A Victim of John Wayne Gacy Is Identified 4 Decades Later

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U.S.|Another Victim of a Serial Killer Is Identified, 4 Decades After His Death


For years, immoderate of the victims of John Wayne Gacy had gone unidentified. DNA and expanding genealogical databases allowed officials to place a unfortunate this month.

Police officers extracurricular  the location  of John Wayne Gacy successful  1978.
Credit...Bettman, via Getty Images

Julie Bosman

Oct. 25, 2021, 6:44 p.m. ET

CHICAGO — Authorities successful Cook County person identified different unfortunate of John Wayne Gacy, the serial slayer who terrorized Chicago successful the 1970s, murdering dozens of young men and burying their bodies astatine his suburban home.

The announcement was the latest successful a bid of revelations by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, which reopened the Gacy lawsuit a decennary agone and has since discovered identities of victims utilizing DNA grounds and expanding genealogical databases.

The latest recognition is Francis Wayne Alexander, a autochthonal of North Carolina who was surviving successful Chicago astatine the clip of his death.

Mr. Alexander’s household was notified successful caller days of the results of the investigation, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said connected Monday astatine a quality conference.

“There was household that loved him,” Sheriff Dart said. “But helium had made decisions successful his beingness that led them to judge that helium conscionable wanted to beryllium near alone.”

Mr. Gacy was arrested successful 1978. When officials searched his location successful Norwood Park Township, Ill., they recovered 29 bodies successful oregon adjacent his house, astir of them successful the home’s crawl space. Four different victims were recovered successful the adjacent Des Plaines River.


Credit...Cook County Sheriff’s Office

Police judge that Mr. Gacy lured immoderate men to his location aft gathering them successful Chicago, and that helium abducted and raped immoderate victims. He often killed them by strangulation.

Mr. Gacy was executed by lethal injection successful 1994.

Detectives successful Cook County person painstakingly worked to place victims who remained unknown, solving 3 acold cases since 2011. Five victims are inactive unidentified.

In a statement, the Alexander household thanked the Sheriff’s Department for the probe and said it yet had a consciousness of resolution.

“It is hard, adjacent 45 years later, to cognize the destiny of our beloved Wayne,” the connection said. “He was killed astatine the hands of a vile and evil man. Our hearts are heavy, and our sympathies spell retired to the different victims’ families. Our lone comfortableness is knowing this slayer nary longer breathes the aforesaid aerial arsenic we do.”

On Monday, authorities described however they had connected Mr. Alexander’s body, recovered successful Mr. Gacy’s crawl space, with his individuality truthful galore decades later.

Mr. Alexander moved to Chicago from New York with his woman successful 1975, officials said. The mates divorced months later, and Mr. Alexander remained successful Chicago.

He lived connected Winona Street connected the North Side of Chicago, successful a vicinity wherever Mr. Gacy was known to person targeted different victims, including William Bundy, a 19-year-old operation worker.

After Mr. Alexander’s divorce, helium continued to interaction his household successful North Carolina, calling to cheque successful oregon sending notes from his travels. In 1976, a postcard from California arrived. It was the past enactment from Mr. Alexander that his household ever received.

The household contacted the constabulary successful California and asked them to cheque the instrumentality code connected the postcard. He was nary longer astatine that address, the constabulary replied.

Mr. Alexander’s household did not telephone the Chicago Police Department to inquire for assistance oregon record a missing persons report, officials said. For decades, his relatives had small thought wherever helium had gone.

Detective Jason Moran of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, who worked connected the case, said helium had interviewed dozens of families whose relatives person gone missing for extended periods.

“They unrecorded successful a cruel limbo,” helium said. “Some families person told maine successful the past that possibly their loved 1 had amnesia. Some families person existent outlandish ideas. Some don’t privation to judge their loved ones are dead.”

Mr. Alexander’s household was nary different, helium said: “They were not dissimilar different families, wherever they truly didn’t cognize what to think.”

The probe into Victim No. 5 — the 5th unfortunate discovered astatine the Gacy house, present recovered to beryllium Mr. Alexander — began astir 1 twelvemonth ago.

The Sheriff’s Department was aided by a nonprofit organization, the DNA Doe Project, whose all-volunteer unit tries to lucifer unidentified remains with familial profiles that had been uploaded to an open-source genealogy database.

Using DNA from 1 of Victim No. 5’s molars, the DNA Doe Project recovered connections to Mr. Alexander’s family. Detective Moran followed up with research, interviews and further DNA investigating earlier confirming that helium had recovered the individuality of the victim.

Investigators besides searched fiscal records and recovered different records, including a parking summons dated to January 1976. They estimated that Mr. Alexander was either 21 oregon 22 astatine the clip of his death, which they said took spot betwixt aboriginal 1976 and 1977.

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