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Search warrants show what led authorities to arrest in Michelle Martinko's death

Michelle Martinko was found dead in the Westdale Mall parking lot in Dec. 1979. (Courtesy: Cedar Rapids Police)
Michelle Martinko was found dead in the Westdale Mall parking lot in Dec. 1979. (Courtesy: Cedar Rapids Police)(KCRG)
Published: Apr. 16, 2019 at 4:57 AM CDT
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Recently unsealed search warrants show just how far investigators in Cedar Rapids went to solve the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko.

Police arrested then 64-year-old Jerry Burns last December, saying he stabbed her in the face and chest in the parking lot of Westdale Mall.

investigators believe Burns cut himself, leaving blood at the scene.

They gave this blood to a Virginia-based company which made composite images based on DNA. They used a genealogy website to narrow down the list of suspects.

Officers then collected DNA from dozens of suspects until they narrowed it down to Burns

Court records show Jerry Burns, who is now 65, is set to go on trial for murder October 14 in Linn County. He has pleaded not guilty.

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