Another Victim Of John Wayne Gacy Has Been Identified 43 Years Later

It was the day after Christmas in 1978 when the body of Francis Wayne Alexander was discovered in the crawl space beneath serial killer John Wayne Gacy's home near Chicago, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office. The remains were among 28 others, all male, found under Gacy's house between late 1978 and early 1979. Four more of Gacy's victims were dumped near the Des Plaines River. He'd run out of room in his crawl space. 

For 43 years Alexander was only known as Victim #5. Then, on October 25, 2021, the sheriff's office announced it had identified Victim # 5 as Wayne Alexander. He was likely murdered between early 1976 and early 1977 and was 21 or 22 years old. 

Though Gacy was convicted and put to death in 1994, as of 2011 there were still eight victims who had never been identified, per the Cook County Sheriff's Office. Since then, with the addition of Alexander, they have identified three of those young men through a combination of dogged determination and advances in forensic science. Thanks to DNA, police have helped those families find closure regarding relatives they haven't seen since the 1970s. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, Alexander had not been reported missing. His family thought he chose to distance himself from them after his brief marriage ended in 1975. He'd moved to Chicago and lived where Gacy preyed for victims. 

'He was killed at the hands of a vile and evil man'

Per the Cook County Sheriff's Office, Alexander's last legal record was a traffic ticket issued on January 5, 1976. According to financial records, he didn't make much money that year. Maybe he worked under the table, or maybe he was killed early on that year. One of Gacy's methods of luring young men was to promise them work in construction, USA Today reported. It's unknown how Alexander and Gacy's paths crossed. 

A statement from Alexander's family published by the Cook County Sheriff's office said in part: "It is hard, even 45 years later, to know the fate of our beloved Wayne. He was killed at the hands of a vile and evil man. Our hearts are heavy and our sympathies go out to the other victims' families. Our only comfort is knowing this killer no longer breathes the same air as we do. We can now lay to rest what happened and move forward by honoring Wayne." 

In the meantime, the search for the identities of five more Gacy victims continues. Per the Cook County Sheriff Department, "Anyone who believes their male relative may have been a Gacy victim is asked to visit our website or call Sheriff's Police at 708-865-6244."