Authorities Identify Another Victim of 1970s Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy

Jimmy Haakenson
COOK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

A 16-year-old boy who had left his Minnesota home bound for Chicago 41 years ago has been newly identified as a victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy — the “killer clown” who murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Illinois’ Cook County.

According to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, 16-year-old Jimmy Haakenson last spoke to his mother on Aug. 5, 1976, and told her he made it to Chicago.

Haakenson was among the eight unidentified victims recovered from a crawl space in Gacy’s home in 1978, officials announced Wednesday. They believe he may have been killed within weeks of leaving home.

Investigators said Gacy — who had performed at children’s parties as “Pogo the Clown” — killed the 16-year-old, but they know little else about Haakenson’s death.

Dozens of bodies were found stacked in Gacy’s residence outside Chicago, and recent advancements in DNA technology have helped investigators close a long-lingering missing persons case that had gone cold.

Authorities said that Haakenson’s nephew, curious about his uncle, learned of the department’s efforts to identify Gacy’s victims and reached out to investigators to supply his DNA.

Gacy was convicted in 1980 of killing 33 young men — some of whom he tortured or sexually assaulted after he lured them to his home — and he was executed by lethal injection in 1994.

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Chris Harris