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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 second episode of the Case Studies: Part 2 mini-season of Just Science podcast, the host interviews 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 which took place between 1972 and 1978 resulted in eight of 33 known victims never being identified; Commander Moran reports that at the time of the investigation, 35 years after the murders, the bodies were either markedly decomposed or reduced to only skeletons. He discusses the process of considering the ethics of re-opening a cold case, reviewing existing evidence, addressing questions that arise through the review process, and collection and analysis of new information as well as potential evidence samples.