Fittest loser
Article updated: 10/13/2011 6:58 PM

Cook sheriff: More than 30 calls about Gacy victims

John Wayne Gacy in 1978

John Wayne Gacy in 1978

 
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Nearly three dozen people have contacted the Cook County Sheriff's office following Wednesday's plea to the public to help identify the eight unknown victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

As of late Thursday, between 30 and 35 people, both in the Chicago area and around the U.S., have called or emailed the sheriff's department, Cook County sheriff's department spokesman Frank Bilecki said.

Some of them described young men who went missing in the 1970s and who would have been about the same age as the unidentified victims, he said.

Even more calls are expected in the coming days, since Sheriff Tom Dart spent part of Thursday doing national media interviews on the subject. It's also possible families are talking among themselves about whether to inquire, Bilecki said.

"So far, we've been very happy with the results," Bilecki said. "According to the investigators, some of the people are fitting our parameters as far as age groups we're talking about."

Gacy was put to death in 1994 for killing 33 young men and burying most of them in the crawl space of his home in unincorporated Norwood Park Township.

Eight of the victims were never identified, but they were all young white men in their teens or 20s who disappeared between 1970 and 1979.

The sheriff's department exhumed the eight unidentified bodies earlier this year and obtained DNA samples.

Investigators will be following up with these new leads, and if they believe there could be a match, a DNA sample will be taken. The DNA is collected by painlessly swabbing the inside of a person's mouth.

"Hopefully, we'll be swabbing soon," Bilecki said.

Anyone whose male family member has been missing since the 1970s is encouraged to call the sheriff's hotline at (800) 942-1950 or go to cookcountysheriff.com.

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