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Skeleton Found Near Lemont in 1978 Cold Case Finally Identified

Re-opening of Gacy investigation led family to come forward with DNA in the hopes of getting an answer about missing North Side man.

CHICAGO — Human remains found in Black Partridge Woods near Lemont in 2008 belong to Edward Beaudion, a North Side Chicago man who disappeared in July 1978 after graduating from college.

Beaudion was 22 and excited to start a new teaching job at St. Andrew School in Lake View. The last anyone ever saw of him was after he dropped a friend off at his house following a wedding in Oak Lawn. 

In August 1978, a man named Jerry Jackson confessed to arguing with Beaudion and punching him. Beaudion stopped breathing, so Jackson drove his limp, lifeless body to Lemont and dumped him in the woods. But police never found his body, and Jackson was never charged with a crime.

In 2008, hikers near Lemont came upon a skeleton dressed in 1970s clothing. In February of this year, after DNA testing and forensic analysis, the remains were confirmed to be those of the missing Beaudion.

His sister, Ruth Rodriguez, told the Chicago Sun-Times she always knew her brother had been murdered.

“I don’t have words to even describe it,” Rodriguez, now 62, said. “It’s happiness and sadness together.”

She's always wanted to ask Jackson why he didn't take her brother to a hospital, why he dumped her brother in the woods. Jackson, who'd stolen Beaudion's car, spent two years in prison for auto theft. He died in Missouri in 2013.

For a time, Rodriguez wondered if her brother had fallen victim to the notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy. In 2011, when Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart re-opened the Gacy case to look for the remains of others who may have died by Gacy's hand, Rodriguez reached out to the sheriff.

She was sure Jackson had killed her brother, but maybe, just maybe, something else had happened. She wanted to be sure. So she and her father gave samples of their DNA to the sheriff's office.

Investigators two months ago matched their DNA to the remains found in Lemont. Finally, the identity of that skeleton could be confirmed. The sheriff announced the results on Wednesday in a press conference with the family.

Now Rodriguez knows for certain that her lost brother was in a Lemont woodland. A cross now stands in the spot where his body was found. His remains will be cremated and laid to rest with his father, Louis, 86, when he passes.

"I can’t understand why," Rodriguez said. "I’ll never get any answers for that and neither will my dad. But at least, putting a cross out there, we have somewhere where we can go and pray and connect with my brother."

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Tom RS. April 27, 2014 at 09:19 AM
How in the world could someone who confessed to dumping a body not be charged with something! Harsher punishment is handed out for illegal left turns....I realize 1978-79 was not the height of high tech but come on......

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