A man presumed dead for decades as a potential victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy has been found alive and well in Montana. The AP reports that Robert Hutton was located in April after his sister submitted his name as a possible Gacy victim, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said yesterday. Investigators in Dart's office collected DNA samples two years ago from the remains of eight unnamed victims in an effort to ID them, and investigators acted quickly on the Hutton lead because of how closely he fit the victim profile: Hutton, who was 21 when he was last heard from in 1972, was a hitchhiker who often traveled by bus, worked in construction, and presumably passed through Chicago, where Gacy lived.
Investigators eventually traced a man with the same identifying information to Colorado, only to learn he had moved. They later located the same man in rural Montana, and he confirmed to local law enforcement authorities that he was the same Robert Hutton who disappeared in 1972. The sheriff’s detective who spoke with Hutton tells the Sun-Times, "He said that he had just gotten caught up in the ’70s lifestyle, so to speak ... years went by and he became a little bit embarrassed that he hadn’t had contact with his family, and I think it made it easier to dismiss them." Dart said Hutton has visited his father and plans to visit his sister. The Sun-Times has this odd fact: Hutton lived in the same Montana town as his father’s brother-in-law, and the two had actually met—but never swapped last names. Since the Gacy investigation was reopened, one additional victim has been identified and seven missing persons cases have been closed; five were found alive and two had died of natural causes.