A John Wayne Gacy victim has been found living in Montana after he was believed to be murdered in 1972 by the serial killer. It makes him the fifth potential victim found alive in the past two years.
Investigators tracked down Richard Hutton in April after his sister submitted the missing man’s name as the possible identity of one of the remaining eight unnamed victims.
His sister, Edyth Hutton, contacted the Cook County Sheriff’s Office outside Chicago when she heard authorities had launched a new effort two years ago to identify the victims.
Her brother, Robert, was last heard from in 1972, when he told his family that he was hitchhiking from New York to California.
Because the then-21-year-old likely passed through the Windy City and matched the profile of Gacy’s victims, Hutton’s family presumed he was murdered by the notorious serial killer.
Hutton worked in construction, and Gacy, a building contractor who moonlighted as an amateur clown, often lured his victims by hiring them for construction work.
Gacy was convicted of strangling 33 young men and boys between 1972 and 1978. Most of the bodies were found in a crawl space under his home; four others were dumped in a river.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said that his team acted swiftly on Hutton’s lead because the missing man’s profile was nearly identical to that of Gacy’s victims.
Jason Moran, the case’s lead detective, told ABC News that once they found Robert Hutton alive and well in the small mountain town, he couldn’t just walk away.
Moran said that he had “to follow through” and reunite the family after hearing Hutton’s mother died never knowing what happened to her son, and his father had recently survived a tough battle with cancer.
Hutton, now 62, told the news station that he spent several years traveling the southwest with no permanent address and no opportunity to stay in touch with his family.
He said he settled in Colorado and started his own construction company in the early 1980s and eventually tried “a little bit” to find his family, but none of the contact information was any good by that time.
He has since reunited with his father and plans to visit his sister soon.
John Wayne Gacy was executed in 1994.