Assumed John Wayne Gacy victim found very alive in Florida, 34 years later

Chicago Police and hired technicians search for victims in 1998. Harold Wayne Lovell was not one of those victims.

What’s worse than leaving home and never calling your family again? Doing it while there is a serial killer on the loose.

For 34 years, the family of Harold Wayne Lovell thought he had fallen victim to infamous Clown killer John Wayne Gacy. Lovell had left his home near Aurora, Illinois when he was 19, telling his family he was off to find a construction job. When his family didn’t hear from him, they became convinced that he was killed by Gacy, who targeted young men between 14 and 21.

The Lovell family spent 34 years believing that Harold was murdered, pained by the knowledge that they might never know what really happened to him … until recently, when his family tracked him down through a mug shot website, according to the Chicago Tribune. It is probably the only time in history a family has been ecstatic to find a mug shot of a loved one busted for marijuana possession.

It turns out Lovell had moved to Florida and worked odd jobs in restaurants instead of going after that construction job in Illinois. Lovell’s family got in touch and he was reunited with two of his siblings this week.  

“I feel bad that they had to go through life thinking that I’d been killed like that,” Lovell said. “I feel terrible. But I was a teenager, and who didn’t want to go to Fort Lauderdale, where it’s nice, sunny and hot?”

We don’t know about you, but, to us, that seems like a perfectly good explanation for not clearing it up to your family that you were not, in fact, murdered by a serial killer.


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