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Kinky Clown Unmasked: How John Wayne Gacy Lured Innocents Into a Terrifying Den of Despair (FPD CASE VAULT)

kinky clown unmasked john wayne gacy
Source: Getty Images; WireImage

John Wayne Gacy mugshot; The serial killer created a portrait of his twisted alter ego Pogo the Clown

Jun. 25 2024, Published 10:02 a.m. ET

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By day, he was a devoted husband, a perfect father and a seemingly respectable member of his community. He loved to help neighbors, raise money for charities and entertain kids as Pogo the Clown.

Once, the local Jaycees even voted John Wayne Gacy their Man of the Year.

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But by night, Gacy was one of America's most prolific serial killers: responsible for savagely raping, torturing and slaughtering at least 33 boys and young men during a six-year wave of terror in the 1970s.

"He was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a man with two faces," says shocked friend and neighbor Anthony de Laurentis.

Sadistic Spree

The burly contractor's sadistic spree began in January 1972, but escalated to extreme levels in late 1975 when his second wife left him. On several occasions he admitted murdering more than one victim a day.

In most instances, the sicko would invite his unwitting prey to his suburban Chicago, Ill., home and show them a magic trick he performed as part of his clown act.

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Kinky Clown Unmasked: The Story of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy
Source: Bettmann Archive

Bloodthirsty fiend John Wayne Gacy buried the bodies of 27 young male victims beneath his home and garage in suburban Chicago

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With the ruse of using "fake" handcuffs, he'd bind his victims before revealing the shackles were actually real.

Overpowering and chloroforming his prisoners, the brute stripped off their clothes and gagged them, often with their own underwear. He then indulged his passion for torture and gay sex before ultimately strangling them to death.

Gacy's web of horror unraveled when clues to the disappearance of 15-year-old Robert Piest led investigators to his door. Witnesses told cops they'd seen him talking to Piest shortly before the boy vanished.

A background check revealed Gacy, who had two kids, served time in an Iowa prison for sodomizing a teenage boy.

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Kinky Clown Unmasked: The Story of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy
Source: Bettmann Archive

During a six-year reign of terror, burly contractor John Wayne Gacy savagely raped, tortured and slaughtered at least 33 boys and young men

A December 1978 search of Gacy's house turned up bundles of boys' clothing and a drugstore receipt they traced back to Piest.

When cops confronted Gacy with the proof, the bloodthirsty killer confessed and drew a map showing the location of 27 bodies buried under his house, in the backyard and garage. Piest's body and several other boys were discovered in a nearby river. Gacy was convicted for the killings in 1980 and executed by lethal injection 14 years later.

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