DNA match IDs Alaska serial killer's victim after 37 years
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman known for 37 years only as Horseshoe Harriet, one of dozen or so victims of a notorious Alaska serial killer, has been identified through genetic genealogy and a DNA match, authorities said Friday. The victim was identified Friday as Robin Pelkey, who was 19 and living on the streets of Anchorage when she was killed by Robert Hansen in the early 1980s, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation’s Cold Case Investigation Unit said Friday. © Provided by Associated Press CORRECTS VICTIM'S NAME TO ROBIN PELKEY, INSTEAD OF HARRIET ROBIN PELKEY - FILE - This Wednesday, Sept.
Police and investigators have identified a new victim of the notorious Chicagoland serial killer, John Wayne Gacy. © Bettmann/Getty Images A mugshot of notorious serial killer, John Wayne Gacy.
During a press conference held on Monday, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart revealed the name of the victim: Francis Wayne Alexander, formerly known as "Gacy Victim Five." Gacy is believed to have killed Alexander between 1976 and 1977 when the victim would have been 21-22 years old. Alexander's remains were among those found in the crawlspace beneath Gacy's Norwood Park home on December 26, 1978.
Dart was joined by members of the DNA Doe Project, an investigative group committed to finding the identities of "John and Jane Does" with the help of DNA and genetic genealogy. The group was able to identify the new victim by comparing a well-preserved piece of DNA to samples submitted to various genealogy sites. This same method was used to identify California's "Golden State Killer" as Joseph James DeAngelo in 2018.
North Carolina man identified as victim of John Wayne Gacy
CHICAGO (AP) — A North Carolina man who moved to Chicago was one of the victims of John Wayne Gacy, who was convicted of killing 33 young men and boys in the 1970s, authorities said Monday. Francis Wayne Alexander would have been 21 or 22 years old when Gacy killed him sometime between early 1976 and early 1977, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said at a news conference in announcing the identification of Alexander's remains. In a statement,Francis Wayne Alexander would have been 21 or 22 years old when Gacy killed him sometime between early 1976 and early 1977, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said at a news conference in announcing the identification of Alexander's remains.
"In 2019 the Cook County Sheriff's Office and the DNA Doe Project began a collaboration to consider using investigative genetic genealogy to help resolve some of Cook County's remaining unidentified victims," the DNA Doe Project explained in an official release. "Gacy Victim Five was ultimately selected as a promising first case.
"An attached molar was submitted to Astrea Forensics in Santa Cruz, California, for DNA extraction. The sample was then delivered to HudsonAlpha Discovery in Huntsville, Alabama for Whole Genome Sequencing. Once sequencing was completed the file was sent to Saber Investigations for bioinformatics, whereupon the resulting DNA file was uploaded to GEDmatch. DNA matches in the second cousin range were found, enabling DDP's team of volunteer genetic genealogists to construct family trees and identify Francis Wayne Alexander as a candidate for Gacy Victim #5."
How a Slain Teen Known as 'Horseshoe Harriet' Was ID'd Decades After Her Murder by a Serial Killer
Robin Pelkey's remains were found in April 1984 by Horseshoe Lake, near Anchorage, AlaskaThe Alaska Bureau of Investigation announced Friday that the teen was identified through genetic genealogy and a DNA sample as 19-year-old Colorado native Robin Pelkey. Previously, she had been known only as "Horseshoe Harriet," after her remains were found in April 1984 beside Horseshoe Lake near Anchorage.
Details of Alexander's life prior to his death are unclear. Originally from North Carolina, he is believed to have moved to New York before moving to Chicago. He was married for three months during his time there, getting a divorce in 1975. The last record of his existence, the Cook County Sheriff confirmed, was a parking ticket he received in Chicago in January 1976. Other records indicated that he had very little income during that same year.
It is also unclear how Alexander might have come into contact with Gacy. All that is known is that he lived in an area that the "Killer Clown" frequently visited and where several other victims lived.
"It is hard, even 45 years later, to know the fate of our beloved Wayne," Carolyn Sanders, Alexander's sister, wrote in a statement. "He was killed at the hands of a vile and evil man. Our hearts are heavy, and our sympathies go out to the other victims' families. ...We can now lay to rest what happened and move forward by honoring Wayne."
John Wayne Gacy victim identified through DNA from tooth
Francis Wayne Alexander's remains were found more than 40 years ago in the crawl space of infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy's home.For decades their identity was a mystery, but through the work of a non-profit group called the DNA Doe Project (DDP) and police in the Chicago area, genetic genealogy helped solve the case.
Following his arrest in December 1978, Gacy was found guilty of 33 murders and sentenced to death three months later. He was executed via lethal injection on May 10, 1984.
Of his confirmed victims, 26 were found in the crawlspace beneath his house. Three more were found buried elsewhere on the property. The final four people Gacy admitted to killing were found in waterways outside of Chicago.
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