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Washburn DNA sample a match for bodily fluids found on teen's clothing: prosecutors

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Jennifer Bastian Jennifer Bastian
EUREKA, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

The suspect in a 1986 cold case out of Washington state voluntarily submitted to a DNA swab that eventually led to his arrest, prosecutors said. 

A probable cause document filed in Pierce County, Wash. said Robert D. Washburn, 60, now of Eureka, lived in Tacoma, Wash. at the time of the murder of 13-year-old Jennifer Bastian in 1986. 

Washburn became a suspect when he called police stating he saw a man matching the description of the murder suspect jogging in a nearby park. Washburn also told prosecutors he jogged in the same area often, had noticed a "foul odor" on the trail and was at the park the day it was cordoned off, the document said. The park was shut down for three days after Bastian disappeared on August 4, 1986. 

Bastian never returned home after going out for a bike ride. Her body was eventually found weeks after her disappearance, on August 28. Bastian was not clothed when her body was found, but she did have some clothing around her ankle. A crime lab test confirmed Bastian was raped. She died by strangulation. 

A search of criminal databases of the semen found on Bastian's swimsuit did not turn up any matches at the time.

In 2016, police created a list of suspects from which to collect DNA. Washburn voluntarily consented to submit his DNA in March 2017, prosecutors said. On May 3, the Washington State Police Crime Lab said the sperm sample was a match for Robert Washburn. The probability for error in the test is one in 57 trillion.

Washburn was arrested at his Eureka apartment with the assistance of the Illinois State Police on Thursday. He is being held in the Woodford County Jail pending extradition back to Washington state. 

Police in Tacoma are expected to hold a press conference when Washburn arrives in state. 

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