30-year case solved: Kristina Wesselman DNA

Published: September 21, 2015

30-year case solved: Kristina Wesselman DNA, A man accused of raping and murdering a teenage girl 30 years ago was nabbed after he submitted DNA for a recent domestic violence conviction and it matched genetic material taken from the 1985 crime scene, authorities revealed Monday.

Michael Jones, 62, showed no expression as prosecutors outlined the case against him in a DuPage County, Illinois, courtroom. Behind him were relatives of Kristina Wesselman, who was 15 when she was apparently ambushed in broad daylight as she walked through a field near her suburban Glen Ellyn home on a summer Sunday.

“My initial reaction is one of shock and awe,” the girl’s brother, Bill Wesselman, said afterward. “We’ve been waiting for new like this for 30 years. And it finally came.”

At the time of Kristina Wesselman’s death, the use of DNA to solve criminal cases was in its infancy. In 2000, after the science improved, investigators submitted DNA from semen found on her body to a national database, hoping that they would one day get a hit.

That happened, prosecutors said, after Jones pleaded guilty in July on a felony domestic battery charge and was sentenced to a year on probation and was ordered to provide a DNA specimen to authorities.

DuPage County authorities were notified of the match on Sept. 10. Investigators obtained a search warrant for Jones’ home in Champaign, Illinois, about 150 miles south of the murder scene.

When detectives questioned Jones, he denied ever being in Glen Ellyn. They showed him a photo of Kristina Wesselman, and he replied, “As god as my witness, I’ve never seen her before,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said.

On Friday, they arrested him, and two days later charged him with murder and sexual assault.

For 30 years, “the pain and grief and the fear felt by the Wesselman family and the entire community has never gone away,” Berlin said following Jones’ morning court appearance, in which the defendant was ordered jailed without bail.

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