Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced this morning that a previously unidentified victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy has been identified through DNA.
Using DNA technology that has only been available in recent years as well as other identifiers, Dart said his office was able to match the remains of a body found in Gacy's crawlspace to William George Bundy, who was 19 when he disappeared in October 1976.
Bundy was reported missing in October of 1976. On that night, it was reported that he was going to a party and forgot his wallet at home. He was never seen or heard from again.
Bundy's younger sister Laura O'Leary, who attended Dart's news conference with her brother Robert, said she always thought that her brother might have been a Gacy victim because he had been working construction jobs right before he disappeared. Gacy was known to lure victims looking for work through his remodeling and construction company.
"I always knew he was going to be one of them," she said. "But there was no DNA back then, so there was nothing I could really do."
O'Leary, now 50, had a sad smile on her face as she read from a written statement thanking the sheriff for providing some measure of closure. Her brother, Robert did not address the media.
O'Leary, who was 15 at the time her brother Bill disappeared, described him as a gregarious young man who was an excellent diver and gymnast at Senn High School. She remembered that her girlfriends often dropped by the family's home to flirt with him.
"All of my girlfriends wanted to date him," she said. "They weren't coming there for me."
O'Leary said she has only vague memories of the night he disappeared more than 35 years ago.
"I remember him leaving that night, saying he was going to a party. That was the last time I saw him."
As Bundy's disappearance went unsolved, her divorced parents struggled emotionally, she said. Her mother, Elizabeth Dudek, died in 1990. Her father, Robert Bundy, died five years ago, she said.
"My mother, she was really never the same," O'Leary said. "She was in denial, I think."
The identification comes more than 30 years after Gacy became a household name as one of the nation's most notorious serial killers and nearly two decades after he was executed for his crimes.
Gacy was convicted of the murders of 33 young men and boys in the 1970s, all but one of them strangled, many of them found in the crawl space of his Norwood Park Township home.
Gacy was executed by lethal injection in 1994.
But eight of his victims remained unidentified despite efforts by law enforcement over the years to find DNA matches.
Seven of the unidentified victims were found in a crawl space beneath Gacy's house at 8213 W. Summerdale Ave. in Norwood Park Township. An eighth was found buried in Gacy's yard.
Earlier this year, Dart launched a renewed effort to identify those victims using advances in DNA technology.