Jeffrey Rignall Escaped John Wayne Gacy's Clutches and Then Vowed to Fight Back Against Him

Chris Barilla - Author
By

Oct. 6 2022, Published 1:45 p.m. ET

Content warning: This article mentions instances of sexual violence.

In terms of leaving a black mark on American history, few individuals can hold a candle to the terror and mayhem that John Wayne Gacy forced upon the public during the 1970s. A serial killer and sex offender who tortured and killed at least 33 young men and boys, Gacy's actions have gone down in history as some of the most disgusting of any criminal ever.

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For however many unfortunate victims Gacy had during his murderous rampage, there was one individual who escaped and lived to tell the tale. So, what do we know about the victim that managed to escape Gacy's clutches and live on to fight back against him? Keep reading to find out.

John Wayne Gacy
Source: Wikimedia Commons
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There was one John Wayne Gacy victim that actually escaped.

When you hear stories about some of the most prolific serial killers in history, odds are that one of the first things you're thinking of is whether anyone managed to get away before being murdered. Well, in the case of one of Gacy's victims, Jeffrey Rignall just narrowly escaped becoming a statistic.

Indeed, the a Kentucky-born building renovator was able to get away from Gacy before he could end his life. According to Wikipedia, Jeffery was openly bisexual and lived with his girlfriend as well as partner Ron Wilder. On March 21, 1978, then 26-year-old Jeffery was walking to a local gay bar in Rosemont, Il., when he was approached by Gacy.

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Gacy lured Jeffrey into his car by offering him a ride and an opportunity to smoke with him. When in the vehicle, Gacy held a rag that was soaked in chloroform over Jeffrey's mouth until he passed out. Gacy then took Jeffery to his home where he was strapped into a wooden torture device. Gacy then presented an array of sex toys with which he brutally raped and tortured Jeffery.

John Wayne Gacy
Source: Wikimedia Commons
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The next day, Jeffrey woke up under a statue in Chicago's Lincoln Park. When he attempted to recount his story to authorities, none believed him as he was unable to identify his assailant. So, Jeffrey attempted to track Gacy down by himself. After staking out spots that he might find Gacy, he eventually spotted his black Oldsmobile and followed him to his home. Despite providing police with this information, they did not act quickly enough, and the murderer managed to claim another four victims.

What was Jeffrey Rignall's cause of death?

In the years after Gacy's horrific attack on him, Jeffrey had some serious medical issues. Per Wikipedia, he became withdrawn, lost roughly 40 pounds, and experienced depression. The culmination of which landed him on tranquilizers and sleeping drugs. After remedying his issues, Jeffrey went on to partner with Ron and ghostwriter Patricia Colander to write a memoir of his experience, titled 29 Below.

Gacy was sentenced to death by lethal injection and was killed on May 10, 1994.

Jeffrey eventually passed away in 2000 at 49 years old. According to People Pill, his reported cause of death was complications related to AIDS.

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