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Chicago cold case reopens with arrest in Minnesota

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A break in a 5-year-old cold case in Chicago has led investigators to Minnesota.

The victim in the case was 12-year-old Jahmeshia Conner, who was raped and killed in 2009. But with few leads, the case went cold, Chicago detectives say.

Then on Wednesday, police revealed charges against a man who had taken up a quiet life working at a Main Street bakery in Cold Spring, Minnesota. Police arrested the 47-year-old man, whose boss says he had a reputation as a quiet, gentle fellow, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Police had long suspected that whoever was guilty of the crimes had been a part of Jahmeshia's neighborhood, and the Cold Spring man had once lived and worked in a church the girl's family attended, police say.

Police got a break in the case when DNA from a 2011 rape matched that of DNA from Jahmeshia's slaying. In January, after working with the victim in 2011 crime, police charged the 47-year-old Cold Spring man in that 2011 case. But he fought extradition.

Now charges are pending against him in Jahmeshia's killing, too. On Tuesday, Chicago police took custody of him in Minnesota and took him to Chicago. He was expected in bond court Thursday. (BringMeTheNews typically does not name suspects until they are formally charged.)

Chicago detectives seemed confident they had a strong case against the man. “Because [detectives] left no stone unturned, a murderer and rapist is off the street and the family will have some measure of closure,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Wednesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The man told police he knew the girl through church, the newspaper reported.

The girl's mother, Birdie Lewis, told Chicago media that she had not doubted an arrest would be made.

"I'm going to ask him why did he do it. Why did he take my angel from me. Why?" Lewis told NBC 5 in Chicago. "It's the fault of the person who did it to my child, it's his fault, so he have to pay, so I got to see him and he got to see me."

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