Clyde Lee Jourdan, known as Lee, ran away from his home in Belding, Mich., to Utah in 1979 at the age of 17. For decades his mother Mary Hagadus searched for him, even hiring a private investigator.
Jourdan's family learned through social media he had died in Utah in 1982. He was taken in there by a convicted child molester named Robert Beeler, who Jourdan's mother believed was responsible for his death.
FOX 17 spoke with Hagadus in July who is battling her second bout of breast cancer but said her toughest battle yet had been her 30-year-long search for her missing son.
It was the biggest blow, I always prayed that I would find him alive and that he had a happy life," Hagadus told FOX 17's Ann Marie LaFlamme in July.
"It will still feel empty because I always wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him how much I loved him and reassure him that no matter what he had done, all was forgiven, never stopped my love for him and I will never get to do that, so it will feel empty."
Officials in Utah exhumed Jourdan's remains in July in anticipation of returning them to Michigan for his family.