UPDATED 11:17 AM PT – Tuesday, October 26, 2021
DNA technology leads Illinois authorities to the identity of another John Wayne Gacy victim.
Over four decades after the skeletal remains of an unidentified young man were pulled from the crawlspace in John Wayne Gacy’s home, Chicago Police were able to confirm “Victim #5″‘s identity. The Cook County Sheriff held a press conference on Monday to announce North Carolina native Francis Wayne Alexander was the victim.
Alexander was one of eight Gacy victims whose remains were buried without police knowing who they were. Sheriff Tom Dart’s Office exhumed the remains in 2011 in the hopes that DNA testing could help.
“We were able to narrow the window when we believe he was killed by John Gacy because of where his body was positioned in the crawl space. He was buried underneath an individual who we know pretty precisely when he was murdered,” said Dart. “And so, that gives us an end date of March 15 of 1977. And then we have parking tickets that go from January of 1976. And so, it was in that window sometime that Wayne was targeted by John Gacy and subsequently killed.”
Sheriff Dart announced today that 1 of the 6 remaining unnamed John Wayne Gacy victims has been identified with the assistance of genetic genealogy. Sheriff’s Police identified Victim #5 found in Gacy’s crawl space on Dec. 26, 1978 as Francis Wayne Alexander. pic.twitter.com/1vgWmlk2We
— Cook County Sheriff’s Office (@CCSOPIO) October 25, 2021
By sending forensic evidence to the “DNA Doe Project” in California, which is an organization dedicated to identifying remains using genetic genealogy, the non-profit was able to link familial DNA with members from Alexander’s family tree. Chicago Police then contacted his mother and half brother for DNA samples in order to confirm his identity.
The advancements in technology mixed with good old-fashioned investigative police work, led authorities to the conclusion.
“It was the typical painstaking work of finding out when Wayne was last seen. Tax records, parking tickets, that we were able to put this all together combining it with DNA,” Dart stated.
Alexander is the first victim recently identified that still has a living parent, and his family released a statement thanking Chicago authorities for their work and offered sympathies to the other victims’ families.
Gacy was arrested in December of 1978 and convicted of 33 murders in 1980. He was then executed in 1994.
The sheriff’s office is continuing their work to put a name to the remaining unidentified victims, “#10,” “#13,” “#21,” “#26,” and “#28.” Those who worked on the case are adamant in finishing their work, saying victims killed 40 years ago are no less important than victims of today.