What Happened to Gary Heidnik’s Wives and Kids?

Having a traumatizing childhood, Gary Heidnik always wanted to have a large family of his own. Working towards it, he began abducting young women between 1986 and 1987, keeping them trapped in his basement and assaulting them incessantly. But when one of them escaped, his days of freedom were over. The entire case is covered in detail in the episode titled ‘Surviving the Bishop’s Basement’ of ‘People Magazine Investigates: Surviving A Serial Killer.’ Since the primary focus of the episode is the survivors, it leaves a few questions about his wives and kids unanswered.

Gary Heidnik Had Three Kids From Three Relationships

Born in 1943 in Ohio, Gary Heidnik reportedly wanted to have a large family and was ready to do anything to make that dream come true. In the 1970s, he dated a woman named Gail Lincow. After dating for a while, the two gave birth to a son and named him Gary Jr. But shortly after his birth, he was put into foster care. In the late 1970s, he got involved in a relationship with Anjeanette Davidson, an illiterate woman with mental disability who became the mother of his daughter, Maxine, on March 16, 1978. However, just like his first child, Maxine was placed in foster care in 1978 due to Anjeanette’s mental disabilities.

Around the same time, Gary learned about Anjeanette’s sister with mental disability, Alberta Davidson, and abducted her from the institution for the mentally disabled in Penn Township and kept her hostage in his basement, where he allegedly raped her. When the police located Alberta, they charged him with several crimes. Since she was not mentally fit to take the stand, he got away with a lighter conviction, getting sentenced to three to seven years behind bars. After spending a little more than four years, he was released from prison, but his obsession with having a family only seemed to have grown stronger.

When he could not locate the whereabouts of Anjeanette, he resorted to a matrimonial service to find another partner for himself. In 1983, he met with a Filipino woman named Betsy Disto. For a couple of years, they sent each other letters to get to know each other before he proposed marriage to her. So, when Betsy came to the United States in September 1985, they tied the knot in Maryland in the following month, on October 3, and made their relationship official in the eyes of the law. It didn’t take long for the marriage to deteriorate as he was caught in bed with three other women by his wife. Reportedly, he used to force Betsy to be an onlooker while he had sex with other women right in front of her.

Image Credit: America’s Most Haunted

Within just a few months of their wedding, things got worse for Gary as Betsy went straight to the authorities and accused him of repeatedly raping and assaulting. Although Gary was charged with multiple counts, including spousal rape, involuntary sexual intercourse, and indecent assault, they were dropped when Betsy did not appear for the hearing. It was later learned that she had taken the help of the Filipino community of Philadelphia to flee away from the States in January 1986. A year later, she returned to Gary’s life, but this time, with his son Jesse John Disto, whom she gave birth to on September 15, 1986. The reason for her coming back in contact with him was to ask for child support.

In 1988, Gary Heidnik was convicted of numerous charges, including kidnapping, rape, and murder, and sentenced to death, after four out of six women he had held hostage managed to escape out of his house’s basement while the other two were murdered. By then, there had been no update on Jesse John Disto and Gary Jr., but his daughter, Maxine Davidson White, came to his aid, wanting to save him from the death penalty. In order to get her father’s death penalty overturned, Maxine fought and took the case up to the Supreme Court, but in vain, as she lost her final appeal. Devastated and helpless, she visited Gary on the day of his execution, July 6, 1999, and spent an hour with him but left before the execution. At the time, she was enrolled at Temple University and has gone under the radar since the serial rapist’s death.

Read More: Monique Olivier: Where is the Serial Killer’s Wife Now?