On May 22, 1978 Jeffrey Ringall had returned home to Chicago from a winter vacation in Florida. Walking through New Town a popular area of Chicago his path was blocked by an Oldsmobile. The heavy-set man in the car started chatting with Ringall and finally invited him for a ride around town while sharing a joint. Delighted to be able to escape the cold Ringall got into the Olds. Half way through the joint the man suddenly grabbed Ringall and shoved a rag doused in chloroform over his face. He lost consciousness and during moments of reawakening tried to decide what was happening to him only to be chloroformed again.
Upon awakening Ringall remembered being in a house and seeing a heavy-set man standing naked before him. On the floor were various sized dildos which the stranger pointed out to him telling him how he was going to use them. That very evening Ringall was viciously raped, tortured and drugged by the sadistic stranger. The following morning Ringall awoke fully dressed under a statue in Chicago's Lincoln Park. Surprised to find himself alive he then went to his girlfriend's and from there to the hospital where he spent six days. The police were skeptical about finding the rapist considering the little information Ringall could provide. Ringall suffered skin lacerations, burns, permanent liver damage from the chloroform and severe emotional trauma. He was also one of the few victims of John Wayne Gacy, Jr. to have survived.
John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was the second of three children and his parent's first son born on St. Patrick's Day in 1942. He was a boy who had after school jobs and joined a Boy Scout troop. Then at the age of eleven he was hit in the head by a swing. This accident resulted in a blood clot on the brain which wasn't discovered until he was sixteen. From the age of eleven to sixteen he suffered a series of blackouts caused by the clot and they ceased when he was given medication to dissolve the blockage in the brain. At seventeen Gary was diagnosed with a non-specific heart ailment which caused him pain but he never suffered any serious heart attack.
After attending four high schools in his senior year and never graduating, Gacy dropped out and headed for Las Vegas. In three months he had earned enough money to return home to his mother and two sisters in Chicago. Then in the early 1960s he enrolled in a business college and graduated. During this time while working as a manager in a clothing outlet his health started failing and he had problems with his heat condition. Most of it was due to the fact that he had gained a great deal of weight.
However none of this stopped him from becoming involved in community organizations and even became first vice-president for the Jaycees and was voted "Man of the Year". In September of 1964 he married a co-worker Marlynn Myers. Her father owned a string of Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises in Waterloo, Iowa and Gacy and his bride moved there so he could begin working for his father-in-law. Gacy joined the Jaycees in Iowa. He was devoted to the club. The Gacy's eventually welcomed a son and a daughter into their family.
Then came the rumors that John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was homosexual and preferred young boys. In the spring of 1968 Gacy was indicted by a grand jury in Black Hawk County for committing the act of sodomy with a teenage boy named Mark Miller. Miller testified that Gacy had tricked him into being tied up and had violently raped him. Gacy denied all the charges against him. Then four months later Gacy was charged with hiring an eighteen year old boy to beat up Mark Miller. Gacy had offered Dwight Anderson $300 to pay off his car loan. Anderson drove Miller to a wooded area, sprayed mace in his eyes and began to beat him. Miller fought back, broke Anderson's nose, ran back to safety and notified the police. When picked up Anderson gave Gacy's name as the man who had hired him for the beating. A judge ordered Gacy to undergo psychiatric evaluation. Gacy was found to be mentally competent but was considered to be an antisocial personality. Shortly after the report was submitted Gacy pleaded guilty to the charge of sodomy. He was sentenced to 10 years at the Iowa State Reformatory for men, the maximum time for such an offense. Gacy was 26 years old. After he entered the prison his wife divorced him on the grounds that Gacy had violated their marriage vows.
Gacy became a model prisoner and eighteen months later he was paroled on June 18, 1970 and headed back to Chicago. He moved in with his mother and got a job as a chef. While he had been in prison Gacy's father had died and this caused him to suffer bouts of depression. Four months later Gacy obtained a house of his own outside the Chicago city limits. He owned one half of the house at 8213 West Summerdale Ave. in Norwood Park Township and his mother and sisters owned the other half. Gacy became close friends with his neighbors Edward and Lillie Grexa who had no idea of his criminal past.
