King County Sheriff’s Office Partners with Othram to Identify the Last Known Victim of the Green River Killer

The last unidentified victim of the Green River Killer case, previously only known as "Bones 20", is now identified as Tammie Liles.

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Published January 22, 2024 by Michael Vogen
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In April 1985, the remains of two unidentified women were located near the Tualatin Golf Course in Tigard, Oregon. Both women were suspected to be victims of Gary Ridgeway. In 1988, using dental records, investigators were able to identify one of the women as Tammy Liles. The other woman was eventually identified as Angela Girdner. Later in June 1985, the remains of two other women were found nearby off Bull Mountain Road near Tigard. Green River Detectives went to assist with the search of that site. Those two females were soon identified as Denise Bush and Shirley Sherrill. Both were on the Green River Missing Person List and had last been seen in the Seattle area in October 1982.

In 2002-2003, Gary Ridgway was interviewed about all of these cases. Ridgway admitted responsibility for the murders of Bush and Sherrill in King County, Washington and stated that he moved the bones of each individual to the Tigard site sometime later. This was confirmed in the Bush case by the presence of remains in both Washington and Oregon. Ridgway took investigators to the location where he originally left Sherrill’s body, but nothing was found to confirm his claims. Ridgway at that time denied responsibility for the murders of Liles and Girdner.

Later in 2003, Ridgway led investigators to a site near Kent-Des Moines Road in South King County, Washington where Ridgway claimed he had left a victim’s remains. A search of the area turned up partial skeletal remains. No skull was found, and most major bones were absent. Evidence was submitted to the University of North Texas where a DNA profile was obtained for the unknown victim. The DNA profile was uploaded into NDIS, a national database that contains the DNA profiles of missing people and unidentified remains. There was no match and the woman remained unidentified.

The Jane Doe discovered in 2003 remained unidentified and investigators labeled her as “Bones 20”. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP9930. In November 2003, Ridgway pled guilty to the murder of Bones 20, Denise Bush, Shirley Sherrill, and 45 other victims. He would later plead guilty to a 49th victim.

The King County Sheriff’s Office is immensely grateful for the work of Othram Forensic Sequencing Laboratory, The University of North Texas, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, and all others who worked on helping to identify Tammie Liles.
-King County Sheriff Patricia Cole-Tindall

Throughout the years, attempts by other laboratories to identify Bones 20 had been unsuccessful. In the fall of 2022, members of the King County Sheriff’s Office met with representatives of Othram to discuss the Bones 20 case. The King County Sheriff’s Office submitted skeletal remains to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the skeletal remains and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive DNA profile that could be used for forensic genetic genealogy. Othram’s in-house forensic genetic genealogy team then used the DNA profile to generate new leads in the case.

In August 2023, Othram notified King County Sheriff's Office investigators that its in-house forensic genetic genealogy team had tentatively identified Bones 20 as Tammie Liles, who was first identified as a victim in 1988 through the match of dental records to the separate set of remains discovered in 1985. A relative of Tammie Liles was contacted, and detectives obtained a reference DNA sample for comparison testing. This reference sample was submitted to the University of North Texas where, using traditional STR and mitochondrial DNA testing. While Liles had originally been identified as a victim in 1988, forensic testing has now concluded that the individual known as Bones 20 is Tammie Liles.

With this identification, there are, at last, no more unidentified remains associated with the Green River Case. The family of Tammie Liles does not wish to entertain media inquiries or interviews. We appreciate your support in granting the family the privacy they seek during this time.

Help fund another case Your contributions pay for lab supplies and research tools

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

2829 Technology Forest Blvd Suite 100, The Woodlands, Texas 77381

Michael works with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada on “unsolvable“ cases that can benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use cutting edge DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.

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About Othram Inc.

Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at ... Read morerecovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit to learn how we can help you with your case. With anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.