The Eureka man arrested last year in the 1986 slaying of a Washington state teen has been sentenced for her murder.
The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., reports that Robert Dwane Washburn, 61, pleaded guilty for the death of 13-year-old Jennifer Bastian. His sentence in the first-degree murder case was nearly 27 years in prison.
Police used DNA evidence last year to solve the cold case, and Washburn was arrested in May at the Eureka apartment complex where he was living.
On Aug. 4, 1986, Bastian left her home about 2:30 p.m. She rode her 18-speed Schwinn bicycle to Point Defiance Park to train for an upcoming bike tour in the San Juan Islands. She left a note saying she would be home by 6:30 p.m.
Several credible sightings of Jennifer were reported around the 5-mile drive of Point Defiance Park as late as 6 p.m. that day. She never returned home, and a massive search took place at the park. Her body was located on Aug. 28, 1986, in a wooded area off the 5-mile drive.
The News Tribune report says Washburn admitted to grabbing Bastian by the arm, taking her into the woods and strangling her. Police evidence also indicates she was sexually assaulted.
Jennifer's mother, Pattie Bastian, told the court that the family "continued to live and laugh and love, but in a much different way" after the killing, and that families in the area stopped letting their kids play outside without supervision, according to the report.
In a written statement to the court, Washburn said he took the guilty plea to spare his family and his victim's family from a trial and apologized for his actions.