After more than 30 years of suspicion, Sherry Marino-mother of serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s supposed 14th victim, Michael- has received confirmation with the use of a DNA test. The DNA test performed this past Fall, 2012, have added more fuel to Sherry’s doubts that have long led her to believe that the remains buried with Michael Marino’s name upon them are in fact those of another missing child. The DNA test results conclusively have determined that the remains in the casket bearing her son Michael’s name are in no way related biologically to that of Michael.
While the exhumed body is most likely not Michael Marino, the fact remains that it is a male child who was killed and buried by John Wayne Gacy more than 30 years ago. John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer who preyed on young men and boys in the state of Texas during the 1970’s (read the John Wayne Gacy biography). During his infamous killing spree, Gacy was alleged to have sexually assaulted and murdered more than 30 men and boys. The body in question which was attributed to the missing child Michael Marino was found buried in the crawl space below Gacy’s home after his arrest amongst the bodies of several dozen other young men.
Why Michael Marino?
Michael Marino went missing October the 24th, 1976, at the age of fourteen. On that fateful afternoon Sherry Marino claims her son left the family home around 2pm to go along with another youth to visit a local game playing arcade. Michael was supposed to return home in the evening to go to see a movie with his mother: he never returned nor was seen again. The reason Michael Marino was thought to be amongst the dead victims buried beneath John Wayne Gacy’s home is threefold: he was the right age for Gacy’s type of victimization, he was on his way to an arcade frequented by Gacy to procure victims, and he was in the company of 16 year old Kenneth Parker: a confirmed victim found alongside the body which was later assumed to be that of Michael Marino.
Never giving up hope
Sherry Marino has said to anyone willing to listen over the last three decades that the child buried in the cemetery with her son’s nameplate is not her son Michael. While many in law enforcement in the media over the years have come to believe her acts and beliefs are simply those of a grieving mother, Marino has been steadfast in her convictions. Over the years Sherry continued her search for Michael, who would now be age 51, never giving up hope that he may have met a different fate other than that of being a Gacy victim. In her words, Sherry could simply feel that the boy buried in the grave was not her son. There was just no connection there she claimed.
Well thanks to the advances of DNA testing technology, it appears that Sherry Marino may have been right all along about the boy buried in Michael’s grave. After receiving permission to exhume the body, a DNA test was performed on the remains. The DNA was compared to that of Sherry and was determined by the laboratory to not be a match for Sherry, and thus impossibly a match for Michael Marino. The boy buried in Michael’s grave, while obviously a murder victim of John Wayne Gacy, is not Michael Marino but that of a yet to be identified missing child from the late 1970’s. While DNA testing can accurately compare two genetic samples to determine if they are related or not, DNA testing cannot at this time deliver the answer on the remains of the unidentified victim found under Gacy’s home. The only hope that remains for resolving the mystery of the murdered child would be to use comparison DNA testing of objects containing genetic material from other missing person cases from the area occurring during the same time period as John Wayne Gacy’s notorious killing spree.
The doubt remains even after the DNA test
Even with the DNA tests performed on the alleged body of Michael Marino, authorities still refuse to acknowledge the dead child is anyone other than Michael. With dental X-rays provided by the Sherry, the police say that the body in question was positively ID’d as that of Michael Marino over thirty years ago and that the case is closed. In response to the new revelations brought forth by the results of the DNA test, authorities have brought into question the legitimacy of the DNA testing laboratory and that of the mother Sherry Marino’s state of mind.
As of today, the case with the authorities remains closed and the body exhumed is still considered by them to be no other than Michael Marino. For Sherry Marino however, the case remains unresolved as the DNA test results continue to tell her what she has believed for 30 years: the boy in the cemetery is not her missing son.
Some other cases for the murder story enthusiast
The brutal rape of a young girl perpetrated by Kelroy Williams and the forensic testing which ensued to help nail the criminal. Click here to read about this case.