In December 1978, John Wayne Gacy’s arrest was followed by an extensive search of his house. This ultimately resulted in the discovery of multiple dead bodies of young men buried on his property. John had killed at least 33 men over seven years. Netflix’s ‘Conversations With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes’ delves into his crimes and features interviews with the victims’ family members. Patti Vasquez’s half-brother, Michael Bonnin, was one of the men John killed. On the show, she talks about how the family dealt with it in the aftermath. So, if you’re curious to find out more, here’s what we know.
Who is Patti Vasquez?
Patti was only four years old when Mike suddenly disappeared in June 1976. At the time, he was only 17 years old. Patti lived with Mike, their father, and her mother in Norwood Park, Illinois. Since she was quite young at the time, whatever she knew of Mike was from her father’s efforts to find him. Patti remembered going along with her father to the police station to find out information. It made no sense to the family that Mike had vanished so suddenly.
More than two years later, Patti remembered her mother answering a phone call regarding some information about Mike. John Wayne Gacy had been arrested in December 1978 in relation to another missing teenager, and the police had found Mike’s fishing license among his belongings. Mike was one of John’s earlier victims, and his remains were found in the crawl space of his home. By January 1979, the remains were confirmed as his through dental records.
Patti’s father, a cab driver, took it very hard. She said that it destroyed him, and he had become an alcoholic. Her father would often wonder if he could have been a better father to Mike. Patti also remembered him calling Mike’s mother after drinking to apologize and say, “I’m the one who should have died, not Mike. If I’d been a better father, if I had been there.”
Where is Patti Vasquez Now?
For many years after that, Patti kept the story about her brother private. She continued to use her mother’s maiden name publicly and made a career for herself in radio. However, Patti had to go public with the story in 2019 when she decided to run for the 19th District state house seat in the Illinois House of Representatives. According to the law, Patti had to use her legal name, Patricia Bonnin, to run.
Today, Patti works as the host and executive producer of her radio show. Apart from that, she serves as a health care liaison and assistant policy advisor for the Illinois State Comptroller. Regarding Mike and his short life, she said, “It never seemed fair: there are all these books about Gacy, but people know the names [of his victims] as just the next victim. Not only was Michael’s story not finished, none of it was told. Because I decided to be private about it, I couldn’t share my pain.”
Patti lives in Chicago, Illinois, with her husband, Steve, and their two sons. In 2014, she started With Kind Words. Through this company, Patti provides consultation for healthcare providers. Her aim has been to improve how they communicate with patients by being more compassionate and aware, and as part of this, she has carried out corporate speaking. During her early career, Patti was also a stand-up comedian.
Read More: Who Were John Wayne Gacy’s Parents?