DNA Helps Cold Case Team Solve 2001 Homicide in Grand Rapids

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Investigators at scene of 2001 homicide of Julene Walker (March 25, 2001)

KENT COUNTY, Mich (March 28, 2014) – The Kent County Metro Cold Case Team announcing Friday they’ve identified the person responsible for the 2001 homicide of Julene Walker.

Walker, 35, was found stabbed to death in an industrial area in the 600 block of Chestnut Street on the city’s southwest side on March 25, 2001.  Detectives investigated leads in the case, which included a composite sketch that matched the description of then 66-year-old John Robbins Slazinski.

The case was re-opened in 2002, after investigators were able to obtain a search warrant for Slazinski’s DNA.  Slazinski had previously refused to consent to the test, denying even knowing the victim or having an involvement in the case.  DNA tests didn’t yield a match.

In 2011, investigators with the Kent Metro Cold Case Team took another look at the case, re-submitting Slazinksi’s DNA to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab.  Due to advancements in forensic science, his DNA was then linked to evidence in the Walker homicide.

The findings were presented to the Kent County Prosectuor’s Office for review, who concluded in all likelihood that Slazinski is responsible for Julene Walker’s murder.

Slazinski died in 2004 from lung cancer, so no charges are being filed in the case.

The conclusion of the investigation is the 15th homicide solved by the Kent Metro Cold Case Team since it was formed in 2006.  The team consists of detectives from the Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff’s Department and the Grand Rapids Police Department.

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