Nearly 40 years after serial-killer John Wayne Gacy strangled more than 30 young men and boys, his case helped police solve an unrelated murder.
Authorities have discovered the remains of Edward Beaudion, who disappeared July 23, 1978, as part of an effort to identify unidentified victims of Gacy. Beaudion lived a few miles from Gacy, who was executed in 1994. Police have determined that Jerry Jackson, a Missouri criminal who was found driving Beaudion's sister's car shortly after his disappearance in 1978.
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Jackson died in 2013 at age 62, but the news brings closure to Beaudion's family that has questioned what happened for decades.
"I always thought he was killed but you still aren't sure until you get the proof," Beaudion's 86-year-old father, Louis Beaudion, told the AP.
Edward Beaudion, 22, was driving his sister's car when he dropped off a friend and told her he was going home. He was never seen again. The next month, Jackson was arrested in Caruthersville, Mo., after he was found driving the stolen car.
Jackson told police at the time that he met Beaudion on July 23, 1978 in Chicago and had knocked him out during a fight. He said put his body in the car and dumped it in a wooded area about 15 miles southwest of the city. Because a body was never found, Jackson was charged only with auto theft.
The connection was made when Beaudion's sister, Ruth Rodriguez, recently submitted her DNA to the office of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. The office has been attempting to identify eight of Gacy's victims from the 1970s and asked relatives of the young men who disappeared at the time of Gacy's activity to get tested.
"I didn't think Gacy killed him but we figured we'd go ahead and try," Rodriguez told The AP.
Though tests determined that Gacy didn't kill Beaudion, a link was established to the skeletal remains that were found in 2008 by hikers in the forest reserve described by Jackson.
"I still want to ask Jerry Jackson why, if you even thought for a moment my brother was still alive ... you brought him all the way out there and dumped him like garbage," Rodriguez told The AP.
Dart re-opened the Gary investigation in 2011, and it led to the identification of one victim, 19-year-old William George Bundy. Another person who was believed to be a victim, Robert Hutton, was found alive and well, living in Montana in December, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
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