Napkin, genealogy site lead police to arrest Minnesota businessman in 1993 murder

MINNEAPOLIS -- Authorities say a napkin and a genealogy site led them to arrest a Minnesota business man in connection with a 25-year-old murder case that had gone cold.

Prosecutors say they used DNA from a genealogy website, then tracked the hockey dad to his daughter's hockey game. They watched as he threw away a napkin, then pulled that napkin out.

"The suspect's DNA was identified as being consistent with the DNA at the scene," said John Elder, of the Minnesota Police Department.

Detectives are now investigating the mysterious murder of 35-year-old Jeanie Ann Childs, who was stabbed to death in her Minneapolis apartment in 1993.

Prosecutors say DNA samples taken from the bloody crime scene run through an online genealogy site brought them to 52-year-old father of two Jerry Westrom.

According to police, detectives used the internet to track Westrom to his daughter's hockey game in Wisconsin.

"They got a DNA sample when he was in a hockey game, used a napkin, threw it away, and they got enough DNA off of the napkin," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.

Westrom is now charged with second degree murder.

"There's no known relationships between the individual. And this is what makes these cases so hard to solve," Elder said.

Similar public genealogy databases have been used to track down other suspects, including in the infamous Golden State Killer case.

Westrom told detectives he did not know the victim in the case and was never at that apartment. He is out of jail after posting half a million dollar bond. He's due back in court in March.
Copyright © 2019 ABC News Internet Ventures.