Mother of boy thought to be Gacy victim hoping new information leads to answers
WGN News has followed the story of a mother who has been searching for her son for 40 years.
Michael Marino was 14 years old when he disappeared in 1976.
He was listed as a victim of John Wayne Gacy, the notorious serial killer who murdered 33 young men and boys.
In 2016, DNA tests showed the body in her son’s grave was not his.
His mother Sherry hopes newly redacted police reports and an age progression photo will help bring her answers.
WGN’s Larry Potash has the story.
The first two WGN stories aired in February 2012, about the evidence that some of Gacy's employees were accomplices in the murders. Among the evidence:
- Plane tickets showing that Gacy was out of state when one victim disappeared
- A "friend" who was with Russell Nelson when he disappeared, tried to extort money from the family to conduct a search, and offered Nelson's brothers jobs with Gacy when they came down to Chicago
- One of Gacy's employees who moved in with John Mowery just before he disappeared, was happy to have him gone, and later bragged that he knew about a location where a bunch of dead bodies were buried
During the story, they play a tape recording of Gacy calling a friend ( ) from prison. Gacy insisted on the call that others were involved with the murders. The names are censored, but the friend Andy Matesi later played the tape in a Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byq8rsavFrw At 3:35 Gacy says "we already know that Rossi, Cram, Paske, and Norman were involved in the case" and at 5:00 he says "David Cram, Rossi, and Paske all had keys to the house. In fact, they used the house while I wasn't in town." David Cram and Michael Rossi were two of Gacy's most well-known construction employees. Who are Paske and Norman? That would be revealed by WGN a couple years later.
In 2016, DNA tests confirmed that a body found in Gacy's crawlspace identified as missing boy Michael Marino was not him. The story then said that Marino was last seen near the location of a sex ring which was revealed to have a connection to Gacy:
One of Gacy's construction employees was a man named Phillip Paske. And Paske was the business partner of another man named John Norman in a sex trafficking ring called the Delta Project. The Delta Project had clients all around the country who they would provide with teenage boys. Norman came to Illinois in 1973 after he was busted in Dallas for running a similar trafficking network, whose clients included "prominent people and some federal employees in Washington" (the list was conveniently destroyed). A letter Gacy wrote in prison showed that he was aware of Paske being a sex trafficker, and his statement to Andy Matesi reveals that he not only knew Paske and Norman were in business together, but suspected that some of the murder victims attributed to him were actually from their sex ring. Did the Delta Project use Gacy as a convenient way to dispose of their own victims? A lawyer for Marino's mother believes it, and that lead is still being investigated.
Meanwhile, as explained in the April 30 story, Marino's mother hopes that Michael could still be alive and out there somewhere.
From my own look into this case, there might be other startling connections. Franklin scandal victim Paul Bonacci described a pedophile ring in Chicago that's strikingly similar to the Delta Project, albeit not to the most trustworthy interviewer: http://cavdef.org/w/index.php?title=John_Norman#Pedophile_clients And Paske bears somewhat of a resemblance to the abductor "Tony" in the Johnny Gosch abduction.