A young North Carolina man who had moved to Chicago has been identified as a victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who was convicted of killing 33 men and boys in the 1970s, authorities said Monday.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Frances Wayne Alexander was 21 or 22 when disappeared November 1976 and March 1977. Genetic testing was completed with members of the nonprofit DNA Doe Project, which helps law enforcement agencies identify bodies.
Alexander was one of six Gacy victims who had not been identified. His remains were found in 1978 in the crawlspace of Gacy’s suburban home outside Chicago.
Alexander’s body was one of 26 pulled from under Gacy’s house. Three others were discovered buried on the property. Gacy admitted to murdering three more, whose bodies he dropped from a bridge. Their remains were later found in a river south of Chicago.
“These unidentified young men brutally murdered by this vicious serial killer deserve dignity and that includes knowing their names,” Dart said. “As science evolves, it is important for us to continually apply these new tools to both new and old cases to help victims and their families.”
Alexander’s family was notified on Friday, Dart said.
“It is hard, even 45 years later, to know the fate of our beloved Wayne,” his family said in a statement “He was killed at the hands of a vile and evil man. Our hearts are heavy, and our sympathies go out to the other victims’ families. We can now lay to rest what happened and move forward by honoring Wayne.”
The man had only been in Chicago for about a year, arriving just after getting divorced, Dart said. How he met Gacy remains a mystery, but Dart said, “Alexander lived in an area that was frequented by Gacy and where other identified victims had previously lived.”
Gacy, who was active in politics and had his own construction company, was dubbed the “Clown Killer” because he gave performances at children’s parties and functions dressed as a clown, performing magic tricks. He lured young men and teen age boys to his home, got them drunk and then raped and murdered him, investigators said.
He was sentenced to death. While awaiting execution, he painted a rogue’s gallery of canvases, many of himself in white face paint and wearing a clown suit. His works are still bought and sold on so-called “murder memorabilia” sites.
Gacy was executed by lethal injection in 1994.