I recently stumbled across an article on NPR entitled 30 Years Later, Serial Killer’s Victims Exhumed. Gacy is thought to have killed about 33 young men, many of whom were buried in the crawlspace of his house. A fair number of the victims were identified upon his capture, mostly using dental records and information provided by family members who had suffered the disappearance of sons and brothers in the Chicago area throughout the 1970s.
There were, however, numerous unidentified bodies and the upper and lower jaws (including teeth) were preserved so that future technologies may I.D. the victims. Over the last few years DNA from about half of the bones of the unidentified victims has been accurately obtained, meaning that a relative could provide their own DNA to confirm a familial relationship.
One of the shocking things with regards to this story, is that numerous families failed to report relatives as missing because Gacy was a homosexual serial killer, which was taboo enough in the 1970s (and maybe even today?) and this prevented families from reporting missing offspring; apparently, it was better to believe the missing offspring had never come into contact with this homosexual killer than to identify the victims, which would allow closure, grieving, and justice.
A number of the victims were also said to be wards of the state and so were from broken homes; nobody was going to miss them, regardless.
It’s just sad to note that some of the unidentified victims will remain faceless not just because of a lack of DNA evidence, but from the fact they may have been gay and/or started out life with no real family.