Sheriff Tom Dart’s announcement this week that he’s submitted an application for a search warrant to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez is good news for anyone hoping the government will try to identify any heretofore unknown victims. He says he’s asking for permission to excavate the property at Miami and Elston on Chicago’s northwest side where Gacy worked as a caretaker. An investigation of the yard in 1998 was inconclusive at best.
Bill Dorsch has been discovering evidence about the property since 1998, and despite his willingness, and attempts even, to share his findings, local authorities have been slow to act.
By May 2011, news coverage may have forced investigators to act. Dorsch received a call from the sheriff’s office asking if he could supply them with evidence. He gave them some that June, and five months later Dart announced he was reopening the case. This development was reported in the media, but then nothing. There was no further official action until March 2012, when Dart announced he was applying for a search warrant.
State’s attorney Anita Alvarez turned him down, saying he lacked sufficient evidence.
Dorsch had discussed his findings in an interview on WLS radio a full year earlier. National media had reported on Dart’s announcement and the new evidence. You might think the possibility of finding new victims of one of the world’s most notorious serial killers would be treated as an ongoing story. But the media generally prefer to report on things that happen rather than things that don’t.
I began posting about Dorsch’s investigation on this site, and ten days later, in May 2012, a year after Dorsch had last heard from the sheriff, Dart’s people called again. They said if Dorsch could give them more evidence they’d take another look. So far the sheriff had ignored what he’d already told them about the site and yet they wanted him to hand over even more. Dart had his own investigators–and budget. Why didn’t they do their own investigating?
Nevertheless, Dorsch gave them signed affidavits from witnesses he had independently located and interviewed. Dart seemed to be on board. I posted a clip from our interview with him here on June 6.
Dart wanted his team to meet personally with each of those witnesses, and asked Dorsch, without deputizing him officially, to help. Dorsch arranged interviews with each witness separately. Each one led the investigators around the property, pointing out where they’d seen Gacy digging long, deep trenches in the yard, large holes that would remain open for days and then get filled in overnight. That appeared to do the trick. Dart continued to agree with us that their testimony certainly indicated there ought to be a dig.
And then nothing.
Dorsch has turned up evidence suggesting that the police have known all along that there were probably bodies at Miami and Elston. He’s discovered important information about Gacy associates and new details about those involved in the arrests.
We know Dart took a high-level meeting with people involved in the unsuccessful investigation in 1998.
A couple of days ago Dart’s office contacted members of the media (though not us) and told them the search warrant had been filed and is under consideration by Alvarez.