MN - Jerry Westrom's discarded napkin ties him to '93 killing of Jeanne Ann Childs, police say

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by deathvalley69, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. deathvalley69

    deathvalley69 Former Member

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    Charge: Hockey dad's discarded napkin at rink
    ties him to 1993 killing in Twin Cities 25 years later

    Police trailed Jerry Westrom to a hockey game in January and when he wiped his mouth
    with a napkin and threw it away, police picked it out of the trash to test for DNA evidence.

    Hockey dad Jerry Westrom visited a rink for a game one recent winter’s day, as he had done countless times over the years, ate a hot dog and threw his napkin in the trash.

    Within weeks, DNA evidence on that napkin put the Isanti businessman in jail, charged with murder in the 1993 stabbing of 35-year-old Jeanne Ann “Jeanie” Childs in a Minneapolis apartment. Prosecutors say the DNA, tested against crime scene evidence collected decades ago, leaves no doubt that Westrom killed Childs.

    Westrom, 52, was arrested Monday at his Waite Park office. He remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail ahead of a court appearance Friday.

    “If we don’t have a match, we don’t have a case,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said soon after Westrom was charged in district court.
    --
    more at the Star Tribune link
     
  2. Choochoobella

    Choochoobella Well-Known Member

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    Westrom previously owned several businesses in the Cambridge community, including Sears, the Westrom’s Corner gas station at the intersection of South Main Street and Highway 65 (currently the BP Amoco gas station/Dickey’s Barbecue Pit) and the Sinclair gas station (current vacant building) along Highway 95 in Cambridge.

    On June 13, 1993, property management for an apartment building in the 3100 block of Pillsbury Avenue South, Minneapolis, was notified by a tenant that water was coming into her apartment. Property management responded to the apartment and found water in the hallway coming from an apartment rented by a man dating Childs.

    Staff initially entered the apartment and observed water on the floor and a significant amount of blood. Supervisors were called to the apartment, who entered and found the shower to be running and observed Childs’ deceased body on the floor. Law enforcement officers were called to the scene and an investigation commenced.

    Officers learned the man who had been dating Childs had been out of state at this time. The investigation further revealed that Childs was an active prostitute and would use the apartment for meetings with customers.

    A number of stab wounds were apparent to Childs’ body, and she was brought to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. The evaluation located superficial cuts and stab wounds to her abdomen, neck, chest, back, arms, hands and buttocks. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner determined her death to be a result of homicide caused by multiple sharp force trauma to the chest and further opined that a number of wounds were inflicted postmortem.

    Within the apartment, blood was observed to be covering Childs, the bed and bedding, and a substantial portion of the adjoining bathroom. A number of items were collected from the apartment that would be later tested for the presence of DNA: the comforter from the bed, a towel and a washcloth in the bathroom, a red T-shirt and a scraping of a blood stain from the sink.

    In 2018, investigators consulted with a genealogist who worked with law enforcement on another cold case where genealogy assisted with the development of a suspect. A DNA sample that was recovered from the scene of Childs’ death and found to be of unknown origin was entered into available commercial genealogy websites. Information derived from this search coupled with additional genealogical research led to two possible suspects, one being Westrom.

    Officers learned Westrom had lived in the Twin Cities area from April 9, 1991, to Dec. 31, 1993. Additionally, records checks showed contacts with law enforcement related to prostitution, including a conviction for solicitation in February 2016.

    In January 2019, officers began to watch Westrom to surreptitiously obtain a DNA sample. Investigators tracked Westrom to a hockey game where he was observed ordering food from the concession area. Investigators observed Westrom wiping his mouth with a napkin that he then placed in a cardboard food container before disposing of both in a trash can.

    Investigators recovered the napkin and submitted it to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis. The BCA was able to determine that the napkin contained a mixture of DNA, however the major male profile observed was consistent with DNA samples recovered from the crime scene.

    Officers subsequently located Westrom and took him into custody. Investigators collected a known DNA sample from Westrom and submitted that to the BCA.

    The analysis revealed a mixture of two or more individuals’ DNA was on the washcloth recovered from the apartment. Neither Childs nor Westrom could be excluded from contributing to the mixture; however, 99.993 percent of the general population can be excluded as contributors.

    Westrom’s DNA was found to be a match to samples recovered from the bed’s comforter and from the towel in the bathroom. A mixture of two or more individuals’ DNA was recovered in another sample collected from the comforter. Westrom cannot be excluded from being a contributor to the sample, yet 99.999995 percent of the population can be.

