DNA helps identify victim of Gacy
CHICAGO — After running away from his Minnesota home in 1976, 16-year-old Jimmy Haakenson called his mother, told her he was in Chicago, then disappeared forever.
More than 40 years later, a detective from Illinois arrived at the family’s home to tell Haakenson’s relatives that at some point, the teenager crossed paths with serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Haakenson’s body was among dozens found in a crawl space of Gacy’s Chicago-area home in 1978. But the remains were only recently identified thanks to DNA technology that wasn’t available then, the Cook County sheriff’s office announced Wednesday.
Gacy, a Chicago-area building contractor, lured young men to his home by impersonating a police officer or promising them construction work.
There, he stabbed one and strangled the others. Most of the victims were buried under his home, but others were dumped in a river.
Gacy was convicted of killing 33 young men and was executed in 1994. But the revelation about Haakenson is the latest turn in a yearslong effort to solve the remaining mystery surrounding Gacy’s case: Who were the eight victims authorities hadn’t been able to identify? James “Jimmy” Byron Haakenson’s body is only the second that authorities have identified since 2011.