Make-a-List Monday: Possible Green River victims

Gary Leon Ridgway, the Green River Killer, was definitely responsible for 49 murders, but it’s likely he committed more than that. His enormous plea deal, where he pleaded guilty to 48 counts of murder (he was convicted of a 49th) was in King County, Washington. Any crimes he would have committed outside of King County did not apply, and if they were able to prove he committed other murders outside the county, he could face the death penalty.

Sensibly, Ridgway hasn’t admitted to any. But there are quite a few missing and murdered women outside of King County, but in the same general area, that seem to fit the profile of the Green River killings. I thought I’d make a list of the ones on Charley.

I’m not including the confirmed victims who are still missing. This list is probably incomplete; it’s based mostly on my own subjective judgment.

  1. Laronda Marie Bronson
  2. Rhonda Louise Burse
  3. Pollyanne Jean Carter
  4. Margaret Elaine Diaz
  5. Linda Louise Jackson
  6. Patricia Ann LeBlanc
  7. Kase Ann Lee
  8. Keli Kay McGinness
  9. Cora Christmas McGuirk
  10. Doris Lavonne Mulhern
  11. Patricia Anne Osborn
  12. Roseann Marie Stone Pleasant
  13. Louise Marie Sanders
  14. Kristi Lynn Vorak
  15. Darci Renae Warde

20 thoughts on “Make-a-List Monday: Possible Green River victims

  1. Peter Henderson Jr. January 8, 2018 / 7:16 am

    Note from Peter about Kase Ann Lee

    “Invictus”

    In 2008 the Lifetime Channel produced a two-part mini-series titled, “The Capture of the Green River Killer”

    Its principle character is a girl named Helen “Hel” Remus. She is played by Amy Davidson best known for being the younger sister on the sitcom “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter. “

    This was Ms. Davidson’s first adult role, although she plays the part of a teen. In it her character Helen tells her life’s story; she also speaks for all of Gary Ridgway’s victims.

    The poem “Invictus” is spoken throughout the movie.

    “Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul….”

    Helen’s story is a poignant counterpoint to the telling of real life sheriff David Reichert’s twenty-year search for the Green River killer.

    In the end the fictional Helen, just like the real life Kase, is never found.

    While it was at the time the highest rated movie on lifetime ever; some critics paned it. In part because they did not feel a fictional unfound girl was necessary.

    Those critics of course live in Hollywood and are 100% clueless about real missing person cases. It’s doubtful they ever heard of Kase Lee, much less realized how much her short time on this earth mimicked the fictional Helen’s.

    • christie January 11, 2018 / 12:23 pm

      I will check it out, Kasey was married on her way to get milk at the local corner 7-11 or such. It’s super sad because her husband forced her to prostitute and who lets their teen daughter get married, I always look for her as I live on the Duamish River which flows into the Green River. I keep thinking maybe one day on the Volunteer yard work day’s our small community has we uncover someones remains her or Kelly I hope.

  2. Peter Henderson Jr. January 8, 2018 / 7:25 am

    “Deep Red Bells”

    By Neko Case

    “He led you to this hiding place / His lightning threats on silver tongue / The red bells beckon you to ride / A hand print on the driver’s side / It looks a lot like engine oil / And tastes like being poor and small / And popsicles in summer.

    Deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done
    Deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done

    It always has to come to this / Red bells ring this tragic hour / Lost sight of the overpass / The daylight won’t remember you / When speckled fronds raise round your bones / Who took the time to fold your clothes? / Who shook the valley of the shadow?

    Deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done
    Deep red bells, deep as I’ve been done

    Where does this mean world cast its cold eye? / Who’s left to suffer long about you? / Does your soul cast about like an old paper bag? / Past empty lots and early graves / Those like you who lost their way / Murdered on the interstate / While the red bells rang like thunder”

    Note from Peter:

    The song “Deep Red Bells” by Neko Case was inspired by her growing up as a teenager in the Seattle area during the time of the Green River murders.

  3. Peter Henderson Jr. January 8, 2018 / 7:59 am

    Deborah Wims.. Missing since 10/25/90 from Seattle, Washington

    Age When Last Seen: 31 – Age Now: 59

    Case Type: Endangered Missing Adult – Foul Play Suspected

    Another possible Green River Victim

    Circumstances of Disappearance:

    Deborah Yvonne Wims, 31, was last seen at home on October 25, 1990 in Seattle, Washington.

