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Detectives profile suspect in 1986 murders of 2 young girls

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SEATTLE — Two young girls who were raped and murdered just months apart in Tacoma in 1986 may have been killed by the same man, police said.

Tacoma police detectives have developed a profile of the a man they believe killed 12-year-old Michella Welch and 13-year-old Jenny Bastian. The two girls were abducted, murdered and their bodies were found in different Tacoma parks.

Welch went missing first. She had been riding her bike home to make sandwiches for her sisters, but later that night her body was found in the woods. Five months later, Bastian disappeared while riding her bike in Point Defiance Park and her body wasn’t found for three weeks.

The cases went cold, but detective Gene Miller never gave up trying to solve them. Now, he’s hoping that by connecting the crimes, he will be able to find the suspect.

Miller says the suspect was likely a transient who got around on foot or bicycle. It’s believed he carried a knife and threatened his family members. What the man may not have known about himself is that he may have had an intestinal parasite.

“I believe firmly that the profile, if seen by the right person — a mother, brother, sister, aunt, neighbor — it’s going to mean something to them, “ Miller said.

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