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Home > Press Page

Thursday, December 19, 2013 A man who had been missing and presumed dead for 41 years has been found alive and reunited with his family as a result of an ongoing investigation to identify the unnamed victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

Then 21-year-old Robert Hutton went missing in 1972. His mother was the last person to hear from him following a call to inform her of his plans to travel from New York to California. After several years, law enforcement agencies closed their investigation.

In February 2012, Hutton’s sister became aware of Sheriff Dart’s investigation into the unidentified victims of Gacy. She added Hutton’s name to list of leads on the suspicion that he may have encountered Gacy while traveling west to California.

Gacy killed 33 teenage boys and young men from 1972 to 1978. He was executed for his crimes in 1994. Seven of his victims remain unidentified. Since 2011, Sheriff Dart has prioritized efforts to identify these victims and bring closure to their families.

At the request of Sheriff Dart, detectives expedited the Hutton lead due to how closely he fit the profile consistent with many of Gacy’s victims. Hutton was in the right age range (late teens or early 20s) and a hitchhiker who often traveled via bus, a demographic Gacy often preyed upon. He also presumably would have passed through Chicago in the midst of Gacy’s killing spree. Additionally, he worked in construction doing cement work – Gacy was known to lure many of his victims by first hiring them for freelance construction work.

The Sheriff’s Office investigation traced a man with the same identifiers as Robert Hutton to a location in Colorado. However, upon sending local law enforcement to the home, Sheriff Dart’s Gacy detective learned that the man had since moved.

Later, the detective located the same man living in rural Montana. In April 2013, the detective again requested that local law enforcement authorities visit the man, who confirmed he was the same Robert Hutton who had gone missing in 1972.

At the request of Hutton, Sheriff’s Police have since reunited him with his sister and father. Hutton has visited with his father several times, with plans to visit in-person with his sister as well.

Since Sheriff Dart reopened the Gacy investigation in 2011, one of the unidentified victims, William George Bundy, has been identified. Seven missing persons cases have been closed – five of them were found alive, including Hutton, with two having died earlier of natural causes. Additionally, two cold cases unrelated to Gacy have been solved as a result of the investigation.

Sheriff Dart asks that anyone who believes their male relative may have been a Gacy victim call 708-865-6244.

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