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How Forensics Solved the Case: John Wayne Gacy

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Alicia Wendling

on 12 November 2014

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Transcript of How Forensics Solved the Case: John Wayne Gacy

Analysis & Confession
Work Cited
Jenkins, John Phillip. "John Wayne Gacy".
Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online
. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2014. Web. 10 November 2014.<http://www.britannica.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/EBchecked/topic/1245860/John-Wayne-Gacy>.
"John Wayne Gacy Part 01 of 01". FBI Records: The Vault. The FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2014. Web. 10 November 2014. <http://vault.fbi.gov/John%20Wayne%20Gacy/John%20Wayne%20Gacy%20Part%201%20of%201/view/>
John H. White, David Lester, Matthew Gentile, Juliana Rosenbleeth. "The utilizing of forensic science and criminal profiling for capturing serial killers". Forensic Science International 209 (2011) 160-165. Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Web. 10 November 2014. <http://www.sciencedirect.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/science/article/pii/S0379073811000351/>
"John Wayne Gacy Jr." Murderpedia Encyclopedia. 2011. Web. 10 November 2014.
John Wayne Gacy #237. Clark Prosecutors. CP, 2006. Web. 10 November 2014.

Photo Links:
JOHN WAYNE GACY/KILLER CLOWN: http://www.theburgernerd.com/mcdonalds-nuclear-meltdown/
MURDER CRAWL SPACE: http://murderpedia.org/male.G/images/g/gacy/house/gacy1012a.jpg
MURDER CRAWL SPACE SKETCH: http://murderpedia.org/male.G/images/g/gacy/house/gacy1003.jpg
Prior to Robert Piest's disappearance, investigators found out that Gacy was the last person seen with him. After doing a background check, they were surprised when they found that Gacy had previously served time for sodomy. Local, state and federal database systems are pertinent to investigations because without them, incriminating evidence may go unnoticed due to pure ignorance. Because investigators found out about Gacy's past offenses, they were able to get a second search warrant to search Gacy's house (Federal Bureau of Investigations).
John Wayne Gacy
(3/17/1942 - 5/10/1994)
Serial killer who raped and murdered 33 young boys/men in the 1970's.
Known for his sociability and his clown character that he would do at children's parties.
Neighbors and guests of Gacy commented on a fowl smell in his house for years, but claimed that is was a "moisture buildup".
Police found 29 bodies in a crawl space underneath Gacy's house on .
Upon trial, Gacy was pronounced schizophrenic, but was still found guilty of 33 murders.
Executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994. His last words were "Kiss my ass!" (Phillips).
Physical Evidence

The first concrete pieces of evidence obtained were drivers' licenses and rings. One ring linked to victim John Zic. After this evidence was found, a search warrant was issued (Gacy, John Wayne: The Killer Clown).
How Forensics Solved the Case:
John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

Photo: The Burger Nerd
One of Gacy's victims, Robert Piest,was killed on December 11, the last victim done by Gacy (Gacy, John Wayne: The Killer Clown).
December of 1978, Gacy is questioned about Piest's whereabouts.
Police obtain a search warrant for Piest and discover multiple rings and drivers' license at Gacy's house.
After making a connection with one of the found rings to a missing person, a second search warrant was issued at Gacy's house.
During this, the bodies of 33 boys were found in a crawl space below Gacy's house.
December 28 - Gacy confesses to murders (Gacy, John Wayne: The Killer Clown).

Smell of Death

When bodies decompose it begins immediately after death by two processes termed autolysis and putrefaction. Due to the bodies of organic matter being broken down into a simpler form, body decomposition produces an odor that isn't favorable and very noticeable. Investigators noticed this smell a few timesand each time they questioned Gacy, he said it was a drainage problem. Upon the second search warrant, investigators found a mound of Earth on a crawl space underneath his house. Cook County Medical Examiner, Dr. Robert Stein, was called to the scene immediately. Upon his arrival at Gacy's house, Dr. Stein recognized the odor instantly as a "smell of death" (Gacy, John Wayne: The Killer Clown).


Kills his first victim "Greyhound bus boy" by stabbing. Claims self-defense, but buries him under his house.
Kills John Butovich and buries him as well. Gacy developed a theory he has multiple personality disorders.
Hired teenagers to work for his contracting business.
Six more victims throughout the year all go missing. Later found in Gacy's crawl space.
Killing Spree: 15 murders, including Jon Zic, the ring owner that led to Gacy's breakthrough arrest (Gacy, John Wayne: The Killer Clown).
An End to Mayhem

Between 1977 and 1978, Gacy killed 9 more boys whose bodies were found in the crawl space, but they were never identified.
Before his arrest in December 1978, a couple more bodies were found, like Tim O'Rourke, whose body was found in a river and was identified by a tattoo, along with Frank Landington and James Mazzara.
Robert Piest, Gacy's last victim, was killed on December 11th (Gacy, John Wayne: The Killer Clown).

Photo from: Murderpedia.com
Photo: Murderpedia.com
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