Police look to 'significant advancements' in mining cellphone data to solve teen's killing in 2001


October 27, 2023

Provided by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Jonathan Easterling

Investigators are counting on advances in mining data from cellphones to unearth the information they need to charge a man they've long believed met with a 17-year-old boy for sex, then shot and killed the teenager before dumping his body in a wildlife refuge in Shakopee.

Jonathan Lee Easterling, 17, of St. Paul, was located by police Nov. 24, 2001, face down in the grass in the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge. He had been shot in the head three times.

Police soon arrested a man who was 21 at the time on suspicion of killing Easterling. Law enforcement found gunshot residue on the cuff and sleeve area of the man's leather jacket, but a "lack of sufficient evidence" led to his release from jail and no charges since then, according to court documents filed as recently as last week.



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