Suspect in 1986 murder case arrested in Illinois

Robert Washburn 60 has been arrested in the cold case murder of 13-year-old girl Jennifer Bastian in Tacoma Wash. in 1986

Robert Washburn, 60, has been arrested in the cold case murder of 13-year-old girl Jennifer Bastian in Tacoma, Wash., in 1986.

On Friday, Pierce County prosecutors charged Robert Washburn with first-degree murder in Bastian's death, and he was being extradited to Tacoma from IL where he's lived for years.

Perera added that she never stopped believing police would make an arrest. He told them he often jogged at Point Defiance Park, sometimes twice a day, and he had been there when authorities cordoned it off amid a search for her.

In court documents Q13 News obtained, it shows police had their eye on the suspect, 60-year-old Robert Dwane Washburn, nearly immediately after the crime. Her slaying - and Welch's - remained unsolved.

Welch's killing remains unsolved.

Bastian disappeared while riding her bike in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park on a summer evening, and her body was found in a wooded area off a trail more than two weeks later, on August 28, 1986.

"I wish they would have DNA evidence 30 years ago", Perera said.

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Her body was hidden beneath brush, with her bike nearby, and she been strangled. That indicates she made at least one lap around Five Mile Drive before she was kidnapped, records show.

Authorities interviewed two people who saw a girl on a bicycle close to Five Mile Road. Washburn's name was on the list, and he agreed to provide his DNA to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Evidence from the scene of Bastian's death was saved, and in recent years a detective sent for testing DNA collected from the bathing suit she was wearing when she died.

By then, Washburn had moved to Eureka, Illinois.

Tacoma Police are in the process of extraditing him back to Washington.

Several credible sightings of Bastian were reported around the 5-mile drive of Point Defiance Park as late as 6 p.m. that day.

Washburn appeared in Woodford County Circuit Court Friday morning and waived extradition to the state of Washington where an arrest warrant for murder in the first-degree had been issued earlier this week. That's when local officials were called to help arrest him.

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