John Wayne Gacy story reaches out from the past again, with another victim identified

Sneed: “It had the look of horror. Pure horror,” says Attorney Terry Sullivan, who witnessed the uncovering of the crawlspace.

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John Wayne Gacy

AP file photo

John Wayne Gacy.


The cold-blooded killer of young men who terrorized 1970s Chicago and was executed in 1994 resurfaced last week when one of Gacy’s 33 victims was finally identified.

Although five are still unknown, it’s hard not to get lost in the gory statistics found in Gacy’s private cemetery.

Chicago attorney Terry Sullivan watched the exhumation of most of the 29 bodies buried in the basement and on other parts of the property of Gacy’s Norwood Park Township home nearly 40 years ago. 

“The entire Gacy story was on the face of one of those skulls,” Sullivan told Sneed last week. 

“It had the look of horror. Pure horror,” he said. 

“The remains we found were no longer bodies. Bodies removed by time. Bones. 

“But the look on the face of one of the skulls from the crawlspace was something I can never forget,” said Sullivan. 

“Everything had been removed by time and deterioration ... except that look. 

“Now, decades later ... it’s still haunting,” he said.

Sullivan, a young assistant Cook County state’s attorney at the time the bodies were found, subsequently wrote a true crime bestseller about the Gacy murders, “Killer Clown.”


Terry Sullivan

Sun-Times files

Sullivan was there when Gacy was arrested in 1978, when the killer claimed his alter ego “Jack” took the lives of the men found buried in his crawl space. 

He was also there the next day watching the medical examiner’s office fill body bags hauled out of Gacy’s graveyard.

Sullivan lauded the decision decades ago “to bury the remains of all the victims individually and separately in a cemetery — in the hope DNA advances would eventually lead the unidentified back home,” he said.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office has been praised for reopening the Gacy case in 2011 and identifying three victims by painstakingly combining DNA evidence and genealogical data.

Francis Wayne Alexander, 21, who lived on the North Side before disappearing in late 1970s was identified last week.


Francis Wayne Alexander

Cook County Sheriff’s Department

“Gacy, who eventually ran out of room for all his strangled victims, knew precisely where he buried each body in his basement, some buried in tandem and inches apart,” Sullivan said. 

“He gave us the map the day he was arrested … he had already prepared for an insanity defense,” said Sullivan. 

“The next day, I stood in Gacy’s kitchen while the floorboards were removed to expose the crawl space.’’ 


The Queen’s Way …

Great Scot! Is the royal stiff upper lip not working?

It’s bad enough Britain’s beloved Queen Elizabeth, 95, is now in the midst of a mysterious health watch causing the cancellation of her trip to the Glasgow global climate summit this week.

Yikes! Anxiety central! Let’s take a peek at the queen’s royal calendar next year, which is enough to spark a regal race to her majesty’s “medicine” cabinet for tots of gin and DuBonnet.

  • To wit: A New York judge just set a summer 2022 date for the sexual assault suit filed against the queen’s favorite son, Prince Andrew, an old friend of the late sex trafficker/procurer Jeffrey Epstein.
  • To wit: In addition, Prince Harry, the queen’s grandson, is set to release his memoir in 2022! Harry, now living in California splendor with with his American wife, Meghan (nee) Markle, has had no difficulty criticizing his former royal life.

And all this could hit right during the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration set next year.

What HO! 

Random Thoughts …

Open laptop.



Write what?

That the nation seems to be a mess.

That we are becoming alarmingly divided.

Vaccines and masks are now being compared to tyranny and fascism?

That at least 35% of us believe our presidential election was stolen?

That the widest open spaces happen to be our unmasked mouths.

That an American flag — practically the size of Montana, gobbling up the front porch of what appears to be a recently purchased one story house — now flies across from a grade school I drive past several times a week.

And I’m now wondering if the message is more than patriotic?

Is this spooky?

Or am I getting goofy? 

Let’s not answer that question.


Joakim Noah celebrated his retirement last Thursday night with dinner at TAO Chicago’s Ink Lounge. … Saturday birthdays:  actor Henry “The Fonz” Winkler, 76;d Andrea Mitchell, 75, and Ivanka Trump, ageless … of course. Sunday’s birthdays: actor Dermot Mulroney, 58, and Jane Pauley, 71. 

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