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See What Detectives Found In John Wayne Gacy's Crawlspace (NSFW)

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 26, 2013 4:00PM

John Wayne Gacy's crimes continue to haunt the families of his victims and the greater Chicago area, 35 years after the first signs of dead bodies were discovered in the crawlspace of his Des Plaines, Ill. home.

A reader tipped us to this set of photographs from December 1978 through January 1979 (NSFW) of police tearing through the floors of Gacy's home to discover 28 of his 33 victims buried underneath. The photographs were taken by Aug Schwiesow, a member of the Des Plaines Police Department who specialized in photography and fingerprint analysis. At the time Gacy's murders were discovered, Schwiesow commanded all the department's uniformed personnel; he would become the department's chief of detectives in March 1979.

Schwiesow told Chicagoist in a phone interview he and his colleagues had no idea what laid in store for them in Gacy's crawlspace. "I was driving with Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Terry Sullivan looking for clues in a cemetery near Milwaukee and Dempster for one of our missing boys, Robert Piest," he said. "We were zeroing in on some new construction we believed Gacy may have been using to dump bodies when we received a call to come to his home on Summerdale. They found the initial signs of bodies buried in the crawlspace — teeth, hair."

Gacy was already in custody on a marijuana possession charge and, when the first bodies were discovered, quickly cooperated with authorities. "He drew up a map of where the bodies were buried in the crawlspace and even where he dumped the five bodies in the Des Plaines River."

Gacy was eventually executed for his crimes in 1994. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office has been using DNA evidence in an attempt to identify Gacy's eight unidentified victims. One was identified, two presumed victims were discovered alive and well.

Some of the photos in this gallery have rarely been seen before.