Robert Hutton was last heard from by his family in 1972 when he left New York City for California. He never made it to the west coast, which led his loved ones and police to believe he encountered and was a victim of John Wayne Gacy. But now it’s been revealed by ABC News that his sister’s determination and belief that her brother was alive has paid as, after 40 years of searching, she found her brother alive and well in Montana.
Here’s what you need to know about this incredible story:
1. Detectives Thought That Hutton Met Gacy in Chicago
Detectives believed when Hutton never made it to California, and was reported missing, that he encountered John Wayne Gacy somewhere around Chicago. His sister, Edyth, who was 24 at the time never believed that her brother was dead. She had been close to her brother growing up in Lancaster, California, reports WHAS. According to a message posted online by Edyth in 2011, she was born in Bishop, California.
Robert Hutton fitted the profile of a Gacy victim, young, white and looking for work.
2. His Sister Contacted Thousands of Robert Huttons
Beginning in the ’90s, Edyth began an Internet campaign to find her brother, reports KBZK. She sent out thousands of letters to other “Robert Huttons.” The letters read in part: “If this is not you, please forgive the intrusion and disregard this card.”
3. A Detective Tracking Gacy Victims Became Involved in 2011
A detective, Jason Moran, who had been trying to trace other believed victims of Gacy, met with Edyth in 2011. Prior to meeting Moran, Edyth didn’t consider that her brother had been a victim of Gacy’s. Hutton was officially added to the list of possible Gacy victims in February 2012. Together they discoverred that Hutton was alive and had lived in Colorado at one point. After learning that Edyth and Hutton’s father was diagnosed with cancer, he felt compelled to help the family located their lost loved one.
Since the reopening of the Gacy case, one victim, George Bundy, has been identified.
4. Eventually they Found Hutton in Montana
In April 2013, Moran and Edyth located Hutton living in Stevensville, Montana (hometown of Huey Lewis). He contacted the local police who got in contact with Hutton and helped to put Edyth in contact with her brother. According to ABC News, Moran said:
I got a call from [Moran], and he said, ‘Edyth, are you sitting down?
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.
5. Hutton Says He Tried to Contact His Family During the 90s
Hutton had apparently been living the live of a drifter since disappearing. He worked different jobs around the rural areas of Colorado and Montana but had struggled since the 2008 economic crisis. Hutton worked in construction, just like his father. He said that he tried to locate members of his family in the 90s but to no avail. According to ABC News, Edyth has not yet met her brother yet but speaks to him nearly every day.