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Sheriff’s police denied warrant for another Gacy excavation

Friday, March 30, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office denied Cook County Sheriff’s officials’ request for another chance to search for victims of notorious serial killer and rapist John Wayne Gacy in the backyard of a Northwest Side apartment building, citing a lack of probable cause.

In 1998, Chicago Police excavated the property in the 6100 block of West Miami Avenue after a retired officer tipped them that he had seen Gacy there one morning with a shovel in the 1970s. No bodies were found.

Cook County Sheriff’s office spokesman Frank Bilecki said authorities detected 17 questionable anomalies underground then, but only about a couple were searched for and examined -- leaving doubts he claimed only more thorough search can dispel.

The Cook County Sheriff’s office presented a search warrant to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office seeking permission to perform an underground search for more possible bodies on the property, according to a Thursday sheriff’s office release.

The sheriff’s office planned to use infrared technology, ground-penetrating radar and other high-tech techniques to search for “anomalies indicative of clandestine gravesides,” said the release. If such anomalies were found, a cadaver dog would be brought in to sniff out decomposed human flesh.

However, the state’s attorney concluded that the warrant did not establish sufficient probable cause for yet another excavation. A spokeswoman for the state’s attorney was unavailable for comment Thursday.

The sheriff’s office reportedly tried asking tenants for permission to search the property -- and were denied again.

The release noted that a 1998 search of the property spurred a “media frenzy” that disrupted tenants’ lives.

Gacy was convicted of murdering 33 men and boys in the 1970s. He was executed by lethal injection in 1994. Many of his victims were buried in the crawl space of his former house in the 8200 block of West Summerdale Avenue.

Dart jumped back on the Gacy case in 2011, when his office exhumed skeletons of unidentified victims to determine their identities, leading to the identification of William George Bundy, who was 17 when he was killed.

Bilecki said Dart “is willing to keep investigating” despite the rejection of the warrant.

“We will go about our investigation,” he said. “And if more evidence comes to fruition that we can expand on the warrant with, we will move forward.”

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