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Thursday, November 6, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Plea deal leaves out some 'victims'; a bereft family still craves answers

Seattle Times staff reporter

There was no closure, no explanation and no promise of a final answer for the family of Rebecca T. Marrero, who disappeared in 1983 and was long presumed to be a victim of the Green River killer.

In King County Superior Court yesterday, Gary L. Ridgway admitted to killing 48 women in the Green River case. Marrero was not among them.

For years, Marrero was one of seven women whose bodies were never found but who were thought to be among Ridgway's victims.

The remains of three of the seven women were discovered in recent months, with the help of Ridgway, and those names — Pammy Avent, Marie Malvar and April Buttram — were included in yesterday's charges.

Of the remaining four women, Ridgway claims to have killed three: Keli McGinness, Kase Lee and Patricia Osborn. And prosecutors say they believe him. But the women's bodies have never been found and prosecutors say they lacked sufficient evidence to charge Ridgway with their deaths.

That leaves Marrero as the sole woman unaccounted for among the seven.

Her brother, Perfecto Marrero, said he attended yesterday's hearing for some answer about her fate.

"The detectives had told us that she was not on the list, but we thought that they were at least going to mention her name," he said.

"We thought that they were going to say something, or have some answers for us, but they did not."

Marrero was 20 in December 1982, when she left her 3-year-old daughter with a grandmother, intending to be gone a short while, her family said. She was last seen at the Western Six Motel near South 168th Street and Pacific Highway South.

Because of where she was last seen, she was presumed to be a victim of the Green River killer.

In the past few months, as Ridgway directed members of the Green River Task Force to various sites where he'd dumped bodies of women he had murdered, Marrero's family hoped for some news that might answer the question of what happened to her.

"It's been really upsetting and disappointing to us," her brother said.

He said his family believes his sister is another of Ridgway's victims because of where she was last seen and because she knew another one of the victims. Family members hope that one day, other evidence from Ridgway or other sources will lead detectives to her body.

"He is a heartless man and we believe it's him," he said. "And we hope that one day we'll know what happened."

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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