FAQ: the investigation so far

What is this site and where are the posts I’ve read here before?

This is the home of an investigation by Alison True and Tracy Ullman begun in October 2011. Posts have been taken down while we work on bringing attention to the case through other platforms.

Who’s John Wayne Gacy?

He was a Chicagoan with a small construction company and one of the world’s most prolific serial killers. He was suspected in the disappearance of a suburban teenager in 1978 and arrested, whereupon the police found the remains of dozens of victims in the crawlspace under his house. By the time Gacy was executed in 1994, 25 victims had been identified and the remains of 8 others were interred without ID. Since then two other victims have been identified.

Why is he called the “Killer Clown”?

People often say that Gacy lured victims dressed as a clown, but this is false. He occasionally dressed as a clown for parties, but he kidnapped victims other ways: by offering them construction work or inviting them to party with him, and also by plucking them off the street while posing as an undercover police officer.

Were there witnesses to the crimes?

While they were trailing him, police followed him into a bar and overheard what seemed to be a discussion about disposing of bodies. Before and after the arrest, several young men of his acquaintance were questioned by police, while others may have taken off. One survivor said another person was involved when he was kidnapped and brutally attacked.

None were given a plea deal or charged with a crime.

So what’s up with that place at Miami and Elston?

In the mid 1970s Gacy had a maintence contract there and for a time his mother occupied one of the five apartments. After his arrest, several neighbors of that building called police saying they might have witnessed Gacy burying victims without realizing it.

Wasn’t that place investigated recently?

That depends on how you define “investigated.” In 1998, after a ground-scanning-radar company found anomalies in the yard, the Chicago police obtained a search warrant indicating a strong suspicion that they’d find human remains there. In the event, though, investigators kept their operations restricted to a small tent that was set up in a different place in the yard.

In response to our inquiries, and our offer of witness interviews and new evidence, Cook County sheriff Tom Dart made a new search of the property in the spring of 2013. Dart announced that he’d found nothing, but when pressed, Dart’s expert admitted that the search had not sufficient to produce any solid conclusions.

Though he has stated that he is committed to tying up the loose ends in the case, Dart has not explained why he refuses to thoroughly investigate this location.

How so?

Much has been made of Dart’s announced intention to use modern technology to try to bring closure to the families of the victims who weren’t identified at the time of Gacy’s arrest.

Dart invited people to submit profiles of potential victims, and heard from more than 100. He says his office narrowed the field to 30 or so and their relatives were invited to submit DNA. Since then two victims have been identified.

What about all those other families whose victim profiles seemed likely?

Though there are other locations in Chicago that may well hold victims, including but not limited to the house on Miami, Dart does not appear to have any intention of excavating them.

Anything else going on?

Sherry Marino, whose son was identified in 1980, along with his best friend, as a Gacy victim, succeeded in obtaining a court order to have her son exhumed. Cook County fought her in court every step of the way, but tests proved that her DNA did not match that of the victim. Then she obtained another court order, fighting Cook County once again, to have her son’s friend exhumed.┬áThe thinking was that her son’s and his friend’s bodies might have been switched. Her DNA didn’t match that victim’s either.

The sheriff doesn’t accept her test results nor does he acknowledge that he now has one if not two additional victims to contend with.

Where do you go from here.

Our investigation continues. Please feel free to contact me for more information or if you have any ideas or experiences that could help shed light on the situation.

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