A downstate man has been charged with the murder and sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in west suburban Glen Ellyn in 1985, a case that had remained cold for 30 years.
Michael R. Jones, 62, of Champaign has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, according to the DuPage County sheriff’s office. Judge Daniel Guerin ordered Jones held without bond Monday.
Fifteen-year-old Kristy Wesselman was walking home from the Jewel store near Butterfield Road and Route 53 in unincorporated Glen Ellyn on July 21, 1985, when she was attacked, authorities said. She was last seen walking on a well-traveled path back toward her home.
She never returned home and was reported missing by her mother, police said. Her body was found the next morning by sheriff’s detectives in the field near the path she was last seen walking.
She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed eight times, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said at a press conference Monday. A sexual assault kit was performed during her autopsy. In 2000, a DNA profile from that kit was submitted to a national database.
On Sept. 10, a match was found through the Combined DNA Index System, Berlin said.
The DNA matched Jones, who had pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic battery on July 2 in Champaign, Berlin said. Because the charge is a felony, he was required to submit a DNA sample to Illinois State Police. The sample matched the swab taken from Kristy’s sexual assault kit.
On Sept. 18, investigators obtained a DNA profile from Jones through a search warrant, Berlin said. The DuPage County Crime Lab confirmed the DNA was consistent with the swab taken from Kristy’s body.
Investigators interviewed Jones in Champaign, and showed him a photograph of Kristy. Jones said, “As God as my witness, I’ve never seen her before,” and denied ever being in Glen Ellyn, Berlin said.
In bond court Monday, prosecutors revealed that Jones had previously been convicted of rape. On Aug. 4, 1979, Jones was driving in Chicago when he began following a 27-year-old woman riding a bicycle.
Jones crashed his car into her bike, got out of the car and kidnapped her, prosecutors said. Her drove her to his parents’ house in Schiller Park, where he sexually assaulted her repeatedly in the basement.
Jones pleaded guilty to rape but served less than seven years in prison, Berlin said. He was out on parole at the time of Kristy’s murder in 1985.
“The DuPage County sheriff’s office and law enforcement never gave up on the murder of Kristy Wesselman,” Berlin said. “This has remained an open case for more than 30 years.”
Jones is next scheduled to appear for arraignment Oct. 13. If convicted, he faces a possible life sentence without parole.