Documents uncovered inside dusty boxes of decades-old evidence show serial killer John Wayne Gacy made numerous trips around the country in the years before his arrest, leading investigators to speculate as to whether the man with the house of horrors had more victims.
Among the documents are airline tickets for trips to 13 states and Canada, where the deaths of as many as 27 other young men remain unsolved, said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. The tickets put Gacy in such places such as Colorado and New York, Ontario and Las Vegas, where Gacy once enrolled in Mortuary school.
"How conceivably can you think of a guy that does these horrific acts, but yet he turns it off when he leaves town? Actually, you would think the opposite. He's leaving town he's even more free because people don't know who he is. He can move around even better," Dart told NBC News.
Dart said Gacy was a master manipulator no matter where he was.
"We're running out these leads and we're just finding some intriguing patterns, for lack of a better word," he said.
Investigators can now be more precise in following some of those leads, particularly using DNA technology that didn't exist during the 1970s. Computer databases of missing persons narrowed to the exact dates and places Gacy traveled indicate a match to the profile of Gacy's other victims: white males between the ages of 14 and 22.
Some actually may have been the eight still-unidentified Chicago victims who could have met Gacy elsewhere and traveled here. Dart announced last week that detectives had exhumed the remains
of the eight unidentified victims for DNA testing.
About 70 families who fit the profile of Gacy's known victims have come forward, said Dart. He said DNA tests have been conducted on families of two young men, which have been sent to a lab in Texas.
Sam Amirante, Gacy's attorney during his Chicago murder trial and the co-author of a new book about the monster he defended, commended the cold case effort but doubted the number of victims will climb.
"We grilled him about every single place he went, everything he did, and [there was] never a mention about any other body anywhere," he said. "What really bothers me if a body is found somewhere, and there's a real killer still out there on the loose, that they'll close the cold case and say Gacy did it."
Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space beneath his home. Three others were found beneath other areas of his property. His last four victims were thrown from a bridge into the Des Plaines River.