Remains Found Under John Wayne Gacy's Home Identified

James Byron Haakenson went missing in 1976
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2017 1:04 PM CDT
40 Years Later, a John Wayne Gacy Victim Is Named
This 1978 file photo shows serial killer John Wayne Gacy.   (AP Photo/File)

A Minnesota runaway has been identified as one of the victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, an Illinois sheriff's office announced in a Wednesday news release. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says that the remains of a person whose body was found under the crawl space of Gacy's Chicago-area home in 1978 are those of 16-year-old James "Jimmie" Byron Haakenson. The teenager had left his home in 1976 and was last heard from in August of that year when he called his mother and told her he was in Chicago. The Pioneer Press reports his mother reported him missing shortly thereafter, on Sept. 2. Gacy was convicted of killing 33 young men and was executed in 1994. Haakenson was one of eight of Gacy's victims who were buried without being identified.

Dart's office exhumed the remains of all eight in 2011 in an effort to identify them using DNA testing, reports the AP. Two siblings of the teen were among the scores of relatives of young men who vanished between 1970 and Gacy's 1978 arrest who submitted saliva samples at Dart's request. Dart says that there was a "strong genetic association" between the siblings and the teen's remains. Haakenson is the second of the eight victims to be identified. Months after Dart had the bodies exhumed, his office announced that it had identified one of the victims as William George Bundy, a 19-year-old construction worker. The investigation has also solved four cold cases that weren't related to Gacy. Read about some of those cases here and here. (More John Wayne Gacy stories.)

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