NAPERVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A 76-year-old Minnesota man has been arrested in the stabbing death of a 15-year-old suburban Chicago girl nearly half a century ago, authorities said Friday.
The Naperville Police Department arrested Barry Lee Whelpley of Mounds View, Minnesota, on Wednesday for the 1972 murder of Julie Ann Hanson. The retired welder who was 27 at the time of the slaying has been charged with murder and was taken into custody in Minnesota, where he is awaiting extradition to Illinois. It wasn’t clear whether he has an attorney.
The girl was reported missing on July 8, 1972, after last being seen riding away from her home on a bicycle in the summer of 1972. Her body was discovered later that same day in a field in Naperville.. She had been stabbed 36 times and sexually assaulted, investigators said at the time.
The breakthrough in the case came through technological advancements in DNA and genetic genealogy analysis, police said.
"This horrific crime has haunted this family, this community and this department for 49 years," Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said. "The investigation and resulting charges were truly a team effort that spanned decades, and I could not be more proud of the determination and resourcefulness of our investigators, both past and present, who never gave up on Julie."