Summary: Just before 6:30 a.m., 11 year old Elissa Self left her house in St. Louis for the bus stop to a school for gifted children. When she did not arrive, the school called Elissa's parents, who called the police. Four days later, her body was discovered in the St. Francis River near a recreation area, 135 miles south of St. Louis. Link was later pulled over on a traffic stop, and after a high speed chase, officers found a jar of petroleum jelly with Link's fingerprints on the jar and flecks of blood embedded in the jelly. DNA tests conducted by two different labs showed that Link's DNA matched the DNA found in sperm cells on vaginal swabs taken from Elissa's body. The state's DNA expert set the odds of such a match at one in 6,600. The testing also revealed that Elissa's DNA matched the DNA in the blood found in the petroleum jelly jar seized from Link's car. The odds of that match were one in 48. The joint probability of both of these matches occurring by chance was less than one in 300,000. At trial, Link called two DNA experts to testify that the DNA tests performed by the other two laboratories were faulty, and that the probabilities were incorrect.
QUOTE 1: Elissa's mother, Pamela Braun, was among several of the girl's relatives who witnessed the execution. She thanked police, prosecutors, even lab workers, for bringing Link to justice. Pam Braun, mother of Elissa Self-Braun, holds up a photo of her daughter while giving a statement after the execution of Martin Link just after midnight on Wednesday morning at the Bonne Terre Correctional Center. "We have been truly blessed the justice system has worked for Elissa, whereas there are still many victims and homicide survivors still waiting for justice," Braun said.
QUOTE 2: Elissa’s family and I would like to thank everyone who has loved us and supported us throughout the past 20 years as we have waited for the final piece of this tragedy to occur.
We want to thank all the law enforcement officers who worked on this case, specifically Detectives Miek Flaherty and Bill Roach who worked diligently to solve the case and gather the necessary evidence to convict him; the labs for all the work that they did in processing the evidence, particularly Harold Messler; the courts and attorneys who handled the legal aspects of prosecuting him; particularly Joe Warzycki and Jeff Hillard.
We have been truly blessed that the justice system has worked for Elissa, whereas there are still many homicide survivors and victims still waiting for justice.
I’m looking forward to being reunited with Elissa when this time on earth is through.
AUTHOR: Pam Braun is the mother of Elissa Self-Braun who was murdered by Martin Link on 11 January 1991. He was executed by lethal injection in Missouri on 9 February 2011. Martin Link coughed four times as anesthetic sodium thiopental, the first of three drugs used in his execution early Wednesday, was administered. Link never opened his eyes or moved as the next two drugs killed him. He had no family, clergy or friends on hand as he was put to death at the state prison in Bonne Terre for the killing in 1991 of Elissa Self-Braun, 11, of St. Louis. It was the first execution in Missouri in nearly two years.