Gacy investigation leads to breakthrough in separate, 36-year-old cold case

Updated 11:28 PM EDT, Wed September 23, 2015
16-year-old Andre "Andy" Drath was last seen in Chicago sometime in late 1978 or early 1979. A ward of the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, he traveled to San Francisco in hopes of getting his guardianship transferred to California. This was the last time his sister heard from him. Drath had been a missing person ever since.
Cook County Sheriff's office
16-year-old Andre "Andy" Drath was last seen in Chicago sometime in late 1978 or early 1979. A ward of the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, he traveled to San Francisco in hopes of getting his guardianship transferred to California. This was the last time his sister heard from him. Drath had been a missing person ever since.
Now playing
03:11
Gacy probe leads to breakthrough in separate case
Facebook
Now playing
01:09
Police: Bulgarian journalist raped, murdered
Authorities are investigating the scene in East Austin, Texas, after a teenager was killed and a woman was injured in the second Austin package explosion in the past two weeks Monday, March 12, 2018. Authorities say a package that exploded inside of an Austin home on Monday is believed to be linked to a deadly package sent to another home in Texas' capital city earlier this month. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP
Authorities are investigating the scene in East Austin, Texas, after a teenager was killed and a woman was injured in the second Austin package explosion in the past two weeks Monday, March 12, 2018. Authorities say a package that exploded inside of an Austin home on Monday is believed to be linked to a deadly package sent to another home in Texas' capital city earlier this month. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Now playing
02:05
Police: Deadly blasts in Texas connected
Spalding County Sheriff's Office
Now playing
01:28
Second killer pleads guilty in 1983 cold case
Frank Pomeroy, Wife AC360
CNN
Frank Pomeroy, Wife AC360
Now playing
05:55
Pastor's faith stronger after daughter's death
Left to right: Anthony Naiboa, Monica Hoffa, Benjamin Mitchell and Ronald Felton. Tampa homicide victims
Tampa Police Department
Left to right: Anthony Naiboa, Monica Hoffa, Benjamin Mitchell and Ronald Felton. Tampa homicide victims
Now playing
01:21
Tampa killings suspect arrested
CNN HLN
Now playing
00:47
Man to gunman: Shoot at me, not kids
charlottesville gunshot aclu virginia von_00000907.jpg
charlottesville gunshot aclu virginia von_00000907.jpg
Now playing
01:25
Man charged with firing gun at protesters
This undated still image from video provided by WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio, shows Jefferson County, Ohio Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. Bruzzese was shot and wounded Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, as he walked toward his county's courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, and a suspect was killed after a probation officer returned fire, officials said. (WTOV-TV via AP)
WTOV-TV /AP
This undated still image from video provided by WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio, shows Jefferson County, Ohio Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. Bruzzese was shot and wounded Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, as he walked toward his county's courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, and a suspect was killed after a probation officer returned fire, officials said. (WTOV-TV via AP)
Now playing
00:52
Ambushed judge returns fire, suspect dead
FILE- In this Oct. 5, 2016 file photo, Indian spiritual guru who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, center, greets followers as he arrives for a press conference ahead of the release of his new movie "MSG, The Warrior Lion Heart," in New Delhi, India. Several cities in north India were under a security lock down Thursday ahead of a verdict in a rape trial involving a controversial and hugely popular spiritual leader. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)
Tsering Topgyal/AP
FILE- In this Oct. 5, 2016 file photo, Indian spiritual guru who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, center, greets followers as he arrives for a press conference ahead of the release of his new movie "MSG, The Warrior Lion Heart," in New Delhi, India. Several cities in north India were under a security lock down Thursday ahead of a verdict in a rape trial involving a controversial and hugely popular spiritual leader. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)
Now playing
01:37
Deadly clashes after guru convicted of rape
Isra Chaker
Now playing
01:22
Death of Muslim teen near mosque investigated
Twitter post captions: Police and ambulances on Hackney/Queensbridge Road, possible acid/petrol attack. Lots of @UberEATS @Deliveroo drivers rallied round
@sarah_cobbold/Twitter
Twitter post captions: Police and ambulances on Hackney/Queensbridge Road, possible acid/petrol attack. Lots of @UberEATS @Deliveroo drivers rallied round
Now playing
01:27
5 acid attacks in 1 night in London
Walla News
Now playing
01:34
Authorities: Teen killed for dating Muslim
KDVR
Now playing
00:49
Veteran killed after saving teens
KATC
Now playing
02:06
Questions linger in Louisiana man's death
Bucks County Sheriff's Office
Now playing
01:16
Two men charged in homicides of missing men

Story highlights

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was arrested in December 1978

That's around the time Andy Drath, then 16, was last seen in Chicago heading for California

Investigators probing Gacy's victims tied Drath to a 1979 homicide in San Francisco

CNN —  

Because of John Wayne Gacy, John Doe No. 89 now has a name.

It’s Andy Drath, who as a teenage boy fit the profile of many of the serial killer’s victims. Authorities don’t think Drath was one of them, though investigators looking into Gacy’s past did manage to put two and two together in a major breakthrough in a 36-year-old cold case and major relief to Drath’s family.

Cold case cops find new DNA strategy

“You should never lose hope in finding your loved one.” said Dr. Willia Wertheimer, Drath’s half-sister who submitted DNA that proved pivotal. “… John Doe No. 89 now will come home to his kid sister with his own name – Andy.”

A ward of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services, Drath was a 16-year-old boy when he was last seen in late 1978 or early the next year, the Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday. He’d gone west to San Francisco, hoping to have his guardianship transferred there.

Authorities launch new effort to identify Gacy victims

It was in that Northern California city, in June 1979, that police found a male’s body with multiple gunshot wounds in a homicide.

They didn’t know who he was, much less who killed him. And, according to authorities, his case went cold.

At least until Gacy entered the picture.

Gacy investigators sought help

Gacy was arrested in December 1978, and about 14 months later, he went on trial. It ended with his conviction for raping and killing 33 boys and young men who he had lured into his home over a span of six years. To get them there, he’d promised them construction jobs, drugs and alcohol or by posing as a police officer or by offering money for sex.