ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

The bloody acts of killer clown John Wayne Gacy have well and truly seeped into the public consciousness, but the infamous Chicago-based murderer's crimes are far from being solved.

Shockingly, about a quarter of Gacy's 34 victims are yet to be identified, but a cold case officer named Jason Moran is hell bent on bringing them justice.

Buzzfeed reports that in 2010, Moran discovered an entire cabinet dedicated to Gacy - and was shocked by the contents. 32 years after Gacy was arrested for his crimes, eight of the young men he had callously murdered were still only known by victim numbers and vague physical characteristics.

Jason Moran (right) and Sheriff Tom Dart (left) with vials of Gacy's blood discovered in 2012
Jason Moran (right) and Sheriff Tom Dart (left) with vials of Gacy's blood discovered in 2012

Luckily for Moran, he is part of Sheriff Dart's team who recognizes how "horribly" missing person cases are handled in the States and is dedicated to readdressing this "social justice type-bent" within his department.

Despite what me might see on TV - lookin' at you, Cold Case! - departments dedicated to investigating unsolved cases from the past are rare, but Moran is committed to his work because, as he poignantly words it:

When does someone not deserve justice anymore?

Getting to the bottom of these baffling murders was not going to be easy, though.

The Gacy filing cabinet where the investigation began
The Gacy filing cabinet where the investigation began

Gacy's unidentified victims were mourned by a congregation of cops and lawyers on June 12, 1981 before being buried in eight separate cemeteries to prevent their graves becoming a macabre tourist attraction. The bodies in their final resting places were not quite complete though - jaw bones had been removed from each of them and stored in the hope that investigators could later use them to crack the case.

Unfortunately, When Moran arrived at the Medical Examiners office to examine the jawbones for their intended purpose in 2010 he was told that the remains had been interred at Homewood Memorial Gardens six months before.

This was not a cemetery with a good reputation. Bodies of the unclaimed were dumped there in creepy coffins sometimes containing deceased children, medical waste, organs and animal bones in one casket. A partly decomposed head had been found by a visitor once because a grave was so shallow that a coyote had dug up the remains.

Finding eight jawbones here was not going to be easy.

The buckets containing jaw bones and teeth are discovered
The buckets containing jaw bones and teeth are discovered

In summer 2011, the jaw bones were unearthed from beneath a coffin of deceased children thanks to a combination of guesswork and a crude measuring system devised using the date the remains were buried.

After collecting suitable DNA profiles from the victims and setting up a call centre, Sheriff Dart held a press conference and reached out to relatives and friends of missing people who disappeared in the years when Gacy was active to contact him.

Sheriff Dart at the press conference
Sheriff Dart at the press conference

One of the first names to come up was that of William Bundy, a construction worker who was 19-years-old at the time of his disappearance.

The call was from a machine operator named Greg Charlton who was close to Bundy as a child. Charlton had a disturbing image burnt into his mind from a few years before his friend's disappearance and was sure that Bundy was amongst Gacy's victims.

While the pair were in their early teens, Bundy arrived at the harbor where they used to hang out in a car with an older man - Charlton is certain that man was Gacy.

William Bundy in his high school ID
William Bundy in his high school ID

Charlton moved away from the area with his mom for a few years and when he returned, he bumped into Bundy counting a wad of cash on the street that he had earned from working in construction, an industry that Gacy also worked in.

This was the last time Charlton saw Bundy before he went missing in 1976.

Bundy's sister, Laura O’Leary, also called the investigation with suspicions that Gacy had killed her brother and Moran was compelled to take a DNA swab from her to establish the truth. Results showed O'Leary had "an association with victim 19", but this was not enough to identify the body.

Moran returned and asked O'Leary if she had anything else that could link the body to her brother and she remembered that she'd found a couple of his canine teeth.

Bundy needed braces, but the family couldn't afford them so his two upper canines were removed to help the overcrowding in his mouth. He had kept the teeth because they were pointed and badass looking, and O'Leary had held onto them for their sentimental value.

Moran discovered that, like Bundy, victim No. 19 was missing both of his upper canines, a feature present in just 2% of the population which, when coupled with the DNA match, was enough to finally give the unidentified corpse a name.

Although the news was obviously deeply upsetting to O'Leary, she was glad to have a sense of closure about the fate of her lost brother.

Tom Dart with Bundy's sister Laura O'Leary at a 2011 news conference
Tom Dart with Bundy's sister Laura O'Leary at a 2011 news conference

So far, Bundy is the only person to be identified, but the other seven case files are still open and Moran receives a handful of calls each month from people disclosing details of their missing loved ones.

Moran works tirelessly to identify more victims, a true hero.

(Source: Buzzfeed)


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