During the early 1970s, John Wayne Gacy was known to be the maintenance man at an apartment building at the corner of Miami and Elston Avenues on the northwest side of Chicago. But in a report filed in 1994 by an Ameritech repairman to the Illinois State Police, he cites another apartment building Gacy possibly managed in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago.
One might dismiss the validity after the repairman didn’t come forward with his story for 24 years, but something rings eerily familiar about his statement. While this man was in the basement of the apartment building, he saw trenches dug in the basement floor and recounted the area smelled like death. When the apartment manager asked him how he would know that, the repairman said he had been fighting in Vietnam.
This apartment manager initially made excuses for the smell, saying he was working on sewer pipes, but then changed the topic to asking the repairman if he liked his job: he told him he could make more money working in construction, a classic Gacy MO. The repairman declined the offer and the manager suddenly got irritated and threatening.
The interaction is so disturbing, the repairman goes to his foreman, who is dismissive, saying the apartment manager was probably trying to save money by putting in sewer pipes himself. But in 1979 after Gacy’s arrest, the image is so vivid, the repairman goes to Chicago PD to tell them he thinks this apartment building was managed by Gacy and may have other victims buried there.
Again in 1994, he pleads with the Illinois State Police to pay attention to his story before Gacy is put to death: he fears there may be more victims. Much of the report is redacted, so the name of the repairman does not appear. It was taken by Sergeant Mark Hinchy. When I spoke with Hinchy he immediately referred me to an ISP PIO, with whom I went around in circles for almost 2 years trying to understand what really happened. The ISP did refer the case to Chicago PD Area 3 and after 22 years, it was concluded the apartment building had been knocked down and made into a paved parking lot. An owner of the building, which was held in a trust – much like the Miami-Elston property – told police John Wayne Gacy never had anything to do with it the building in any capacity. True, after Gacy was arrested, hundreds if not thousands of people claimed to have some connection to his case. But what a strange coincidence.
The report reminds me of an interview we performed with Gacy’s family photographer and sometimes construction worker, Marty Zielinski. He worked with Gacy on modification of the basement of the Rainbo Roller Rink, which used to be located just north of the corner of Clark and Lawrence, again, in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago:
“I worked for him in the autumn of 1975 at Rainbo. By the back of the building was a brick wall along the alley and there was a stairwell in it. That was supposed to be torn down. Some of it was going in the dumpster, some of it was going into this 6 x 12’ room we created – it was like a large closet. I asked Gacy why we weren’t putting everything into the dumpster and he said, "Dumpsters are expensive". That was the justification. At the end of the project, I saw a guy starting to brick up the room from the bottom. And I remember, I saw a beam at the top, I go, my God I wish I had a pencil and a piece of paper, I wanted to tack it on that beam and go “Marty was here, November 1975”! I remember seeing it as the sun is going down, the last bricks went up to the top of that, and I knew that for decades, nobody was gonna see what went into that enclosed area.”
In 1993, just as the Rainbo was about to be demolished entirely, bones were found in the foundation of the building: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2003-12-03-0312030241-story.html. Later, as our investigation inquired with Chicago PD about the bones, we were told the remains were from the 1990s and were African-American in origin. They even showed us photos of old sneakers. But in the Chicago Tribune’s 1993 article, it’s clear no flesh or sneakers were involved – another confounding coincidence?
But wait – there’s more!
While Marty Zielinksi worked at Rainbo on Chicago’s North Side in 1975, let me take you further south in the city to the Gold Coast neighborhood at 1 W. Division Street at the corner of Clark and Division. There, Gacy had a job lowering the basement floor of the building in October 1976. Once again, a workman - by the name of Joseph Tomaskovic – complains the work site smells like “something was dead down there”. Gacy told him it was just some “dead rats”, but Tomaskovic pushed back: he had been in a concentration camp during WWII.
At one point, Gacy and Tomaskovic knocked heads so much, a fight erupted and the building’s manager, Al Rush, was called in from a family outing to break it up (his ex-wife, Beverly O’Callaghan, recounted the tale for us). Sure enough, the job was completed and people moved on. But in a January 1979 Chicago Sun-Times article, Tomaskovic came forward and asked the Cook County Sheriff to look into the building. In the article, it says the Cook County Sheriff is going to look into the location, but according to Beverly O’Callaghan in 2020, no one ever did.
The reason these strange coincidence are so important to report is that, if there are remains at any of these sites, they are those of someone’s sons, fathers, brothers, uncles: the human life we say we value so much. Why weren’t these locations investigated with diligence? Why so many excuses?
In documents from January 1979, the Cook County Sheriff lists more than a hundred potential victims based upon parents, and other law enforcement jurisdictions, sending in ante mortem x-rays in a search for their sons and daughters. Were there more victims in the Gacy case? Even Rafael Tovar, one of the original investigators from the Des Plaines PD believes this – and after hounding that guy for almost a decade for his files and first-hand knowledge – he knows this case comprehensively.
Although Gacy can never be considered a good reporter since he was a liar and a psychopath, this excerpt is from a March 6, 1979 interview with his defense counsel, Sam Amirante:
John Wayne Gacy
Sam, you know when I was cruising, you know, when I was cruising, I was picking up broads, too.
John Wayne Gacy
'Cause I can remember this little black headed one named Tina. She gave a good blow job. She was down at, at Wilson and, uh, [UNSURE OF NAME]. I think she came out to the house 'cause I woke up in bed with her, you know?
You don't remember--
John Wayne Gacy
It was, you know. Then there was another foreign broad that was out there.
You don't remember any of the broads being dead, though, right?
John Wayne Gacy
It's possible, but I don't know. I remember finding broads clothing in my house. Panties and stuff. You know.
Why did you bring one guy to the woods? Why didn't you put him in the crawl space?
John Wayne Gacy
I don't know. I had his identification, too. Took his wallet from him. I don't know if he was in the army or, or what he was. About 24 years old. 24, 25 years old. It was almost daylight. I just drove to the woods and, and dumped him in the woods.
Were you afraid of being seen by anybody?
John Wayne Gacy
No. I had such a hangover, I don't remember.
Today, I’m taking my files from 10 years worth of research off my computer and putting this story behind me. But let this be a tale for someone else to pick up the baton for, knowing there are so many holes in this case that need to be investigated. I’m just a documentary producer, a mother, a daughter, a friend who cares. I don’t need to do police work – that’s for police.