Chicago authorities announced on Wednesday that a Minnesota teen boy who’d been missing for close to 41 years, had been identified as one of the victims of the infamous serial killer, John Wayne Gacy.
James “Jimmie” Byron Haakenson, 16, disappeared during the summer of 1976. On August 5, 1976, he called his mother at her St. Paul, Minnesota, home and told her he was in Chicago. He hung up the phone and no one ever heard from him again.
During the 1970s, Gacy, infamously known as the “Killer Clown” serial killer, raped, tortured, and murdered 33 teen boys. Gacy, who found male prostitutes and street kids for victims, hid many of boys’ corpses in a crawl space in his home, on the northwest side of Chicago. Authorities found the identities of the most of the victims, but eight were unidentified.
— Karen T. Taylor (@kttfacialimages) July 19, 2017
“These were eight young men who had futures,”Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said. “These are eight people that deserve more.”
In 2011, Dart reopened the Gacy case in an attempt to identify the remaining bodies. He made a public announcement and asked for anyone who thought a family member may have been killed by Gacy to come forward for an submit DNA samples.
A few weeks later, the first boy identified after DNA samples was William Bundy, 19, of Chicago. His family said he disappeared in October 1976 after leaving for a party.
Almost six years later, the 2nd boy identified was Haakenson. His siblings gave DNA samples which garnered a “strong genetic association” to Haakenson.
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Haakenson’s mom tried to figure out if Gacy killed her son when she reached out to authorities in 1979, but she couldn’t provide dental records. DNA testing was still far into the future back then, and with the teen’s corpse in unrecognizable remains, there was no way to identify him.
Authorities alerted Haakenson’s family on Monday about the match, but sadly, his mother already passed away. So far, the family has declined to comment.
Meanwhile, there are still six unidentified victims who were found in Gacy’s home. If you think a family member could possibly be a victim, visit the Cook County Sheriff’s website for additional information.
[Feature Photo: Police Handout]