Skip to main content
Publish date:

Man convicted after DNA evidence linked him to teen's 1983 murder

The 64-year-old from St. Louis Park will be sentenced next week.
Laurie Mesedahl

A St. Louis Park man has been found guilty of the 1983 murder of a 17-year-old girl in Minneapolis.

The rape and murder of Laurie Mesedahl had gone unsolved for 30 years when police started a review of the cold case in 2013.

A re-testing of DNA samples taken from semen found at the scene ultimately led them to Darrell Rea, who was convicted of second-degree murder on Wednesday.

He will be sentenced on Monday, though the Hennepin County Attorney's Office notes that he'll be sentenced based on 1983 guidelines, which would mean 10 years in prison.

The teenager's death

The body of Laurie Mesedahl was found in the Soo Line Railroad yard near 28th Avenue North on Apr. 2, 1983. 

She went to a party the night before, but after returning home around 2:30 a.m., she left her house a half-hour later. She knocked on the door of a friend's house at 32nd and Bryant Avenues North at around 3 a.m., but was not allowed inside.

Her body was found a short distance away, with investigation suggesting she'd been raped, strangled to unconsciousness, driven to the train yard, dragged between two trains, and then beaten to death.

Police actually obtained Rea's DNA in 1993, when he was linked to a 1988 incident in which a woman was raped, strangled and assaulted with a sharp object.

Follow Bring Me The News on Google News

That victim escaped and police obtained DNA from blood on her clothes, which led police to Rea five years later when new DNA technology became available.

While the statute of limitations meant he couldn't be charged in the 1988 case, police had his DNA on file and when Mesedahl's case was re-opened in 2013, it matched the sample taken from her body.

He was initially arrested in 2015 and questioned about the teenager's death, but was released without charges. A subsequent investigation led police to enough evidence to file charges in September 2017.

Next Up

Target store

Target unveils deals for 2-day 'Cyber Monday' event

The promotion kicks off Sunday, November 28.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.59.30 AM

Edina police warn of recent burglary trend targeting garages and vehicles

The Edina Police Department is increasing patrols in affected neighborhoods in response to the trend.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.03.06 AM

Charges: Man shot Uber Eats driver making a delivery in Cottage Grove

Otis Donnell Shipp was charged with second-degree attempted murder after turning himself in on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.36.14 AM

Waterfront hotel in Duluth sustains damage in kitchen fire

Authorities estimate the damage at around $75,000.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.15.18 AM

Large groups of thieves target 2 Twin Cities Best Buys on Black Friday

It bears similarities to the flash-mob style thefts seen recently in California.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov gets into the holiday spirit to rout Jets

Kirill Kaprizov's four points led the Wild to a 7-1 victory.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Cure to Vikings' disrupted season lies in an explosive passing game

The Vikings go to San Francisco knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their playoff hopes.


Jeanne Ann Childs

Isanti businessman, father charged in 1993 cold case murder

He's accused of killing 35-year-old Jeanne Ann Childs in Minneapolis.

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 8.00.27 AM

Man charged with gruesome murder of missing teen

The 19-year-old went missing in early April, and her former roommate has been charged with her murder.

Charges: Murder accused says God told him to kill Blaine woman

The 38-year-old from St. Cloud is facing 2nd degree murder charges.

Arrest made in 1993 Minneapolis cold case murder

Jeanne Ann Childs was killed at her apartment almost 26 years ago.

Police, FBI make arrest in 1991 Minneapolis cold case

A 56-year-old man from South St. Paul was arrested on Tuesday.

Hennepin County Government Center

Man convicted of killing one, paralyzing another near downtown nightclub

The 36-year-old opened fire in a parking lot near Augie's in downtown Minneapolis.

michael carbo

Chisholm man charged in 1986 cold case after DNA breakthrough

The suspect lived near the victim and went to school with her children.

Pamela Cahanes

Ex-classmate of Stillwater Navy recruit arrested for her 1984 murder

Pamela Cahanes was killed in Florida 34 years ago.