Mother of missing teen will hold memorial in Michigan

BELDING, Mich. (WZZM) -- A mother's quest to find her teenage son is over, and he will finally be laid to rest in Michigan.

Mary Hagadus has been searching for her son, Clyde "Lee" Jourdan, for over 30 years. She found out last year that he had died, but she was determined to bring him home.

"Right now, it still doesn't feel finished to me," says Mary, who is currently battling breast cancer. Mary says she doesn't know how much time she has left, but she's glad she will get to say goodbye to her son.

Lee was 17 he ran away from home.

"I mean, we didn't have the best of relationships," says Mary. She says police refused to file a missing person's report because of his age. "To me, it's still an empty feeling; that's because I always thought I would get him back alive."

Last year, Mary found out Lee died in a car accident in 1982.

He had been living with a convicted child molester, named Robert Beeler. When Robert died in 2012, his step-daughters contacted Mary.

"We were always wondering where Lee came from," says Carol Jones. They were told that Lee was their step-brother. After going through some of his belongings, they found out he wasn't.

"It's a sign to other people, that if you have a child missing, don't give up hope, keep looking," says Mary.

Lee had been renamed Lee Beeler after moving out west. The State of Utah even issued his death certificate with that name.

When Jourdan's story started becaming clear, Clearfield, Utah, police officer Carey Stricker started an investigation.

"Just looking at it in terms of humanity: this mother doesn't know where her son has been. She doesn't know if he's dead or alive. As a police department, we owe it to her," says Stricker.

It's been over a year since the investigation started, and this summer, he says it was important to close the case.

"She's had breast cancer twice; this is the second time she's gone through radiation, and to bring her son back home, where she wanted him to be buried: I wanted to see that done, before her time is done," he said.

Earlier this month, a judge approved the exhumation of Lee's body from a cemetery in Clearfield. Although it's not exactly how Mary wanted it to end, she's glad the wait is over.

"Relieved," she says, "that finally he's coming home to where he belongs."

On Saturday, August 30th, there will be a memorial for Lee Jourdan at Riverside Park in Belding. Mary says that's where Lee used to enjoy fishing when he was a child. The service will start at 2 p.m.


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