Pattie Bastian was sleeping when the news came.
She heard the knock on her door, a persistent knock, and her dog started yapping.
When she opened the door at 8 a.m. Thursday, she saw former Tacoma police Detective Lindsey Wade and an assistant chief.
Her breath caught. She sat down.
She knew there was news about her daughter, Jennifer Bastian, who is forever 13 because someone killed her after she took her bike for a spin in Point Defiance Park in 1986.
Wade, who’d worked the case for years, had rehearsed what to say. In the end, she said nothing she'd planned and kept it simple: They’d arrested a man for Jenni’s murder.
“We were overwhelmed by this 32 years ago and we continue to be overwhelmed today,” Bastian said Monday. “We never gave up on wanting justice for Jenni. Tacoma never gave up wanting justice for Jenni. And now, after all this time, justice is Jenni’s.”
The Bastian family said they did not know Robert D. Washburn, 60, who is charged with first-degree murder in the girl’s Aug. 4, 1986, death.
He lived mere blocks from their Tacoma home in the 1980s and two miles from Point Defiance Park, where Jenni Bastian went missing.
Investigators said Monday they don’t know whether Washburn watched the girl and planned to abduct her, or if it was a crime of opportunity.
He has refused to speak with detectives since they took him into custody Thursday at the apartment he shared in Eureka, Illinois, with his disabled adult daughter.
Washburn waived extradition and is expected to return to Pierce County on May 21. He will be arraigned then.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the case is all anybody is talking about, and he has been inundated with questions.
“It has affected the way that we parent,” he said. “Every parent in this community is haunted by this case.”
It's one of the most heartbreaking and well-known in Tacoma’s history.
Jenni Bastian went for a bike ride to train for an upcoming tour in the San Juan Islands and disappeared. Her body was found 22 days later between Five Mile Drive and the cliffs overlooking Commencement Bay.
She’d been sexually assaulted and strangled. Her new Schwinn was in the brush nearby.
Detectives initially believed she was killed by the same person who murdered 12-year-old Michella Welch in Puget Park on March 26, 1986. There were “overwhelming similarities between the two crimes,” Police Chief Don Ramsdell said.
But DNA proved otherwise in 2013.
That prompted cold case detectives to submit a piece of evidence from the Bastian crime scene — the bathing suit she was wearing when she was killed — for DNA testing.
The DNA sample was run through state and national databases, but turned up no hits.
There were more than 2,300 names in the Bastian case file, and in 2016, investigators sought voluntary DNA samples from those who did not have DNA on file.
Washburn was on that list.
In March 2017, the FBI contacted Washburn at his Illinois home.
“He was provided a voluntary form for collection for his DNA and he voluntarily provided the swabs,” FBI Special Agent Eric Reese said Monday at a press conference at Tacoma police headquarters.
Washburn's sample was in the last batch of 160 sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory.
Wade left the police department shortly before the crime lab linked Washburn to Bastian’s death in early May.
“I honestly was not optimistic,” she said Monday. "I thought it would come back with nothing.”
She and Gene Miller, another former detective who'd worked the Bastian case, said Washburn never stood out as a prime suspect.
“Just another name,” Miller said.
“Everybody looked like a good suspect at some point or another until they were eliminated,” Wade said.
Washburn first came to police attention in May 1986 when he called to report seeing a jogger fitting the description of Welch’s killer.
When investigators followed up with an in-person interview in December, Washburn told them he jogged in Point Defiance Park as often as twice a day and thought he’d seen a man resembling the composite sketch put out of Welch’s killer.
He also said he was in the park when police cordoned it off after Bastian disappeared, and noticed a foul smell off Five Mile Drive.
A jogger — never publicly identified as Washburn — reported an odd smell that led police to Bastian’s remains.
Tens of thousands of investigative hours went into trying to solve the girls’ killings, which were a major reason the department’s cold case unit was launched in 2011.
“The Bastian-Welch homicides are the poster children for why I wanted to start the cold case unit,” Miller said. “To know that one of them is now solved, it excites me for the next one.”
The Welch case remains unsolved.
Although detectives worked the cases together for decades, DNA evidence in 2013 showed the girls were killed by different men.
Police have long said whoever killed Bastian likely killed other girls or committed similar crimes.
On Monday, they said they are looking into the possibility Washburn killed others in Washington or Illinois.
“We’d be remiss if we didn’t,” Ramsdell said.
They declined to provide specifics.
Washburn has no prior criminal record.
The Bastian family will remember Jenni as their beloved girl who liked kittens and softball, who enjoyed riding her bike and doing cartwheels.
They’re grateful for the 1,600 people who came to Bastian’s funeral and those who have supported them over the decades.
“Because of all of you, we have survived what no family should ever have to,” Pattie Bastian said.
Stacia Glenn; 253-597-8653