Suspect in Martinko murder not suspected in wife's death or cousin's disappearance

Published: Dec. 21, 2018 at 1:01 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

The man charged with killing Michelle Martinko 39 years ago is not a suspect in the death of his wife or disappearance of his cousin, according to investigators.

Jerry Burns is still behind bars on a $5 million cash bond, charged with first-degree murder in the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko. The Cedar Rapids teenager was found stabbed to death in her parents car parked at Westdale Mall.

The case had remained a mystery for 39 years until police say new DNA genealogy technology identified Burns' DNA at the scene. He was arrested Wednesday on the exact day Martinko was last seen alive.

After Burns arrest, several viewers questioned whether Burns could be a suspect in the death of his wife, Patricia, in 2008. Her death was ruled a suicide. The Delaware County Sheriff said it did review the case after Burns' arrest and "feels that was clearly the case."

Viewers also wondered if there was a connection to the disappearance of Burns' cousin, Brian Burns. The 55 year-old Delaware County man was last seen on December 19, 2013 - 34 years to the day of Martinko's murder.

The Delaware County Sheriff's Office says Brian Burns remains an active missing person case but, at this point, has no link to his cousin.

"We are reviewing the case and at this time have not uncovered any additional information that would implicate Jerry Burns in that disappearance," Sheriff John LeClere told TV9.