Murder victim found in Washington identified decades later

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Murder Victim Found In Washington State Identified Decades Later

SACRAMENTO (KTXL) -- It started with an arrest and ended in murder -- an 18-year-old woman, who told police her name was Brenda O'Neil was arrested for petty theft in Sacramento. Through the years, police arrested her time and time again for drugs and prostitution.

Eventually, she worked her way out of Sacramento, up the I-5 corridor and into King County, Washington. And that's where she gave police yet another name.

SEE ALSO: Mother charged with son's murder after his remains were found in her trunk, 10 years after he was last seen

"In the mid-80s she has several bookings into the King County Jail under the AKA of Rita Lang," King County Sheriff's Detective Scott Tompkins said. "And again, that's not her true name, but it was an alias that she used and we know it's the same person because all of these arrests have the same FBI number."

In November 1988, "Rita" failed to appear in court on drug charges.

Related: See photos of the Green River killer case:

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Murder victim found in Washington identified decades later
FILE - Gary Leon Ridgway appears at a pretrial hearing in King County Superior Court, March 27, 2003, in Seattle. Known as the Green River Killer, Ridgway, already serving 48 life terms for a strangling binge that made him one of the nation's most prolific murderers, was charged Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 in yet another death. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Gary Ridgway walks into Seattle King County Superior Court in Seattle, Thursday, April 3, 2003. Ridgway pleaded innocent Thursday to three additional murder charges in the Green River serial killer case. Defense attorney Anthony Savage entered the pleas for Ridgway at an arraignment in King County Superior Court. (AP Photo/Stevan Morgain)
Family of victims of the Green River Killer listen as the plea agreement is read into the record on Wednesday November 5, 2003 in the King County Courthouse in Seattle. Gary Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of murder in the Green River Killer serial murder case which began in 1982 and was the largest unsolved serial murder case in American history. (AP Photo/News Tribune, Peter Haley, pool)
Family members of victim Patricia Yellowrobe; Donna Whitford, left, a niece , Emerald Yellowrobe, daughter, and Kendra Stevens, right, a niece , react as Gary Ridgway pleads guilty in court on November 5, 2003 in the King County Courthouse in Seattle. Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of murder in the Green River Killer serial murder case which began in 1982 and was the largest unsolved serial murder case in American history. (AP Photo/ Peter Haley, pool)
Unidentified family of victims of the Green River Killer react as Gary Ridgway pleads guilty in court on Wednesday, November 5, 2003 in the King County Courthouse in Seattle. Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of murder in the Green River Killer serial murder case which began in 1982 and was the largest unsolved serial murder case in American history. (AP Photo/Peter Haley, pool)
Gary Ridgway in court on Wednesday November 5, 2003 in the King County Courthouse in Seattle listens to the plea agreement being read into the record. Ridgway is expected to plead guilty to 48 counts of murder in the Green River Killer serial murder case which began in 1982 and was the largest unsolved serial murder case in American history. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson )
Dawn Montoya cries as she leaves the King County Courthouse in Seattle Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003 during a hearing for accused killer Gary Ridgway. Montoya, who said she once had drinks with Ridgway, wears the name of her friend Terry Milligan, who police believe was killed by Ridgway, on her shirt. Ridgway pleaded guilty to as many as 48 murders dating back more than 20 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Gary Ridgway holds papers agreeing that he is pleading guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder in the Green River killing cases, in front of Judge Richard A. Jones Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003, in Seattle. The King County agreement, signed June 13, puts more murders on his record than any other serial killer in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, pool)
Sarah Christensen talks to reporters as she holds a photograph of herself as a child with her mother Carol Ann Christensen, before Carol Christensen became a victim of the Green River Killer, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003 in Seatac, Wash. Earlier in the day, Gary Leon Ridgway pleaded guilty to killing 48 women dating back more than 20 years in a King County Court hearing in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Mona Joyner, of Seattle, stands at the King County Courthouse in Seattle Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003 prior to a hearing for accused killer Gary Leon Ridgway. Ridgway is expected to plead guilty to as many as 48 murders dating back more than 20 years. Joyner said she was there in support of all women who have been victims of violent crimes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Deanna Brewer, right, cries as she talks about her sister Shirley Sherrill, who was a victim of the Green River Killer, as her other sister Michelle Andrews looks on at left as they talk to reporters Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003 in Seatac, Wash. Earlier in the day, Gary Leon Ridgway pleaded guilty to killing 48 women dating back more than 20 years in a King County Court hearing in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
** ADVANCE FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 1, FILE ** King County Sheriff Dave Reichert pauses before talking to reporters, Nov. 5, 2003 in Seattle after accused Green River Killer Gary Leon Ridgway plead guilty to 48 murders dating back more than 20 years. On one side, there's the man who stared down the Green River Killer. On the other, there's a straight-shooting talk-show host who's already got the ear of thousands of voters. The race to fill moderate Republican U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn's seat is shaping up as abattle of political novices with name recognition to burn. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)
Members of the Green River task force comb a hillside in an unincorporated area near Kent, Wash., Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2003. Searchers Wednesday returned to a site where confessed Green River serial killer Gary Ridgway said he left a body. Ridgway pleaded guilty last week to killing 48 women, most of them in the early 1980s. In a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty, he has cooperated with authorities in recent months to find victims whose bodies have not yet been found. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
** RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT LAST NAME TO MILLS INSTEAD OF MILL ** Kathy Mills, mother of Green River Killer victim Opal Mills addresses the court during the sentencing of Gary Ridgway on Thursday Dec. 18, 2003, in Seattle. Ridgway, who confessed last month to strangling 48 women over the past two decades, faces life in prison without the possibility of release or parole. Prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty as part of a plea deal. (AP Photo/Josh Trujillo, Seattle Post Intellegencer, Pool)
Virginia Graham, sister of Debra Estes, a victim of Green River killer Gary Ridgway, speaks in court at Ridgway's sentencing on Thursday Dec. 18, 2003, in Seattle. At right, an unidentified family member holds a photo of Virginia and Debra as children. Ridgway, who confessed last month to strangling 48 women over the past two decades, faces life in prison without the possibility of release or parole. (AP Photo/Joshua Trujillo, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, pool)
Merti Winston holds a photo of her daughter Tracy Winston as she speaks at the sentencing of Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer at the King County Superior Court, Thursday Dec. 18, 2003, in Seattle. Ridgway received a life sentence for 48 counts of murder in the Green River Killer serial murder case which began in 1982 and was the largest unsolved serial murder case in American history. (AP Photo/Joshua Trujillo, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Pool)
Gary Ridgway prepares to leave the courtroom where he was sentenced in King County (Wash.) Superior Court Thursday Dec. 18, 2003 in Seattle. Ridgway received a life sentence for 48 counts of murder in the Green River Killer serial murder case which began in 1982 and was the largest unsolved serial murder case in American history. (AP Photo/Joshua Trujillo, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, pool)
The courtroom was filled for the sentecing of Gary Ridgway in King County (Wash.) Superior Court Thursday Dec. 18, 2003 in Seattle. Ridgway recieved a life sentence for 48 counts of murder in the Green River Killer serial murder case which began in 1982 and was the largest unsolved serial murder case in American history. (AP Photo/Joshua Trujillo, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, pool)
Green River Killer Gary Leon Ridgway cries as he reads a statement in a King County (Wash.) Superior Courtroom Thursday Dec. 18, 2003 in Seattle after listening to testimonies from the relatives and friends of his victims. Ridgway was sentenced to life in prison for 48 counts of murder in the Green River Killer serial murder case. The case began in 1982 and was the largest unsolved serial murder case in American history. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Green River Killer Gary Ridgway sits in court during his arraignment on charges of murder in the 1982 death of Rebecca "Becky" Marrero, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent., Wash. Ridgway already confessed to killing Marrero as part of a 2003 plea deal that spared him the death penalty. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
UNDATED: In this undated King County Prosecutor's Office handout photo, Green River killer Gary Leon Ridgway is seen at an unknown location. On November 5, 2003 in Seattle, Washington, Ridgway plead guilty to 48 murders dating back more than 20 years. (Photo by King County Prosecutor's Office via Getty Images)
UNDATED: In this undated King County Prosecutor's Office handout photo, Green River killer Gary Leon Ridgway is seen as he takes investigators to one of the sights where he said he allegedly buried one of his victims. On November 5, 2003 in Seattle, Washington, Ridgway plead guilty to 48 murders dating back more than 20 years. (Photo by King County Prosecutor's Office via Getty Images)
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"When she got out of jail in 1988, that's the last time we know that she was alive," Tompkins said.

