Napkin, genealogy site leads to arrest in 1993 Minnesota murder case

19 Février, 2019, 06:14 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Jerry Westrom who is accused of killing Jeanne Ann “Jeanie&rdquo Childs in Minneapolis in 1993

Westrom became a suspect after the Federal Bureau of Investigation ran DNA evidence collected from the murder scene through a genealogy website's database in 2018 and his name came up, according to The Associated Press.

When investigators told him about the DNA evidence, Westrom allegedly told them he had no idea why his DNA would have been at the scene.

Investigators then used the internet to determine where Westrom would be in public places and then secretly trailed him to his daughter's hockey game in Wisconsin in January.

Advances in forensics are giving police departments more and more ways to solve crimes, but using a napkin found in the garbage can at a hockey rink has to be a new one.

According to court documents, Childs' naked body was found in her apartment in an area known for prostitution. The paper towel was recovered, sent to a state laboratory, and matched to DNA samples found in Ms Childs's flat.

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Geneology websites gained attention a year ago after one was used to arrest a suspect in the decades-long hunt for the so-called Golden State Killer in California.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told reporters last week that investigators used "a genealogy company you see advertised on TV". The 52-year-old was released from jail after posting bail Friday in Hennepin County.

"We all hope Jeanne's family can finally find peace as a result of this tenacious effort by officers and agents", Jill Sanborn, the special agent in charge of the Minneapolis division of the F.B.I., said in a statement. He said he did not know the victim and he did not have sex with any women in Minneapolis in 1993, the station reported. Several members of Childs' family were also at the hearing in Hennepin County District Court. Westrom's lawyer says the case was charged prematurely.

Westrom's next court date is scheduled for March 13.

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