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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Tomas Guillen

Aired September 1, 2003 - 19:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Is the accused Green River killer who has pleaded not guilty now giving investigators information only the real killer could know? That is one question that's arisen after the recent discovery of human remains.
As CNN's Gary Tuchman reports, the answers may help close a case that has haunted the northwest for 20 years.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the faces of the victims. At least 49 women and teenaged girls, murdered or missing in a serial killing spree that terrorized the Seattle area in the early 1980s. Back then, investigators hoped for a quick arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a large amount of evidence that was recovered. I don't want to disclose what that was.

TUCHMAN: But nobody was apprehended, until 2001.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is your true name Gary Leon Ridgeway?

GARY RIDGEWAY: Yes, it is.

TUCHMAN: DNA evidence helped lead to the arrest of Gary Ridgeway, who faces a first degree murder trial next year. And now a generation later, the remains of one and maybe more victims of the Green River killer have been found in a two-week span in August.

16-year-old Pammy Annette Avit left home in October 1983. Her remains have now been located in Inum (ph) Claw, Washington, southeast of Seattle. Meanwhile, investigators have found human bones in two other locations near Seattle, which raises the question why all these discoveries at once? A resident near one of the discovery sites has the same theory as many others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently somebody's letting them know, because they're just -- they're not picking the sites by random.

TUCHMAN: Authorities will not confirm what many are speculating, that the alleged killer is providing information in exchange for a plea deal that could save him from the death penalty. Investigators are saying that six women are still missing, ad that they hope to provide whatever comfort they can to family members by finding the remains all these years later. Gary Tuchman, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: So what do these new discoveries mean? Tomas Guillen is co-author of "The Search for the Green River Killer." He joins us this evening from Seattle.

Good evening. Nice to see you.

TOMAS GUILLEN, CO-AUTHOR, "SEARCH FOR THE GREEN RIVER KILLER": Good evening.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. More remains discovered. You been to the most recent scene. What did you see?

GUILLEN: Well, I saw highways that looked very similar to other locations where Green River victims have been left. It's a wooded area. It's near a main highway where the individual can leave after depositing a body. So it looks very close to Green River. If it turns out to be a young lady and it turns out to be one of the missing.

O'BRIEN: Third time in several weeks when there has been a major advancement in the case. Why do you think the break now?

GUILLEN: I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. What is the break?

O'BRIEN: The third -- I said this is really the third time in several weeks where there has been a major advancement in the case. Why do you think the break now? Some, as we heard, suspect that the suspect in the case is actually feeding potentially information to investigators. What's the likelihood of that, do you think?

GUILLEN: Well, I think it's more likely than not that he is. Obviously, they can do some analysis synthesis, and try to come up with sites that would look good for searching. But to be honest with you, to be that accurate in the last couple of weeks, and find three skeletal remains in areas where Green River victims had been found in the past, I think it would be remarkable if he was not. I think he's leading them there.

O'BRIEN: 49 deaths linked to the Green River murders. And yet Ridgeway only charged with seven. Why is that?

GUILLEN: Well, that's -- those are the only cases where they have very strong evidence. Historically in serial cases, they only charge them a few. And a lot of the other cases go unresolved. So there is no closure. I suspect if Mr. Ridgeway is talking to police, this case will be rapped up and you will have 49 cases attributed to him.

O'BRIEN: Tomas Guillen, co-author of "The Search for the Green River Killer." Thanks for joining us.

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