Police Think They Solved 49-Year-Old Murder Case

Julie Ann Hanson, 15, was killed in 1972
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2021 4:31 PM CDT
Suspect Arrested in Killing of Teen Girl in 1972
This June 2, 2021, photo provided by the Naperville Police Department in Naperville, Ill., shows Barry Lee Whelpley.   (Naperville Police Department via AP)

Don’t call it a cold case. “We had Julie's picture on our desks” for all these years, Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said of Julie Ann Hanson. Julie was only 15 when she disappeared, only to be found dead hours later in Illinois in 1972. Now, 49 years later, police have charged a man in her killing, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Barry Lee Whepley, who was 27 when Julie rode off on her brother’s bike for the last time, is being held in Minnesota, where he now lives. He was a neighbor to the Hanson family back in 1972.

Whepley, now 76, was tracked down with the help of genetic genealogy and DNA evidence, People reports. He’s being held on a $10 million bond, and authorities are planning to extradite him to Illinois. Julie’s parents are no longer alive, but the surviving family released a statement saying they’re “thankful they got someone,” even though that person had been free for almost 50 years. Julie’s body was found in a cornfield, and police say she had been sexually assaulted and stabbed 36 times.
(More murder charges stories.)

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