Runaway 15-year-old Lori Anne Ratzpotnik identified as victim in Green River Killer case

A victim of the Green River Killer was identified nearly four decades after her body was found. 

Two sets of human remains were found in Auburn, Washington, along a steep embankment in 1985, according to a news release from the King County Sheriff’s Office. At the time, the remains were investigated by the Green River Task Force — set up to investigate a series of bodies found dumped in the woods along the Green River in Washington state in the early 1980s. The sets were identified as Bones 16 and Bones 17, the sheriff’s office said.

In 2002, the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, led officials to the location and said he had placed victims there. He pleaded guilty to the murders of those two victims, as well as 46 other women and girls, in 2003. In 2012, the set of remains known as Bones 16 was identified through DNA testing as Sandra Majors. 

It wasn’t until this week that investigators were able to conclude that Bones 17 were the remains of Lori Anne Ratzpotnik, a 15-year-old who had run away from home in 1982, the sheriff’s office said. Ratzpotnik had lived in Lewis County, about 75 miles away from Auburn. 

412517739-669121775412265-7200815057654789049-n.jpg
Lori Anne Ratzpotnik

King County Sheriff’s Office


Investigators worked with Parabon NanoLabs to use forensic genetic genealogy testing on the remains. The lab was able to develop a new DNA profile. Razpotnik’s mother provided a saliva sample to detectives, and the University of North Texas carried out DNA comparison testing “which confirmed that they were Lori Anne’s remains,” the sheriff’s office said. 

Ridgway’s first murder victims were found in 1982 and Ridgway was arrested in 2001. In 2003, Ridgway agreed to plead guilty to all murders that he had committed in King County to avoid the death penalty. Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated murder in the first degree, according to King’s County, and remains imprisoned for life without a chance of release at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

Two victims remain unidentified: though Ridgway admitted to their murders, he could not “supply any significant information that would assist” in their identification, King County said in a page dedicated to the investigation into the Green River Killer. 

The county also said there are three women — Kassee Ann Lee, Kelly Kay McGinnis and Patricia Ann Osborn — who were last seen in the Seattle area in the early 1980s. They remain missing today and “are listed on the official Green River Homicides list,” but Ridgway was not charged in their disappearances. 

screen-shot-2023-12-20-at-3-19-44-pm.png
Kassee Ann Lee, Kelly Kay McGinnis and Patricia Ann Osborn.

King County


The county noted that authorities are also looking for three missing women, one of whom is unidentified, who have been missing since the early 1980s. One of the women was an associate of Tammie Liles, another victim of Ridgway’s. Police have asked that anyone with information about these women, or any other crimes linked to the Green River case, contact them. 

After nearly four decades, the remains of a victim of the Green River Killer have been identified. In 1985, two sets of human remains were found in Auburn, Washington, and were investigated by the Green River Task Force. These remains, known as Bones 16 and Bones 17, were later identified as the victims of Gary Ridgway, also known as the Green River Killer. Ridgway confessed to murdering these two victims, as well as 46 other women and girls, and pleaded guilty in 2003.

In 2012, Bones 16 was identified as Sandra Majors through DNA testing. However, it was not until recently that Bones 17 were identified as the remains of Lori Anne Ratzpotnik. Ratzpotnik, a 15-year-old who had run away from home in 1982, lived 75 miles away from Auburn in Lewis County.

Investigators used forensic genetic genealogy testing and worked with Parabon NanoLabs to develop a new DNA profile for the remains. Ratzpotnik’s mother provided a saliva sample for comparison testing, which confirmed the identity of the remains.

Despite Ridgway’s confession, there are still two victims whose identities remain unknown. The investigation into the Green River Killer also highlights three missing women, Kassee Ann Lee, Kelly Kay McGinnis, and Patricia Ann Osborn, who were last seen in the Seattle area in the early 1980s.

Authorities are urging anyone with information about these women or any other crimes related to the Green River case to come forward. Ridgway is currently serving life imprisonment without the possibility of release at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending

Related Articles