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An Elderly Minnesota Man Was Accused of Stabbing a Teen Over 35 Times a Half-Century Ago. He Will Never Face Justice.

naperville
Source: Naperville Police Department.

May 31 2024, Published 11:59 a.m. ET

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Advances in DNA and genetic genealogy analysis allegedly connected a 78-year-old Minnesota man with the cold-case murder of a teenage girl in Illinois that occurred over 50 years ago. Despite his arrest, he will never face justice.

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Barry Lee Whelpley, of Mounds View, Minnesota, was taken into custody in late spring 2021 and accused of the killing of 15-year-old Julie Ann Hanson, according to Naperville police.

On July 8, 1972, Hanson went missing in Naperville, Illinois. Later that day, her body was found in a field. Police also recovered the bike she was riding at the time to go to her brother's baseball game. She had suffered over 35 stab wounds.

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Detectives continued to work the case over the decades, but they were unsuccessful in identifying a suspect until genetic genealogy recently led investigators to Whelpley, police said.

According to authorities, the suspect was 27 years old and lived within a mile of the victim’s home in Naperville when she was murdered.

“This horrific crime has haunted this family, this community and this department for 49 years,” Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said of the longtime investigation when charges were brought against Whelpley.

Whipley, however, would never go to trial for his alleged involvement in the murder. On Feb. 9, 2024, he was found unresponsive in his cell at Joliet's Will County jail and later pronounced dead at an area hospital, KHQA reported.

He had faced first-degree murder charges.

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