The man accused of killing 13-year-old Jennifer Bastian remains something of a mystery.
Tacoma police are working to piece together who Robert Washburn was and what he was up to in 1986, when he allegedly abducted, sexually assaulted and killed Bastian.
“Anybody that knew him back then or had contact with him might be able to give us information on him,” Detective Steve Reopelle said.
Washburn was 28 when the girl was killed in Point Defiance Park. He is now 60.
He lived about two miles from the park in the 3100 block of North Huson Street and told police he often jogged there.
Before he was arrested on suspicion of Bastian’s killing, Washburn had no criminal record.
He was arrested in King County in 1985 on suspicion of vehicle prowling and criminal trespass, but was never charged.
He graduated from Wilson High School in 1977 and his father once owned an auto body shop in Tacoma, records show.
Washburn married his first wife in 1979. The couple divorced in 1985 for unclear reasons. In 1990, he married his second wife, Cindy Stephens, and they had a daughter.
Washburn was working for Boeing as a mechanic at that time, Stephens said.
He moved to Burlington in Skagit County in the late 1990s, and then to Illinois more than a decade ago. He did not appear to work after moving to Illinois.
He filed for bankruptcy in 2000 while living in Burlington, records show.
For the last nine years or so, he lived in an apartment in Eureka, Illinois. He was the sole caretaker of his disabled daughter, who is in her 20s. She is now in the care of her grandmother.
Neighbors in Illinois described Washburn as quiet but kind, a man who kept to himself but appeared devoted to his daughter.
Theresa Bastian, Jennifer’s sister, said the family did not know Washburn but is hoping those who did will contact police. Anyone who knew Washburn is asked to call the police department at 253-591-5968.
“No piece of information is too small,” Theresa Bastian said Monday.