by The Chicago Times Staff

June 5, 2021

WILL COUNTY — Authorities said they arrested a Minnesota man on Wednesday in connection with the cold case murder of a 15-year-old Chicago-area girl who was discovered stabbed to death in a field nearly 50 years ago, using to genetic genealogy.

The Will County State Attorney’s Office has charged Barry Lee Whelpley, 76, of Mounds View, with murder in the death of Julie Ann Hanson, according to the Naperville Police Department in Illinois.  According to authorities, the retired welder was 27 at the time of the alleged murder and lived within a mile of Hanson’s home.

Hanson was last seen riding her brother’s bicycle away from her home to attend to a baseball game on July 8, 1972, when she was reported missing.  Her body was located in a field in Naperville the next day. Investigators said at the time that she had been stabbed 36 times and raped.

Scientific improvements in DNA and genetic genealogy analyses helped detectives make progress. Officials refused to discuss the testing in detail or what scientific proof was discovered.