Sister: ‘Victim No. 24 is our brother’
CHICAGO (AP) _ A Minnesota woman says she’s glad to finally know where her brother is after Illinois authorities identified him as a victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Sixty-one-year-old Lorie Sisterman of North St. Paul said Wednesday that detectives came to her home and let her family know that “victim No. 24 is our brother.” He was identified through DNA.
Sixteen-year-old James Byron Haakenson of St. Paul disappeared in 1976. Sisterman said he called their mother to let them know he was in Chicago. She says her family filed a missing person’s report. And when bodies were found in a crawl space of Gacy’s Chicago-area home in 1978, the family told authorities Haakenson might be a victim.
Sisterman says the family plans to go to Chicago to put Haakenson’s name and dates of birth and death on his grave.
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 aut to submit saliva samples for testing. The sheriff says investigators “got an immediate hit” when they ran tests this spring.
The teen’s mother is dead.
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 plans to provide an update on a yearslong effort to identify victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Department announced in a news release that Sheriff Tom Dart on Wednesday will discuss the investigation that he launched in 2011. His office exhumed the skeletal remains of eight of at least 33 young men Gacy stabbed or strangled in the 1970s. Dart also asked that relatives of young men who disappeared between 1970 and Gacy’s 1978 arrest submit to DNA testing in hopes of finding a match.
Months after the exhumations, Dart announced that one of the eight victims had been identified as 19-year-old William George Bundy.
The Sheriff’s Department hasn’t said whether another body has been identified.
Gacy was executed in 1994.