John Wayne Gacy Jr was known as the killer clown for his habit of dressing up for charity events however Gacy dark side as a serial killer would come to light with the discovery of twenty six bodies buried on his property.
John Wayne Gacy Jr who was earlier convicted of sexual offences against teen age boys and had spent time in prison created a ruse where he invited young males to help him in his construction business in exchange for money and a place to stay. John Wayne Gacy would murder the boys then encase their bodies in cement on his property. In the end John Wayne Gacy Jr would confess to the murders and be sentenced to death. John Wayne Gacy Jr was executed in May 1994
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In December 1978, police uncovered the first of 29 bodies buried on suburban businessman John Wayne Gacy’s property — 26 in the crawl space under his home in unincorporated Norwood Park Township and three more outside the house. He confessed to four more murders of victims found in waterways south of Chicago. Forty years later, here’s a guide to the investigation, conviction and execution of Gacy, and the continuing efforts to name the remaining six unidentified victims.
Teens in the Uptown neighborhood tell Chicago police a man named “John” cruises the area in his car picking up young men. He is John Wayne Gacy, a suburban man who runs a remodeling business.
Officers observe dozens of young men going in and out of Gacy’s house in unincorporated Norwood Park Township. They stop many of them for questioning but none say anything against Gacy.
Gacy is known in his community for hosting get-togethers and sometimes dressing up as Pogo the Clown.
Suspecting Gacy might be responsible for the disappearance of a 9-year-old boy, the Chicago police youth division runs surveillance on his house, just east of O’Hare International Airport, though it’s outside their jurisdiction. They’re not able to build a case against Gacy.
Twenty-seven-year-old North Sider Jeff Rignall says Gacy enticed him into his car by offering him marijuana before using chloroform to render him unconscious. Rignall says Gacy then drove him to his house, handcuffed him and sexually attacked him before letting him go.
A $3,000 civil suit was settled in the case. Gacy was also charged with battery, a misdemeanor. Rignall writes the book “29 Below” about the experience.
Gacy is arrested by Chicago police after a 19-year-old teen from the North Side says the man kidnapped him at gunpoint and forced him to engage in sexual acts.
The police report shows that when he was taken into custody, Gacy admitted engaging in the acts with the youth — and their brutality — but denied the teen was an unwilling participant. An assistant state’s attorney decides not to prosecute Gacy.
Robert Piest, a 15-year-old sophomore at Maine West High School, prepares to end his shift at Nisson Pharmacy on Touhy Avenue in Des Plaines around 9 p.m.
His mother, Elizabeth, arrives to pick him up and drive him back to their Des Plaines house to celebrate her 46th birthday with family.
Piest, however, tells his mother to wait a few minutes because he has to see a man about a construction job that pays $5 an hour — nearly twice what he’s making at the drugstore. He is not seen alive again.
After waiting, Elizabeth Piest becomes alarmed and drives back to her house. She returns to the area with husband Harold, son Ken, daughter Kerry and the family’s two German shepherds. Their search turns up nothing.
At 11:29 p.m., Elizabeth Piest arrives at the Des Plaines police station to file a missing person report for her son.
Lt. Kozenczak, whose son attends the same high school as Piest, insists on an in-depth investigation. He learns Gacy, whose PDM Contractors had recently remodeled Nisson Pharmacy, was the man Piest went to speak to about a job. Gacy is asked to come to the police station for questioning.
At 11 p.m., Gacy calls Kozenczak and asks: “You still want to talk to me?”
“Yeah,” Kozenczak responds. “How long do you think it will take you to get here?”
“A half-hour,” Gacy says.
Kozenczak waits until 1 a.m., but Gacy doesn’t show.
Police later learn that after the phone call, Gacy goes to his attic, takes the body of the Piest boy and moves it into the trunk of his car. He drives south of Joliet and dumps the body into the Des Plaines River.
Investigators later discover Gacy’s car was towed out of a snowbank at 2 a.m. on the Tri-State Tollway north of Ogden Avenue — about 38 miles north of where Gacy would later say he dumped Piest’s body. Records from the tow truck company help authorities determine within an hour the time Gacy disposed of the youth’s body.
At 3:20 a.m., Gacy walks into the Des Plaines police station with mud on his pants and shoes. He asks to speak with Kozenczak but is told to come back later.
He does return and gives officers a brief statement. Kozenczak asks Gacy for the keys to his house, showing him a search warrant. Gacy protests but surrenders his keys.
Inside the house, police and a Cook County sheriff’s office evidence technician discover a receipt for a roll of film being developed. The Piest family says the receipt belongs to a female friend of their son — Piest offered to have the film developed for her. They seize other items from inside the house as well as Gacy’s car, van and a pickup truck to be searched later.
No other items relating to Piest are found, but police conclude Piest was in Gacy’s house. Gacy, twice married, twice divorced and currently living alone, is released from jail around 11 p.m.
One day after police place Gacy under around-the-clock surveillance, a Maine West High School ring police retrieved from the home is linked to John Szyc, a youth missing for two years.
That same day, a Gacy employee tells police that two former employees had disappeared.
Gacy invites two police officers inside his house for breakfast. Both smell the odor of death.
Gacy’s lawyers file a $750,000 civil rights suit against Des Plaines and its Police Department, charging that officers are harassing their client with illegal searches and seizures and destroying his reputation with their investigation.
In 1968, Gacy pleaded guilty to one charge of sodomy of a teenage boy while living in Waterloo, Iowa, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was paroled in 1970 and allowed to return to Chicago to serve his parole, which ended in October 1971.
While under police surveillance, Gacy is seen handing a package containing marijuana to a gas station clerk. Gacy is followed, then arrested.
Police are told Gacy has already admitted to his lawyer that he committed “maybe 30” murders.
With Gacy in custody, Des Plaines police and Cook County sheriff’s office investigators obtain a warrant and again enter Gacy’s one-story, ranch-style house.
Police accuse Gacy of holding Piest there against his will and threaten to tear up the floor to find the teen’s body. Gacy denies Piest is there but says he was forced to kill a man in self-defense and buried him under the concrete floor of his garage. He leads investigators to the garage and, with a can of spray paint, marks the place on the floor where the body is buried.
Police also discover a trapdoor to the house’s crawl space, where they find parts of at least three bodies.
In a rambling, verbal statement lasting several hours, Gacy tells police he has killed 32 young men after having sexual relations with them. He talks of himself in the third person, saying the slayings and sex acts were committed by “Jack” or “John.”
He says he buried the bodies of 27 victims on his property (29 would be discovered), most of them in the crawl space. Five other bodies (four would be found by police), including that of Piest, were thrown into rivers south of Chicago, Gacy says. He draws a diagram showing where the bodies are buried and gives the names of six of his victims.
Gacy is charged with Piest’s murder, though the youth’s body has not been found.
As Gacy is moved to Cook County Jail’s Cermak Hospital, his house is dismantled and the seach for victims continues.
Papers, wallets and other property of missing Chicago-area youths — including 19-year-old John Szyc and 17-year-old Gregory Godzik — are found inside his house.
An anthropologist and a dental expert are brought to the house to help with evidence.
Parents of missing boys — from as far away as London — call in an effort to learn the identity of any of the victims.
The discovery of a red light and police radio in Gacy’s car leads authorities to surmise he might have posed as a police officer to lure unsuspecting victims into his late-model black Oldsmobile.
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