Police Credit Family of Green River Killer Victim for Help
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
"My first thought was, how could this one person kill so many women,” said Laura Roberts.
Roberts hadn't heard of the Green River Killer until just a few months ago. That's when her own sister's whereabouts became connected to the notorious Seattle-area serial killer.
"We took it that she was alive, and we wanted to believe that,” Roberts said.
Sandra Major was 20 when she left Rochester for Washington State. That was in 1982. The end of that year was the last time anyone in her family had heard from her.
"It was just really hard," said Constance Major, her sister.
Gary Ridgway is serving life in prison for killing 49 women. Just this week, DNA evidence confirmed Sandra Major was one of his victims.
"Right now, I'm still angry with him. May God have mercy on his soul, because In order for me to move on I have to work on forgiving him," Laura said.
Major's remains were found in a cemetery in Auburn, Washington. Like many of Ridgway's victims, Major lived a tough life on Seattle's streets.
“Before she was any of that, she was our sister. She was my mother's daughter. She was somebody and we loved her. Despite the life she lived, we loved her," Laura said.
On trial, Ridgway admitted to killing a woman, but didn't know her name. No one at the time knew for sure. Then earlier this year, a cousin of Major's saw a TV special on the Green River Killer and contacted police.
"In this case, we can credit the family members who came forward,” said Sgt. Naser Zelelovic, Rochester Police Department.
Police in Rochester collected DNA from two brothers and a sister after getting a call from authorities in Washington State. DNA testing done at a lab in Texas confirmed the remains were Sandra's.
"Sure, it means a lot when you can say here's what happened to your loved one, and give them some sort of closure, which is what I think anybody would want," Zelelovic said.
"We need to let the public know she was a loved person,” Laura said.
Major’s mother died six years ago, holding on to the hope that her daughter was still alive.
"My mom really put a lot of work in trying to save her. Now she's at peace,” Constance said.
Her family says if nothing else, they can now stop wondering.
"We know she's no longer with us. We know it's not a question anymore,” Laura said.