A man thought to have been a victim of the killer clown, serial killer and rapist John Wayne Gacy, was just found very much alive in Montana, thanks to his sister who never stopped searching for him in the 40 years since he went missing.
ABC has the incredible story of how a determined sister found her brother nearly 42 years after his disappearance. Robert Hutton was last heard from in 1972 when he left New York for California. His sister Edyth was 24 at the time.
Hutton never made it to California, leading his family to believe that he could have encountered the clown serial killer somewhere near Chicago.
His sister was devastated but she never gave up searching.
In the '90s, Edyth turned to the internet and tracked down more than 500 Robert, Rob and Bob Huttons. She mailed them postcards that ended, "If this is not you, please forgive the intrusion and disregard this card."
In 2011, a detective trying to identify the last eight unclaimed Gacy victims met with Edyth, but soon figured out that her brother had up until recently lived in Colorado. But he had since moved, and no one seemed to know where.
That detective, Jason Moran of the Cook County Sheriff's Office, felt compelled to follow through once he learned Edyth's father was dying of cancer.
"I've been meeting with these families of missing persons, and … even after 30 or 40 years — they just have this sadness about them, like, 'Where is my missing child?'" Moran told ABC.
So, he found Hutton living in a small, rural Montana town. He called the local police station and had an officer dispatched to Hutton's house, where he told Hutton the story over the phone. Hutton was apparently amazed to hear they'd been looking for him.
"I got a call from [Moran], and he said, 'Edyth, are you sitting down?'" Edyth told ABC. "And my heart was pounding. I said, 'Yes, I am. Do you have some info for me?' He said, 'I do.' And very quickly he said, 'I found your brother and he's alive and well.' And [it] was just like a hole that I had not known the size of in my heart was filled. … It was fabulous news. I was crying and laughing at the same time."
Hutton told ABC that his disappearance was due to neglect — he spent years drifting through the Southwest with no fixed address, tried halfheartedly to find his family in the '90s and then spiraled out looking for work after the 2008 market crash.
"And, you know, procrastination is my middle name," he told ABC. "It just kind of happened that we got out of touch, and then when we tried to get in touch we had no contact [information]."
Hutton and his father have already been reunited, but he and Edyth haven't seen each other yet — they say Hutton's work hours and financial difficulties are currently keeping them apart.
But according to ABC, they speak every week.
"We will see each other as soon as we can. We know that," Edyth told ABC.
[image via AP]