One of the longest-serving members of the Green River Task Force, Det. James Henry Doyon Jr. was determined to find the man responsible for killing 48 women in and around the Green River in Washington state.
It took 19 years of investigating leads and hunting for evidence, but in 2001, Doyon and his fellow officers arrested Gary L. Ridgway (a.k.a. the Green River Killer). As part of a plea deal that took the death penalty off the table, Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated murder and gave investigators additional information on the whereabouts of his victims. In 2003, he was sentenced to 48 consecutive life terms in prison.
Born in Everett, Wash., Doyon always wanted to be a police officer. He spent six years in the U.S. Naval Air Reserve before joining the King County Sheriff’s Office in 1972 as a road deputy. Over the years, he served as a criminal warrants investigator, an arson investigator, a field training officer and finally, a homicide detective.
A skilled interviewer with a keen eye for details, Doyon closed dozens of tough cases. He was called “Columbo” by his colleagues, and often attended the funerals of homicide victims. After 32 years in law enforcement, he retired from the major-crimes detective unit earlier this year.
Doyon died on Sept. 3 of Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of 59. He was predeceased by his sister Cynthia Doyon, a popular Seattle radio host who committed suicide in Aug. 2003.