Barry Lee Whelpley was arrested on June 2, 2021 for the July 7, 1972 rape and murder of 15-year-old Julie Ann Hanson in Naperville, Illinois.
Hanson disappeared after borrowing her brother’s bicycle and riding off to watch a baseball game. She never returned home. Her body was found the next day in a nearby cornfield off 87th Street and Modaff Road. She had been sexually assaulted and was killed after being stabbed about 3 dozen times. Whelpley had been living very near Julie Hanson at the time of the murder.
While DNA had been recovered from Hanson’s body, it was highly degraded – the sample was reportedly of low quality, and there was only 360 picograms of DNA. The FGG investigation was performed by Colleen Fitzpatrick of Identifinders International. Fitzpatrick has stated that this case is pushing the bounds of the technology, and is likely one of the most difficult cases to be solved to date, based on DNA quality and quantity.
Whelpley has been charged with three counts of first degree murder in Will County District Court. He is being held on $10 million bond in Will County jail.
During a police visit to Whelpley’s house for questioning, police took off their body cameras and placed them on the table, allowing them to have footage of a private conversation between Whelpley and his wife. On May 25, 2022, Will County Judge David Carlson granted two defense motions, allowing the conversation to be inadmissible in court, as well as statements made by Whelpley after a second request for an attorney during police station questioning. It is not known what was said during the private conversation, however Whelpley’s defense attorney states, “It’s significant to the defense. And it’s a significant loss to the prosecution.”
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Shapiro, Emily. “Arrest Made in 1972 Killing of 15-Year-Old Illinois Girl Thanks to Genetic Genealogy.” ABC News, June 4, 2021. Accessed June 8, 2021. https://abcnews.go.com/US/arrest-made-1972-killing-15-year-illinois-girl/story?id=78087327.
Tye, Chris. “Attorneys for Suspect Barry Lee Whelpley Want Evidence Tossed in Case of 1972 Murder of Julie Ann Hanson.” CBS NewsChicago, May 4, 2022. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://www.cbsnews.com/chicago/news/suspect-barry-lee-whelpley-evidence-tossed-case-1972-murder-julie-ann-hanson/