Crime Law

27 years later, Green River Killer victim's remains identified

The remains of a Green River Killer victim found in 1985 have been identified from DNA samples obtained from her family, the King County Sheriff's Office said on Monday.
The remains are that of Sandra Denise Major, and were found with the remains of two other murder victims on Dec. 30, 1985, at Mountview Cemetery in Auburn.

SEATTLE — "We are grateful to finally know what happened to Sandra after all these years," Major's family said in a statement, in part. (Read the full statement below.)

The sheriff's office said a cousin of Major in Rochester, N.Y., saw a TV movie about the Green River Killer case and contacted investigators in April because family members suspected she was a victim.
Family members submitted DNA samples that, when compared with DNA profiles of the remains, led the King County Medical Examiner's Office to make the identification, the sheriff's office said.

Major was reported missing on Dec. 24, 1982, by a friend who saw her get into a truck with near North 90th Street and Aurora Avenue North.  She was 20 years old when she disappeared.

Gary Ridgway admitted to killing Major and the other two women who were found at the cemetery.  He pleaded guilty to murder in 2003 and is serving a life sentence without parole.

There are three remaining sets of unidentified remains linked to the Green River Killer case.

Full statement from the family of Sandra Denise Major:

We would like to thank the detectives from the King County Sheriff's Office who diligently worked this case. We are grateful to finally know what happened to Sandra after all these years.

We were aware of the lifestyle Sandra lived but she was still a part of our family.   We last saw Sandra here in New York in 1982.  We received a letter from her in 1982 with a Seattle postmark but no return address.  We never heard from her again and did not know what happened to her.

Recently one of Sandra's cousins saw a television show about the Green River Killer.  We learned that the remains of some of the victims that had not been identified.  Since the last contact with Sandra had been the letter from Seattle,  we decided to make contact with investigators to see if Sandra was one of the unidentified victims.

We want to thank the detectives from the King County Sheriff's Office,  the University of North Texas, Bode Technology and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for working together to bring closure to our family.

We respectfully ask that the media allow us privacy.

Family of Sandra Major