DNA solves murder of man missing since 1978 - FOX 32 News Chicago

DNA solves murder of man missing since 1978

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(AP Photo/Courtesy of the Edward Beaudion family). This undated photo provided by the Edward Beaudion family shows 22-year-old Edward Beaudion of Chicago. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Edward Beaudion family). This undated photo provided by the Edward Beaudion family shows 22-year-old Edward Beaudion of Chicago.
CHICAGO (Associated Press) -

While he was still in college in the late 1970s, Edward Beaudion dressed up as a vampire to bring a little ghoulish cheer to kids at a local orphanage.

The Northwest Side man was finishing up his degree at Loyola University, thrilled to start teaching elementary kids at St. Andrew School in Lakeview in the fall of 1978, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

But just months before he was due to start his job, Beaudion, 22, vanished after returning from a July wedding and dropping off a friend on the Northwest Side.

He was never seen again.

“He loved to teach kids,” said his sister, Ruth Rodriguez, now 62. “He was so excited about his teaching position at St. Andrew’s.”

On Wednesday, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced that some remains discovered in 2008 in woods near Lemont are those belonging to Beaudion.

“I don’t have words to even describe it,” said Rodriguez, who got the news in February. “It’s happiness and sadness together.”

The identification confirmed what Rodriguez said she already knew about her brother’s disappearance — that he was murdered.

No one was ever charged in Beaudion’s death, but a Missouri man, Jerry Jackson, was arrested in his home state in 1978 and later charged with stealing his sister’s Chevrolet Nova, according to sheriff’s spokesman Ben Breit.

Jackson allegedly confessed to arguing with Beaudion, although the details of the confrontation remain unclear, Breit said. Jackson said he punched Beaudion, who then stopped breathing, Breit said. Jackson confessed to putting Beaudion’s body in the Nova and dumping it in the woods near Lemont.

Despite that information, police were unable to find a body and Jackson was never charged in the death, Breit said.

But then in 2008, a family walking in the woods stumbled across a skeleton in “’70s clothing,” Breit said.

It wasn’t until 2011, when Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced he was reopening the John Wayne Gacy serial killer investigation, that Rodriguez decided to check to see if her brother might have been a possible victim.

Rodriguez said she was certain Jackson had killed her brother, but she wanted to definitely rule out Gacy.

Rodriguez and her father, Louis Beaudion, submitted DNA samples to the sheriff’s office, which finally came back from a national database earlier this year. The samples matched those recovered from the body discovered in 2008.

Jackson, who was sentenced to four years in prison for the car theft, died in Missouri in 2013.

Rodriguez said the DNA match brings relief, but she still wants to know why her brother had to die.

“I would have asked (Jackson), ‘Why did you dump him on the side of the road? Why didn’t you bring him to a hospital?’” Rodriguez said, her voice choked with emotion.

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