Napkin, genealogy site leads to arrest in 1993 murder case

Posted at 9:45 AM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 09:45:13-05

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — 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.

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.

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.

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