Investigator who cracked Martinko murder case named Iowa Officer of the Year

Cedar Rapids Police investigator Matt Denlinger, right, with Police Chief Wayne Jerman.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Cedar Rapids Police investigator who helped lead the effort to solve the murder of Michelle Martinko after 40 years has been named Iowa's Officer of the Year.

Investigator Matt Denlinger won the award at the Iowa Police Chief's Association banquet in Coralville Thursday.

Denlinger works on cold cases and was part of the team that helped make an arrest in the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko. The 18-year-old was found stabbed to death in her family's car outside Westdale mall.

DNA evidence led police to arrest Jerry Lynn Burns, 64, almost 39 years to the day of Martinko's murder last year. He is awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges.