25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy

25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy

Jacob Miller - August 5, 2017

John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer and rapist. He sexually assaulted, tortured, and murdered at least 33 teenaged boys and young men between 1972-1978 in Cook County, Illinois. Gacy would lure his victims to his home in Norwood Park with force or deception, and murder them by asphyxiation with a makeshift tourniquet. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space of his house, three others elsewhere on his property, and five more in the Des Plaines River.

Gacy became known as the “Killer Clown” because of his charitable services at fundraising events, parades, and children’s parties where he would dress as Pogo the Clown, a character he had devised. After Gacy started his own construction business, PDM Contractors, he became an active community member in Norwood Park and hosted annual summer parties beginning in 1974. Gacy also played an active role with the Democratic Party, offering initially offering the labor services of his PDM employees free of charge. Gacy is known to have performed as Pogo or Patches at numerous local parties, Democratic party functions, charitable events, and at children’s hospitals.

After Gacy’s divorce in 1976, Gacy was free to commit the majority of his murders in what he referred to as his “cruising years.” On December 11, 1979, Gacy visited a Des Plaines pharmacy to discuss a potential remodeling job with the owner of the store. While Gacy was within earshot of a 15-year-old part-time employee Robert Jerome Piest, he mentioned that his firm hires teenagers at a salary of $5 per hour, double what Piest earned at the pharmacy.

After Gacy left the store, Piest told his mother that he wanted to go talk to him about a job. Piest never returned. His family filed a missing person report. The police contacted Gacy, who denied ever speaking to the boy and offered to come down to the station later that day. At 3:20 a.m., Gacy, covered in mud, arrived at the police station, claiming he had been involved in a car accident.

The police were convinced that Gacy was responsible for Piest’s disappearance. They checked Gacy’s record and found that he had an outstanding battery charge against him in Chicago and had served a prison sentence in Iowa for the sodomy of a 15-year-old boy. A search warrant of Gacy’s house was ordered on December 13. Police found a 1975 high school senior class ring, several drivers’ licenses, handcuffs, books on homosexuality and pederasty, a syringe, male clothing too small for Gacy, a pistol.

On the evening of December 20, Gacy drove to his lawyers’ office in Park Ridge to attend a meeting they scheduled to discuss an ongoing civil suit they had filed against the police department. At this meeting, Gacy admitted to what he had done, admitting he had “been the judge … jury and executioner of many, many people”. On December 22, 1978, after being informed that police had found human remains in his crawl space and he would be facing murder charges, Gacy admitted to killing approximately 25-30 teenaged boys.

On May 10, 1994, Gacy was executed. For his last meal, Gacy ordered a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a dozen fried shrimp, French fries, fresh strawberries, and a Diet Coke.

25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Gacy with First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 1978, six years after the killings began. A pin indicating special Secret Service clearance is visible on his jacket. Wikipedia
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
The basement where Gacy buried the bodies. Gacy’s defense team attempted to raise the possibility that all 33 murders were accidental erotic asphyxia deaths. journal-today
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Lifelong Des Plaines resident Augie Schwiesow, who worked for the police department at the time, took dozens of photos of the crime scene. journal-topics
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Investigators tore apart the floorboards to uncover the bodies. journal-topics
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
In late December 1978, Des Plainesites and the world awoke to the horrible news that bodies were found in the crawlspace of Norwood Park resident John Wayne Gacy. journal-topics
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Gacy stated he had lost count of the number of victims buried in his crawl space and had initially considered stowing bodies in his attic before opting to dispose of them off the I-55 bridge into the Des Plaines River. journal-topic
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Gacy returned to his house on December 22 and showed police the location in his garage where he had buried the bodies. The police then drove to the spot on the I-55 bridge from which he had thrown the body of the five victims. journal-topics
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Gacy told his lawyer that he had been the judge … jury and executioner of many, many people. journal-topics
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
The final count of bodies pulled from under Gacy’s small house was more than 30. The Des Plaines Police Dept. was credited with solving the mass murder case after Maine West High School sophomore Rob Piest was reported missing. journal-topics
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
To assist officers in their search for the victims buried in his house, Gacy drew a diagram of his basement to show where the bodies were buried. journal-topic
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Between December 22 and December 29, 1978, 27 bodies were recovered from Gacy’s property, 26 of which were found buried in his crawl space, with one additional victim, being found buried beneath the concrete floor of his garage. journal-topics.
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
All the victims discovered at 8213 Summerdale were in an advanced state of decomposition, and the medical examiner chiefly relied upon dental records to facilitate the identification of the remains. journal-topic

25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Police at the home of serial killer John Wayne Gacy in unincorporated Norwood Park Township. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Des Plaines Police detective Rafael Tovar, center, watches as police officers remove a body from the Norwood Park Township home serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Police officers with one of the bodies found in the crawl space of serial killer John Wayne Gacy at the home in unincorporated Norwood Park Township in 1978. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
The team of Des Plaines Police investigators who broke the case of notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr., all of whom are no longer with the department and some are deceased. In the front row from left are, the late detective James Pickle, Detective James Ryan, officer Michael Albrecht; back row from left, officer David Hachmeister, the late detective James Kautz, officer Ronald Robinson, Sgt. Joseph Kozenczak, Sgt. Walter Lang, the late detective Ronald Adams, detective Rafael Tovar, and officer Robert Schultz. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Legal box containing items related to the John Wayne Gacy trial. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Serial killer John Wayne Gacy in handcuffs following his arrest. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Danny Broderick holds a suit which notorious killer John Wayne Gacy wore to court. One pocket of the suit still holds butter scotch candies. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy after he was arrested by the Des Plaines police. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Des Plaines detectives take John Wayne Gacy to jail. Daily Herald File Photo
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
Pogo the Clown with the 7 Dwarves. Pinterest
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
‘Pogo the Clown’ self-portrait was done by killer John Wayne Gacy. CNN
25 Photos of the Investigation Into the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy art. Pinterest

 

Sources For Further Reading:

Biography – John Wayne Gacy

The New Yorker – Conversations with a Killer

Chicago Tribune – Timeline: Suburban Chicago Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy And The Efforts To Recover, Name His 33 Victims

History Channel – John Wayne Gacy Confesses To Dozens Of Murders

FOX 13 – John Wayne Gacy Property Where 33 Were Murdered Up For Sale

The Wrap – ‘John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise’: Detectives Say They ‘Didn’t Hate’ the Killer Clown

Chicago Tribune – John Wayne Gacy’s Victims

NY Times – John Wayne Gacy Victim Is Identified After Four Decades

The Verge – Grave Mistake: The Controversial, High-Tech Search For John Wayne Gacy’s Lost Victims

BBC News – John Wayne Gacy Murder Victim Identified By Illinois Sheriff

Rolling stone – John Wayne Gacy: Inside Peacock’s New True-Crime Docuseries

Nicki Swift – Who Are John Wayne Gacy’s Ex-Wives?

The Grunge – The Truth About John Wayne Gacy’s Ex-Wives

Chicago Sun Times – Where John Wayne Gacy Buried The Bodies, More; Key Sites Tied To Serial Killer

Inside Edition – The John Wayne Gacy Case: a Timeline and Everything We Know About the ‘Killer Clown’s Reign of Terror

Chicago Sun Time – John Wayne Gacy: The Never-Ending Aftermath Of A Serial Killer’s Notorious Crimes

Oxygen – The Evidence That Helped Put ‘Killer Clown’ John Wayne Gacy Away For Good

AETV – John Wayne Gacy’s Execution: What Were the Serial Killer’s Final Days Like?

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