Victim of 'Killer Clown' John Wayne Gacy ID'd 4 Decades After Death by DNA from Tooth
Another victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy has been identified.
On Monday, the Cook County Sheriff's Department announced they identified the remains of Francis Wayne Alexander, a North Carolina native who was found in Gacy's crawl space on Dec. 26, 1978.
Authorities believe Gacy killed Alexander, who would have been 21 or 22 at the time, between early 1976 and early 1977.
He was identified through DNA evidence and genealogical databases.
Wayne's family was notified on Oct. 22.
"It is hard, even 45 years later, to know the fate of our beloved Wayne," Wayne's family said in a statement. "He was killed at the hands of a vile and evil man. Our hearts are heavy and our sympathies go out to the other victims' families. Our only comfort is knowing this killer no longer breathes the same air as we do."
Gacy — who had performed at children's parties as "Pogo the Clown," murdered 33 teenaged boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 and buried their bodies mostly in his Norwood Park, Illinois home.
In 2011, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart reopened the investigation in the hopes of identifying his eight remaining unnamed victims.
The eight bodies were exhumed and DNA samples were taken from the families of missing men.
Three of the eight have since been identified.
The first body identified was William Bundy, a 19-year-old construction worker from Chicago. Bundy was reported missing in Oct. 1976 after he went to a party. His body was found in Gacy's home crawl space. He was identified in 2011.
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James Haakenson were identified in 2017. Haakenson body was recovered from Gacy's crawl space in 1978. The teen had left his Minnesota home bound for Chicago, and last spoke to his mother on Aug. 5, 1976, letting her know he made it to Chicago. Authorities believe he may have been killed within weeks of leaving home.
Authorities said that Haakenson's nephew, curious about his uncle, learned of the department's efforts to identify Gacy's victims and reached out to investigators to supply his DNA.
The Sheriff's Department worked with the DNA Doe Project, a California non-profit that locates relatives of unidentified remains using genetic profiles, to identify Alexander's remains.
Using DNA from his molar, the DNA Doe Project compared the victim's profile to others on a genealogy website and found potential relatives.
The sheriff's department obtained samples from Alexander's mother and a half-brother and confirmed his identity.
Authorities also discovered that Alexander lived in the same area Gacy frequented and where some of his other victims lived.
Five unidentified victims of Gacy's remain.
Gacy was convicted in 1980 of killing 33 young men — some of whom he tortured or sexually assaulted after he lured them to his home — and he was executed by lethal injection in 1994.
Anyone who believes their male relative may have been a Gacy victim is asked call the Cook County Sheriff at 708-865-6244.