Woman Describes Close Call With Green River Killer - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Woman Describes Close Call With Green River Killer

(CNN) -- Rebecca Garde had just gotten off work from her telemarketing job and was met by another drizzly and damp Seattle evening.

Usually, she took the bus home, but on that night in November 1982 she just couldn't handle waiting in the rain any longer. So she decided to hitchhike along Pacific Highway South, a decision that would change her life forever.

A maroon Dodge pickup happened by. The man driving it seemed unremarkable to Garde -- "boring" and "dull," she recalled.

But he offered her a ride. She offered a proposition: $20 in exchange for a sex act. For Garde, 20 at the time, it was an opportunity to escape the rain and a way to pay for some marijuana.

She had no way of knowing that the driver was Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, one of the country's most prolific serial killers. She didn't know the terror he had in store for her.

Nearly 30 years later, Garde spoke about her escape as part of CNN's recent investigation into serial murders.

She didn't want to talk much about what she's doing today and said she is trying to put the past behind her.

Throughout his 20-year killing spree, Ridgway strangled dozens of women. While he pleaded guilty to killing 48 women between the early 1980s and 2001, Ridgway has told police about an additional 20 women.

Like many of his other victims, Garde used drugs and was involved in prostitution. But unlike the others, Garde is the only known survivor of Ridgway's attacks.

Prostitutes, Ridgway told court officials, were the easiest victims because he knew police had a difficult time tracking down women who were constantly changing their names and addresses.

The majority of Ridgway's victims were teenage girls who had left tough or abusive homes, turning to the streets where they supported drug habits through prostitution.

At the time, teenage prostitutes were not hard to find in the Seattle area, and some blame a state law known as the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1977.

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