with a strong disposition. Creeps me out that my man lived next door to him for so long

arlo

I worked beside Gary Ridgeway for 7 years at Kenworth (Seattle). Never would have guessed, although we did place bets on others at work.

Clay

My mother grew up in the same neighborhood as the green river killer, crazy to know that she was a teen when those murders were going on…

Maxwell Torres

My dad actually grew up with Robert Lee Yates’ daughter. They were good friends. It’s crazy to think that her father did all that.

Pamela Murphy

Your right Brooke!

Brooke

The man in the picture isn’t Robert lee Yates

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