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Gacy victim found alive in Beaverton

Family feared Ted Szal was killed 34 years ago in Illinois

A man thought to be a victim of Chicago serial killer John Wayne Gacy turned up alive and well on Wednesday in Beaverton.

Theodore 'Ted' Szal, 59, had been missing since March 1977, when his family assumed he had fallen victim to Gacy, the Chicago man who sexually assaulted and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978.

Szal, who family members said frequently disengaged with them, apparently left the Chicago area on his own free will when he was 24.

When family members recently learned the Cook County (Ill.) Sheriff's Office was trying to find out the identity of some Gacy victims, they contacted the agency in mid-October.

While family DNA samples did not identify Szal as one of Gacy's victims, a computer search turned up an Oregon driver's license in his name.

Cook County sheriff's Detective Jason Moran said a Beaverton police officer contacted Szal this week and confirmed his identity and residence. Business records with the Oregon Secretary of State's office indicate Szal operates a car-repair business on Southwest Sixth Avenue in Beaverton.

When informed that his family was reaching out to him, Szal asked Moran to let his father know he was still fishing the way he taught him while growing up. He said he left the Glen Ellyn, Ill., area near Chicago in 1977 because his marriage had broken up and he had a misunderstanding with his family, Moran reported.

His vehicle, found abandoned at O'Hare International Airport, was the last indication of Szal's whereabouts in Illinois.

'He was surprised when I called him,' Moran told the Valley Times on Wednesday. 'He should have known they presumed him dead. But he was unaware they thought he was a victim of John Gacy.'

Szal said he would likely attempt to reunite with his family, and family members said the same.