The girl was reported missing July 8, 1972, after last being seen riding away from her home on a bicycle. Her body was discovered later that day in a field in Naperville. She had been stabbed 36 times and sexually assaulted, investigators said at the time.
Stacey Matern lives across the street from Whelpley.
Courtesy of Naperville Police
“Never saw him once,” Matern said. “We lived here five years. Glad he’s caught.”
The breakthrough in the case came through technological advancements in DNA and genetic genealogy analysis, police said.
“This horrific crime has haunted this family, this community and this department for 49 years,” Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said. “The investigation and resulting charges were truly a team effort that spanned decades, and I could not be more proud of the determination and resourcefulness of our investigators, both past and present, who never gave up on Julie.”