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Gacy Probe Leads To Break In Unreleated Missing Person's Case

Steven Soden
Steven Soden (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

CHICAGO (CBS) – A 41-year-old New Jersey missing person's case has been solved as a result of an ongoing investigation to identify the unnamed victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Cold Case Solved By Gacy Investigation

Relatives of 16-year-old Steven Soden contacted the Cook County Sheriff's Office in 2011 after hearing about Sheriff Tom Dart's efforts to identify the unnamed Gacy victims and suggested that Soden may be one of them, the sheriff's department said in a news release.

Steven Soden
Steven Soden (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

Soden, who lived at an orphanage, was last seen alive on April 3, 1972 running away with another boy, 12-year-old Donald Caldwell, from the Bass River Camp Grounds in Burlington County, New Jersey during a group camping trip.

Neither boy was ever heard from again.

Relatives thought that maybe Soden headed to Chicago, where his biological father lived, and may have come into contact with Gacy.

A DNA sample was taken from Soden's sister. There was no genetic association between her and any of the unidentified Gacy victims.

Her genetic profile was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System. In December 2012, her profile matched that of unidentified human skeletal remains found 13 years ago in New Jersey.

The remains were discovered in the woods in Burlington County in April 2000 – not far from where Soden was last seen.

Additional genetic testing with other family members was performed by the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification.

Investigators concluded the remains are that of Steven Soden.

His cause of death remains undetermined.

Gacy killed 33 teenage boys and young men in Chicago from 1972 to 1978. Seven of his victims remain unidentified. He was executed for his crimes in 1994.

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