Gacy, True Crime, Writing

Remembering the 33 Victims of John Wayne Gacy on the 40th Anniversary

Stories plant themselves in us for different purposes. Some stories fuel our imagination, like #HarryPotter. Others teach us how to grieve and love like @cherylstrayed writes about in #Wild.

Stories like #RobPiest — remind me that life is fragile, imperfect, sad, but also redemptive. It’s true we live in a world where terrible things happen. But we have agency in what we do with stories.

I’ve been asked: why me? Why do I care so much about the case and murders of #JohnWayneGacy? I wasn’t alive, so why should I care, or rather, feel the need to write about the case?

The truth is: stories find us.

This story found me.

I dug deep into this case when I became a mom because I was afraid. I was a mom to a boy and I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to lose my angel baby to something as horrendous as Gacy. I began researching and digging and discovered — although I couldn’t bring these boys back — I could use my network and skills and honor them. 6 victims of 33 are still unnamed. They go by “John Doe.” Their parents, if still alive, don’t have ANY closure on their son’s deaths. This fact doesn’t sit well with me.
I write about the case because it’s like 6 degrees of separation, but more like 2. My mom was one of the last people to see Gacy on the night he took Rob. It could have been her. I love my mom. If she was the taken one, I wouldn’t be here. Bennett wouldn’t be here. So in a way, the case has become a story that’s found me. I’ll never stop honoring and remembering these boys.
Did you know there isn’t even a memorial at Gacy’s old home? The lot where he killed 33 boys? Someone lives there.

I think it should be a memorial instead.

This week, light a candle, say a prayer, never forget these boys, and their bodies that were found 40 years ago this week.


In print today, Chicago Tribune.