After more than 30 years, Tacoma Police made an arrest in the murder and rape of a 13-year-old girl; and one former classmate of the victim says it’s a day he thought he may never see.
On August 4th 1986, 13-year-old Jennifer Bastian left her Tacoma home.
On August 28th 1986, the girl’s body was found. Police say she was raped and murdered.
“I distinctively remember her coming up, Jennifer coming up and asking if anyone wanted to go riding with her and being teenage boys we just kind of ignored her, then we never saw her again,” said James Peterson.
Peterson says for more than 30 years this memory has haunted him.
Peterson, a former classmate of Bastian, says he remembers the days following her disappearance like they were yesterday.
“We went out every day scouring the vacant lots trying to find her,” he said.
But it would be police who would find the body of Bastian about three weeks after she went missing.
Peterson says the news of her death hit the entire Tacoma community hard.
“It was an emotional time; it was a fearful time,” he said.
An emotion and fear that never truly disappeared, he says, with the killer still on the loose, but now police believe they arrested a suspect responsible for the crime.
Peterson says after more than 30 years of waiting, he had given up hope this day would ever come. He says he will always feel guilt for not doing more for Bastian.
“It’s been a long time coming, and there is a lot of relief and emotion,” said Peterson.
Bastian’s family understandable did not want to speak about the arrest.
Police have not released any suspect or information, or information on how they were able to make an arrest. They do say the suspect is being extradited from out of state back to Tacoma.