The murder of 13-year-old Jennifer Bastian has haunted Tacoma since she disappeared from Point Defiance Park in 1986.
Police arresting a suspected killer last week brought up memories, a flood of emotions and questions. Lots of questions.
Investigators gathered Monday with Bastian's family to talk about the case and announce that Robert Washburn, who is charged in the girl's death, will not be returned from Illinois to Pierce County until at least May 21.
"We were overwhelmed by this 32 years ago and we continue to be overwhelmed today," Pattie Bastian, her mother, said. "We never gave up wanting justice for Jenni. Tacoma never gave up wanting justice for Jenni. And now, after all this time, justice is Jenni's."
Bastian went missing Aug. 4, 1986, while riding her Schwinn bicycling on a training ride through Point Defiance Park, something she did regularly.
Her parents reported her missing that night when she didn't return home for dinner.
Although bloodhounds, search parties and dozens of officers scoured the park for three days, they found no sign of Bastian.
Her body was discovered 24 days later when a jogger reported a foul odor between Five Mile Drive and the cliffs overlooking Commencement Bay.
She'd been sexually assaulted and strangled.
Her bike was in the brush dumped nearby.
Investigators continued to work the case for decades but had no luck — until 2016.
That's when cold case detectives were able to match new DNA evidence taken from the bathing suit Bastian was wearing when she died with DNA from an Illinois man.
Washburn, 60, was arrested at his apartment in Eureka and charged with first-degree murder.
He has refused to speak with investigators.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the Bastian case is one that changed the community.
"This case is what everybody wanted to talk about" at his daughter's softball game over the weekend, Lindquist said. "It has affected the way that we parent. Every parent in this community is haunted by this case."
Detectives in 2016 compiled a list of more than 2,300 men whose names appeared in the case file over the decades, then they began contacting them to ask for a DNA sample. Washburn was on the list. He agreed and provided a sample in 2017.
The state crime lab tested roughly 160 DNA samples from potential suspects in the last year, police said. Washburn's DNA sample was in the last batch.
Results from the test came back earlier this month linking him to Bastian's death.
Pattie Bastian said nobody in her family knew Washburn and the name didn't sound familiar when she found out about the arrest.
He lived nine blocks from her family's home and less than five miles from Point Defiance Park when she disappeared, records show.
Washburn told detectives back in 1986 when reporting a tip on the death of another young girl, Michella Welch, that he often jogged in Point Defiance Park and was there the day police cordoned off the park when Bastian went missing.
The deaths of Bastian and Welch, 12, were once thought to be done by the same killer but DNA proved otherwise two years ago.
The Welch case remains unsolved.
Police said they are unsure if Washburn committed similar crimes in Tacoma or Illinois but are looking into it.
"We would be remiss if we didn't," Police Chief Don Ramsdell said.