Man charged in 1993 cold case released from jail on bond

Jerry Westrom Photo: Hennepin County
Jerry Westrom

February 15, 2019 08:57 PM

The Isanti man charged in connection to the 1993 murder of Jeanie Ann Childs has been released from jail with conditions on a $500,000 bond. 

Hennepin County Jail records show Jerry Westrom was released on bond Friday evening. 

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Westrom was charged Thursday with one count of second-degree murder, according to court records. 

Childs' body was found in the bedroom of her apartment on the 21st floor of the Horn Towers, located at 3121 Pillsbury Avenue South in South Minneapolis, on June 13, 1993, after property management was alerted that water was coming into the hallway from the apartment. A criminal complaint states that when supervisors entered Childs' apartment, they found the shower running and her body on the floor.

Police at the time said she had been stabbed repeatedly, and that they believed a suspect entered her apartment late that afternoon.


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Man charged in connection to 1993 death of Jeanie Ann Childs

Minneapolis police announce arrest in 1993 murder of Jeanie Ann Childs


According to the criminal complaint, officers learned she was dating a man who was out of the state at the time, but later found out Childs was a prostitute and would use the apartment for meetings with customers.

The complaint says investigators consulted with a genealogist in 2018 who had worked with law enforcement on another cold case. With additional genealogical searching, a DNA sample from the scene led to two suspects, one being Westrom. Records checks on Westrom also showed past contacts with law enforcement related to prostitution, the complaint says.

In January 2019, officers began surveillance on Westrom with the intent of obtaining a DNA sample. The complaint says investigators tracked him to a hockey game, where he was seen wiping his mouth with a napkin and throwing it in the trash. Investigators were able to recover the napkin, and thanks to advancements in DNA testing, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension determined Westrom's DNA from the napkin was consistent with the DNA samples recovered from the crime scene.

According to the complaint, Westrom denied having been in Childs' apartment, and also denied recognizing her or having sex with any women in Minneapolis in 1993. He also told investigators, according to the complaint, that he didn't know why his DNA would have been at the crime scene.
 

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