Used napkin helped Minnesota investigators connect 1993 murder to man

Posted at 4:19 PM, September 9, 2022 and last updated 9:07 PM, May 11, 2023

By Justin Boggs

(WRTV) — DNA evidence found on a napkin helped lead a jury to find Jerry Westrom guilty of murdering Jeanie Childs after the case went cold for 29 years, WCCO-TV reported.

Jerry Arnold Westrom’s 2019 booking photo (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

The outlet reported that investigators found his DNA at the crime scene on a bloody bathroom towel, washcloth and shirt. Investigators also said they found his bloody footprints at the 1993 crime scene in Minneapolis. They then connected his DNA to him on a genealogy website.

To confirm they had their suspect, investigators waited for Westrom to throw a napkin away at a hockey game he attended.

Derek Fradenburgh, the jury foreperson, told WCCO that there was no explaining away the bloody footprint.

“Even the most charitable reading was one of the footprints for sure were his,” he told the outlet.

The jury reached the verdict in less than two hours.

Westrom claimed that he did not know Childs.

This story was originally published Sept. 9, 2022 by WRTV in Indianapolis, an E.W. Scripps Company.