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DNA evidence leads to charges in 2009 rape and murder of 12-year-old girl

Posted May 7, 2014 4:17 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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Chicago police have charged a Minnesota man with the 2009 rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl.

Rene Valentin-Matos, 47, was linked to the crime through DNA evidence, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Valentin-Matos is accused of raping and murdering Jahmeshia Conner, whose badly beaten body was found in an alley on Chicago's south side two weeks after she disappeared in 2009. The medical examiner said she had been strangled.

Jahmeshia was last seen leaving her aunt's house and walking to a nearby bus stop.

At the time she went missing, Jahmeshia's parents criticized police for classifying her as an "endangered runaway" and for not sending out a missing person alert to the media. Police blamed the listing on a computer glitch and later changed procedures for such alerts.

Jahmeshia was an elementary school student and cheerleader. She was also active in her church and sang in the youth choir.

Valentin-Matos, who has been extradited to Chicago from Minnesota, has no criminal record in Cook County, which includes the city, the Tribune reports.

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