|Intro||Survivor of John Wayne Gacy attack|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||1952, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA|
|Death||24 December 2000, Pinellas County, Florida, USA (aged 49 years)|
Jeffrey Rignall (August 21, 1951 – December 24, 2000) was an American author who survived a 1978 attack by serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Rignall wrote the book 29 Below about the experience in 1979.
Attack by John Wayne Gacy
Rignall identified as bisexual and lived with his girlfriend and a male, described by Rignall's attorney as a live-in companion. While walking to a local gay bar in Rosemont, Illinois, on March 21, 1978, Gacy lured the 26-year-old Rignall into his car, promising to give him a ride and smoke a joint with him. Gacy then held a rag soaked in chloroform over Rignall's mouth until he passed out. Rignall woke up intermittently during the car ride to Gacy's house but was chloroformed again each time he stirred and eventually lapsed into unconsciousness.
When Rignall awoke, he was inside of Gacy's house. Rignall was fastened to a torture device called "the rack". The device kept Rignall restrained on a wooden board suspended by chains with holes for his arms and head to go through. Gacy stood naked in front of him with an array of dildos and described in detail what he would do to Rignall with each of them. Gacy then brutally raped, drugged, whipped, and tortured Rignall. In later accounts, Rignall stated that there was another man in the room while Gacy raped him.
Rignall regained consciousness under a statue in Chicago's Lincoln Park. He made it back to his girlfriend's house and she took him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he stayed for six days. In the hospital Rignall recounted the experience to police, but they were skeptical of his story and did not issue an arrest warrant. Rignall testified against Gacy in People v. Gacy and said that Gacy was not legally sane at the time of the attack, citing "...the beastly and animalistic ways he attacked me". Gacy was sentenced to death in 1980 after a trial, and was executed on May 10, 1994, at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.
Rignall partnered with author Ron Wilder to write a memoir of his experience with Gacy and his investigative attempts to find the rapist afterward. The book, 29 Below, was released in 1979. 29 Below describes staking out freeways and overpasses to spot Gacy's black Oldsmobile. He eventually spotted Gacy, writing down his license plate and following him to Gacy's house. He provided police with the license plate number and address, but they did not act on the information. By the time police took Rignall's account seriously, Gacy had already been arrested for murder charges.
Rignall died on December 24, 2000 of AIDS-related causes.
Rignall appears in the following books:
- A Plague of Murder by Colin Wilson
- Encyclopedia of World Crime: Vol II: D-J by Jay Robert Nash
- Forensic Investigation Handbook: An Introduction to the Collection, Preservation, Analysis, and Presentation of Evidence by Michael Fitting Karagiozis and Richard Sgaglio
- Killer Clown by Terry Sullivan and Peter Maiken
- Murder, an Analysis of Its Forms, Conditions, and Causes by Gerhard Falk and Clifford Falk
- Serial Killer Timelines: Illustrated Accounts of the World's Most Gruesome Murderers by Chris McNab
- Serial Killers: Up Close and Personal: Inside the World of Torturers, Psychopaths, and Mass Murderers by Christopher Berry-Dee
- The encyclopedia of serial killers by Brian Lane and Wilfred Gregg
- The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers by Michael Newton
- The Man Who Killed Boys: The John Wayne Gacy Jr. Story by Clifford L. Linedecker
- The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence by Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman
- World's Infamous Killers by Octopus Publishing Group