Gacy search solves NJ missing teen case 41 years later - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Gacy search solves NJ missing teen case 41 years later

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Steven Soden. (Photo courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office) Steven Soden. (Photo courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A 16-year-old boy who ran away from a New Jersey orphanage in 1972 was not a victim of John Wayne Gacy, but efforts to identify more possible victims of the serial killer led investigators to identify the boy as a body found 13 years ago.

Relatives of 16-year-old Steven Soden contacted the Cook County Sheriff's office in 2011 after Sheriff Tom Dart announced efforts to identify the unnamed Gacy victims, a statement from the sheriff's office said.

Relatives thought Soden might be among the 33 teenage boys and young men Gacy killed in Chicago from 1972-78, including seven who remain unidentified, the statement said.

Soden, who lived at an orphanage, was last seen alive on April 3, 1972, when he and 12-year-old Donald Caldwell ran away from the Bass River Camp Grounds in Burlington County, N.J., during a group camping trip.

Neither boy was ever heard from again, but Soden's relatives thought he might have come to Chicago, where his biological father lived, and so could come into contact with Gacy, who was executed for his crimes in 1994.

At Dart's request, a DNA sample was taken from Soden's sister by authorities in Washington state, where she lives, but no genetic association was found between her DNA and that of any of the unidentified Gacy victims, according to the sheriff's office.

However, her genetic profile was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and in December 2012, her profile matched that of unidentified skeletal remains found 13 years ago in New Jersey. They were discovered in a wooded area in Burlington County in April 2000 — not far from where Soden was last seen, the statement said.

DNA profiles of additional half siblings of Soden, including a paternal half-sibling, were taken and genetic testing at the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification concluded the remains were Soden. His cause of death was not able to be determined, but the case has led to a renewed search for Donald Caldwell, according to police.

Anyone who believes a missing male relative may have been a Gacy victim can call the sheriff's office at (708) 865-6244.

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