The ongoing search for unidentified victims of notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy led to the identification of an Illinois man who went missing more than 30 years ago.
The Cook County Sherriff's Office confirmed Thursday the remains on a hiker found on the side of Mount Olympus in 2010 belong to Daniel Raymond Noe, who went missing at age 21 in 1978.
Noe's records ended up on Sheriff Tom Dart's desk because the man's description -- white male between the ages of 14 and 25 -- fit the profile of Gacy's victims.
Dart announced last year that his office had obtained DNA profiles for all of Gacy's remaining victims and publicly asked anyone with missing loved ones between 1972 and 1979. to come forward in hopes of matching names to victims.
Noe's family last heard from him on Sept. 30, 1978, when Noe told his father he planned to hitchhike back to Chicago from a job in Washington.
A missing person's report was filed, and for years the family searched for him, even sending dental records to law enforcement agencies when they heard about a deceased person who remained unidentified.
Detectives obtained DNA samples from Noe's family and discovered they didn't match any of the unidentified victims, but a genetic association was found in an unidentified person's case in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Further testing positively identified the remains of the hiker as Daniel Noe. Utah's Unified Police Department conducted a four-day search and determined there was no foul play.
"While solving these cases is a bittersweet moment, the Cook County Sherriff's Office is pleased to give families some sort of closure regarding their missing loved ones," Dart said.
Noe's family said in a statement they are extremely grateful. "Without their help we would not have closure, and Daniel would not be coming home to finally be laid to rest."