February 18, 2019 11:17 am

Police use DNA from discarded napkin, genealogy site to make arrest in 1993 murder

WATCH ABOVE: What is the DNA process for solving cold case crimes?


MINNEAPOLIS – A businessman is charged with fatally stabbing a Minneapolis woman in 1993 after investigators ran DNA evidence from the murder scene through a genealogy website and obtained his DNA from a discarded napkin.

READ MORE: Study finds 60% of white U.S. population identifiable using DNA and genealogy websites

Jerry Westrom is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Jeanne Ann “Jeanie” Childs. The 52-year-old was released from jail after posting bail Friday in Hennepin County. Westrom’s lawyer says the case was charged prematurely.

WATCH: California police crack 45-year-old murder case using genealogy database

Court documents say Childs’ naked body was found in her apartment in an area known for prostitution. The case went cold until the FBI ran DNA evidence collected from the murder scene through a genealogy website in 2018. Westrom came up as a possible suspect.

READ MORE: Ethical, legal questions raised surrounding ‘DNA dragnet’ technique in Marrisa Shen case

Investigators recently trailed Westrom to a hockey game in Wisconsin and secretly confiscated a napkin he’d tossed in the trash.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.