At the same time, a picture also emerged of a shrewd, savvy investor who turned $35,000 into $500,000 in 10 years.
Heidnik's 74-year-old father, Michael, a former suburban Cleveland politician, said yesterday: "I haven't seen him in years and I don't care what they do to him. They can go hang him and if they want. I'll go and pull the rope."
The city yesterday began searching its records for missing mentally handicapped people while police sifted for human bones outside Heidnik's house.
The search came after police disclosed that one of the women slain in the house was mentally retarded and that Heidnik had previously preyed on young, mentally impaired women.
"We're doing a check right now on every single client throughout the system, everyone in the entire mental health and mental retardation system who is registered, to see if there are any other missing persons," Richard Surles, administrator of the Philadelphia Office of Mental Health and Mental Retardation said yesterday.
Police believe that two women were killed in Heidnik's house. One of them was Sandra Lindsay, 24, of the 400 block of North Holly Street. She has been described as a young, mentally retarded woman who worked at the Elwyn Institutes' facility in West Philadelphia and who had been missing from her home for several days.
The other victim, who had been previously identified as Debbie Johnson, 23, was identified yesterday as Deborah Dudley. Her identity was determined through fingerprints and confirmed by her family who viewed the body, found Wednesday in Waterford Township, at the Camden County Medical Examiner's Office.
Heidnik, who formerly lived in the 4700 block of Cedar Avenue, West Philadelphia, was said by acquaintances to have befriended many of the handicapped from Elwyn and was accused in 1978 of imprisoning a retarded woman in the Overbrook home.
Police, meanwhile, were using sand sifters, sledgehammers and a back hoe to continue digging in the yard of Heidnik's home, at 3520 North Marshall St., to look for the remains of Lindsay. On Wednesday, after police arrested Heidnik and freed three malnourished women shackled in his basement, they found 24 pounds of human remains in the freezer part of Heidnik's refrigerator.
Police believe that the two handless forearms, one upper arm and pieces of a thigh limb that were wrapped in white plastic bags, in the freezer were the remains of Lindsay. What are believed to be charred bone fragments also were found in the freezer.
A friend of Heidnik's - a mentally impaired man named Cyril Brown - has been charged with Lindsay's murder. Police sources said yesterday that Brown, 27, who was Lindsay's boyfriend, has given them some detailed information on what went on inside the house.
Brown has stated that Lindsay died Feb. 9 after being hung by her hands
from the basement rafters for several days, the sources said. District Attorney Ronald D. Castille indicated yesterday that Lindsay might have suffocated as a result of hanging by her arms for so long.
Brown has said that Heidnik carried Lindsay's body to his bathtub where he then dismembered it with an electric saw.
Brown said that Heidnik buried one of Lindsay's hands under a concrete slab in the back yard and other parts of her body beside the house.
Police sources yesterday further detailed the psychological ordeal of the women, who were shackled with chains, handcuffs and car muffler clamps. The women were chained to one another and to a soil pipe in the basment, and sometimes kept in a dirt pit under the basement.
On one occasion after Lindsay's death, sources said, Heidnik brought captive Dudley, 23, who often disobeyed him, to the kitchen and showed her Lindsay's skull. Dudley, who told others in the house her name was Johnson, returned to the basement and was silent for a time before telling the others what she had seen.
Police charged that on March 19, Heidnik electrocuted Dudley, of the 4100 block of North Seventh Street, by running wires into the water-filled pit in the basement where she and two other women had been held.
The sources also said yesterday that when Heidnik would leave the house he would put one of the women in charge. When he came back, he would ask whether the others had been "good." If the answer was yes, Heidnik would beat the one in charge. If the answer was no, he would beat the others.
Dudley's nude body was found Wednesday evening off a dirt road in the Wharton State Forest in Camden County. Investigators said Heidnik, accompanied by another captive, Josefina Rivera, had dumped her body there Sunday after keeping it in a freezer in the basement.
Camden County Prosecutor Samuel Asbell said that acting Philadelphia Medical Examiner Robert L. Catherman had determined that the cause of death was electrocution.
Police continued to search the area yesterday where Dudley's body was found. Investigators said they were using bloodhounds to determine whether other bodies had been dumped in the area.
Detectives also were searching the Cedar Avenue house in West Philadelphia where Heidnik had lived for 10 years, and where he had founded the United Church of the Ministers of God, whose membership, acquaintances said, was eight mentally retarded people.
Police arrived about 5 p.m. and began excavating a hole in the basement floor where the current owner of the building found a large opening when he bought the house from Heidnik in 1976.
The owner, Jim Davis, who is the vice chairman of the chemistry department at the University of Pennsylvania, said that when he and his wife bought the home, he discovered a hole about 18 inches square where the concrete had been chopped out. Farther down, he said, the hole expanded to the sides and was about 3 feet deep, large enough to contain a person.