A short time after the Grexas had visited for Christmas dinner at Gacy's home he was charged with disorderly conduct. Gacy had apparently forced a young boy, whom he had picked up at a bus terminal to commit sexual acts upon him. The charges were dropped when the young accuser didn't appear at the court proceedings.
Gacy married again on June 1, 1972 to divorcee Carole Hoff, who had two daughters. Carole knew of Gacy's prison time but felt that he had turned his life for the better. Carole and her daughters moved into Gacy's house and they all became close friends with the Grexas, who were often invited for parties and barbecues. As time passed a horrible smell started to spread throughout the house. Their neighbor Lillie Grexa was sure that a rat had died beneath the floorboards. Gacy however blamed the smell on the moisture that had built up in the crawl space under his house. He knew what caused the stench but he kept the truth from everyone for years. Even though everyone complained of the smells they still continued to attend Gacy's theme parties. On one occasion there were as many as 300 guests.
In 1974 Gacy opened a contracting business which was named Painting, Decorating and Maintenance or PDM Contractors, Inc. He hired teenage boys to work for him explaining that such labor kept costs low. What he instead intended to do was to seduce his young employees. His homosexual desires and the urge to inflict harm were becoming more apparent to those around him, especially to his wife. Carole and John had drifted apart by 1975 due to Gacy's unpredictable mood swings and uncontrollable rage. Being an insomniac when he was home he was always either fixing something outside the house or working in the garage. What worried Carole the most was that he showed no sexual interest in her and then she found magazines with naked men and boys in the house. Gacy told her that he preferred boys to women and the couple's divorce became final on March 2, 1976.
Despite his marital problems, needing and wanting attention Gacy turned to the world of politics hoping one day to run for public office. Soon he caught the attention of Robert F. Matwick, the Democratic township committeeman for Norwood Park. Gacy and his employees volunteered to clean-up the Democratic Party headquarters and Gacy further impressed everyone when he dressed up as "Pogo the Clown" to entertain children at parties and hospitals. Being unaware of Gacy's past Matwick nominated him to the street lighting commission. In 1975, Gacy became secretary treasurer but once again rumors started to circulate about Gacy's homosexual tendencies.
An incident had surfaced at the time of the Democratic Party headquarter clean-up when Gacy made sexual advances toward 16 year old Tony Antonucci, who threatened to hit Gacy with a chair and he left him alone at least for a month. Then he approached Antonucci again and this time tricked him into handcuffs and began to undress the boy. However Antonucci had made sure that one of his hands was loosely cuffed and was able to free himself and wrestle Gacy to the ground. Once he had done this he handcuffed Gacy. After Gacy promised to never touch him again Antonucci let him go and continued working for him for almost a year after this incident.
17 year old Johnny Butkovich began doing remodeling work for Gacy at PDM Contractors and was well paid. His good working relationship with Gacy ended when Gacy refused to pay Johnny for two weeks worth of work just to save money for himself. Angered by this Johnny along with two friends went to Gacy's house to claim his money. When Johnny confronted his boss about his paycheck an argument started up. Johnny threatened to tell authorities that Gacy didn't deduct taxes from earnings. Seeing that there was little they could do Johnny drove his friends home and dropped off the face of the earth so to say. He was never seen alive again.
Then the incidents began - Michael Bonnin, also seventeen disappeared in June of 1976 on the way to catch a train to meet his stepfather's brother and Billy Carroll, Jr., who came from a very different background than Michael Bonnin and Johnny Butkovich, and at 16 made money arranging meetings between teenage homosexual boys and adult clientele for a commission disappeared on June 13, 1976 never to be seen again. But these boys had something in common and it was John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
On December 12, 1976 Gregory Godzik an employee at PDM Contractors drove his girl home and the next day the police found his Pontiac but not 17 year old Gregory. On January 20, 1977 19 year old John Szyc drove off in his 1971 Plymouth Satellite never to be seen alive again. It was a short time later after this young man vanished that the police picked up another teenager in a 1971 Plymouth Satellite who was trying to leave a gas station without paying. The teenager said that the man he was living with could explain the situation. That man was Gacy, who told the police that Szyc had sold him the car earlier. On September 15, 1977 18 year old Robert Gilroy was going to go horseback riding with friends but never arrived. His father a Chicago police sergeant began searching for Robert right away however he was nowhere to be found.
