"I've been meeting with these families of missing persons, and … even after 30 or 40 years -- they just have this sadness about them, like, 'Where is my missing child?'" Moran told ABC News.
So earlier this year, determined to find Robert Hutton, Moran decided to run the name through online records once more.
This time, a Robert Hutton and an address popped up in Stevensville, Mont., a tiny town with "beautiful views, outdoor recreation and watchable wildlife," as a state website describes it.
In April, at Moran's request, an officer from the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the address. Within minutes of arriving, the officer put Moran on the phone with the man he'd been trying to find.
"[Moran] goes, 'Well, I guess you're not dead,'" Hutton recalled. "I go, 'No, not the last time I checked.'"
Moran remembers Hutton saying to him, "They want to know about me still? After all this time, after 41 years?" To which Moran responded: "Yes, they do, and they think that you were killed by a serial killer.'"
"He was really blown away by that," Moran said.
Indeed, Robert Hutton was.
"I was stunned, and ecstatic, and freaked out" by the whole affair, Hutton recently told ABC News.
At the end of the call that day in April, Moran asked Hutton if he objected to his sister now having his phone number.
"I said, 'Hell no,' and that was the start of it," Hutton recalled.
Then it was Edyth Hutton's turn to learn the good news.
"I got a call from [Moran], and he said, 'Edyth, are you sitting down?'" Edyth Hutton recalled, joyfully laughing while retelling the story recently. "And my heart was pounding. I said, 'Yes, I am. Do you have some info for me?' He said, 'I do.' And very quickly he said, 'I found your brother and he's alive and well.' And [it] was just like a hole that I had not known the size of in my heart was filled. … It was fabulous news. I was crying and laughing at the same time."
The next day, in what she dubbed "a miracle," Edyth Hutton heard her brother's voice for the first time in so long.
She began her telephone call to him: "Hi bro, this is your sister."
"I emphasized to him that we had never stopped looking for him, and still loved him, and that we're here if he wanted us," Edyth Hutton recalled.
When asked by ABC News how he disappeared for so long, Robert Hutton responded, "Just neglect."
Hutton said he spent a number of years exploring and caving throughout the Southwest, leaving him with no fixed address and little opportunity to stay connected with others.
"And, you know, procrastination is my middle name," he said. "It just kind of happened that we got out of touch, and then when we tried to get in touch we had no contact [information]."
By the early 1980s, Robert Hutton settled into a life near Breckenridge, Colo., starting his own construction and carpentry business there. Though he had some serious relationships, he never married.
He recently said he would think about his family "fondly," and he tried "a little bit" in the 1990s to see if he could find them.
Then, in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, work in Colorado "just tanked," wages plummeted, and he basically went bankrupt. Plus, "a lot of my friends moved, and there was no real draw to keep me there," Hutton said.
So in 2011 he moved to Montana, where some of his friends were living. For work, he helped build horse barns and remodeled some buildings. Now, at 62, he's working in an ammunition factory and living in a trailer he bought for himself.