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1983 Indiana remains ID'd as Chicago victim of serial killer

Two others, Michael Bauer and John Bartlett, have already been identified, leaving one victim nameless, according to authorities.
Credit: WTHR

CHICAGO — Human remains found at a northwestern Indiana farm have been identified as a male Chicago victim of the late serial killer Larry Eyler, authorities announced Sunday. 

The Newton County Coroner's Office in Indiana identified the victim as John Ingram Brandenburg Jr. of Chicago. No age was given. He was among four "young men" found on an abandoned farm in rural Lake Village on October 18, 1983, according to the office. 

Two others, Michael Bauer and John Bartlett, have already been identified, leaving one victim nameless, according to authorities. 

Brandenburg, called "Johnny" by his mother, had been drugged and killed by Eyler.

In the early '80s, dozens of young men disappeared. Their remains were later found in shallow graves near interstate exits and along state highways.

In 1983, it seemed as if bodies were being found every other week in Indiana fields. Dozens of lawmen scattered from Chicago to Terre Haute to Indianapolis and even as far away as Ohio struggled to compare notes, connect the dots and end the carnage.

A special police task force eventually caught up with Eyler, an Indiana handyman who split his time between Indianapolis, Terre Haute and Chicago.

Convicted of one murder and sentenced to death, Eyler confessed with remarkable detail to 22 brutal killings. He died in an Illinois prison in 1994. Eyler was on death row for the 1984 murder of Danny Bridges, a 15-year-old.

For decades, police have tried to identify some of his victims. Indiana authorities worked with the nonprofit DNA Doe Project, which uses genetic genealogy, and others to find a match Brandenburg to a family member. That led to the positive identification earlier this month, according to the coroner's office. 

"While my heart breaks for this family, I'm thankful that they finally have some of the answers they’ve waited so long for, and I hope this brings them peace," Rebecca Goddard, a Newton County prosecutor, said in a statement Sunday from the DNA Doe Project. 

She worked on the case with Indiana State Police. The prosecutor's office and state police didn't return messages left Sunday. 

The coroner's office said Brandenburg's family had been contacted and authorities would not release further information until relatives gave further permission. 

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