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Gacy case helps solve unrelated death

By DON BABWIN
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- Four decades after John Wayne Gacy lured more than 30 young men and boys to his Chicago-area home and strangled them, his case has helped authorities solve another killing - one he didn't commit.

Investigators have identified the remains of a man who in 1978 never returned to his home just a few miles from Gacy's house. They also say they know the identity of his now-deceased killer. The Cook County Sheriff's Office is scheduled to announce the findings Wednesday - the result of an ongoing effort to name several unidentified victims of Gacy, who was executed in 1994.

Authorities released the information to The Associated Press ahead of their announcement.

Though the news that 22-year-old Edward Beaudion of Chicago is believed to have been killed by a small-time Missouri crook named Jerry Jackson who died last year at age 62 comes too late to bring Jackson to justice, it answers a question Beaudion's family has spent decades asking.

John Wayne Gacy Case Helps Solve Unrelated Homicide

"I always thought he was killed but you still aren't sure until you get the proof," said Beaudion's father, Louis Beaudion, 86, who professed that he was "scared" he would die, as his wife did in 2001, without knowing what happened.

Many questions still remain in the case that may never be answered. Edward Beaudion's skull, which could have revealed how he died, was never recovered.

Beaudion was driving his sister's car on July 23, 1978, when he dropped a friend off and told her he was heading home. No one ever heard from him again.

That August, Jackson was taken into custody in Caruthersville, Mo., after he was found driving the car, which Beaudion's family had reported stolen.

Jackson was extradited to Chicago, where police said he told them he had met Beaudion on July 23 in downtown Chicago and had punched him in the face during an altercation, rendering him unconscious. Police said he told them he stuffed Beaudion's body in the car, drove to a wooded area about 15 miles southwest of Chicago and dumped it.

When he took police to the area, a search for the body came up empty. Without a body, police didn't charge him in Beaudion's death, settling for auto theft instead and a four-year prison sentence for Jackson.

In 2008, hikers discovered a partial skeleton in a forest preserve - in the same general area where Jackson had taken police years before. With little more than shreds of clothing and no indication of a cause of death, the investigation went nowhere. The bones, one of which had an orthopedic screw in it, were taken to the county medical examiner's office.

"They never did anything," Sheriff Tom Dart said.

Three years later, Dart's office exhumed eight of Gacy's unidentified victims from the 1970s to test DNA. And the sheriff asked that relatives of young men who disappeared about the time Gacy was committing slayings to submit DNA samples for comparison.

Beaudion's sister, Ruth Rodriguez, called. "I didn't think Gacy killed him but we figured we'd go ahead and try," she said.

Tests ruled out Gacy as her brother's killer.

In the meantime, sheriff's detective Jason Moran was among those working with the medical examiner's office to clean up the operation in the wake of embarrassing revelations about stacked bodies and remains tossed haphazardly in boxes. As a result of that work, the office shipped some unidentified bones to the same lab where Moran had earlier sent DNA samples from Beaudion's relatives as part of the Gacy investigation.

Then earlier this year, the lab reported a "genetic association" between the bones and Beaudion's relatives' DNA.

Moran said he interviewed Beaudion's father and sister, who confirmed Beaudion had an orthopedic screw in his left knee.

Rodriguez and her father said they're disappointed Jackson died before he could be brought to justice.

"I still want to ask Jerry Jackson why, if you even thought for a moment my brother was still alive ... you brought him all the way out there and dumped him like garbage," Rodriguez said.

Beaudion's family did not exactly find justice, but they were able to identify their loved one's remains and get closer to knowing what happened to him. Detective Moran said he recalls the moment when he and Sheriff Dart recently took the family out to the spot where the bones were found.

"He (Louis Beaudion) starts crying and opens a bag that has a cross in it (and) he gets down on one knee and with a little hammer pounded this cross into the ground," Moran said. "This guy, 36 years after his son is killed, he's crying like he went missing yesterday and then he grabbed my arm and said, `Thank you.'"

Join the discussion

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pschemke April 23 2014 at 6:30 PM

My heart is breaking for Louis Beaudion. He did 36 years of grieving and hoping in 5 minutes.
The loss of his son, the angst of his suffering, the loss of his wife... So happy he has closure.

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LilAnnie2012 April 23 2014 at 5:02 PM

Why didn't the police expand their search when Jackson took them out there close to where the remains were? They would of found him! Instead they put it on a back burner!!! Not cool!!!! His family had been needing to know for way too long already!!! People need to care about cold cases!!! The victims were human beings with families and friends!!! I feel so sorry for all of the families who get no answers and no closure!! The police would do more if it was one of their family members missing!!!

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2 replies
Pearltrans LilAnnie2012 April 23 2014 at 5:47 PM

I wish they had used specially trained dogs.

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Normie Baby LilAnnie2012 April 23 2014 at 5:51 PM

A big city, too many homicides, too small a number of detectives. Generally, if they can't solve it in about 40 hours, it goes on a shelf.

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JOYCE April 23 2014 at 4:56 PM

Well, no matter how long it took,it's still so sad.

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aabmhbetty April 23 2014 at 6:31 PM

This is an example of what happens to families when a murderer is not caught, charged and sentenced. These are the families that are left behind with the heartache that a murderer causes. Then we have these people telling us how cruel and unusual the death penalty is. I'd like to see what these same people would say if this happened to their family. But this father is the person I feel the sorrow for and not the POS that died peacefully at the age of 62 before they could fine the evidence to charge him with the murder. I hope he rots in hell.

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goodybhai April 23 2014 at 6:38 PM

He DID go missing yesterday.....I don't care how much time has passed for the rest of us...when you lose a beloved child it will ALWAYS be just yesterday.

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1 reply
rohrscheibcroh goodybhai April 23 2014 at 8:28 PM

correct you never get over it completely

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mike April 23 2014 at 4:36 PM

Glad they figured it out and put what closure you can on it for the family .

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mikecortinagt April 23 2014 at 4:16 PM

may you have peace the rest of your life now..

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Jim Dunkin April 23 2014 at 4:12 PM

No surprise here, you never get over the death of a loved one. Closure helps to seal the wound.

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FIESTA & SIESTA April 23 2014 at 3:59 PM

What a tragedy. My heart goes out to the family who had to live all these years unsure and never feel there was any justice for them.

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Patty April 23 2014 at 3:56 PM

...my heart went out to the family ..of course he was crying like it was yesterday..to him it felt like it...at long last they knew some of what happened..my prayers are for this family..peace and love for you...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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