Minnesota Teen ID’d as Victim of Chicago Serial Killer
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago-area sheriff has identified another victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy as a 16-year-old boy from Minnesota.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart issued a news release on Wednesday identifying the victim as James Byron Haakenson. Haakenson ran away from Minnesota and is believed to have been killed in August 1976.
The teen's remains were among those of more than two dozen young men found in the crawl space of Gacy's Chicago-area home in 1978. He's one of eight who were buried without being identified. Remains of the eight victims were exhumed in 2011 in an effort to identify them through DNA testing. Dart's office asked that relatives of young men who disappeared between 1970 and Gacy's 1978 arrest submit to DNA testing in hopes of finding matches.
Haakenson is the second of the eight to be identified.
Gacy was executed in 1994.
An Illinois sheriff says the mother of a Minnesota teen identified as a victim of John Wayne Gacy had suspected her son was a victim of the serial killer and came to Chicago to talk to investigators in 1979.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said at a Wednesday news conference that at the time the only way to identify bodies was with dental records, which 16-year-old James Byron Haakenson's mother didn't have.
Dart says the dead teen's nephew always wondered what had happened. Earlier this year he saw a news clip of Dart talking about his effort to identify the victims. Dart says the nephew persuaded his father and his aunt to submit saliva samples for testing. The sheriff says investigators "got an immediate hit" when they ran tests this spring.