Some incidents are so horrendous that you remember just what you when doing when you first heard the news. In April, 1978, the bodies of 33 murdered boys were found in and around the home of John Wayne Gacy–the original killer clown. The identities of some were known. But there are eight unknown victims. Until 2015, that is. The Associated Press reported on Dec. 26, that new techniques are getting John Wayne Gacy mystery victims ID’d after 37 years. And even more startling, 11 surprise cold cases were solved in the process.
Sgt. Jason Moran is working to identify the eight unknown victims of John Wayne Gacy. With the help of DNA, missing persons reports, Social Security records, autopsy reports, lab techs and anthropologists, Moran is putting names on mystery victims. And in clearing names as possible victims of the killer clown, Jason Moran has solved 11 unrelated cold cases of missing persons across the U.S.
The mystery victims of the killer clown, John Wayne Gacy have puzzled investigators since their discoveries nearly 40 years ago. Some murders go back even farther. The first known victim was Timothy McCoy in January, 1972. McCoy’s body, like many others, was found in the crawl space under Gacy’s home. Four years ago, Jason Moran started working to ID the eight mystery victims. People who thought a relative was an unidentified Gacy victim were asked to submit to a DNA test. Info was collected on 80 cold cases of missing young men. Moran focused on the victim profile of the killer clown: ages 14-24, troubled families, substance abusers, homosexual or previous experience working in construction for Gacy (one source of victims).
The jaw bones and teeth of four unknown victims had been removed in case of identification. These were buried in buckets in a single pauper’s grave labeled “We remembered.” Jason Moran had these and the four other mystery victims whose bodies were buried whole, exhumed in 2011. They were taken to a lab where DNA profiles were developed.
Solving murders isn’t exactly happy news, but it is good. In some cold cases, Jason Moran brought closure. Gacy’s mystery victim 19 now has a name: William Bundy. Bundy’s family had always thought he was a Gacy victim but there were no dental records. The family had saved his teeth, however and those along with family DNA ID’d him. In proving he wasn’t one the mystery victims of the killer clown, missing teen, Andre Drath was identified by a tattoo, fillings and his half-sister’s DNA. The murder of Edward Beaudion was also solved as Jason Moran was able to check him off the John Wayne Gacy list. The body of 16-year-old Steven Sodon, last seen at a New Jersey campground in 1972, was found.
Jason Moran brought joy, reuniting families in cold cases where missing persons were presumed dead. Families can rest a little easier, knowing the fate of missing loved ones. Gacy was put to death in 1994 and his other seven mystery victims have yet to be identified. But by process of elimination, Moram vows to do it, and probably solve other missing persons cases too.