NBC10.com - Rosemary Connors
Police trying to identify victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy have helped solve a nearly four decade old missing person case in South Jersey. Investigators called on people to submit DNA to see if their loved ones may have been victims of Gacy. Investigators then matched DNA of a woman to remains of 16-year-old Steven Soden, her brother, found in Bass River State Forest back in 2000. NBC10's Rosemary Connors has the story.
A test used to identify victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy has helped solve a decades-old New Jersey missing persons case.
The skeletal remains of Steven Soden, a teenager who vanished from Burlington County 41 years ago, were positively identified using DNA matching, according to the Cook County, Ill. Sheriff's Office.
The Cook County Sheriff's Office has been collecting DNA swabs for years from people all across the United States as they work to ID seven of Gacy's unnamed victims.
Soden's sister, who lives in Washington state, requested authorities use her DNA to determine whether the 16-year-old was murdered at the hands of the serial killer.
Officials say there was no match against the victim's remains, meaning Soden was not killed by the Gacy.
However, a national DNA tracking system -- called the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) -- did find a profile for remains discovered in Burlington County, N.J.
The previously unidentified remains were found in the woods of Burlington County in April 2000, officials said.
Soden, who lived in an orphanage, was last seen running from the Bass River Camp Grounds with his 12-year-old friend Donald Caldwell the night of April 3, 1972.
The 16-year-old, his unnamed sister and Caldwell all lived in a Patterson, N.J. orphanage and were visiting the camp grounds as part of a group trip.
Officials say Soden's remains were found near where the teen was last seen.
Relatives had thought Soden may have tried to find his father, who lived in Chicago -- the same area where Gacy committed his murders.
Gacy murdered 33 teenage boys and young men in the Chicago-area from 1972 to 1978. He was executed in 1994.
New Jersey State Police say they're still searching for Caldwell as well as additional evidence in Soden's death.