Police have arrested the man who might be responsible for the murder of Jennifer Marie Bastian in 1986. His name is Robert D. Washburn (60) of Eureka, Illinois. Police declined to talk about the suspect, other than to say he lived out-of-state and was taken into custody.
Washburn will be taken to Pierce County to face charges. He is not expected to arrive before Monday May 14, 2018. Tacoma police said that they will discuss the case in more detail then.
Jennifer was 13 years old when she went missing from Tacoma, Washington. According to the papers, Jennifer wanted to ride her bike 30 blocks to the park and then go back home. She was training for a YMCA bicycle tour of Lopez Island. When Jennifer did not return home later that evening, her family called the police.
Jennifer’s body was found 28 days later by a group of joggers near the Five Mile Drive. She had been raped and strangled. Police found DNA near her body and submitted about 30 cheek swabs of potential suspects to the lab for comparison.
In 2013, detectives with the Tacoma Police Department’s cold case unit released what they thought was the killer’s profile. It resulted in over 60 new tips in the case. DNA was run through a national database of felons, but didn’t match any the 11 million plus DNA profiles in the database. The case was also explored by a panel of experts at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. In 2016, the authorities released a suspect image based on DNA phenotyping.
We do not know whether Washburn had ever been on the police’s radar. He did live close to the park from where Jennifer disappeared so they may have spoken to him at the time. This is of course, a developing story so i will add more details as we hear more from police next week. Check here for the arrest information.