A Minnesota man has been arrested and charged with murder in the stabbing death of a 15-year-old Naperville girl decades ago.
Barry Lee Whelpley, 76, of Mounds View, Minnesota, was arrested in the 1972 killing of Julie Ann Hanson, Naperville authorities announced Friday. He has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
Whelpley, who is a former Naperville resident and now-retired welder, lived within a mile of Hanson at the time of her murder, when he was 27, police said.
Hanson was reported missing on July 8, 1972 and her body was discovered later that same day in a field near 87th Street and Modaff Road. Police said she had been stabbed multiple times.
No arrests had previously been made in the case, but an investigation continued for the last 49 years, authorities said.
A recent breakthrough involving "technological advancements in DNA and genetic genealogy analysis," however, led police to Whelpley. Authorities declined to elaborate further on how he was connected to the case.
Whelpley was taken into custody in Minnesota and is awaiting an extradition hearing to Illinois. His bond was set at $10 million.
“This horrific crime has haunted this family, this community and this department for 49 years,” Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said in a statement. “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.”
Anyone who may have additional information on the investigation, is being asked to call the Naperville Police Department at (630) 420-6665 and ask for the Investigations Division.