True Crime News Roundup: Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Victim Identified 45 Years After His Murder

Plus: Drug supplier pleads guilty to his role in Mac Miller’s overdose death; 3 children found living with brother’s skeletal remains; mother poses online as minor to ensnare sexual predators; and new details emerge in shooting on Alec Baldwin movie set.

October 29, 2021
Francis Wayne Alexander smiling wearing a black bowtie and a white button down

Francis Wayne Alexander

Photo by: Cook County Sheriff's Office

Cook County Sheriff's Office

Francis Wayne Alexander

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Investigators using genetic genealogy identify a John Wayne Gacy murder victim.

Authorities announced they have given a name to a murder victim whose remains were found in a crawl space in the Illinois home of the notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Originally from North Carolina, Francis Wayne Alexander was living in Chicago and working in bars and clubs when he went missing in 1976 around the age of 21. Investigators used genetic genealogy to narrow their search for his identity, and last June they contacted the victim’s family for DNA samples. Carolyn Sanders said it was “excruciating” realizing the man known as the “Killer Clown” was involved in her half-brother’s death. “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. Our only comfort is knowing this killer no longer breathes the same air as we do.” Gacy took the lives of 33 boys and young men around the Chicago area between 1972 and 1978. He was put to death by lethal injection in 1994.

A drug supplier takes a plea deal in connection to the overdose death of rapper Mac Miller.

On October 25, Stephen Walter admitted to the role he played in Mac Miller’s 2018 death when he pleaded guilty in California to distributing fentanyl. Walter was part of a drug supply chain and “knowingly and intentionally directed” dealers to supply the entertainer with pills that “contained fentanyl or some other federally controlled substance,” People reported, citing court documents. Walter faces up to 21 years behind bars and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced.

Three children are found abandoned and living with the skeletal remains of their brother.

Harris County Sheriff's Department deputies stumbled upon a grisly scene when they responded to a Houston apartment on October 24. According to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, three malnourished boys, ages 7, 10 and 15, who “showed signs of physical injury,” had been living alone in the home. The older boy told authorities his 9-year-old brother “had been dead for a year and his body was in the room next to his.” Investigators tracked down the children’s mother and her boyfriend and they were questioned and released. Sheriff Gonzalez said the investigation of the “very tragic” case is ongoing. “Been in this business for a long time and I had never heard of a scenario like this,” he said. “It really caught me by surprise.”

A mother poses online as underage girls to ensnare sex offenders.

A 38-year-old Connecticut woman poses online as a series of 15-year-old schoolgirls in order to catch sexual predators lurking in chat rooms meant for minors. Roo Powell, a child advocate, uses wigs, lighting and touch-up tricks to appear underage, and she even has a staged bedroom in her home she can use as a background for photos and Facetime calls. After collecting enough information about the men’s identities, Powell and assistants working with her non-profit organization, Safe from Online Sex Abuse, hand over the information to law enforcement, including a Norwalk Police Department detective who poses as her Uber driver when she sets up face-to-face meetings with suspected pedophiles. “Online sexual abuse and exploitation can happen quickly and quietly. A minor can be alone in their room and someone can be abusing them via their phone 2,000 miles away,” Powell told Dateline, explaining her goal is to “prevent sex abuse and exploitation of children online, as well as empower parents and caregivers to be a compassionate support system for kids in their communities.”

Watch the trailer for Undercover Underage now and start streaming November 2 on discovery+.

The investigation into the fatal shooting on Alec Baldwin’s movie set is ongoing.

Detectives are continuing to piece together what went wrong on the Rust movie set in New Mexico. On October 28, Alec Baldwin was spotted in Vermont without the beard he had grown for the western, leading to speculation the project has been indefinitely halted in the wake of the actor fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while rehearsing a scene. According to a search warrant filed the prior day and obtained by the New York Post, the film’s assistant director, David Halls, told investigators he “should have checked” rounds in the prop gun Baldwin fired and “couldn’t recall” if an armorer had properly followed safety protocols.

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