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Teen Girl's 1985 Murder Case Finally Yields An Arrest

By Kate Shepherd in News on Sep 21, 2015 8:30PM

Michael R. Jones (DuPage County Sheriff's Office via CBS Chicago)

An arrest has been made in a cold case that has baffled investigators for three decades. Thirty years after 15-year-old Kristina Wesselman was sexually assaulted and killed while walking in Glen Ellyn, officials have charged 62-year-old Champaign resident Michael R. Jones with the brutal crime, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced.

Investigators solved the cold case through a DNA match on Sept. 10 and arrested Jones for the murder on Sept. 18, officials said. He is expected to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on Oct. 13 and if found guilty, he could face life in jail without parole.

Wesselman left her home on the afternoon of July 21, 1985 to walk to a nearby Jewel grocery store, according to the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office. She never returned home and her partially naked body was found in a field between her home and the grocery store the next day. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times.

"Three decades have passed since Kristy Wesselman was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted," Berlin said in a statement. "Her family and friends have waited a long time for justice in this senseless murder. Kristy was a beautiful young girl with an extremely promising future in front of her until that horrible afternoon when the defendant, Michael Jones allegedly took her life."

After many years of investigating hundreds of leads from across the country, it was DNA from the rape kit conducted at her autopsy that matched Jones' DNA and led authorities to him, according to the state's attorney.

Police had several high-profile false leads over the years including 34-year-old Dana Henry who was allegedly coerced into giving blood and saliva samples for DNA testing and Willis Wilson who repeatedly bothered Wesselman's family with alleged clues about her murder, according to the Tribune.

Authorities asked for the public's help solving the case in 2011 by asking for information about an heirloom pearl ring she was wearing at the time of the attack. After her murder, police searched jewelry and pawn shops to see if it would show up but it never did, the Tribune reported.

"On the day of Kristy's funeral I silently promised her I would never stop trying to find the person who killed her," Wesselman's mother said at a press conference in 2011. "I didn't know that was going to be lifetime process."

The case is still under investigation so the DuPage County Sheriff's Office is asking the public for information about the case or any other incident involving Michael R. Jones. Please contact the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office at 630-407-2400 or by Anonymous Crime Tips via the DuPage County Sheriff’s website or by text to CRIMES (274637) and please include the key word Sheriff in the message.