    According to her boyfriend, who was also her pimp, she was on her way to a supermarket on the Pacific Highway South in King County. He later found her car at a Safeway at South 216 and Pacific Highway. This particular intersection is where several of the Green River killer’s victims were last seen alive.

    Deborah lead a very troubled life. Before she vanished she moved from one western state to another picking up a series of arrested for prostitution under an ever-growing list of aliases’. Her last two prostitution arrests occurred in King County, on the Pacific Highway South on May 10 and June 15, 1990.

    Back in 1992 Seattle Times reporter Tomas Guilien described Deborah’s disappearance this way:

    “At first glance, she seems no different from the other women who disappear periodically from Pacific Highway South.

    She’s young, a prostitute, a vagabond and she has a criminal record longer than most professional resumes.

    What sets her apart is her last name: Wims.”

    Deborah’s sister was Cheryl Lee Wims, 18.

    Cheryl Wims was murdered on May 23, 1983 by Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer.

    Cheryl vanished on her 18th birthday, while on her way from Seattle to Pacific Highway South in what is now SeaTac to pick up a birthday gift. Her remains were found north of the SeaTac Airport near a little league ball-field on March 22, 1984. Nearby the remains of Shawnda Lee Summers, 17, and a as yet unidentified teen were also found.

    Unlike Deborah, Cheryl had never been arrested for prostitution, but investigators say she occasionally turned tricks.

    In fact, according to King County Sheriff’s Detective Thomas Jensen, the woman Cheryl was on her way to see the day she vanished was a prostitute. That woman’s pimp, Jensen said, was the brother of Deborah Wims’ pimp.

    Back in 1992 investigators were perplexed. Deborah’s disappearance fit the profile of a Green River victim, but they were working under the belief that the then unknown Green River Killer had stopped his murderous spree in 1984.

    In fact, Ridgway had not stopped, he had just slowed down considerably. It theorized that it’s possible he had started hunt in nearby counties

    This may have been because of a change in police tactics. Prior to the end of 1984 police policy had been to arrest the working girls, but rarely the Johns. When the King County Sheriff’s Department turned the heat up in the SeaTac area the girls would move to downtown Seattle. When the Seattle police cracked down the girls moved back to the empty streets and abandoned houses surrounding the SeaTac area.

    Ironically a “reform” in Washington law, which gave juveniles most of the rights associated with being adults, helped produced a target rich environment for Ridgway.

    In 1977 the Washington state Legislature had decriminalized the act of running away. By the early ’80’s thousands of underage runaway teens were wandering the streets of Seattle and police were doing nothing to stop them.

    One reports states that in any given year, between 500 and 600 teenage girls were being turned out by area pimps. This report says that while the girls thought of themselves as being street wise, they were in fact, “naive little girls,” easily tricked but violent predators.

    According to an award-winning series in the Seattle Times, at the time the Green River Killer was most active, missing adult female cases were routinely sent to the Green River Task Force for follow-up. Runaway juvenile reports were also filed, but little work was done on them.

    Police now acknowledge that had they paid more attention to reports of runaway teens, the findings would have prompted them to increase manpower in the serial murder investigation sooner.

    In late 1984/1985, when the arrests for John’s started to double the arrests for working girls, Ridgway, who previously had murdered as many as five women – one young adult, four underage teens – in less than a month, was forced to cut way back.

    He only confessed to murdering four more women after 1984.

    Deborah is not one of them.

    It should be noted that King County Detective Thomas Jensen, the lone detective still assigned to the Green River Killings, is in charge of her case.

    • Peter Henderson Jr. January 8, 2018 / 8:17 am

      Follow-up: Speculation and theory.

      So, if Deborah was one of his victims why has Ridgway never identified her as such? His plea deal required him to do so, and he did confess to murdering women after 1984, so if he did kill her why not name her?

      One reason could be because of where he left her remains. Ridgway dumped his victim’s in cluster’s and he may be afraid of who else may be found next to Deborah.

      Ridgway’s plea deal to avoid the death penalty is with King County, not the state of Washington.

      If Deborah was left close to victim’s who vanished from neighboring Pierce County — and many women fitting the known high-risk life style are missing from the city of Tacoma and Pierce County — well he has no plea deal with them. He could face the death for women taken and killed from a different county.

      He could strike the same deal with Pierce County prosecutors of course but if social media news comments count, that would be a very unpopular decision

      • sailorhaumea January 12, 2018 / 7:58 pm

        I don’t think Ridgway killed Deborah.

