Man thought to be John Wayne Gacy victim found alive in Beaverto - KPTV - FOX 12

Man thought to be John Wayne Gacy victim found alive in Beaverton

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BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV/AP) -

A man thought to be a victim of infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy has been found alive in Beaverton.

Cook County (Illinois) sheriff's deputies say Theodore Szal disappeared in 1977. He was 24 years old at the time and lived in the Chicago area.

His race, age and the date he disappeared bore enough similarities to Gacy's 33 victims that his family's DNA was compared to eight never-identified Gacy victims whose bodies were recently exhumed.

There wasn't a match, but the sheriff's office was able to track Szal down in Beaverton. He's now 59 years old. 

On Monday, Beaverton police made contact with Szal and confirmed his identity.  It turns out Szal left Chicago area on his own free will because of the break-up of his marriage and a misunderstanding with his family.

Sheriff Tom Dart says Szal's family is "ecstatic and amazed" that he's alive. He says they're planning the best way to reconnect.

"Being able to tell an 88-year-old father that his son, whose picture he has been carrying around for 34 years in his breast pocket, has been found alive is something special," Dart says.

Another man thought to be a Gacy victim was found alive in Florida in October.

Copyright 2011 KPTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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