8 Of The Darkest Serial Killers of Washington State (List)

Washington State is a relaxing place to live, with plenty of scenic natural parks and rugged mountain ranges.

At least until the dreary Seattle rains kick in and everyone turns into a serial killer because of the lack of Vitamin D.

Well, not really. Vitamin D deficiency is a serious issue but thankful the serial killers of Washington have been few and far between.

However, the serial killers that Washington state has had have been some of the most famous in the nation and you won’t be surprised by a couple of the names on this list.

So let’s look at some gruesome serial killers that have terrorized Washington State over the years!

1. Theodore “Ted” Bundy

Washington State is home to one of America’s most notorious serial killers: “Ted” Theodore Bundy whose name has become synonymous with sadism, depravity, and horror.

Bundy began his killing career in the early 1970s in Washington, mainly preying on young college women. Ted killed seven women in Washington state and scattered their remains on Taylor Mountain near the town of Mirrormont.

Bundy’s killings aren’t restricted to Washington State because he confessed to 30 murders across seven states (including Oregon).

Though Bundy was executed by electric chair on January 24, 1989, he continues to fascinate today. Why? Well, there aren’t many handsome and charismatic law student serial killers out there!

What’s more, while his physical and psychological evaluation in court provided an otherwise chilling account of how a seemingly normal individual could commit such heinous acts, it failed to explain why Bundy chose those particular victims.

Perhaps one reason we are still so captivated by Ted Bundy even decades later is that we still have yet to answer this question.

2. Gary Ridgway

Gary Ridgway, also known as the “Green River Killer,” is one of the most prolific killers in Washington State history.

He lived in the state for thirty years, where he spent his time working as a spray painter. Though, he described the murder of young women as his real profession.

Throughout his life, he has been convicted of 49 murders that spanned a period of 20 years but confessed to more than 71 killings.

His victims were prostitutes or women from troubled backgrounds. He would drive them into the remote area around the Green River, where he had sexual intercourse with them before strangling them. Even worse, he would occasionally return to the grave site to have sexual intercourse with the corpses.

He was able to continue killing for 20 years without being captured.

Interestingly, the police turned to fellow Washington serial killer Ted Bundy to help them find Ridgway. Bundy helped provide insights into the killer’s mind, predicting what his next move might be. Bundy suggested that Ridgway might be engaging in necrophilia that helped police catch the Green River Killer as they staked out the grave sites.

3. Gary G. Grant

Gary Grant, like most serial killers, had a very troubled childhood. Growing up in a poor and abusive home quickly put him on a path of violent crime.

Gary started killing at the age of 18 and continued for the next two years before being apprehended.

To start with, he killed two girls, dragging them into the woods before having sexual intercourse with their corpses. Later, he murdered two six-year-old boys, hiding their bodies beneath leaves.

During the trial, Grant tried to claim that he was insane. But an examination by a psychologist disproved this. He was given four consecutive life sentences.

4. Robert Lee Yates

In the category of serial killers still alive, we have Robert Lee Yates.

Yates began killing in 1975. when he shot a couple who were having a picnic near Mill Creek.

He was in the military and was doing target practice at the time. Upon seeing the couple, he shot them multiple times in the head. While their bodies were quickly found, he wasn’t linked to the crime until several years later.

His main murder spree began in the 90s when he would drive around Skid Row, looking for vulnerable women. He would convince them to get into his car. Then, he killed them with a shot to the head. It eventually came out that he committed necrophilia.

In total, he killed at least 18 people.

Yates’ most disturbing murder was that of Melody Murfin. He buried her body under the window of his family home. He even planted flowers on top of her grave! Later, he would claim that this allowed him to look at her daily. 

5. Warren Leslie Forest

Warren Leslie Forest is one of the most notorious serial killers in modern history. This man’s reign of terror spanned only three short months, yet he was linked to an unprecedented number of victims with no apparent motive or connection between them. His modus operandi evolved as police utilized increasingly sophisticated investigative techniques to track him down, eventually leading to his capture.

In one case, the killer abducted young teenage girls hitchhiking in the Washington area. He would took them to a remote area where they would be stabbed. The victims were found missing a bra. One was found with her hands and feet tied behind her.

So far, police have only been able to charge him with one murder, with another charge potentially coming. Though it’s believed he could have killed seven people. In 2017, he applied for parole, telling the court that his murders were a moment of fantasy and claiming he no longer had those desires.

Despite facing the death penalty, Forest was able to strike a plea deal for three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole due to his cooperation with authorities and the lack of physical evidence tying him directly to the murders.

Many questions have been raised about Warren Leslie Forest’s motives and background over the years, but some mysteries will never be solved.

6. Tube Sock Killer

The “Tube Sock Killer” refers to a killer who started killing in 1985. This killer targets heterosexual couples.

Why the name?

The name comes from the horrible death that was inflicted upon the women. They were found with a tube sock tied around their neck. To date, this killer is still on the loose.

7. Westley Allan Dodd

This serial killer started to commit terrible crimes from an early age. As a teenager, he started to show a fascination with young boys. He would offer to babysit them. As he did, he would molest them. Though he was caught multiple times, he was released on the condition that he would attend counseling.

In 1989, though, Dodd took things to a new level. He abducted two brothers as they walked home from the playground. He led them into the bushes and tied their shoelaces together. Then, he would molest them, before stabbing the boys. They were just 11 and 10 at the time. Following the killings, he kept media clippings about the crime in a scrapbook.

However, his most sickening crime is the murder of Lee Iseli. This child was just four years old. He was abducted by Dodd and taken to his apartment. There, he was molested and naked photos were taken. He also kept the boy’s underwear as a memento. This evidence would become key when convicting Dodds. Finally, he hung Iseli and dumped the body in the bushland.

Interestingly, Dodd pleaded to be hung. He was convinced that if he was released, he would continue his gruesome killing spree. Chillingly, he promised that he would enjoy every minute of the future murders. In 1993, he got his wish and was hung. 

8. Billy Gohl

Billy Gohl was a member of the sailors union in the early 1910s. Allegedly, he used this position to identify vulnerable sailors. He would then target them for robbery. Once he had taken all their valuables, he would shoot them in the head. Then, he would drop their bodies into the river.

He was charged with the murder of two people. Though, he has been linked to the death of over 100 people. If this is true, he would be one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.

However, some modern researchers don’t believe that Gohl is guilty. They think that his position as a prominent union organizer made him a target for wealthy business interests. They pinned the deaths on him. In reality, the deaths were accidental and were likely caused by unsafe working conditions.


Washington State has a dark history. This has been a fertile target for serial killers. As a result, the state has been home to some of the grisliest crime scenes and darkest minds in American history.

Hopefully, I haven’t dissuaded you from visiting the PNW but just gave you a bit of fodder to read on your drive or flight here. You’re still very welcome and we’re nice here, I promise!

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