Largest Cold Case Investigation in Cook County Sheriff’s Office History
Tuesday, November 29, 2011— After waiting more than 30 years, family and friends of William “Bill” George Bundy now have the answer to the question, “where has our loved one gone,” Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced on Monday.
Due to Sheriff Dart’s renewed effort to identify the unknown victims of John Wayne Gacy and advancements in DNA technology the identification of William George Bundy was made possible. Last month the Sheriff started an outreach effort to try and identify potential family members of victims who would be willing to take a buccal swab and match it to the DNA secured from the victims’ remains.
It is because of this technology and the work completed at the University of North Texas – Center for Human Identification that the positive identification was made between the DNA of William Bundy and his sister Laura and brother Robert.
Sheriff Dart established a telephone hotline and online link that allows for the collection of information from those who suspect they may be related to one of those unknown victims. There were two separate calls that came into the Sheriff’s hotline number with information pertaining to William Bundy’s disappearance. His sister called, gave some information about her brother and indicated she and her brother were willing to have a buccal swab completed. A second call was received by a childhood friend of William Bundy, he was concerned his friend may have worked for Gacy and was never seen again.
William George Bundy was born on October 22, 1957 and was reported missing in October of 1976. It was reported that the night he went missing he was going to a party, he forgot his wallet at home and was never seen again. Investigators were told by one of Bill’s friends that no one at that time had much money to carry in their pockets; however, Bill had a roll of money in his pocket and told his friend he worked some construction jobs for a guy.
William George Bundy was previously known as Victim #19, the number was given to him as an identifier because he was the 19th victim removed from Gacy’s home crawl space. This was given to him by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in 1978 and today Sheriff Dart said, “It is a proud day for the office, in particular, our detectives and staff that have been working these leads and cases. And to help bring some sort of closure and maybe peace to a family is something we are all hopeful for.”
In 1978, when Bill was removed from the crawl space and reviewed by investigators and doctors he was believed to be a white male, between 17 and 21 years old and between 5’1” to 5’6” tall. As we know now from information from the family and records that William was a white male, went missing around his 19th birthday and was 5’ 4” tall. He was the shortest of all Gacy victims.
William’s family, especially his mother, always believed that he might have been one of Gacy’s victims. Back in 1979 when the identifying of victims was taking place, the primary identifier for investigators was dental records. William’s mother went to look for her son’s dental records and soon learned that her son’s dentist had retired. That was not going to stop a mother looking for her missing son, so she searched for and found the retired dentist, only to learn he had destroyed all his records after retirement. At the time there was nothing else the investigators could do for her.
Post mortem dental analysis that was conducted in 1979 showed Bill’s two eye-teeth or maxillary canine were missing. It was learned recently from the family that they were still in possession of those two teeth and this has been verified through Sheriff’s Office detectives.
“Closure is great but my only wish in this particular case would have been that we could have provided some sort of closure for William’s mother and father before they passed away,” Dart said. “I do hope and pray that Laura and Robert might find some peace and closure with the news today.”
Unfortunately not all that have submitted swabs to the Sheriff’s office will find closure at this time. There have been four DNA results returned to the Sheriff’s office from the lab in Texas, which do not match any of the DNA submitted by the unknown victims. However, these four results will now be entered into CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) for further testing to see if there will be any matches from across the nation.
Soon Sheriff Dart will be submitting John Wayne Gacy’s blood into CODIS as well. Sheriff’s investigators looking through old records of the case discovered the blood. CODIS allows state, local, and national law enforcement crime laboratories to compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial crimes to each other and identifying suspects by matching DNA profiles from crime scenes with other crime scenes.
Also, the Sheriff’s Office was recently contacted by the Department of Justice to be a part of their ViCAP program. This program serves as the national repository for violent crimes. It involves specific case information being submitted to the FBI-ViCAP database. The information is maintained in the national database and automatically compared to all other cases in the database to identify similarities. They have offered to enter all the Gacy information into their database.
The Sheriff’s Office has submitted an amendment to Bill’s Death Certificate to the County Medical Examiner’s office, it was accepted and has been forwarded on to the State.
A thank you needs to be given to those in the media that helped cover this story, because there is no doubt you have contributed to the success of it. Without your coverage by TV, radio, and/or print the public would not have known about this opportunity to be swabbed to find a family member. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to take information from those wishing to submit it. The hotline number is 1-800-942-1950 or they can submit information from our website at www.cookcountysheriff.com
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