Woman’s DNA cracks 1979 cold case

(KGW) A Vancouver, Washington woman is getting some credit for solving a decades old murder.

“This is the last thing I thought would ever happen,” Brandy Jennings says.

Jennings says it was early last summer that she decided she wanted to learn more about her family, specifically her father’s side of the family.

“My dad died in 2009 and my parents divorced when I was four-and-a-half and we moved out of state so I didn’t know my dad that well,” she says.

Jennings uploaded her DNA to the genealogy website GEDmatch. She forgot about doing it until late last week.

“I start getting messages from people in Iowa saying are you related to Jerry Burns.”

Jerry Burns, 65, of Manchester, Iowa, had been arrested in December for the 1979 murder of then 18-year-old Michelle Martinko.

Chances are it would still be unsolved had it not been for Jennings and her desire to learn more about her family.

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