Group working to erect memorial for Green River Killer's victims

SEATTLE -- The Green River Killer is one of the most notorious serial killers in history, and people around here will always remember the name Gary Ridgway.

But a local group would rather you remember the names of his victims.

Ridgway was convicted of killing 49 women, but is suspected of murdering as many as 90.

"It was like this monster that haunted all of us," said Noel Gomez, worked as a prostitute in Seattle while Ridgway was still terrorizing women as the Green River Killer.

Gomez is free of that life now, and is dedicated to remembering the women not just as crime photos, but as people with names. They include Pammy Avent, Kelly Ware, Shawnda Summers, Debra Bonner and Marcia Chapman.

"There's nothing for them. There's nothing for the families. There's nowhere to go to grieve. There's no healing in the community around this, and I feel there needs to be," Gomez said.

Gomez co-founded a group called the Organization for Prostitution Survivors. The group set an ambitious goal to raise $225,000 that would help provide services to prostitution survivors and create a permanent memorial in Seattle.

Many of Ridgway's victims were just girls, younger than 18 years old.

"Nobody wants that for their life. They don't wind up out there because of good reasons; there's something that drove them out there," she said.

A memorial cannot bring them back, but it can offer healing from a painful past.

"Families need to know that we care about these women and these girls. A memorial would help show them that their children weren't just nobody," said Gomez.

Those who wish to donate to the cause can do so on the Organization for Prostitution Survivors' website.
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