More than a year later another young man named Robert Piest also vanished mysteriously but the investigation into his disappearance would lead to the discovery of his body as well as the bodies of Butkovich, Bonnin, Carroll, Szyc, Gilroy and 27 other young men. A discovery that shocked not only Chicago but all of America as well. Robert Piest was only 15 when he disappeared from outside a pharmacy where he had been working only minutes earlier. His mother, who had come to pick him up from work was waiting for him inside the pharmacy. Robert had said he was going to be right back. He had to talk to a contractor who had offered him a job. Robert never returned and his mother searched the area in and out around the pharmacy. Three hours after his disappearance the Des Plaines Police Department was notified. Lieutenant Joseph Kozenczak led the investigation. Discovering that the name of the contractor who Robert went to talk to was Gacy the police took him in for questioning. Gacy stated that he knew nothing of the boy's disappearance. Then Lt. Kozenczak ran a background check on Gacy and learned that he had served time for sodomizing a teenager years earlier. A search warrant was obtained for Gacy's house.
On December 13, 1978 the police entered Gacy's house on Summerdale Avenue. Gacy himself was not at home and Inspector Kautz was in charge of taking inventory of any recovered evidence. Among the many items confiscated from the house were two driver's license and several rings including one on which was engraved Marine West High School class of 1975 and the initials J.A.S. The police also confiscated three cars including a 1978 Chevrolet pickup truck with a snow plow attachment and PDM Contractors written on it. In the trunk of a 1979 Oldsmobile Delta 88 they found pieces of hair that were later matched to Robert Piest's hair. When the police entered the crawl space underneath Gacy's home they were struck by a rancid odor but otherwise the earth there seemed untouched.
Gacy was informed of the confiscated items and he in turn called his lawyer however at this time the police had nothing to arrest him for. Afterwards the police called in Gacy's friends and interrogated them. Not having enough evidence to link Gacy with Piest the police arrested him on possession of marijuana and Valium. At this time the police didn't know that Gacy had confided to someone that he had killed about 30 people because they were bad and were trying to blackmail him. Meanwhile Ringall was determined to find his rapist and finally spotted the car he was familiar with and followed it to Gacy's house. When Ringall learned Gacy's name he immediately filed charges of sexual assault.
Finally, the police discovered the remains of a body in the crawl space under Gacy's house and the Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Stein was called in to help with the investigation. He immediately recognized the smell coming from the crawl space it was the smell of death and the search for more bodies began. On Friday, December 22, 1978 Gacy confessed to the police that he had killed at least thirty people and buried their remains under the house in the crawl space. He stated that he would handcuff his victims and then sexually assault them. To muffle their screams he would stuff a sock or underwear in their mouths and kill them by pulling a rope or board against their throats while he raped them. He also admitted that sometimes he kept the dead bodies under his bed or in the attic for several hours after he had killed them and then eventually burying them in the crawl space.
The body of John Butkovich was found under the garage. Then the body count found in the crawl space began to grow. Some of the victims still had underwear lodged in their throats. By the 28th of December the police had removed 27 bodies from Gacy's house. One victim's naked corpse was found in the Des Plaines River. The victim was Frank Wayne "Dale" Landingin and his driver's license was found in Gacy's home. Another body removed from the river was that of James "Mojo" Mazzara, Gacy told the police that he had disposed of some bodies in the river because he had run out of room in his crawl space. Mazzara was the 29th victim but would not be the last.
The body count continued to grow. Breaking up the concrete of Gacy's patio they found the body of a man still in good condition. He was wearing a pair of blue jean shorts and had a wedding ring on his finger. The 31st body was found in the Illinois River. The victim was Timothy O'Rourke. After all the bodies were accounted for Robert Piest was still missing. Finally in April of 1979 Robert Piest's body was discovered in the Illinois River. It was determined that he had suffocated from paper towels being lodged down his throat.
Of course after the trial the jury found John Wayne Gacy, Jr. to be guilty and so the maniacal clown went to jail and was executed.