The remains of a Peoria man who disappeared 34 years ago have been discovered and identified. Daniel Noe was 22 when he set out hitchhiking from Bellingham, Wash., to Evanston to return to classes at Northwestern University, but he never turned up. Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart (pictured) says Noe’s parents contacted his office, suspecting their son was a victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
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“He was heading to Northwestern, he was going through an area where Gacy had been known to try to grab people. It fit the time frame, and it was an area where John Gacy had worked grabbing people throughout that period of time,” Dart said.
Gacy murdered 33 men and boys between 1972 and his arrest in 1978. Gacy was convicted of murder in 1980 and sentenced to death. He was executed in 1994. The Cook County sheriff’s office recently began efforts to identify the handful of unidentified Gacy victims. It has had some success, and also has turned up those who were not Gacy victims but who disappeared from their families in the 1970s, four of whom are still alive.
DNA excluded Noe from among Gacy’s victims, but it did match remains found on Mount Olympus in Utah in 2010. Dart says it appears Noe went hiking on the mountain, perhaps slipped and fell, as evidence by a broken wrist, and died on the mountain. There’s no evidence of foul play, the sheriff said.
Noe’s parents are now in their 80s and live in Washington, Ill. Dart says they’re satisfied to have the mystery solved, though they assumed all along that their son was deceased. The remains have been returned to the family for a wake on Monday and a funeral Tuesday.