Remains of Final Known Victim of Murderer Identified

Final Known Victim of Killer Identified

( – In 2001, law enforcement officials used DNA from a saliva sample taken from Gary Ridgway in 1987 to positively identify him as the Green River Killer. Ridgeway targeted vulnerable women like runaways and sex workers in the Seattle area during the 1980s and 1990s. Similarly, it has taken years for detectives and forensic experts to identify his victims. A recent report indicated that investigators identified Ridgeway’s final known victim.

On January 22, the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) issued a news release announcing that investigators identified a partial set of remains discovered in 2003 as 16-year-old Tammie Liles. Officials stored and labeled them as “Bones #20” due to their inability to determine their identity at the time.

In the autumn of 2022, KCSO officials met with representatives of a forensic laboratory specializing in unsolved murders and disappearances using forensic genetic genealogy. Oram agreed to see if it could build a suitable DNA profile of those remains for identification purposes.

Othram officials contacted the KCSO in August 2023 and advised that it successfully sequenced the DNA from Bones 20 and tentatively identified them as belonging to Liles. Detectives followed up by obtaining a DNA sample from her mother. Experts at the University of North Texas compared those two samples and positively identified the remains using traditional mitochondrial and short tandem repeat DNA testing.

Officials previously identified another partial set of remains as belonging to Liles. In 1985, law enforcement officials recovered the remains of two women near a golf course located on the outskirts of Tigard, Oregon, about three hours from Seattle. Investigators were able to later identify the remains of one of them as Liles using dental records.

Ridgway eventually pleaded guilty to the murder of Bones #20 and 47 other victims in 2003. He is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the Washington State Penitentiary under a plea agreement with prosecutors. He was briefly incarcerated at a high-security federal prison in Colorado in 2015. However, he was transferred back to WSP five months later so he could be “easily accessible” to detectives investigating unsolved murders.

According to CBS News, while Liles is the last known victim, there are more unsolved cases that may be linked to the killer.

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