Big Brother is ALWAYS watching…but I guess that’s something you should probably expect if you’re a murderer.
A man in Minnesota was just charged with murder after investigators matched his DNA from a napkin he threw out at his daughter’s hockey game to evidence that they had on file.
Now, 25 years later, 52-year-old Jerry Westrom was linked to the 1993 stabbing death of Jeanne Ann Childs after cold case investigators compared samples from the scene to a public genealogy database. Even though the case was closed years ago following a lack of evidence, it had been reopened in 2015 in light of advances in DNA screening technology.
Investigators sent these samples from the scene to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and a DNA testing company; The samples turned up Westrom’s name after being compared to data on the public DNA database, GEDmatch. That match meant that either Westrom or a close relative of his had used the website.
From there, they used that information as the basis to look into Westrom’s online presence, which is where the whole napkin thing comes in. They proceeded to follow the 52-year-old based on where he said he was going to be and ended up recovering a napkin that he used at a game in Wisconsin back in January.
According to authorities, they said that the lightbulbs went off that they should use the database after a similar method was used to capture the Golden State Killer, a case that has completely obsessed detectives and true crime fanatics for decades.
“We all learned quite a bit from the Golden State Killer,“ said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told Minneapolis’ WCCO. Freeman explained that the way they went about obtaining the sample was entirely legal. “When you discard things in the trash, the Supreme Court often says it’s free game,” Freeman said. “And so he discarded the napkin in a container and threw it in the trash, so they could get it.”
Even though DNA evidence certainly doesn’t lie, Westrom has continued to deny the allegations and is currently free after paying his $500,000 bail.
So, what’s the moral of the story here? Think before you send your spit swabs into those ancestry sites, people. Or just don’t go to any basketball games…Especially if you were out here committing crimes approximately 25 years ago.
How do you feel about the police digging into the garbage to test out DNA?!