John Wayne Gacy victim is identified -- 35 years after death

John Wayne Gacy was executed for murdering 33 men and boys in the 1970s and then hiding their remains in and around his Chicago-area home. But eight of the victims were never identified.

Make that seven.

Authorities announced Tuesday that they had identified the remains of one of the bodies found in a crawlspace on Gacy's property as William George Bundy, who was 19 when he vanished in October 1976 on his way to a party.

Bundy's family had long suspected that he had been one of Gacy's victims. Bundy's younger sister, Laura O'Leary, attended the news conference held Tuesday by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to announce the findings. O'Leary said her brother had been working construction jobs before he disappeared, and she noted that Gacy was known to lure victims looking for work through his remodeling and construction company.

"I always knew he was going to be one of them," she said. "But there was no DNA [testing] back then, so there was nothing I could really do."

The Chicago Tribune reported that O'Leary, now 50, had "a sad smile" on her face as she thanked Dart for his decision to revisit the Gacy case using new DNA technology. That decision, Dart said, was made to provide some measure of closure to relatives who have wondered for decades whether their loved ones fell prey to Gacy.

"All of my girlfriends wanted to date him," O'Leary said of her brother, whom she described as a gregarious young man who excelled at sports, the newspaper reported. She said her brother's disappearance took a horrible toll on her parents, who have both since passed away. "My mother, she was really never the same," O'Leary said.

Gacy is believed to have sexually assaulted many of his victims, strangling all but one of them. His reputation as one of the nation's most notorious serial killers was solidified after his penchant for dressing up as a clown and performing at children's parties and charity events became widely known.

While imprisoned, Gacy took up painting. The Miami New Times may have best described his work, calling it "nightmare fuel." Gacy's oeuvre included self-portraits, images of Jesus Christ, and, of course, scores of clowns.

Gacy was executed by lethal injection in 1994.

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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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