News

Who killed Pammy Avent?

By PAT JENKINS

Editor

Pammy Avent’s photograph was removed this week from the King County Sheriff Web site’s gallery of women believed to be possible victims of the Green River Killer. Suspicion that she’s one of them remains, however.

Authorities identified skeletal remains on Monday as Avent and ruled her death a homicide. She’d been missing for nearly 20 years.

The remaining mystery is who killed her. Detectives assigned to the Green River investigation, a unit of the Sheriff Department that has been sleuthing 49 suspected serial murders since the early 1980s, weren’t saying earlier this week whether Avent’s whereabouts were disclosed by Gary Ridgway, the 54-year-old former Federal Way-area man accused of murdering seven women attributed to the Green River Killer.

Ridgway’s lawyers are seeking an agreement in which he would escape a possible death penalty, which faces him in a trial scheduled to begin next March, by helping authorities find remains of other suspected victims in the Green River case. The plea-bargaining hasn’t been confirmed officially, but sources have said Ridgway is cooperating with investigators.

A result of that could be the discovery of Avent last Saturday in the Greenwater area on State Route 410. Searchers cut through dense brush before finding remains that included a skull, which was used to identify Avent through dental records.

Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng, said Thursday the Avent case hadn’t been sent to prosecutors for possible charges. Donohoe also hadn’t heard of any decision on whether Ridgway would be charged in Avent’s death.

Spokesmen for investigators couldn’t be reached for comment.

Avent, who lived in Seattle, was 16 when she was last seen in October 1983 on her way to the city’s Rainier Valley area, according to authorities. They later added her to the Green River Killer investigation because her lifestyle was similar to that of known victims in the case. Many of them led street or nomadic lives, some including prostitution.

The case got its name from the river in south King County where the bodies of five murdered women were found in July and August of 1982. The finds led authorities to declare a serial killer was involved.

Clusters of victims’ bodies were found in other locations, too, including the general area where Avent’s remains were uncovered.

Ridgway reportedly told investigators when he was arrested in November 2001 that not all of the victims tied to the Green River case were his.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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