Police find little in search for more Gacy victims
Excavation over, police say
November 23, 1998
CHICAGO (CNN) -- After a full day of radar scanning and digging, Chicago police turned up nothing more than a few "minor artifacts" Monday in their search for more victims of notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Police dug up a small plot of ground behind an apartment building, following a lead presented by Bill Dorsch, a private investigator and former Chicago police detective.
Dorsch had told a privately funded civic group that in 1975 he saw Gacy outside the building in the middle of the night with a dirty shovel. Dorsch said he had reported the same information at the time of Gacy's 1978 arrest, but said the information was either ignored or lost.
The civic group, the Better Government Association, rented radar equipment and made a survey of the blacktopped mini-parking lot and yard outside the building, where Gacy's mother once lived. They turned their pictures over to police, saying there was evidence of possible skeletal remains.
So police put up barricades around the building before dawn Monday morning, and later in the day performed their own radar scan. After finding what they described as two suspicious spots, they decided to excavate two areas in the soft dirt around the building.
All they found was a flattened sauce pan, a glass marble, a chunk of concrete and a 2 1/2-foot length of wire.
"None of them were in any way related to human remains," said police Cmdr. John Thomas, who oversaw the dig.
Investigators decided not to dig under the asphalt driveway, although radar scans there turned up what they believe is an oil tank, Thomas said.
Police said no further digging will take place.
"We took as comprehensive and responsible a look as we were required to do for the sake of the people who were concerned about it," Thomas told reporters. "We'd like to return the neighborhood to a state of normalcy."
For six years starting in 1972, Gacy lured young men and boys to his home for sex, then tortured and strangled them. Most were buried in a crawlspace under the house.
In a grim scene in 1978, police pulled body after body from that house, only a few miles from the site police searched Monday. Investigators used maps hand-drawn by Gacy to help find the victims.
In all, 33 deaths were linked to Gacy. But police always have suspected he may have killed others, since some of his victims were drifters, runaways and others with no apparent family ties. Eight of his 33 known victims have never been identified.
Gacy spent much of his 14 years in prison painting pictures of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and fellow serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
He died in the execution chamber at Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet in 1994.
Even though police found nothing Monday, many people believe that there may still be more bodies somewhere.
"It's possible, because he was nuts," said Angel Salinas, 66, who was one of many who had waited outside the dig.
Chicago Bureau Chief Jeff Flock, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.
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