Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Wayne Gacy Jr.

The First Link

Greg Godzik
Greg Godzik

Gregory Godzik loved his job with PDM Contractors and he didn't mind doing the odd jobs that his boss required of him, such as cleaning work. The money from his job also allowed for him to buy parts for his 1966 Pontiac car, a time-consuming hobby. He was proud of his car and, although it was a bit of an eye sore, it served its purpose. On December 12, 1976, Gregory dropped his date off at her house, a girl he had had a crush on for some while, and drove off towards his home. The following day police found Gregory's Pontiac, but Gregory was missing. He was seventeen years old.

On January 20, 1977, 19-year-old John Szyc also disappeared much like the other young men before him. He had driven off in his 1971 Plymouth Satellite and was never seen alive again. Interestingly, a short while after the young man vanished, another teenager was picked up by police in a 1971 Plymouth Satellite while trying to leave a gas station without paying.

The youth said that the man he lived with could explain the situation. The man was Gacy, who explained to police that Szyc had earlier sold him the car. Police never checked the car title which had been signed eighteen days after Szyc's disappearance with a signature that was not his own. In Linedecker's The Man Who Killed Boys, the author points out that Szyc had known not only Gregory Godzik and Johnny Butkovich but had also, "been an acquaintance of John Gacy, although he hadn't worked for PDM Contractors."

Robert Gilroy was an outdoorsman, avid camper and horse lover. On September 15, 1977, 18-year-old Gilroy was supposed to catch a bus with friends to go horseback riding but he never showed up. His father, who was a Chicago police sergeant, immediately began searching for Robert when he heard that his son was missing. Although a full-scale investigation was mounted for his son, Robert was nowhere to be found.

More than a year later another young man named Robert Piest would vanish mysteriously. The investigation into his disappearance would lead to not only the discovery of his body but the bodies of Butkovich, Bonnin, Carroll, Szyc, Gilroy and 27 other young men who had suffered similar fates. It would be a discovery that would rock the foundations of Chicago and shock all of America.

Robert Piest was only fifteen when he disappeared from just outside the pharmacy where he had worked just minutes earlier. His mother, who had come to pick him up from work, had been waiting inside the pharmacy for Robert, who had said he'd be right back after talking with a contractor who had offered him a job. Yet, Robert never returned. His mother began to worry as time passed. Eventually her worry turned to dread. She searched the pharmacy area outside and inside and still Robert was nowhere to be found. Three hours after Robert's disappearance, the Des Plaines Police Department was notified. Lieutenant Joseph Kozenczak led the investigation.

Soon after learning the name of the contractor who had offered the job to Piest, Lt. Kozenczak knocked at the man's door. When Gacy answered, the lieutenant told him about the missing boy and asked Gacy to go with him to the police station for questioning.

Gacy said he was unable to leave his home at the moment because there was a recent death in the family and he had to attend to some phone calls. Gacy showed up at the police station hours later and gave his statement to police. Gacy said he knew nothing about the boy's disappearance and left the station after further questioning.

Lt. Kozenczak decided to run a background check on Gacy the next day and was surprised to find that Gacy had served time for committing sodomy on a teenager years earlier. Soon after Lt. Kozenczak's discovery, he obtained a search warrant for Gacy's house. It was there that he believed they would find Robert Piest.


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