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Just Science Podcast: Just Identifying Gacy's Victims Part 2

NCJ Number
Jason Moran
Date Published
December 2022

This podcast episode of Just Science is a discussion with the Commander of Police at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, discussing how the office set out to identify the remaining victims of John Wayne Gacy, decades after their bodies were found.


In this third episode of the Case Studies: Part 2 mini-season of Just Science podcast, the host continues the previous conversation with Jason Moran, Commander of Police at the Cook County Sherriff’s Office, about how he and his colleagues were able to identify the remaining victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, more than thirty years after their bodies were found. Commander Moran discusses how the Forensic Services Initiative team, which is tasked with reviewing and re-opening cold cases, used modern DNA analysis methods for human identification. The murders took place between 1972 and 1978, resulted in eight of 33 known victims never being identified; he reports that at the time of the cold case investigation, 35 years after the murders, the bodies were either markedly decomposed or reduced to only skeletons. Commander Moran discusses some of the missing person leads that came in following the public announcement of the cold case being reopened. Efforts included sifting through victim profiles, using mitochondrial DNA profiling, reviewing any available evidence, and using new methods such as forensic investigative genetic genealogy (FIGG). Commander Moran also discusses the use of contemporary forensic tools and methods to resolve cold cases, and the importance of law enforcement agencies forming cold case units.