Mike Nelson can point to exactly where the holes were. Running along two sides of the triangular front yard of the building at Miami and Elston, they were dug by John Wayne Gacy as he performed his duties as caretaker of the building in the mid 1970s. Nelson says they ran along the sidewalks, a couple of feet wide, 3 or 4 feet deep, and several yards long.
Nelson had a good view of the yard: he lived across the street on Miami.
But Nelson got even closer than that to the holes. Gacy had hired Nelson, a young teenager at the time, to help him out with the maintenance he was contracted to perform. Gacy had him collect the tenants’ trash, mow the lawn, do other odd jobs. When those holes, or “trenches,” as Nelson calls them, appeared in the yard, Nelson says he would leap over them every day, cutting across the yard on his way to the bus stop on Elston. He also had to maneuver the lawn mower around them. And he and his friends even jumped into them to “play army.”
Something else he remembers about the holes: how they disappeared. He says he woke up to find that they’d been filled in overnight. A few shrubs were stuck in the new dirt.
Nelson says now that the holes struck him as strange, but that he never thought much about it. He says he didn’t question the behavior of adults–they all seemed strange to kids.
But in 1998, a few years after he’d moved out to the suburbs, Nelson got a call from an old neighbor. Bill Dorsch was looking for other former neighbors to see what they might recollect about Gacy’s activities in the neighborhood.
Eventually, for reasons described in this earlier post, official investigators paid Nelson a visit. He drew them a map and pointed out the spots in the yard parallel to Elston and Miami where he remembered seeing the trenches.
And on November 23, he recalls in the filmed interview posted here, he watched in astonishment as the police erected a tent at the front corner of the triangular yard, “the one spot I told them not to dig.”