Genealogy testing helps MPD nab a 1993 cold case murder suspect

MPD: “I can tell you he’s a former business man in Isanti County.”

Edgar Linares
February 12, 2019 - 7:18 pm

By Edgar Linares in Minneapolis


For 25 years, the Minneapolis Police Department investigated the murder of Jeanne Ann Childs, but now a man suspected of her killing is sitting in the Hennepin County Jail.

It was June 13, 1993 when her body was found in the bedroom of an apartment in at 3121 Pillsbury Avenue in South Minneapolis. The medical examiner said Childs body had injuries that led to her death.

On Monday, Minneapolis Police arrested a 52-year-old man from Waite Park for the murder after a multi-year investigation and DNA testing by MPD, the FBI and the BCA.

“I can tell you he’s a former business man in Isanti County,” said Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder, who wouldn’t identify the suspect by name.  “He has had contact with law enforcement up in that area.”

The man is being held on probable cause murder thanks to forensic DNA testing. In 2015, the agencies conducted a comprehensive case review in collaboration with the BCA’s forensic team.

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In 2018, cold case investigators consulted with FBI DNA experts and a private DNA company specializing in genealogy to try to find a match to the unknown DNA taken from the crime scene.

“Through additional forensic DNA testing the suspects DNA was identified as being consistent with the DNA left at the scene,” said Elder.

Elder said there was no known relationship between Childs and the suspect, which police said makes these kinds of cold cases hard to solve. Elder added the suspect was not on their radar until later in the investigation.

“We all hope Jeanne’s family can finally find peace as a result of this tenacious effort by officers and agents,” said Jill Sanborn, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI. “This case underscores law enforcement’s ability use every tool at its disposal to crack a case.”