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Feared Gacy Victim Turns Up in Florida

Feared Gacy Victim Turns Up in Florida

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A Chicago man, missing since 1977 -- and long feared to have been among the unidentified victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy -- has turned up alive and well in Florida.

Nearly 35 years ago, Harold Wayne Lovell left his home for the suburb of Aurora, hoping to land a construction job. The tall, thin 19-year-old with long blond hair who went by the name Wayne, never returned home.

A year-and-a-half later, when local businessman John Wayne Gacy -- who ran a construction company -- was arrested in connection with the disappearance of a missing 15-year-old, Lovell's family feared the worst about their unreported relative.

In 1980, Gacy was convicted of murdering 33 young men.

Earlier this year, when the Cook County sheriff's office announced their efforts to use DNA to put names to eight unidentified Gacy victims, the surviving members of Lovell's family requested the opportunity to submit a genetic profile for testing.

They received a positive I.D., but not from the lab. Wayne Lovell, they learned, was alive and living in Florida.

The Chicago Tribunereports a happy ending to this story: "Before dawn Tuesday, the family was reunited, with Wayne Lovell getting off a Greyhound bus and stepping into the embrace of his sister and brother, an unexpected yet happy ending to their lengthy quest."

Lovell told the paper he had taken off all those years ago because he didn't get along with his now deceased mother. "I never felt wanted at home, so I left," he said. He eventually made his way to Florida, and has been living there ever since, making a living in shipyards, doing lawn work, and working with horses.

According to Sheriff Tom Dart, there have been genetic submission requests from more than 120 families hoping for news about missing relatives.

Read the full story here.

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