Posted Dec 21, 2011 10:16 pm CST
For at least the second time in less than two months, a family who thought a young man might have been murdered by a notorious serial killer decades ago got good news this holiday season.
Carpenter Ted Szal, 59, was found living in a suburb of Portland, Ore., by Chicago authorities. They have been working to try to put a name, through DNA testing, to the unidentified remains of eight victims found in or near the home of John Wayne Gacy, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Szal’s family, who feared he had been slain by Gacy after Szal disappeared in 1977, learned this week that he is alive and well. Szal said he had intentionally disappeared, after a divorce, at a time of family turmoil and had been too stubborn to try to reconnect, although his wife had urged him to do so.
An Oregonian story provides further details.
Meanwhile, a Florida family who contacted the sheriff’s office in October, shortly after the testing program was announced, also got good news. Harold Wayne Lovell, feared to be a victim of Gacy, too, after he disappeared in 1977 at age 19, was alive and well and living in South Florida. He has since been reunited with his family, as the Tribune reported in October.
For another family, however, the DNA testing program confirmed their worst fears.
William George Bundy, who disappeared in 1976, at age 19, was positively identified as a victim through DNA testing, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced last month, the Tribune reported in November.
“I always knew he was going to be one of them,” Bundy’s younger sister, Laura O’Leary, said at a news conference. “But there was no DNA back then, so there was nothing I could really do.”
Gacy, who was convicted of murdering 33 young men, was put to death in 1994.