A murder case that went cold for 37 years may have just been solved. On Monday night, police in Antioch, California announced that they arrested a man they believe is responsible for the 1980 kidnapping and murder of 14-year-old Suzanne Bombardier.
Mitchell Lynn Bacom, 63, was arrested on Friday and police said they will soon be charging him with the decades-old murder.
Author Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons has been credited with bringing attention to the case. After coming across Bombardier’s headstone in 2013, she began writing the Lost Girl, a blog that detailed her fascination with the unsolved murder. In a 2015 essay for Salon, Gibbons explains how she became obsessed with Bombardier’s story, and with trying to solve it. Despite her dedication, she felt she didn’t feel qualified to make a crack in the case.
“The story was tugging and tugging at me,” Gibbons wrote in her essay. “Yet what was I going to do — find her killer? I wasn’t an investigative reporter like Sarah Koenig or Amy Goodman.”
But, in the end, Gibbons may have helped crack the case. She arranged a meeting between former Antioch Police Department detectives Gregory Glod and Ron Rackley and Bombardier’s family. Together, they were able to persuade the Antioch Police Department to reopen the case.
“I am amazed and proud about the arrest in the case of Suzanne Bombardier,” Gibbons told Oxygen.com. “May it put a light on other cold cases.”
Bombardier, an honor roll student who loved Rod Stewart, vanished while babysitting her nieces on June 22, 1980, and a few days later her body was discovered by a fisherman in the San Joaquin River. The teen had been raped and stabbed in the heart.
Bacum was linked to the crime with DNA evidence.
“Justice may not have come swiftly as we may have hoped or liked,” Contra Costa DA Diane Becton told the East Bay Times. “But we will continue to work diligently on these cases and hopefully justice will come.”
Police are investigating to see if Bacum was involved in any other murders. Anybody with information is urged to call Cpt. Leonard Orman at 925-779-6918.
[Photo: Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons]