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John Wayne Gacy

He was born on March 17, 1942 and when he did those who delivered him into this world would not have thought even in their wildest dreams that he would end up as a notorious and infamous serial killer. That is what John Wayne Gacy Jr, turned out to be when he killed his first victim in 1972.

Killing spree

His killing spree extended up to 1978 in Cook County, in the State of Illinois in the United States of America. When he was finally apprehended he had killed 33 teenaged boys during that period of six years. On an average he had murdered more than five teenagers per year.

How he evaded the long arm of the law is anyone’s guess, the audacity being that, most of the victims were picked up by him in the same county by force or deception. The teenagers practically vanished into thin air with the law enforcement authorities having no clue at all for six long years.

All his victims were killed by strangulation or by asphyxiation, using a chord or tourniquet. It was found that his first victim was stabbed. The 33 teenagers were incarcerated in his Norwood Park, ranch house and then murdered. He buried 26 of them in the basement of his home, with three others buried in another section of his property.

The last four victims were thrown into the Des Plaines River. When he was arrested the murders shocked not only those in the State of Illinois but the whole country and beyond.


John Wayne Gacy was married to Carole and had two children. Carole’s father had three KFC franchises and he offered the former a deal to run the three. He offered US $ 15,000’= per year and a share of the profits which was in Waterloo, in Illinois. It worked well for Gacy and it was here that Carole delivered their son and daughter.

It was here that he rose to prominence after he joined the Jaycees and rose through the ranks to be the “most outstanding Vice President” of the Waterloo, Jaycees. He was also elevated to the Board of Directors of the Waterloo Jaycees. This elevated him politically and he became an accepted member of the community in Waterloo.    

Later he moved with his family to the Norwood Park ranch. It was from here that Carole walked out of their home with their two children Michael and Christine. She moved into an apartment in February 1976 and a month later in March their divorce was finalized and since then Gacy did not have any connection with them.

Cruising years

Gacy was well known in the community and maintained his political connections that he had developed whilst being in the Jaycees. This gave him some leverage above the police when it came to investigating him. 

In Gacy’s own words the years between 1976 through to 1978 was his “cruising years” because he had the home for himself and faced no impediment to increase his killing spree. Most of his victims were lured and murdered during these two years.

One month after his divorce was finalized he abducted and murdered an 18 year old youth and what he started went on unabated till he came under suspicion. His last victim 15 year Robert Jerome Piest was a part time employee at a pharmacy in Des Plaines. He had visited the pharmacy on the afternoon of December 11, 1978 to talk business with the owner Phil Torf who wanted a contractor, and Gacy was one who undertook such work.

While talking to Phil he apparently had seen the young Robert and as a parting told the pharmacy owner that he was hiring young hands at a starting wage of US $ 5/= per hour. This was nearly double to what Robert was earning at the pharmacy.

Robert had mentioned this to his mother and said that he was meeting a contractor after work. Since he never came back home Phil came under suspicion but then Robert’s mother mentioned the contractor. Phil named Gacy as the contractor who had visited him and also mentioned about the US $ 5/= wage that was offered.

The police visited Gacy’s home and asked whether he had spoken to Robert but the former vehemently denied ever speaking to the latter or even knowing his whereabouts.

In fact at that time Robert was either alive at Gacy’s home gagged and tied or he had already been murdered. Taking Gacy’s word the Des Plaines withdrew requesting Gacy to come down to the station and make a statement. This was because Gacy had said that his uncle had died and he could not accompany them at that particular moment.

After the police had withdrawn he went the next day to the station drenched in mud and explained that his car had skidded off the road and it had to be towed back. The fact was that he had just disposed Robert’s body in the Des Plaines River.


Police after recording his statement placed him under 24 hour surveillance and were convinced that he had something to do with Robert’s disappearance. The constant surveillance placed an impediment to Gacy’s activities and he felt constrained by the investigators.

Then the Des Plaines police took out a warrant and searched his house because they were now beginning to suspect him. Just before that Gacy too wanted to take out a civil suit against the police for trailing him. When the police searched his home they found enough incriminating evidence, to arrest him.

A day before that whilst he was with his lawyers preparing the civil suit, in a drunken stupor he confessed to them that he had killed may be more than 30 teenagers over the last few years. Later when he was arrested he practically confessed to all the murders and also directed investigators as to where he had buried the bodies,


John Wayne Gacy was executed by lethal ejection on May 10, 1994 at the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois.