Crime

Man accused of child murder 31 years ago is arrested in Illinois

Tacoma police talks about Jennifer Bastian's killer

Robert D. Washburn has been identified through DNA as the killer of Jennifer Bastian.
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Robert D. Washburn has been identified through DNA as the killer of Jennifer Bastian.

A man suspected of the strangling murder of a child in Tacoma, Washington has been arrested in Illinois, 31 years later.

Jennifer Bastian was 13 years old when she left her home on Aug. 4, 1986 on her Schwinn bicycle. She liked bicycling, and planned to train for an upcoming bike tour in San Juan.

She never came home. A massive search eventually ended with her body found in a wooded area, 24 days later. She had been strangled, her bike dumped nearby.

The case remained open all these years, and recently the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office developed probable cause to arrest Robert D. Washburn, 60, of Eureka, Illinois. Washburn lived less than five miles from the park where Jennifer went missing at the time.

Illinois State Police arrested Washburn on Thursday and he will be returned to Pierce County to face charges.

DNA evidence led to the arrest of the Golden State Killer. Learn more about this powerful crime-fighting tool for finding and convicting perpetrators.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald
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