Arrest made in 39 year old Cold Case

On the 39th anniversary of her brutal murder, Cedar Rapids police announced Wednesday an arrest in the Michelle Martinko case.


Jerry Lynn Burns, 64, was arrested Wednesday morning and is facing a first-degree murder charge in the case. Michelle Martinko was murdered in the parking lot at Cedar Rapids' Westdale Mall on the night of December 19, 1979. Her body was found early the next morning.

Officials said they were able to solve the cold case using DNA technology to develop a suspect profile. The initial sample was announced on Oct. 2, 2006 and was sent to the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. This database compares samples to the DNA of convicted offenders. No match was made through CODIS.

A covert DNA sample collected from a suspect by police was matched to blood found at the crime scene. With this evidence, investigators questioned Burns at his workplace in Manchester, where he denied committing the alleged killing. He was unable to offer an alternative explanation for why his DNA would have been found at the crime scene. He will appear in Linn County Court Thursday morning.