        I don’t think he’s deliberately withholding information – he seems to genuinely struggle at remembering everyone he killed. IMO it’s not that he won’t talk, but that he can’t keep track of everyone.

        Just my two cents.

      • Meaghan January 12, 2018 / 8:59 pm

        He’s killed so many people it’s not surprising if he can’t quite place them all. Like normal men maybe not being able to remember the exact names of every woman they’ve ever slept with.

    • christie January 11, 2018 / 12:33 pm

      Crazy this is my local Safeway. I usually go to the one in Renton, but now I think I will venture to this one which is actually nicer and in a better area.

  4. Mia January 8, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    It seems odd to me that Ridgeway would rather waste away in prison than just get it over with through the death penalty. Then again, I’m probably not ever going to be faced with those choices, so I don’t know what his reasoning is.

  5. christie January 8, 2018 / 1:23 pm

    MIA he did not want death and his Attorney, Anthony Savage “Tony” also my Attorney until his death 3 years ago or so, did not believe in the Death Penalty. He fought hard for Gary to stay alive in prison. If he was killed we may never know who else he killed or where their human remains are. Tony left me with a list of victims, he wanted justice for those woman, I just don’t know how to write Gary to get him to tell me where their remains are. I have been thinking about it for the Past three years since Tony died. I think of Tony often, he was a friend and he believed in me when no one else did. He was a good man who loved his quaint home in Edmonds, WA and cherished his memory of his wife, and loved her cat Bubbles who outlived them both. He was well respected standing at 6’5 and in his 80’s when he defended me. The courts did what he said because he knew the truth and spoke the truth, this is why he fought for Gary to not be killed. We need to know. The families need to know.

  6. Lauren January 9, 2018 / 12:44 am

    OT — in your updates today you might want to double check the age listed for Mercedes Tolliver compared to the DOB. The math isn’t adding up. Thank you so much for all that you do.

  7. Kevin January 10, 2018 / 11:32 am

    It would be foolish to think that Gary committed no less than 200. A serial rapist and murderer, and made sure he never spoke of any murders he did where there was a death penalty.

  8. sailorhaumea January 10, 2018 / 10:52 pm

    Ridgway actually confessed to murdering Lee, Osborne, and McGinness. They’re basically missing a body so they won’t charge him yet.

    • christie January 11, 2018 / 12:31 pm

      Yep you are correct. Very sad. And McGinness was his “friend” that is what is worse him allowing her to live and feel safe with him, and then murdering her after their developed “friendship”.

  9. Alexandra Henderson January 26, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    Every link I click about any of these women, nothing happens. This message appears:
    Oops! That page can’t be found.
    It looks like nothing was found at this location. Maybe try the search?

    Is it just me?

    • Meaghan January 26, 2018 / 7:53 pm

      The site got redesigned earlier this month. None of the old links work anymore unfortunately.

      The new format is charleyproject.org/case/jane-elizabeth-smith or jane-smith in cases without middle names.

  10. Joe April 29, 2018 / 8:47 pm

    Your list is solid overall. Let me add some thoughts to a couple of unlikely cases, though.

    1. Roseann Marie Stone Pleasant is an extraordinarily long shot. Ridgway didn’t spent very little time in Eastern Washington, and it’s quite unlikely he killed anyone there. They also have a much better suspect in her case; her violent husband, who later was convicted of murdering their daughter.

    2. Laronda Marie Bronson is also unlikely. There was a local serial killer active during that same time frame. He exclusively targeted black prostitutes. Some of those murders have since been tied to Homer Lee Jackson, III. He might be a better suspect in the Bronson disappearance.

    As for Ridgway, he didn’t spend much time in Oregon. It is, however, a possibility, and I’ll explain why; sometime in fall of 1982, he took a trip down to Oregon to plant a pair of King, CO victims in order to confuse authorities. These victims were Denise Bush (killed Oct. 8) and Shirley Sherrill (killed Oct. 20-22). Ridgway insists that he had already dumped these victims in King CO; Denise Bush in a wooded lot in Tukwila (where, in 1990, authorites recovered her jawbone and medical shunt), and Shirley Sherrill off Auburn-Black Diamond Road. Things get hairy when dealing with the timing. Ridgway claimed that he came back some time later, gathered up SOME bones, and planted THOSE in Tigard, OR. If he was telling the truth, it’s entirely possible that he made that trip in mid November, around the time that Bronson went missing from Portland, and that he could potentially have been responsible for her disappearance.

