HOT DOG, COLD CASE: Minnesota man convicted of murder after DNA on hot dog napkin ties him to 1993 case

Westrom, 56, was arrested when the discarded hot dog napkin he used while watching his daughter's hockey game linked him to the cold case

HOT DOG, COLD CASE: Minnesota man convicted of murder after DNA on hot dog napkin ties him to 1993 case
Jerry Westrom was arrested after DNA tied him to the cold case (Hennepin County Sherrif's Office)
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HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: Jerry Westrom, a 56-year-old Minnesota man, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree murder in the death of Jeanne Ann 'Jeanie' Childs. He was arrested 25 years after he committed the heinous crime on June 13, 1993. The victim, a sex worker, had been found naked with multiple stab wounds. After a few hours of deliberation by the jury, Westrom was convicted on August 25, 2022. 

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Childs had been found stabbed to death inside her apartment, nearly three decades ago. The case had been lying cold since then, until her killer was caught after one mistake - he attended his daughter's hockey game and wiped his face with a hot dog napkin in 2019. However, Westrom denies being involved in any shape or form with the gruesome murder. 

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Westrom had fallen under the radar of authorities after they decided to take another shot at the cold case by applying the advancements in DNA technology since 2015. The investigators employed DNA technology and websites pertaining to commercial genealogy. The FBI also assisted and helped solve the case.

An online search of family ancestry and genealogy turned up Westrom as a possible suspect. The authorities then matched the DNA sample obtained from the used hot dog napkin to identify him as the killer. They confirmed that the DNA on the napkin matched the DNA on a bloody towel, washcloth, T-shirt, and spots in the sink of Childs' apartment. His sperm had also been found on the comforter.

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The crime scene had revealed blood found on the walls of Childs' bedroom, living room, and bathroom. The dead body had multiple stab wounds, several of which were inflicted after she was already dead.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement after the hearing, "My condolences go out to the victim and her family. They have had to live without justice for her brutal murder for nearly three decades." He also hoped that this hearing would help reaffirm their belief in the justice system, adding, "I hope this brings some closure to them. Today’s guilty verdicts show that we will pursue convictions for serious crimes, even if it takes years to gather the evidence."

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