CSI comes to HC

Last Friday, Social Studies students had the opportunity to listen to renowned Crime Scene Investigator Patrick Jones talk about his experiences with the John Wayne Gacy case during his time working for Cook County Sherriff’s Department.  Students from a variety of classes, from psychology to government, headed down to the auditorium to hear Jones share his experience in dealing with the investigation of the serial killer.

Jones started his presentation by taking students through how Gacy was eventually caught, while filling in necessary pieces of outside information for the audience. The dark narrative kept the crowd’s eyes on Jones as he contrasted the details of Gacy’s seemingly normal life with the murder investigation that was a top story in every newspaper across the country.

After explaining the basic facts of the case, Jones was able to get to discuss his real area of expertise: forensic science. He is currently the Forensic Lab Director at Purdue University after his long career as a CSI, and is one of the leading members of the field. He was one of the five men given the responsibility of recovering the buried bodies from Gacy’s crawlspace, and was able to provide great detail about the setup in the infamous basement. He and his coworkers worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week for over a month in order to recover the remains of all of the victims.  He provided both original photographs and diagrams of the scene as he explained the experience.

He eventually talked about Gacy in psychological terms, which captivated students most of all. According to Jones and the many psychologists who have studied Gacy, Gacy had an extremely high IQ and was able to charm and deceive people with ease, explaining how he was able to remain undetected for so long.

The most discussed part of Jones’ presentation, though, had very little to do with his expertise in Forensic Science or his understanding of Gacy as a person. Jones took some time at the end for what he called “black humor,” which he explained was a way for CSIs to blow off steam while on the job. He told a few example jokes to mixed reactions from the audience. Senior Temi Adelakun explained that “the jokes were funny, but [he] could definitely see how the families of the victims could be offended by them.”

After his presentation, many students stopped to ask Jones further questions. While the audience felt many ways following Jones’ visit, it was clear that he had made an impact.