The Chilling Story Of Michael Gacy, The Only Son Of The ‘Killer Clown’ John Wayne Gacy

Published May 19, 2022
Updated May 23, 2022

Born in 1966, Michael Gacy is one of two children fathered by John Wayne Gacy and has remained an elusive figure ever since his father's 1978 arrest for killing 33 young men and boys.

Michael Gacy

YouTubeMarlynn Myers, with either Michael Gacy or Christine Gacy (accounts vary), and John Wayne Gacy in the late 1960s.

One of John Wayne Gacy’s children, Michael Gacy was just two years old when his father was first arrested for sexually assaulting a minor and sentenced to 10 years in prison. John only served 18 months, but his wife and children had abandoned him by the time he got out. Then, his crimes escalated.

And when he was arrested again in 1978, his story transfixed and horrified an entire nation as details of his deeds kept flooding the nightly news. He had slaughtered at least 33 people, including children, many of whom he’d buried in the crawlspace of his house.

But while John Wayne Gacy was branded a monster, convicted, and sent to prison, Michael Gacy remained an elusive figure.

Michael Gacy had luckily escaped from his father’s house by the time the gruesome murders began. As chronicled in Netflix’s documentary The John Wayne Gacy Tapes, however, he briefly lived with this burgeoning psychopath as a father.

Nevertheless, Michael has never once spoken about his father publicly and is thought to have changed his name entirely in the aftermath of John Wayne Gacy’s grisly crimes coming to light.

Michael Gacy’s Early Life Under John Wayne Gacy’s Roof

Michael Gacy was born in 1966 in Waterloo, Iowa to Marlynn Myers and John Wayne Gacy — who was already beginning to delve into some macabre activities.

John Wayne Gacy Mugshot

Public DomainJohn Wayne Gacy’s 1978 mugshot.

But in the beginning, Myers had little reason to suspect her husband of any wrongdoing. According to Newsweek, the pair met as colleagues at the Dunn-Bus Shoe Company store in Springfield, Illinois, in 1964 and started dating shortly after. Gacy was so charming that Myers happily accepted his marriage proposal six months later.

However, his pleasant outward demeanor only served as a façade for childhood traumas that spawned masochistic tendencies. John Wayne Gacy was born on March 17, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, and had been physically abused and bullied by his alcoholic father and sexually molested by a family friend of his parents.

Gacy had even suffered from a congenital heart condition at 11 years old that saw him grow up overweight. He was terrified of coming out as gay and moved to Las Vegas as an adult. Gacy briefly worked as a mortuary assistant — and once slept in a coffin beside a dead child. He met Myers after moving to Springfield at 22.

They tied the knot in September and moved to Waterloo where Gacy managed three Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants owned by his father-in-law. Their pride and joy, Michael Gacy, was followed by a daughter, Christine Gacy, in 1967. Gacy likened this happy period to “being in church all the time.” But just five years later, he murdered a teenager and never turned back.

How Michael Gacy Escaped His Father’s Crimes

John Wayne Gacy’s newfound status as a family man had earned him an apology from his father, who was relieved Gacy had chosen a heteronormative lifestyle. But Gacy was restless, and he joined the local chapter of the United States Junior Council, known as the Waterloo Jaycees, with whom he did drugs and invited teenagers to drink and play pool.

Bar In Gacy House

Cook County Circuit CourtJohn Wayne Gacy had a tiki bar in his home where he and his Jaycee peers drank, did drugs, and entertained young boys.

Michael Gacy was one year old when his father molested the 15-year-old son of a fellow Jaycee in August 1967. Gacy was criminally indicted on one count of sodomy on May 10, 1968, and arrested three months later for intimidating the boy not to testify. Gacy pleaded guilty on Nov. 7 — and faced 10 years in prison.

When he was convicted on Dec. 3, 1968, Myers immediately petitioned for a divorce that very day. Michael Gacy was only three years old when it was finalized on Sept. 18, 1969, and Myers won sole custody over her kids and the house.

“I enjoyed the first years of my married life, I was really wrapped into it, I just had such a nice warm feeling and I was so happy with [my wife],” John Wayne Gacy said, according to The Daily Mail.

“I had a wife, I had two children. I had a business. I had wealth. Why in the fuck did I go out and get myself involved with a kid?”

While he didn’t know it yet, Michael Gacy was now fatherless — despite Gacy being paroled in 1970. But Myers and her children would never see John Wayne Gacy again. Any trail of Michael Gacy appeared to have publicly ended here, with the only renewed interest in his life being spurred by his father’s gruesome murders.

Those only began after Gacy moved into 8213 West Summerdale Avenue in Chicago in 1971.

Gacy established himself in the area by founding his own construction business and rekindling a relationship with childhood friend Carole Hoff. By the time they got married in June 1972, he had already lured 16-year-old Timothy McCoy into their house and stabbed him to death — and shoved his body in the crawlspace below.

The Crimes Of The Killer Clown Come To Light

While Gacy appeared normal and even performed as “Pogo the Clown” for kids, Hoff found photos of nude men in their home. She was relieved by Gacy’s answer that he was bisexual, but divorced him in 1976 after he became physical during an argument. Until 1978, Gacy continued raping, torturing, and killing dozens of young men and boys.

John Wayne Gacy's House

Bettmann/Getty ImagesPolice searching John Wayne Gacy’s house, which yielded the human remains of 29 people.

He was only caught after luring high school sophomore Robert Piest to his house on Dec. 11, 1978, under the guise of a summer contracting job. Piest’s mother filed a missing person’s report and informed police her son had been talking to the owner of PDM Contractors, Gacy’s company, leading to a search of his property.

The killer ultimately confessed to murdering dozens of people on Dec. 22, leading to the disturbing discovery of 29 bodies in his crawlspace. Gacy spent 14 years on death row before being executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994. As for John Wayne Gacy’s children, it remains unknown what they made of their lives.

Where Are John Wayne Gacy’s Children Today?

“The name Gacy has been buried,” John Wayne Gacy’s sister, Karen, told Oprah during a 2010 interview, adding that she herself has never had contact with Michael Gacy or his sister Christine.

“I tried sending gifts to the children. Everything was returned,” she said. “I often wonder about them, but if [his first wife] wants a private life. I think she’s owed that. I think the children are owed that.”

Carole Hoff has never said a public word about her ex-husband, save for remarking on his low libido and the curious stench that had once emanated from their crawlspace. Marlynn Myers, meanwhile, said in 1979 that she remarried. In the end, Michael Gacy was fortunate not to live in his father’s house of horrors, in the first place.

Perhaps vanishing into obscurity, was the smartest thing he could’ve done — as he remains irrevocably tied to one of the most disturbed serial killers that ever walked the earth.

After learning about Michael Gacy, take a insideJohn Wayne Gacy’s house where he hid his victims’ bodies. Then, check out 25 John Wayne Gacy paintings that will leave you with chills.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Margaritoff, Marco. "The Chilling Story Of Michael Gacy, The Only Son Of The ‘Killer Clown’ John Wayne Gacy.", May 19, 2022, Accessed June 13, 2024.