The ongoing John Wayne Gacy investigation has helped to crack a 36-year-old cold case involving a 16-year-old Chicago-area runaway who was found buried in San Francisco in 1979.
Andre Drath has been positively identified through DNA evidence provided by his maternal half-sister, Dr. Willia Wertheimer, after the Cook County sheriff's office made a national plea for information from missing persons cases from the '70s, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
The office made the sweeping request in an effort to continue identifying victims of Gacy, the serial killer who murdered 33 men and boys between 1972 to 1978 in Chicago. He was executed in 1994.
According to the newspaper, 12 cases have been solved thanks to leads from Cook County's continuing investigation. Five missing persons were found alive, two died of natural causes, and four unrelated cold cases were solved.
Authorities told the Examiner that there were no known links between Drath and other Gacy victims. They entered Drath's DNA when his half-sister approached the sheriff's office and a match came back in May. Through additional information, the office positively identified him as the victim in San Francisco.
"I'm thankful that Andy Drath will be brought home and laid to rest with the dignity he deserves," Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said, according to KFOR-TV
. "This breakthrough illustrates that we should never give up on a cold case, no matter how hopeless it appears."
Drath became a ward of the Illinois Department of Family Services and went to San Francisco in hopes to have his guardianship transferred there when he he was last seen in 1978 or early 1979.
"You should never lose hope in finding your loved one," his sister said. "John Doe No. 89 now will come home to his kid sister with his own name — Andy."
The San Francisco Police Department said in a statement that the department is now actively investigating Drath's 1979 death because of the ongoing Gacy investigation.
When his body was found in 1979 with multiple gunshot wounds, California authorities did not know who he was or who killed him and his case went cold.
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