Just Identifying Gacy’s Victims Part 1

Just Identifying Gacy’s Victims Part 1

Original Release Date: December 2, 2022

In episode two of our Case Studies: Part 2 mini season, Just Science sat down with Jason Moran, Commander of Police at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, to discuss how he and his colleagues set out to identify the remaining victims of John Wayne Gacy, decades after their bodies were found.

Technological limitations can sometimes make it very challenging to identify decomposed human remains. In the case of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, eight of his thirty-three victims remained unidentified for more than thirty years. Listen along as Commander Moran discusses how the Forensic Services Initiative team re-opens cold cases, utilizes modern DNA analysis for human identification, and began the journey to give Gacy’s victims their names back.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (Award #: 15PNIJ-21-GK-02192-MUMU).

Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses, or may not be appropriate for younger audiences. 

Listen to or download the episode here:

View or download the episode transcript here:

Episode Citation

McKay, J. & Moran, J. (2022, December 2). Just Science. Just Identifying Gacy’s Victims Part 1. [Audio podcast episode]. The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.

Guest Biography

Jason Moran is a member of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office where he has served for twenty-four years. He currently holds the rank of Commander of Police and is assigned to the Special Victims Unit. In that role, Commander Moran leads the Forensic Services Initiative which is responsible for the investigation of human identification cases, complex deaths, cold missing person and homicide cases, and death care industry incidents. He has made local and national headlines for leading major investigations and closing several high-profile cases. Among these are the Chicago Burr Oak Cemetery Case, the probe into the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the identification of three of the victims of the serial killer John Wayne Gacy.  Commander Moran has appeared in several news programs and has been featured in several documentaries. Recently, he appeared in the Netflix documentary, “Conversations with a Killer; The John Wayne Gacy Tapes.” Commander Moran has completed in-depth research and field work regarding the burial of Cook County’s Indigent, Unclaimed, and Unidentified. He was the Vice-Chairman of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Advisory Board and has assisted that office with several items like the proper handling of Unidentified Deceased Person cases. As a result of his investigations, Commander Moran has worked with county and state officials in drafting legislation regarding public burials and certain forensic methods. He has formed a Forensic Archaeology Team and has conducted approximately twenty exhumations/grave inspections to include clandestine grave excavation. Commander Moran has received several notable awards for his work. Some of these are the International Association of Chiefs of Police 2012 August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award, Cook County Crime Stoppers 2015 Excellence in Law Enforcement Award, and the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College 2017 Conference Service Award. He is trained in many investigative sub-categories like forensic archaeology, human/comparative osteology, human identification, and DNA evidence. Jason is an instructor and lecturer. He teaches the Illinois Lead Homicide Investigator Course and a Missing/Unidentified Person course. In 2019, he lectured at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Expo and Conference in Chicago. 

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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