Who Is Considered the Worst Serial Killer in American History?

When it comes to the worst serial killers in American history, there are a few names that come to mind. However, one name that stands out above the rest is that of Gary Ridgway, also known as the Green River Killer.

The Early Years

Gary Ridgway was born on February 18, 1949, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the second of three sons and had a troubled childhood.

His father was a bus driver who often complained about prostitutes and would take his sons with him to pick up sex workers. Ridgway’s mother was domineering and would often belittle him in front of others.

The First Kill

Ridgway’s first known murder occurred in 1982 when he strangled a young woman named Wendy Lee Coffield. Her body was found near the Green River in King County, Washington. Over the next few years, several more women were found murdered in the same area.

Modus Operandi

Ridgway’s modus operandi was to pick up prostitutes or runaways and strangle them during sex. After killing them, he would dump their bodies in wooded areas or rivers. He also returned to the bodies of some victims to have sex with them again.

The Investigation

The investigation into the Green River Killer began in 1982 and continued for nearly two decades before Ridgway was finally caught. During this time, law enforcement interviewed thousands of potential suspects and collected countless pieces of evidence.

Arrest and Conviction

In 2001, Ridgway was arrested after DNA evidence linked him to four murders committed between 1982 and 1984. He eventually confessed to killing 49 women over a period of two decades.

The Legacy

Gary Ridgway’s killing spree is considered one of the worst in American history. His murders traumatized not only the families of his victims but also the entire Seattle area. The Green River Killer will always be remembered as one of the most heinous serial killers to have ever lived.


In conclusion, Gary Ridgway’s reign of terror left a dark stain on American history. His actions were monstrous and affected countless lives. While justice was eventually served, the scars he left behind will never fully heal.