Thirty years ago police uncovered the bodies of eight men buried beneath John Wayne Gacy’s home. To this day the identities of those lost souls have remained a mystery. There was no such thing as DNA testing back in the 70s when Gacy was arrested and after the killer clown was executed in 1994 it seemed like the secret died with him. But now detectives are re-examining the remains in hope that modern science can finally solve a mystery that has lingered for over three decades.
A return to some of the police department’s cold cases eventually brought investigators back to Gacy’s unknown victims. At the time of Gacy’s arrest most identification of bodies relied on fingerprints or dental records – something that some of the victims might have not even had in the first place. To make matters worse, some families might not have come forward in the first place. For whatever reason, be it the social stigma of Gacy’s homosexual activity or the fact that most of his victims were wards of the state or runaways to begin with, police believe very few people were willing to come forward to claim their missing family members at the time.
Police are urging anyone whose relatives went missing between 1970 and Gacy’s 1978 arrest to come forward and take a saliva test for comparison with the DNA of skeletal remains. Their tests have created what’s known as a nuclear DNA profile, meaning that if a parent or sibling or even cousins came forward, scientists could determine whether the DNA matched.
After performing autopsies on the unidentified remains, pathologists in the 1970s removed the bodies’ upper and lower jaws and their teeth to preserve as evidence in hopes that science could one day progress to the point they could be useful or if dental records surfaced. Realizing this, police went in search of the remains only to find that they’d been removed from the county’s medical examiner’s office and buried together in a pauper’s grave in 2009.
The jaw bones and teeth had been placed in giant paint buckets and buried side by side in a wooden crate. As it would turn out four of the samples had since degraded to the point where DNA was not extractable so those four corresponding bodies were then exhumed so that police could test their femurs and vertebrae.
Police realize that the chances of all eight victims being identified are slim but they remain hopeful that perhaps a few families and loved ones might finally get that closer they’ve been waiting over a quarter century for.
(Source: Daily Mail)