If you have a news tip or story idea, I'd love to hear from you...
To leave a voice message for Linda about any of her stories call toll free 1-855-251-2363
Coming soon: Seattle serial killer tourJune 4, 2012 @ 6:04 pm (Updated: 3:45 am - 6/8/12 )
UPDATE 6/8/12: Green River Killer tours canceled
Cruise the SeaTac strip where dozens of women disappeared. See the locations where their bodies were later found. Drive by the house where a notorious serial killer lived. Hear the gruesome details of the murders of dozens of women.
A Seattle man will begin offering bus tours of locations where the Green River killer disposed of victims' bodies.
"I don't mean for this to sound callous, but I think there's a certain morbid entertainment value in it. That's why people watch true crime shows, Dateline NBC five nights a week, 48 Hours Mystery and CSI," says Matt Lewis, creator of a sight-seeing tour of Gary Ridgway's murder scenes and locations where he dumped victims' bodies. "It's like reading a book or watching it on TV. This is just another genre to see it."
Northwest residents are familiar with the two decade search for the Green River killer. In 2003, Gary Ridgway pleaded guilty to the murders of 48 women from 1982 to 1998. He confessed to nearly double that number of killings, and was later convicted of another murder.
Most of his young victims were prostitutes, drug users, or runaways. After strangling them, he scattered their bodies throughout King County. The bodies of his first five victims were found in the Green River, which is why he has that nickname.
He's in prison for life. As part of a plea bargain, Ridgway agreed to disclose the locations of some of the bodies that were still missing, in order to spare himself from the death penalty.
Green River Task Force Detectives took Gary Ridgway (wearing a tan jacket in this photo) on 24 separate trips throughout King County so Ridgway could point out locations where he might have placed his victims. King Co Sheriff Dept. photo
"Ridgway is a monster, but in some way we're all fascinated with monsters," Lewis says. "There's a huge market for true crime stories. I call this the mother of all true crime stories. There's no case ever that's been bigger than this case."
Lewis, with a background in advertising, describes himself as a voracious reader and true crime fan. He read Ann Rule's book "Green River, Running Red" and began reading other books and public documents about the case. Just short of "obsessed," he decided to set up a tours beginning in July.
The three-hour tour on a 22 passenger bus will depart downtown Seattle at 9pm, returning at midnight after giving riders a chance to get out of the bus at five locations to view a few of the "really creepy" locations in South King County where Ridgway left victims' bodies.
"I can tell you exactly where I picked up Denise Bush's remains. I'm sure he can't. I have been to all of the sites," says King County Sheriff's Sergeant Kathleen Larson. "My concern is that he doesn't know what he's talking about and this shows no concern for victims' families who have all suffered."
Others deputies who investigated the serial killings are more blunt with their opinions about Lewis's tour, calling it "sick," "twisted" and "demented."
"I took the tour a long time ago - on my hands and knees looking for remains - and I am not amused," says another former Green River task force investigator.
"I'm expecting that on first glance the tour is not going to be a really popular thing. I think that people are going to think 'wow there's somebody cashing in on something that tore my family apart and destroyed our lives.' I'm sensitive to that," Lewis says. "In no way is this glorifying what happened at all. Hopefully it does the opposite."
On his tour information website, he lists Ridgway's victims and includes brief descriptions of the young women's lives.
Lewis plans to give a small portion of the sales from $45 tickets to charity. He declined to identify the charity. He says "maybe about five percent" will go toward charity. If the project takes off, he suggests profits could be used to create a memorial for the Green River killer's victims.
"In London there's a Jack the Ripper tour, in Boston there's a Boston Strangler tour, in LA there's a Helter Skelter tour. This is bigger than all of those, so why shouldn't we have something like that here? I'd love it to grow into something that grows two, three, four times a week," says Lewis. "Hey you're going to Seattle and you like getting freaked out or creeped out, this is the tour for you."
So far he hasn't sold any tickets.
By LINDA THOMAS
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.