    Further DNA testing is pending at the BCA and will be compared to evidence recovered from the scene.

    Investigators met with Westrom, who agreed to speak with them after having been read his rights. Westrom denied having been at the apartment complex, denied having been in the apartment, denied recognizing Childs and denied having had sex with any women in Minneapolis in 1993. When confronted with the DNA evidence available to investigators at the time of arrest, Westrom indicated he had no knowledge as to why his DNA would be present at the scene.

    Former Isanti County businessman charged with second-degree murder from 1993 case
     
  3. Niner

    Niner Long time Websleuther

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    Next hearing is March 13th.
     
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  4. YESorNO

    YESorNO The Queen (aka "mrsmuir") SWBB

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    Genealogy technology plays key role in Minneapolis cold case

    Feb 26, 2019

    "Minnesota is joining a growing number of states where unsolved cases are reopened through new DNA technology, but the new technique raises questions.

    On Feb. 14, Jerry Westrom, 52, was charged in a 25-year-old homicide with the help of data gleaned from a genealogy website.

    Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that the Isanti man had been charged in the 1993 stabbing death of Jeanne Ann Childs....

    In Minnesota, Westrom faces one count of second-degree murder....

    Westrom's attorney Steven Meshbesher questions whether prosecutors have connected Westrom's DNA to blood found on items in Childs' apartment.

    "They don't have the evidence. They admit on the complaint, if you read it, that there are certain things that are under investigation right now," he said recently. "And they're being looked at on an investigatory basis by the [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension]. They don't know what the analysis will show."..."

    Genealogy technology plays key role in Minneapolis cold case

    [​IMG]
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  5. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    wow good job LE!
     
  6. YESorNO

    YESorNO The Queen (aka "mrsmuir") SWBB

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    Young women murdered decades ago may finally find justice through new controversial DNA tool
    Six murder victims, and the genetic genealogy used this year to ID suspects.


    Mar 2, 2019

    "...In the first two months of 2019, suspects -- some of whom have already died -- were identified in at least six previously unsolved killings of young women and girls across the U.S. through the new, but controversial, technique.

    Genetic genealogy takes an unknown killer's DNA from a crime scene and identifies the suspect through his or her family members, who voluntarily submit their DNA to genealogy databases. This allows police to create a much larger family tree than using regular law enforcement databases, in which an exact match to the suspect is needed in most states, according to CeCe Moore, chief genetic genealogist with Parabon NanoLabs, which has worked on the majority of the cases...."

    Young women murdered decades ago may finally find justice through new controversial DNA tool
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  7. Niner

    Niner Long time Websleuther

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    Wednesday, march 13th:
    *Preliminary Hearing (@ am CT) – MN – Jeanne Anne “Jeanie” Childs (35) (June 13, 1993, Minneapolis) - *Jerry Arnold Westrom (52/27 @ time of crime) arrested (2/11/19) & charged (2/15/19) with 2nd degree murder. $1M bond.
    DNA Match
    2/15/19 Initial appearance. Next hearing on 3/13/19.
     
  8. YESorNO

    YESorNO The Queen (aka "mrsmuir") SWBB

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    Accused cold case killer asks for lower bail

    Mar 13, 2019

    "An Isanti man accused of murder in a cold case from more than two decades ago asked a Hennepin County judge to reduce his bail on Wednesday.

    Attorney Steven Meshbesher argued that Jerry Westrom's bail be reduced from $500,000 to $150,000. Meshbesher said Westrom, 52, who is accused of stabbing Jeanne Ann Childs to death in her Minneapolis apartment in 1993, recently lost his job and is in financial trouble.

    He said Westrom has been able to pay $15,000 to the bail bond company so far, but will have a hard time paying more.

    Westrom appeared in court, but didn't speak to the judge....

    Judge Martha Holton Dimick agreed to reduce Westrom's bail to $250,000.

    "That's as low as the court is willing to go," she said.

    Meshbesher later said the reduction was "a start," but added that Westrom's defense is going to be expensive.

    Westrom's next court appearance is scheduled for May 28."

    Accused cold case killer asks for lower bail
     
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  9. Niner

    Niner Long time Websleuther

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    hmmm.... I had his bond at $1 million... ??

    Thanks for the update YESorNO! [​IMG]
     

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