Another Gacy victim identified through DNA evidence
Renewed efforts to find names for eight unknown victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy have identified one as William "Bill" George Bundy, a Chicago resident who was 19 when he was murdered 35 years ago.
DNA comparisons with his younger sister, Laura Bundy O'Leary, and brother, Robert Bundy, both of Chicago, identified the remains, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Tuesday.
Four families have also learned through DNA that their missing relatives were not among the 33 Gacy victims that have been found, Dart said at a news conference.
"My mother was never really the same having a missing child," said Laura O'Leary at the news conference. Her brother disappeared in 1976, and Gacy's grisly crimes were discovered in 1978, but her mother was in denial about the chances that her son had been killed.
Most of the young men were buried in the crawl space of Gacy's home in Norwood Park Township near Des Plaines. William Bundy's body was found alone in the southwest corner of the space, Dart said. Until this time, he had been identified as Number 19 because he was the 19th body removed from the space.
Gacy was executed in 1994.
The Bundy family came forward in the late 1970s and told authorities William might be a Gacy victim, said Dart. They tracked down their retired dentist but learned he had destroyed his records. Dental records were the primary way of identifying victims at that time, Dart said.
"My mother was pretty much in denial," O'Leary said. "I made her go to the dentist. But there were no leads as time went by."
Last month in an attempt to identify the eight still unknown young white men, Dart set up a phone number (800) 942-1950 and a link at cookcountysheriff.com to allow people whose male family members went missing in the 1970s to volunteer for DNA testing.
Laura O'Leary said she went to the website to sign up for the testing at 4 a.m., as soon as she heard about Dart's quest.
"It's a terribly heartbreaking period of time for the family," Dart said at a packed news conference. On Monday, he went to the grave site in Resurrection Catholic Cemetery in southwest suburban Justice with Bundy's brother and sister.
It turned out that Bundy has an aunt and grandparents buried in the cemetery, so the family will leave his body there. In the spring they will add a marker and hold a memorial service.
"There is no reason whey we would move him," said Laura O'Leary. "The sorrow will eventually go away. Now we have a place to visit him."
The University of North Texas -- Center for Human Identification made a positive identification Nov. 14 between the DNA of Bill Bundy and that of his sister and brother. At 5-foot-4 inches Bundy also fit the parameters of the remains and was Gacy's shortest victim, said Dart.
"He had a lot of friends," O'Leary said of her brother at the news conference. "All my girlfriends wanted to date him."
Her brother, who was two years older than she was, excelled as a diver and a gymnast, she said. He dropped out of Senn High School when he was a junior, Dart said.
"I knew he was going to be one (of the victims)," she said. "He was always all over the city."
In the days before his disappearance, he was "excited about learning to be an electrician," O'Leary recalled. The family didn't know he apparently was working for Gacy, a contractor who had a small house near Des Plaines. "He called himself an apprentice," O'Leary said.
Offering construction employment to young men was one of Gacy's ploys.
O'Leary still remembers the night in October 1976 when her brother left their home on the 4800 block of North Clarendon Avenue to go to a party and was never seen again.
O'Leary does not have many mementos of her brother -- his high school identification card, an ID bracelet she bought him for his 18th birthday, patches from a jacket, his grade school autograph book and two teeth that had been removed.
Besides O'Leary's notification, the sheriff's office got a call from a friend of William Bundy who said he was afraid the young man had worked for Gacy.
"Shortly before Bill went missing he had a lot of cash on him, which was unusual," the friend told sheriff's representatives. "He said he had just started working a construction job for an individual he did not name," said Dart.
Bill's parents were divorced. His mother died in 1990 and his father five years ago, said their daughter.
Meanwhile, the Texas lab has ruled out four DNA samples and said they do not match any of the unknown victims. Officials are still examining six DNA samples, but results may be delayed because the lab is in the process of moving.
Dart urged relatives of all missing people to provide their local law enforcement authorities with DNA samples because they can prove helpful in identifying remains and providing certitude to families.
"It's abundantly clear for us from the work that Detective Jason Moran has done on this case that throughout the country, prior to 1980, missing persons were not given much thought and were not professionally handled," Dart said, noting that the initial report on Bill's disappearance couldn't be located.
Dart said his office has submitted the four DNA samples from relatives who did not match the victims to a national database. They will also will submit John Wayne Gacy's blood to CODIS, an FBI program which allows state, local, and national law enforcement crime laboratories to compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial crimes to each other and identifying suspects by matching DNA profiles from one crime scene to another.
The sheriff admitted it is unlikely that this will turn up a match to Gacy because someone would have had to save something that Gacy left DNA on at a 1970s crime scene.
DNA collection kits for relatives who are missing young men have been sent to law enforcement offices in four states, Minnesota, California, Indiana and Kansas. Officials have Gacy's travel records, he said.
Dart said 125 people have come forward seeking loved ones since he first made his appeal, but some of the missing people do not fit the timetable when Gacy was at large.