Francis Wayne Alexander disappeared shortly after moving to Chicago, in an area where Gacy targeted most of his victims.
Since his remains were found in a crawl space under John Wayne Gacy’s home in 1978, one of the killer’s 33 victims was simply known as Victim # 5. Today, the world learned his name.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced Monday that victim No. 5 was identified as Francis Wayne Alexander, a man who was probably killed sometime between early 1976 and early 1977. He would have been 21 or 22 at the time he was murdered.
According to police, Alexander’s family was notified on Friday, October 22 – and issued a statement along with the identification message on Monday.
Francis Wayne Alexander via Cook County Sheriff’s Office
“Let’s start by thanking Sheriff Tom Dart, Lieutenant Jason Moran, the hard-working officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the DNA Doe Project,” the statement read. “Without their tireless efforts, our family would not have the closure we have now.”
“It is difficult, even 45 years later, to know the fate of our beloved Wayne. He was killed at the hands of a disgusting and evil man. Our hearts are heavy and our compassion goes out to the families of the other victims. Our only consolation is knowing that the killer no longer breathes the same air that we do, “the statement continued.
“We can now rest in what happened and move on by honoring Wayne,” they concluded, signing the declaration as a mother, sisters and brothers, “which has now closed.”
Born in North Carolina, Alexander lived in New York before moving to Chicago. He was married for three months before divorcing in 1975. The last known record that Alexander was alive was a traffic fine from January 5, 1976.
“There is no other evidence of life for Alexander after this time,” police said, noting that he also lived in an area that is “frequented by Gacy and where other identified victims had previously lived.”
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Alexander was one of six victims who had not yet been identified and the third who had been identified since their skeletal remains were exhumed in 2011 when Sheriff Dart reopened the investigation using genetic genealogy. The DNA Doe Project has worked with police to help match the victims with potential relatives. Samples from Alexander’s mother and half-brother were used to confirm “a strong genetic link” between the trio.
James Haakenson and William Bundy have also been identified since 2011 – while the reopening of the case has led to four deaths in cold cases unrelated to Gacy being resolved, as well as a number of cases of missing persons.
Gacy killed 33 teenage boys and young men from 1972-1978 before the victims were found in his home in 1978. Known as the “Killer Clown”, he also performed at children’s hospitals and charities at the time.
“These unidentified young men brutally murdered by this cruel serial killer deserve dignity, and that includes knowing their names,” Sheriff Dart said in a statement as the investigation into the other five remaining identified victims continues. “As science evolves, it is important for us to continually apply these new tools to both new and old cases to help victims and their families.”
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