Ridgway still a suspect in BC missing women case

Petti Fong
Vancouver Sun

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Serial murderer Gary Ridgway remains a potential suspect in the disappearance of 40 women from the Downtown Eastside, police spokeswomen from the missing women task force said Wednesday.

"Early on in our investigation, Mr. Ridgway was identified as a potential suspect in addition to hundreds of other suspects," said Corporal Cate Galliford. "He has not been ruled out as a suspect in the cases up here."

Galliford said investigators with the missing women task force have previously spoken to investigators in the Green River killings.

The task force held a press conference Wednesday to announce the forensic investigation at the Pickton pig farm site in Port Coquitlam will wrap up by next week.

Galliford said it was coincidental that Ridgway also admitted Wednesday in a Seattle courtroom to killing 48 women.

"I killed so many women I have a hard time keeping them straight," Ridgway said in a confession read aloud in court by a prosecutor.

Robert (Willy) Pickton, a pig farmer with an extensive family history in Port Coquitlam, has been in jail since February 2002, when investigators began searching the family's 6.5-hectare site on Dominion Avenue.

He has been charged with 15 counts of murder as a result of the investigation into the disappearance of 61 missing women from the Downtown Eastside.

Galliford said Wednesday police are still looking for 40 of those women.

Detective Constable Sheila Sullivan said police are not willing to discuss whether Ridgway is considered high or low on its list of potential suspects in the disappearance of the still-missing women.

Investigators from the Lower Mainland still want to talk to the police who arrested Ridgway and conducted the Green River killer investigation to find out whether there are any connections, said Sullivan.

Ridgway once told police that he was fixated on prostitutes, saying they affected him "as strongly as alcohol does an alcoholic."

The 48 victims of the Green River killer, who struck between 1982 and 1984, became the worst unsolved serial killing in U.S. history until the 2001 arrest of Ridgway, an unassuming paint truck driver who was married and had a grown son.

The women stopped disappearing around the time that sex-trade workers began disappearing from Vancouver streets.

Vancouver police have met with investigators in King County several times to discuss the timing of the disappearances.

Some of the women who went missing from the Downtown Eastside had worked as prostitutes, as had some of the victims of the Green River killer.

 Copyright 2003 Vancouver Sun

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Huge Pickton farm search winds down-Nov 5, 2003



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