Reporting Mike Krauser
CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – For nearly 30 years, the remains of three men—all victims of a serial killer–have sat, unidentified, in boxes in coroners’ offices in Indiana.
Now, there’s a renewed effort to identify them.
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They were victims of serial killer Larry Eyler, a Chicago house painter who admitted he killed nearly two dozen young men before dying in prison of AIDS 16 years ago.
That much has been known for years.
Two were found just over the Illinois border in 1983, in Newton County, Ind. near an old barn that, Eyler admitted, he used to torture his victims.
Another was found by a farmer in Jasper County.
The Chicago Tribune reports the coroners in both counties have made it their personal missions to return the victims to their families.
They’re hoping DNA testing will link the bodies to families who suspect their missing loved ones became victims of the serial killer.
Eyler admitted he killed young men after fights with his married boyfriend, 21 victims in all.
Eyler was arrested in 1984, after a janitor in a Rogers Park building found a garbage bag containing the body of Danny Bridges, a 16-year-old male prostitute from Uptown. Eyler was convicted of murder and aggravated kidnapping, and sentenced to death by Judge Joseph Urso in 1986.
After bodies of young men kept turning up in rural Indiana, Eyler’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, asked for a deal with then-Cook County State’s Attorney Jack O’Malley, in which Eyler would be taken off Death Row and given a life sentence in exchange for information that would solve more than 20 murders. But O’Malley declined, according to a 1992 Chicago Reader story.
When Eyler died in March 1994, an appeal of his conviction was pending in the Illinois Supreme Court. He claimed one of his attorneys, David Schippers, had a conflict of interest because he took $16,875 in payments from a prosecution witness named Robert David Little. Eyler said Little had really killed Bridges, according to a Chicago Tribune report from the time.