Kristina Wesselman was murdered near west suburban Glen Ellyn in 1985. Thursday marks 26 years since the 15-year-old left home for the store and never returned. A sheriff's deputy found her body near a path on her way home. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed numerous times. The case remains unsolved.
The ring in the picture released by police Thursday is similar to the one they believe the killer took from Kristina at the time of the murder. Police say the pearl ring, which was a family heirloom, is unique and could spark someone's memory.
"It's very likely or at least very possible this ring could have been handed down from the killer to another woman in the area," said Sgt. Robert Harris, DuPage County Sheriff's Office. "We believe Kristy's case is solvable and feel we need the public's assistance in bringing the killer to justice."
Investigators are in the process of canvassing about 120 homes in the area near Route 59 and Butterfield Road in unincorporated Glen Ellyn.
A $10,000 reward is being offered in the case.
If she had survived, Kristina would have been 41 years old. Sandy Wesselman wonders who her daughter might have become and remains determined to find out who killed her. She says she goes through the same emotions every July 21.
"Today, it's trying to remember the good things, the funny things," said Sandy Wessleman. "It's a matter of time. Eventually somebody is going to say, 'I remember,' and have the courage to come forward and talk about it."
Investigators say advances in forensic science should help them find the killer. They have what they believe is a small sample of the suspect's DNA, although so far they have found no matches.
Kristina was president of her freshman class at Glenbard South High School and an athlete with big ambitions. Her mother has six grandchildren who she says will never know their Aunt Kristy. She says she is keeping the promise she made at the funeral.
"That I would not let it go. It's the only thing I can do for Kristy," she said. "I watched her go out the door. I said, 'be careful, princess. I love you.' Those were the last words I ever said to my daughter."