Deborah Yvonne Wims

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Above Images: Deborah, circa 1990

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: October 25, 1990 from Seattle, Washington
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: December 6, 1958
  • Age: 31 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'6, 120 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: African-American female. Brown hair, brown/hazel eyes. Deborah may use the following alias names: Terri Allen, Jasmine Davis, Tara Fleming, Deborah Yvonne Freeman, Shirley Jefferson, Janice Smith, Deborah Evon Williams and/or Deborah Yvonne Williams.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A green bomber jacket and jeans.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Deborah was last seen on October 25, 1990 when she left her apartment en route to a supermarket on Pacific Highway South and South 216th Street. She has never been heard from again. After her disappearance, her car was found abandoned at a Safeway store at South 216 and Pacific Highway. Deborah was a prostitute and transient in 1990, and had a substantial criminal record dating back to the 1970s for crimes including auto theft, grand larceny and prostitution. She had lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, San Francisco and Santa Ana in California, and in Wichita, Kansas as well as Seattle.

    Deborah's sister, Cheryl Lee Wims, was murdered prior to her disappearance. A photo of Cheryl is posted below this case summary. She disappeared on her eighteenth birthday in May 1983. Her skeletal remains were found in March 1984, just north of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. She had also been a prostitute, and her pimp and Deborah's pimp were brothers. Authorities determined she was the victim of the Green River Killer, later identified as Gary Leon Ridgway. A photo of Ridgway is posted below this case summary. He had been one of the suspects in the case since 1984. Authorities questioned him that year after witnesses placed him with two of the victims and his pickup truck was identified as being at the scene of the victims' last known locations.

    In 2003, Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of murder, including Cheryl's, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He claimed he killed all his victims in King County, Washington, almost all of them during the early- to mid-1980s, and denied being responsible for Deborah's disappearance. The bodies of several of his presumed victims have never been found; they may include Patricia Ann LeBlanc, Kristi Vorak, Keli McGinness, Louise Sanders, Kase Lee and Patricia Osborn.

    Ridgway's home was searched in 1987 and he provided a saliva sample at that time. DNA testing was performed on the saliva in 2001 and matched three of the victims: Opal Mills, Marcia Chapman and Cynthia Hinds. The women's bodies had been discovered in the Green River near Seattle in August 1982. Ridgway was allegedly connected to the fourth victim, Carol Christensen, through circumstantial evidence.

    Ridgway was arrested twice for soliciting prostitution; once in 1982 and again in October 2001. Many of the Green River victims were runaways or prostitutes. A 1980 charge against Ridgway was dropped when a prostitute claimed he choked her. Ridgway told authorities that he attacked her in self-defense, as she was allegedly biting him. One of his former wives came forward after his 2001 arrest and claimed that Ridgway preferred to have sexual relations outdoors. She also said that he often employed a chokehold while engaged in sexual activity. A prostitute who stated Ridgway paid her for sex in the early 1980s supported the story, stating that he attempted to choke her during intercourse.

    Ridgway's residence and his parents' home were searched after his 2001 arrest. Authorities discovered an envelope containing bone fragments, tufts of human hair, numerous blood stains, boxes of latex gloves, costume jewelry and several wigs. Many of the assumed Green River victims were missing jewelry and/or wigs at the time their remains were discovered. Ridgway is married and his neighbors considered him to be a family-oriented individual. Profilers have said that he does not fit the mold of most accused serial killers, as he did not seek attention for his crimes.

    Many investigators believe Ridgway was responsible for more deaths than he claims. Authorities are continuing to investigate the cases of missing and murdered young women in Washington state, which they believe may be tied to Ridgway. If they can prove he was responsible for any murders outside of King County, he could be prosecuted and face the death penalty.

    Foul play is suspected in Deborah's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

    Cheryl Wims Ridgway
    Left: Cheryl Wims;
    Right: Gary Leon Ridgway in 2001

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    King County Sheriff's Office
    206-205-3432

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    Source Information
    NamUs
    Washington State Missing Persons Search
    The Seattle Times
    Find a Grave
    The Green River Killer Suspect Information Pages
    The Crime Library
    ABC News
    KOMO-4
    The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    APB News
    KIRO-7 Eyewitness News
    KING-5
    NamUs
    Green River Killings

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated April 15, 2012; casefile added.

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