    The problem is, authorities insisted that Ridgway had to have made that trip in October shortly after the Sherrill murder. While Bush’s partial remains were entirely consistent with Ridgway’s claims (along with the aforementioned bones later found in Tukwila), they recovered almost the entirety of Sherrill’s skeleton, including a large number of small bones that a murderer would be unlikely to find and collect to plant elsewhere after decomposition. The way her bones were spread around also indicated that she had decomposed on site in Tigard, and not just that her bones had been collected and dumped in a pile (as had evidently occurred with Denise Bush’s remains and those of another victim, Tracy Winston). They were also unable to find any evidence that Sherrill’s body had ever lain at the site Ridgway claimed he initially left her.

    Ultimately, it depends on which you give stronger credence. If you believe Ridgway, then it’s possible. Unlikely, but still entirely possible. If you believe investigators, then Ridgway was almost certainly nowhere near Portland when Bronson disappeared.

    3. Kristi Vorak was not known to live a high risk lifestyle, and generally doesn’t fit the profile of a Ridgway victim. I believe the only reason they investigated this case in relation to him is because of the timing and location of her disappearance.

    4. Rhonda Louise Burse disappeared during a time frame where there were a spate of murders an disappearances related to strip clubs in and around King County. These are generally considered to be organized crime related (google Frank Colacurcio for more info). I think it’s more likely her disappearance is related to this than to any Ridgway activity.

    • Christie M Groves April 29, 2018 / 9:23 pm

      Thanks Joe, why would they ever put Kristi Lynn Vorak on that list? I am going to send her in as a link to his teen murder victim NamUs UP # 9927 and NamUs UP # 9929 I can’t believe she wasn’t cleared from these human remains already unless she doesn’t have DNA.

  11. Joe April 29, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    I’d also like to share my own personal list of missing that I think have a moderate-to-high potential for Ridgway ties. These are arranged by date, with the oldest at top and most recent at the bottom.

    Louise Marie Sanders
    http://charleyproject.org/case/louise-marie-sanders
    Linda Louise Jackson
    http://charleyproject.org/case/linda-louise-jackson
    Patricia Ann LeBlanc
    http://charleyproject.org/case/patricia-ann-leblanc
    Tonya Lee Clemmons
    https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/case_report_html/7042
    Pollyanne Jean Carter
    http://charleyproject.org/case/pollyanne-jean-carter
    Tasha Logan
    https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/case_report_html/4907
    Doris Lavonne Mulhern
    http://charleyproject.org/case/doris-lavonne-mulhern
    Darci Renae Warde
    http://charleyproject.org/case/darci-renae-warde
    Deborah Yvonne Wims
    http://charleyproject.org/case/deborah-yvonne-wims
    Linda Lee Moore
    https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/case_report_html/7288
    Cora Christmas McGuirk
    http://charleyproject.org/case/cora-christmas-mcguirk
    Helen Irene Tucker
    http://charleyproject.org/case/helen-irene-tucker
    Jimmie Lynn Caine
    https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/14141/0/
    Tami Faye Kowalchuk
    http://charleyproject.org/case/tami-faye-kowalchuk
    Jennifer Mae Enyart
    http://charleyproject.org/case/jennifer-mae-enyart

    I’d like to add that I think it’s highly unlikely that he killed all of these women, but I think it’s very likely he killed a few of them. It’s also important to keep in mind that Ridgway was FAR from the only serial offender targeting prostitutes and other vulnerable classes in the Puget Sound during the 80s and 90s. Some of these women likely fell prey to these predators, or one-off killers, others might have overdosed and been hidden by panicked friends/dealers, or perhaps even started a new life somewhere else.

  12. Christie M Groves April 29, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    Joe, I am going to contact NamUs about Tasha Logan because she is not actually a person at all but a made up name and doesn’t exists weird case. The person who entered her Data is not a registered user and is not in there Data Base anymore. IDK sounds like something strange. As well, Tami Faye, here is the kicker on this one, she had been living with her Dad and not her Mom so the original story went, she was a known meth/heroine user and more than likely died of an overdose, so I am not even sure where are this crazy talk about her last known happening got accounted for especially since her own Mother took 5 years to report her missing? WTF? Just so sad.

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