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Minnesota man charged in 2009 murder of 12-year-old Chicago girl

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chicago police said on Wednesday they charged a Minnesota man in the 2009 rape and murder of a 12-year-old Chicago girl on the basis of DNA evidence from another rape case.

Rene Valentin-Matos, 47, of Minnesota has been charged with the rape and murder of Jahmeshia Conner.

Family members reported Conner missing on November 15, 2009, when she failed to return home after visiting an aunt. Her body was found behind a Chicago garage two weeks later.

"There were very few leads and not a lot to work on other than DNA evidence that at the time had no matches," Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters at a news conference. But he said police detectives continued to investigate the assault on an "innocent young lady."

Early in 2014, the Illinois State Crime Lab told Chicago detectives that a DNA sample recovered from a sexual assault victim matched the DNA evidence found at the scene of Conner's murder, police said. The DNA belonged to Valentin-Matos, who was living in the area of Cold Spring, Minnesota, about 65 miles northwest of Minneapolis, police said.

Cold Spring Police arrested Valentin-Matos, and he was extradited to Chicago and charged on Tuesday. He will appear in bond court on Thursday, according to police.

Police said Valentin-Matos was a transient worker who was doing maintenance for and living at a church that the girl attended, according to local media.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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