Between 1972 and 1978, serial killer John Wayne Gacy lured 33 boys and young men to his home in Chicago where he strangled them, burying all but four of the victims in a crawlspace on his property. There were still seven of eight unidentified victims up until this week when one body was found to belong to 16-year-old James Byron Haakenson.

Teenager ran away to Chicago in 1976

The last the family saw of Haakenson was when he ran away to Chicago more than 40 Years ago in the summer of 1976. He did call his family from Chicago some days later to let them know he was in the city but they never heard from the teenager again.

CBS affiliate WBBM reports that this week the Cook County Sheriff’s Office finally identified one of the seven remaining victims as being Haakenson and notified his family. The teenager’s sister, Lorie Sisterman, told the radio station that it’s not every day you receive a call to tell you a monster murdered your brother. It was Sisterman’s DNA that finally identified her brother, as the family suspected James may have been one of Gacy’s victims.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said at a news conference on Wednesday that Haakenson was the second of eight unidentified victims to finally be named. Dart said the teenager had told his St. Paul family that he was planning to explore Chicago, but was never heard from again.

At the time the victims were found, Haakenson’s mother had traveled to Chicago, but as she had no dental records for the teen – the primary method of identification back then – identification of her son was impossible.

Troubled teen who ran away from his St. Paul home

Sisterman told the Chicaco Tribune her mother had passed away in 2008 and that it was sad she never learned what had happened to her son.

As reported by CBS News, Sisterman said their father drank and wasn’t always present in the home, adding that her brother was a troubled teen who ran away at the age of 16 to Chicago. It was on August 5, 1976 that the teenager last phoned his mother and then there was silence for 40 years.

Sister identifies her lost teenage brother

After the Cook County Sheriff’s detective traveled to Minnesota to notify the family, Sisterman said they first talked, and then he said he regretted to inform the family, but yes, James was one of Gacy’s victims. She said a couple of family members burst out crying, but all she could say to the detective was “Wow.” When asked if she felt any closure from the news, she said she was in a “fog” and doesn’t yet know what closure feels like.

Sisterman told the Chicago Tribune that her brother had been missing for so long it is nice to know he has been found, even though the news is not good. She said the news was “wonderful,” but also horrible.

Six victims of the serial killer still remain to be identified after the first was identified five years ago. Gacy was executed for his crimes in 1994.