Suspect in 2001 stabbing death died in 2004

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The Kent Metro Cold Case Team believe they solved a 2001 stabbing death through DNA evidence even though the suspect died in 2004.

On March 25, 2001, the body of 35-year-old Julene Walker was found in an industrial area in the 600 block of Chestnut Street S.W. Authorities determined Walker was stabbed to death.

FILE -- Body of 35-year-old Julene Walker was found in an industrial area in the 600 block of Chestnut Street S.W. in March 2001.
FILE — Body of 35-year-old Julene Walker was found in an industrial area in the 600 block of Chestnut Street S.W. in March 2001.

In 2002, authorities believed John Robbins Slazinski had committed the crime and took Slazinski’s DNA after he looked similar to a suspect composite sketch. Authorities had another DNA sample from underneath the victim’s fingernails.

Police believed Walker was a prostitute and Slazinski was one of her customers.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for his DNA after Slazinski refused to give consent. Slazinski said he didn’t know the victim and he wasn’t involved in the case. However, because the sample police got from the victim’s fingernails was a mixture of Slazinski’s and Walker’s DNA, there was no DNA match in the case.

Slazinski died of lung cancer in 2004.

After nearly a decade later, investigators with the Kent Metro Cold Case Team resubmitted Slazinski’s DNA to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab. Thanks to advancement in technology, Slazinski’s DNA was seperated and linked to evidence in the stabbing death.

Cold case investigators found additional evidence against Slazinski.

The case was presented to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office. They concluded that Julene Walker was killed by John Robbins Slazinski based on the evidence collected in 2001 and the new DNA results.

In a news release sent out by the Kent Metro Cold Case Team, “because Slazinski died in 2004 from lung cancer, no further investigation will be done and no charges will be filed.”

24 Hour News 8 spoke with Walker’s sister, Janet, over the phone Friday night.  She says she’s relieved her sister’s murder case is finally closed, but is still a bit frustrated it took as long as it did to pinpoint the killer.

Detective Sgt. Sally Wolter with the Kent Metro Cold Case Team says they are working to see if Slazinski is connected to ten other homicides involving prostitutes; homicides that date back to the 1990s.

This is the 15th homicide solved by the Kent Metro Cold Case Team since it was formed in 2006.

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