AUBURN, Wash. -- A skull found in an Auburn ravine on Tuesday has been positively identified as Rebecca "Becky" Marrero, the King County Sheriff's Department confirmed Thursday. Detectives believe Marrero was likely a victim of convicted serial killer Gary Ridgway, the so-called Green River Killer.
Marrero was last seen on December 3, 1982, when she left a motel room at S. 168th and Pacific Highway South. She was 20 years old at the time.
Marrero's mother reported her missing on July 20, 1984. Her disappearance was investigated by the Green River Task Force, and she was believed to be a Green River victim.
Examiners used dental records to identify the remains as Marrero's, said Sgt. John Urquhart, and about 75% of the skeleton was recovered.
Her remains were discovered in the same vicinity where another Green River victim's remains, Marie Malvar, were found. Ridgway was convicted in the Malvar homicide but not charged in the Marrero case.
"So he's a good suspect and the most likely killer of Becky Marrero," said Urquhart. "We certainly have an open homicide investigation going on with this particular woman. We have had one for a long time. The question is will he be charged, and that's the question to ask the prosectur's office."
King County prosecutors say they are working closely with sheriff's detectives, and will review the investigation into Marrero's disapperance and death and any potential involvement of Ridgway.
Ridgway was arrested on November 30, 2001. He pled guilty two years later to the murder of 48 women and was sentenced to 48 consecutive life terms.
Congressman Dave Reichert (Wash-R), former King County sheriff and former lead investigator of the Green River Task Force, said homicide investigators notified him Thursday of the identification.
Reichert said Ridgway never confessed to killing Becky Marrero, but he did take investigators to the area where Malvar and Marrero were later found.
"What he confessed to was killing up to 71 people in one of the statements that he made. In the plea agreement he mentions that he'd talk about 65 murders he committed. Of course, most people remember he pled guilty to 48. Becky Marrero was not one of the 48 that he pled guilty to, and we closed 50 cases. Two we couldn't quite get to the charging point," said Reichert.
Prosecutors said detectives have long believed Marrero to be a victim of Ridgway. Marrero was listed as one of several missing women on the original Green River Taskforce list of victims in the 1980s.
In 2001, prosecutors charged Ridgway with the aggravated murder of four young women thought to be early victims of the Green River serial killer.
After prosecutors and detectives exhausted leads on over four dozen unsolved murder cases, Ridgway was charged with three additional counts of murder, for a total of seven homicides.
In a plea agreement, Ridgway agreed to confess to every murder he committed in King County. In exchange for his confession and leading investigators to the remains of missing women, Ridgway did not face the death penalty.
For six months, investigators interviewed Ridgway and showed him dozens of photos of his possible victims. Reichert said Marrero's photo was among them.
"The detectives will go back now and review those six months of interviews, finding those places in the interview process where Becky Marrero's name is mentioned and his reply and response to those questions," said Reichert.
Ridgway led police to the remains of four missing women, but Marrero's remains were never found. Ridgway ultimately entered guilty pleas to a total of 48 counts of murder. He was not charged for the murder of Marrero based upon the evidence at the time.
Urquhart said Marrero's sister was notified of the identification Wednesday, but it's unclear if Marrero's mother, who is still living, was told.