Last unknown victim of Green River Killer identified

Remains of “Bones 20” belong to Everett teen Tammie Liles.

Tammie Liles. (Courtesy of the King County Sheriff’s Office.)

Tammie Liles. (Courtesy of the King County Sheriff’s Office.)

Law enforcement have identified the final unknown remains of the Green River Killer case.

The identification of the partial remains, discovered on the Kent-Des Moines Road and labeled as Bones 20, leave no additional unidentified remains associated with the Green River Killer case.

According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, investigators have confirmed the identity of Bones 20 as belonging to 16-year-old Tammie Liles of Everett, a previously identified victim.

Law enforcement first identified Liles as a victim in 1988 through a match of dental records to a separate set of remains. Law enforcement discovered Liles’s remains in 1985 in Tualatin, Oregon, alongside a second set of female remains.

Law enforcement interviewed Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, in 2002 and 2003 regarding the two sets of remains discovered in Tualatin, Oregon. He denied responsibility at the time for the murders of Liles and the second unidentified woman.

In 2003, Ridgway led investigators to a site on Kent-Des Moines Road that he identified as a location where he left a victim’s body.

According to prosecutorial documents, Ridgway stated the site on Kent-Des Moines Road served as a frequent area he drove by and “always remembered it as a dumpsite.”

According to prosecutorial documents, the Green River Task Force’s search of the area recovered approximately 23 human bones. Investigators found no skull.

A forensic anthropologist with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office estimated the age of the bones to range from 10 years to 20-plus years old, according to prosecutorial documents. Ridgway himself stated he murdered the victim in 1982 to 1983, “but he also acknowledged that it could have occurred in the 1970s.”

A DNA profile for the victim created through the remains discovered at the Kent-Des Moines Road site found no match on the National DNA Index System, a national database of DNA profiles for missing persons and unidentified remains.

Investigators labeled the unidentified remains as Bones 20.

The King County Sheriff’s Office contracted a forensic sequencing laboratory named Othram in 2022 to conduct forensic genetic genealogy testing on the case of Bones 20.

Othram notified the King County Sheriff’s Office in August 2023 of the successful construction of a DNA profile for the unknown victim, with the genealogy team having identified Bones 20 as Liles.

Detectives collected a DNA sample from Liles’s mother, sent to the University of North Texas that used traditional DNA testing techniques to confirm the remains as belonging to Liles.

In 2003, Ridgway pleaded guilty to the murder of Bones 20 and 48 additional victims. He pleaded guilty to killing a 49th victim in February 2011.

According to an email from Casey McNerthney, director of communications for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Liles’s remains served as one of Ridgway’s 48 aggravated murder counts the King County Superior Court sentenced him on.

Ridgway remains in Department of Corrections custody at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, serving 49 consecutive life sentences for murder.

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