March 27, 2003: Gary Leon Ridgway appears at a pretrial hearing in King County Superior Court in Seattle. Ridgway, already serving 48 life terms in the Green River killings, is expected to plead guilty to Rebecca Marrero's murder at his arraignment Friday at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent, Wash. (AP)AP2003
SEATTLE – Washington state officials say they have identified the remains of a victim of the notorious Green River Killer found in 1985 as those of a woman last seen by her family in 1982.
Q13 Fox reports the remains of 20-year-old Sandra Denise Major were identified by matching DNA samples taken from her family.
One of Major's relatives reportedly saw a television movie about the Green River case, which mentioned that some of the remains of victims linked to serial killer Gary Ridgway had never been identified. The relative contacted the King County Sheriff's Office to see if Major may have been one of the victims.
Q13 Fox reports Major was last seen by her family in New York in 1982 and was working as a prostitute. Her family said in a statement Monday they last heard from her when she sent them a postcard postmarked from Seattle without a return address that same year.
"We were aware of the lifestyle Sandra lived but she was still a part of our family," the statement read. "We want to thank the detectives from the King County Sheriff’s Office, the University of North Texas, Bode Technology and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for working together to bring closure to our family."
Major's remains were found with two other sets of remains at a cemetery in 1985. Ridgeway admitted committing all three murders.
He pleaded guilty in 2003 to multiple murders and is serving a life sentence without parole at Walla Walla.