Last night, police found nothing.
As police probed into his past, Heidnik was being held in the psychiatric unit of the Philadelphia Detention Center because of his history of mental problems and for his own safety. Police said he had been attacked Wednesday night in the cell room of the Police Administration Building by other inmates who called him a child killer.
At the detention center, "the other prisoners . . . are very upset about him," city Prisons Superintendent David Owens said yesterday. "If we put him in general population he would be beaten if not killed."
The object of such bitter attention began his life quietly in Eastlake, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland that has clean streets and ranch homes and is a half mile from the shores of Lake Erie.
Heidnik and his younger brother, Terry, slept in bunk beds in the family's ranch home, and Heidnik was in the Boy Scouts. "There's nothing I can tell you," Heidnik's father, Michael, said in an interview yesterday. "He was just an average kid."
Heidnik went to public schools in the local Willoughby-Eastlake school system. On June 12, 1959, according to school records, he transferred to the now-defunct Staunton Military Academy, in Staunton, Va.
Heidnik's father said his son started "bugging" him about attending a military school.
"He wanted to go. He wanted to live the military life. He was bugging me about it for a while so I scraped together some money and sent him down to Staunton. And he quit after two years. He said he'd had enough of it."
Heidnik returned to the Eastlake School District and enrolled at North High School as a 12th grader. In less than a month, on Oct. 4, 1961, he withdrew without earning a diploma.
A month later he joined the Army. He was trained as a medic and was sent to Germany where he served in the Army's 46th Surgical Hospital from May 1962 until October 1962.
Elaine Henrion, a spokeswoman for the Department of the Army, would not elaborate on why Heidnik was sent back to the United States.
He completed his service in the Army with a three-month stay as a patient at Valley Forge General Hospital, Henrion said. He was honorably discharged on Jan. 30, 1963.
Henrion would not say why his tour of duty was cut short but said a person could be honorably discharged for being "unsuitable for service" or for a medical reason.
Heidnik later received $1,355 disability pay per month from the Veterans Administration. VA officials declined to say what his disability was.
Three years after his discharge from the Army, Heidnik wound up in Philadelphia, in the house on Cedar Avenue where he lived until 1976.
A year later he moved to a house on Trinity Place. In June 1978, he was accused of imprisoning in a house in Overbrook a young retarded woman he had met. He was charged with rape and kidnapping in the case. But when the retarded woman did not testify, he was convicted of the lesser charges of interference with the custody of a committed person, recklessly endangering others and false imprisonment.
He was sentenced to three to seven years by Judge Charles P. Mirarchi Jr. in Philadelphia and sent to the State Correctional Institution at Graterford.
He was sent to Norristown State Hospital on June 25, 1979, and returned to Graterford on Oct. 26, 1979. He was sent to Farview, the state hospital for the criminally insane, on May 14, 1980. He was returned to Graterford on Jan. 16, 1981. He was sent to Farview again on June 12, 1981. He was returned to Graterford on Feb. 26, 1982.
He remained at Graterford until April 12, 1983, when he was paroled to the Coatesville veterans hospital.
The next year, Gary Heidnik bought the house on Marshall Street.
Despite the prison terms and his bouts with mental illness, Heidnik maintained an enviable record as an investor. In the 10 years he maintained an account with the Philadelphia office of Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, he bought and sold stocks of large, blue-chip companies, increasing his $35,000 investment 14 times over - to $500,000.
Yesterday morning, Heidnik was arraigned on charges of murdering Dudley, and with raping, beating and imprisoning four other women in his home. Philadelphia District Attorney Ronald D. Castille said he would seek the death penalty in Dudley's slaying.
Castille also said yesterday that he intended to file charges of murder, rape, kidnapping and conspiracy against Heidnik in connection with the killing of Sandra Lindsay.
Currently, only Cyril Brown has been charged with Lindsay's murder. Brown was being held without bail yesterday.
Heidnik, wearing a buckskin jacket, twice saluted a bail commissioner during his arraignment yesterday in the Municipal Court Room in the Police Administration Building.
He was held without bail on the murder charge and on a total of $4 million bail on other charges in connection with the four women who were imprisoned. Castille said he faced 100 to 200 years in jail.
Castille said that the question of cannibalism also was not final. He said that the women freed in the house have said Heidnik told them he fed them the ground remains of Sandra Lindsay. Castille emphasized that did not mean the cannibalism occurred.
Castille and other officials at a news conference had to answer a barrage of questions about why police, who, according to neighbors had been summoned often to Heidnik's house, had not figured out what was going on inside.
"We just can't go walking into people's houses anymore," Gallagher said. ''We just can't kick a door down and run in."