DNA Evidence on Discarded Napkin Links Man to 1993 Murder

Police were able to connect Jerry Westrom to the stabbing of a woman more than 25 years ago.

napkin DNA murder case
DNA evidence may have linked a man to a 1993 murder. (Getty Images)
Getty Images/Cultura RF

One Minnesota man’s trash became police treasure when officers were able to use DNA from a napkin to potentially solve a 25-year-old murder case.

Police in Minneapolis arrested 52-year-old Jerry Westrom last week after DNA found on a napkin he threw out at a hockey game linked him to the 1993 murder of Jeanne Ann “Jeanie” Childs, HuffPost reported. Childs was 35 when she was killed.

A tenant in Childs’ Minneapolis apartment building called  police after seeing water coming from her apartment in 1993, according to the original police report. She was then found dead in her shower with the water running. Hand and footprints were discovered at the scene alongside two sperm samples, investigators said.

Westrom first became a suspect just last year after the FBI ran DNA evidence collected from the murder scene through a genealogy website’s database in 2018 and his name came up. Investigators used this lead to follow Westrom to a hockey game where they were able to lift his discarded napkin from the trash.

He’s since been charged with second-degree murder and was released from jail on Friday after posting a $500,000 bond. His next court date is scheduled for March 13.

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