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$5 Million Bond Set for Suspect in 39-Year-Old Murder of Cedar Rapids Teen

Jerry Lynn Burns makes his initial court appearance in Linn County after being charged with the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko. (KWWL)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The suspect in a 39-year-old Cedar Rapids murder made his initial court appearance Thursday morning in Linn County.

Sixty-four-year-old Jerry Lynn Burns, of Manchester, appeared before the judge via video conference. A $5 million bond was set on the first degree murder charge against Burns. He is accused of killing 18-year-old Michelle Martinko in 1979.

It was a cold case many people doubted would ever be solved, but the Cedar Rapids Police Department never gave up,

Michelle Martinko was murdered in Cedar Rapids in 1979.

Martinko was found stabbed to death in a car parked at Westdale Mall on December 20th, 1979.

Officers spent the next 27 years tracking down leads before finally getting a break in 2006. They were able collect a DNA sample from inside the car where Martinko was found. The sample was entered into a federal database and earlier this year turned up a match.

“After weeks of planning and strategizing investigators, officers, and the county attorneys office worked together and proceeded to Manchester, Iowa and after an interview located and arrested 64-year-old Jerry Lynn Burns of Manchester, Iowa,” said Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman during a news conference Wednesday.

Several of the officers who helped with the new development retired years ago but continued to assist anyway they could.

Burns is being held in the Linn County Jail.

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