North Carolina man named as John Wayne Gacy victim

Authorities said Monday that John Wayne Gacy was responsible for the murder of 33 boys and men in North Carolina who had moved to Chicago.

North Carolina man named as John Wayne Gacy victim

Francis Wayne Alexander would've been 21 or 22 when Gacy killed his father sometime in the early 1976s or early 1977s, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart stated at a news conference announcing Alexander's remains.

Alexander's family didn’t know he was dead for so many years, according to the sheriff.

Dart stated that they loved him but believed he was not interested in having anything more. "

Alexander's sister Carolyn Sanders thanked the sheriff for providing some "closure" to her family in a statement.

Sanders wrote that it was difficult to find out the fate of Wayne's beloved Wayne, even after 45 years. He was murdered by a wicked and evil man. We are sorry for the loss of Wayne and send our condolences to his family. "We can now put the past behind us and honor Wayne."

Alexander's remains were found among 26 others that police discovered in the crawl space beneath Gacy's house just outside of the city. Gacy also found three other victims buried on his property. Four more victims whom Gacy confessed to killing were found in the waterways south Chicago.

Dart's office exhumed eight bodies, including Alexander, in 2011. Police had no idea who they were. Dart asked anyone who saw a male relative vanish in Chicago in the 1970s to provide DNA. Gacy lured young boys and men to his house to eventually kill them.

Within weeks, the sheriff’s office announced that one set of remains had been identified as William Bundy's, a 19 year old construction worker. It identified another set of remains as belonging to 16-year old Jimmy Haakenson in 2017. He phoned his mother in Minnesota, telling her that he was in Chicago, and then disappeared.

It is not clear what Alexander did in Chicago. He was born in North Carolina and moved to New York where he married. In 1975, he moved to Chicago, where he divorced.

According to a news release from the sheriff's offices, Alexander's last known records are traffic tickets that he received in January 1976. This was a year where he made very little money. It is not clear how he came to be with Gacy, one of America's most notorious serial killers. Authorities say that Alexander lived in the same area as Gacy, and that Alexander was employed in bars and clubs.

Alexander was identified by the sheriff's office and the DNA Doe Project. This non-profit uses genetic information to find relatives of deceased people who have not yet been identified. To find potential relatives, the organization compared the DNA profile of the victim's remains with profiles on a genealogy site. This led to Alexander's family. Alexander's half-brother and mother provided their DNA for comparison.

Investigators were able confirm the identity of Alexander's remains through genetic testing, financial records and other information. Knowing when the victim who was buried on his head disappeared was key to determining when Alexander was killed.

Dart and Lt. Jason Moran led the investigation. They suggested that the department could use the same method to identify Alexander in order to identify scores more people who have died and were buried anonymously.

Moran stated, "This is one the most recent investigative tools to investigate missing and unidentified people."

Dart stated that Alexander's family was not ready to talk publicly about the identification, and his office refused to provide Alexander's hometown. The sheriff's office thanked Erwin police for their help in the news release. It is located about 35 miles (56 km) south of Raleigh.

Police have solved at least 11 cold cases of murders that were not connected to Gacy's execution in 1994 by receiving DNA from those who suspect Gacy may have murdered their loved ones. It has helped families locate loved ones who, while gone, are still alive. One example is a man from Oregon who didn't know his family was searching for him.

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