One of the victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy has been identified 45 years after he was murdered.
Francis Wayne Alexander, who would have been 21 or 22 years old at the time of his death, was one of 33 young men and boys murdered by Gacy between 1972 and 1978, according to authorities.
Originally from North Carolina, he was living in Chicago when he was killed sometime between 1976 and early 1977, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.
The details of his life are sparse but authorities said he was married for about three months before he was divorced in 1975.
The last known record of his life dates back to 1976, a year in which he earned little money.
Authorities said Mr Alexander lived in an area that was frequented by Gacy and where other identified victims had previously lived.
His identification came after the sheriff’s department teamed up with a non-profit organisation called the DNA Doe Project, which uses genetic information to locate relatives of dead people who have not been identified.
Gacy, a builder from a suburb of Chicago, lured victims to his home by pretending to be a police officer or by promising them work.
He became known as the Killer Clown after performing as Pogo the clown at fundraising events and hospitals throughout the years of his murders.
He was later convicted and executed in 1994.
Mr Alexander’s sister thanked the sheriff’s office for giving the family some level of “closure”.
“It is hard, even 45 years later, to know the fate of our beloved Wayne,” she said. “He was killed at the hands of a vile and evil man. Our hearts are heavy.”
She said the family can now “lay to rest what happened and move forward by honouring Wayne”.
Mr Alexander’s remains was one of 26 sets discovered in the crawl space under Gacy’s home in a Chicago suburb.
Another three victims were buried on Gacy’s property, while the remaining four that Gacy admitting murdering were found in waterways south of the city.
Mr Alexander’s remains were exhumed in 2011, along with those of eight other victims who had been buried without being identified.
The county sheriff’s office then called on members of the public to submit DNA if they had a male relative who had disappeared in the Chicago area at that time.
Within weeks, one of the victims was confirmed as William Bundy, a 19-year-old construction worker.
A second victim was named in 2017 as 16-year-old Jimmy Haakenson, who disappeared after he phoned his mother in Minnesota and told her that he was in Chicago.
Five others have yet to be identified.
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