Nearly a year later, skeletal remains were found by some construction workers in King County. The remains went unidentified until very recently. Through bone reconstruction and sketches, forensic detectives were able to figure out who it was. It was the woman who called herself "Rita Lang."

Investigators distributed her picture to the media, hoping the public would help find her real name and where her family lives and who might have killed her.

The picture made its way back to Sacramento, where Arlene Seuell lives.

Seuell was sure the woman was her sister, and DNA testing later confirmed that.

The woman's real name was Celia Victor.

"My sister always felt that it was the Green River Killer up in that area, and he targeted prostitutes and runaways," Seuell said.

Gary Ridgway -- better known as the Green River Killer -- killed 49 women, leaving many of their bodies along the Green River in King County, Washington. He evaded capture until 2001. Since then, he has bragged that he's killed 80 women.

The Green River Killer theory hasn't escaped detectives as they continue to investigate her death.

In the meantime, Seuell says her family is looking for Celia's children.

"To our knowledge, she has three other children. The oldest is a girl and her name is Starla," Seuell said. "I'm not sure of the other children's names, but hopefully this will get out and find them."

Seuell wants the King County Sheriff's Office to know she's grateful.

"This has been, like, almost 28 years and the initial detective, he wouldn't let that go, it was a cold case and I'm just grateful that I may have an opportunity to find my family," she said.

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