Illinois police announced on Sunday that they had solved the 30-year-old cold case sexual assault and murder of a 15-year-old Glen Ellyn teen who was killed on her way home from a store.
Michael R. Jones, 62, of Champaign, Illinois, was arrested on Sunday morning. According to the Chicago Tribune, he is being charged with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault in the death of Kristina Wesselman.
The 30-year-old cold case began when Kristina left home to go to a food store on July 21, 1985. Employees working at the store remembered Kristina buying candy for herself and her mother around 4 p.m.
According to Fox News, she was last seen on a path walking back towards her home. The next day at about 1:50 a.m., her mother reported her missing, and hours later her body was found in a field near the path that she had last been seen walking on.
She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times.
“Since the date of the tragic murder, the case has remained open and active,” said Sheriff John Zaruba.
“Over the last 30 years the Sheriff’s Cold Case Unit has worked hundreds of leads that have sent them across the nation and thousands of man hours have been spent to catch the killer in this horrendous crime.”
On September 10, the sheriff’s office received new information about the 30-year-old cold case. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the new information was investigated by cold case detectives and Jones was located.
A search warrant was conducted at Jones’ home in Champaign on Friday and he was charged on Sunday, according to cold case detectives. Jones is being held in the DuPage County Jail and is scheduled to appear before a judge at his bond hearing on Monday.
26 years after the Kristina’s death became a cold case, investigators held a press conference and revealed new details about the cold case. In 2011, they released a picture of a pearl ring that Kristina was wearing before she died that cold case detectives believe the killer had taken.
The ring was a family heirloom, and cold case detectives believed that the killer had taken it as a memento and then given it to another woman. According to ABC 7, a $10,000 reward was being offered in the case at the time.
Kristina’s mother, Sandy Wesselman, attended the press conference and pleaded for information regarding the death of her daughter.
“It’s a matter of time. Eventually somebody is going to say, ‘I remember,’ and have the courage to come forward and talk about it.”
Her mother had made a promise at her funeral that even if it became a cold case, she would not stop trying to look for her daughter’s killer.
“That I would not let it go. It’s the only thing I can do for Kristy. I watched her go out the door. I said, ‘be careful, princess. I love you.’ Those were the last words I ever said to my daughter.”
[Images via DuPage County Sheriff’s Office]